Strictly offers a silver lining
Friday 18 January 2013
Between the weather and John McCririck's lawyer, the new regime at Channel 4 has endured a fairly trying start – and things get no easier today, with all jump racing lost to snow. Though the Victor Chandler Chase has been rescheduled at Cheltenham next Saturday, for now the broadcaster is left hoping for the survival of all-weather cards at Lingfield and Kempton.
As it happens, the scheduled sport provides a legitimate snapshot of a maturing all-weather programme, with horses thriving at different levels to nourish betting turnover. It's good enough for John Gosden, after all, and the champion trainer sends one of the day's more interesting runners to Kempton in Fluctuate (2.55). Having looked promising in the spring, he disappeared after disappointing at Newmarket in August but resurfaces in blinkers and, as a well-built animal, surely has more to offer after four starts.
Light From Mars (2.20) did well to hold on for second after contesting a strong pace the other day, but the best race is at Lingfield, where Strictly Silver (3.10) can see off a competitive field. Having repeatedly shaped well on turf last season, he was entitled to need the run at this course last time and appeals as the type to take to this kind of test.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Sextons House (5.05 Kempton)
Strictly Silver (3.10 Lingfield)
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