RACE PREVIEWS & TIPS (FRIDAY)

15:50 Newbury Jonjo O’Neill has had a quiet year by his own very high standards, but this is always the time of year his stable usually kick into top gear. He runs Beggars Cross here in the 3m handicap chase, which the yard previously won in both 2013 and 2015, so it is a race they will have targeted again. The seven-year-old was keeping on well at the finish and won with a fair bit in hand to suggest there is further progress to come despite the 9lb rise for that last time out success. Aidan Coleman can steer him to another success and his margin of victory last time coupled with his trainer’s record in the race get him the nod here today. The main danger will likely come from the potent combo of Tom George and Paddy Brennan who line up in opposition with Behind the Wire. The horse won well at Taunton two starts back, and then followed that up by running a corker behind another Jonjo O’Neill horse last time out. That horse has since came out and narrowly lost, but you would have to imagine the O’Neill yard will have a decent measure of what they are facing today through this form line. Rebecca Curtis is another yard who have had a quiet season to date, but her last time out winner Kilcullen Flem would be the most likely to capitalise if the top two should fail to fire. The seven year old capitalised on a falling mark to land a similar event in decent fashion at Bangor, but he has much more on today and would have to improve to trouble the principles if they are on song. BEGGARS CROSS (WIN) – NAP

16:10 Lingfield A tricky looking 7f class 5 handicap with a number of live chances, but the answer may come from a powerhouse yard that are coming back into form for the winter racing. There is no doubt J Tuite’s Dark Destroyer is entitled to go well here today. The horse is still lightly raced and won a maiden well enough last time out Kempton. The three-year-old makes his handicap debut and is still unexposed at today’s distance, but the worry would be that he could easily bounce after such a long period off before his last run. Mullarkey shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the return to 7f having gone close on his last two starts over further, but he could be vulnerable to something with a decent turn of foot off the front. One stable that is synonymous with tough front running performances is the Mark Johnston yard who have had a few high profile wins on the winter all weather campaign so far. They line up here with a fascinating contender in the form of Boater. The horse was well touted for bigger and better things when landing a 5f maiden on debut at Kempton as a two year old. He followed that up with a narrow defeat in a class 1 listed contest before losing his way a little in the sprinting ranks as a three year old. The 3-year-old filly looked like she needed the run last time out over 6f when just back off a 52 day break and shaped as though this sort of trip would be right up her street. She will now strip fitter for that comeback run and may be hard to pass if she gets an easy lead here today over the extra furlong, so she gets the each way nod at a decent price entering the lowly ranks of class 5 handicap company for the first time. BOATER (E/W)