No jumps racing in Britain today, but prospects do look a bit brighter for the weekend and Newbury, who have deployed frost covers since Monday, remain cautiously optimistic that Saturday’s card will get the green light. The Betfair Hurdle is the big betting race of the weekend and it features several unexposed sorts including Metier who heads the lists at 7/1 with Unibet.

My short list at the stage is long but I have only backed one antepost and that is Shakem Up’Arry (16/1) who is 13lbs better off with Metier for the 12L he was beaten by the market leader in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time. Cadzand and Soaring Glory are the others in my fab four in what looks a vintage renewal of what is one of my favourite races of the year.

In the 0-50 Classified Stakes at Newcastle today I hope to see the filly Sezina (2.00) appreciate the step up to 10f for the first time having stayed on from the rear when third over a mile on fibresand last time having lost valuable ground with a slow start. Brian Ellison’s 4-y-old – 11/4 with 10bet – is a sister to a 7f winner but there is enough stamina on the dam’s side to suggest she will get today’s extra couple of furlongs.

Keith Dalgleish has his string in good form and I was surprised to see number of firms offering 10/3 for his Royal Advice (4.30) on handicap debut with Joe Fanning taking over in the saddle. The selection will get further in time but ran on very well when third over C&D last time and he is likely to be ridden a lot more prominently than was the case last time. At the time of posting the gelding is 13/8 with Boylesports.

There is a valuable 7f handicap at Wolverhampton and Tranchee is a short price favourite I was keen to take on but, on closer inspection, you can pick holes in the prospects of all six runners and it is a race best watched.

I was impressed with Woke Media when he beat a subsequent winner at Southwell on his penultimate start but that was over 7f and he looked to fade close home in a slowly run race over a mile at Newcastle last time. Apatite has improved for the switch to Michael Appleby, but I thought the grey filly Roman Mist (5.15) ran her best race yet when runner up over C&D last week and she has been raised 4lbs in the weights as a result.

That hike does not come into effect until the weekend, however, and Hollie Doyle takes over in the saddle for Tom Ward whose last two runners, at the time of writing, have both been winners. The filly is 3s with William Hill.  

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