Tom Lee's All-Weather Championships Blog & Saturday's Best Bets

In a week dominated by industry issues, Grand National weights, as well as high profile contenders for the Cheltenham Festival falling by the wayside, it's reassuring to know that in the background, grafting away like a hard working relative, the all-weather scene has been ticking along with some surprisingly good action for punters to enjoy.

Bereft of any of the 'will they, won't they?' weather-related uncertainty of the turf, freezing nights have been shrugged off with the nonchalance of Lenny Henry tucking himself in in a Premier Inn advert, meaning an unrelenting supply of opportunities for owners, trainers, jockeys, and indeed the equine population.

Saturday's sole fixture comes from Lingfield Park, venue for the third running of the £1m All-Weather Championships Finals Day in little over a month, with a seven race card on the menu.

Unibet sponsor both big money sprint categories on March 25th, so it's no surprise to see the betting giant adding their name to race three on the card, the five furlong Daily Price Boosts At Unibet Handicap, for which a field of 10 are due to go to post at 2.35pm.

Perhaps the interesting one here is joint top weight Burning Thread, who featured in a key form line over course and distance a fortnight ago, going down a couple of lengths to the re-opposing Taajub.

For that win Taajub has been shunted up to a mark of 85, the same as Burning Thread, who went untouched for a creditable effort in defeat last time.

However, not only has the handicapper given him a great chance to reverse the placings, but David Elsworth now opts to employ the services of young apprentice Adam McLean, who removes seven pounds, effectively taking his mount back below his last winning mark.

McLean was last seen in competitve action on February 5th, scorching clear on the Elsworth-trained Sea Of Flames, who was well backed on the day.

The trainer/jockey combination can be seen to good effect again here.

At 3.10pm the mile and a quarter Coral Handicap can go the way of another top weight, with Michael Bell's Franklin D strongly fancied to atone for a disappointment last time out, when beating just one home over course and distance, despite being sent off the well supported 11/8 market leader.

To be fair, the bare result doesn't tell anything like the full story - he was in the process of delivering a significant challenge when squeezed for room and snatched up - leaving zero time for recovery.

On that occasion Jamie Spencer wisely allowed him to coast home rather than give him the remnants of an unnecessarily hard race, and compensation hopefully awaits.

After all, Franklin D was an impressive course and distance scorer on his penultimate run, from just a four pounds' lower mark.

What's more, he's got some decent turf form, with Bell considering him good enough for a tilt at the prestigious Cambridgeshire Handicap back in September.

Here he comes up against a cluster of horses struggling to win from their current handicap marks, and as such Franklin D rates a confident selection. 

Good luck!


Saturday's best bets at Lingfield Park:

2.35 - Daily Price Boosts At Unibet Handicap - 2 Burning Thread (win)

3.10 - Coral Handicap - 1 Franklin D (win)