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Lingfield Park – Winter Million – Friday 21st January

Friday 21st January 13:20

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith has gone through Lingfield Park's inaugural Winter Million card on Friday 21st January, beginning a busy weekend.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Belle De Manech 4/14/1 13.20 Lingfield Park
each-way (3 places 1/5)
Place BetPlace Bet
Pure Bliss 8/18/1 13.20 Lingfield Park
each-way (3 places 1/5)
Place BetPlace Bet
Frero Banbou 3/13/1 13.50 Lingfield Park
each-way (3 places 1/5)
Place BetPlace Bet
Emitom 3/13/1 14.25 Lingfield Park
each-way (2 places 1/4)
Place BetPlace Bet
Metier 9/29/2 15.35 Lingfield Park
each-way (5 places 1/5)
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 20/01/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (10:40 20/01/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Money makes the world go round apparently.

Well, I wouldn’t mind betting that ARC (Arena Racing Company – owners of Lingfield Park) wish that money could also warm the sun up a little on Friday morning, as temperatures are due to drop to -3 overnight – hance the inaugural first day of the Winter Million must survive an inspection at 9am.

The course foresaw this and took action by covering the entire track at the start of the week, and it is hoped that their combined initiative and investment is rewarded.

I certainly hope so, as I think there are a few tasty bets to be had, all of whom are based upon the fact the ground is going to be incredibly testing. Heavy ground that has sweated under covers for a few days means only the most suitable need apply.

The Winter Million EBF Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase at 1.20 features plenty of in-form mares, but quite a few would either be better suited by 2m (Deja Vue) or 3m (Wouldubewell, Legends Ryde and Timeless Beauty.)

The Anthony Honeyball-trained Belle De Manech was an extremely impressive winner on her chase debut at Wincanton, before finding 2m too sharp at the same track last time. At 4/1 each-way with Sky Bet, William Hill or Bet365 she is worth backing to confirm the impression of her chase debut, on ground she’ll enjoy.

The ‘dead’ eight runner profile has persuaded me that it’s acceptable to have another dart at the race, as I’m also keen on Harry Fry’s mare Pure Bliss, who is hugely overpriced at 8/1 each-way with SkyBet. Pure Bliss is a fine big chasing type who has jumped proficiently in two starts over the bigger obstacles, and can turn around form with Deja Vue from Exeter over this more suitable trip.

She was never stronger than at the line at Hereford in a searingly well run race over 2m on decent ground last time, and that experience will not be lost on her. Stepping back up to the intermediate trip on testing ground, Pure Bliss will be a force to be reckoned with at 8/1 each-way with Sky Bet.

Next up is the racehorselotto.com Handicap Chase at 1.50, and it provides a great opportunity for Frero Banbou to get back in the winners’ enclosure, as he faces much his easiest task since winning after a wind operation at Ascot last season. He has run with real credit in some competitive events, and the key for him will be his first run for ages on proper testing ground, as he hits the ground hard.

At 3/1 each-way with William Hill or Betfred, both of whom offer 3 places on this 7-runner race, Venetia Williams has managed to find a ripe picking for Frero Banbou, in a race that is more valuable than any of the three he has run in this season.

The Cazoo Hurdle at 2.25 is a poor turnout for the money sadly, but what it does do is provide a real opportunity for classy mud-lover Emitom to get his head back in front. At 3/1 each-way generally, he is another each-way bet verging on the stingey side in terms of price, but given his profile, it might be that having a slice of insurance is the way to play it.

Emitom has been competitive in novices’ chases against some real upwardly mobile types in that sphere, and given he is not the most natural over a fence, he can enjoy the calmer waters back over hurdles and at a tempo which can see him flourish.

Not right last season, if you go back to 2020, Emitom hosed up in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle on heavy ground before finishing fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Chief danger could be another returning to the smaller obstacles, in the shape of Top Ville Ben, and I wouldn’t put anyone off him at 15/2 with Coral.

The final bet on Friday’s Winter Million curtain raiser is in the Sovereign Handicap Hurdle at 3.35. A very valuable prize, it has attracted runners from all over, including the pot-picker Emmet Mullins, who sends two raiders over.

Plenty though wouldn’t be able to lay a glove on a top form Metier, who got his career right back on track at Ascot last time in a much better race than this. The old spark looked back, and at 9/2 each-way with William Hill for 5 places, Metier really should be favourite here.

Sean Bowen (3 wins from 4) gets back on board Metier, and hopefully that can further boost the good vibes the horse will be feeling tomorrow, as he sluices through the Lingfield mud. Hopefully, he caps off a profitable and enjoyable day for all!

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