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Horse racing in the UK on Saturday 20, January is scheduled to take place at:
Lingfield - Flat All Weather 1st Race at 1220
Ascot - National Hunt 1st race at 1240
Haydock - National Hunt 1st Race at 1255
Taunton - National Hunt 1st Race at 1305 and
Chelmsford - Flat All Weather 1st Race at 1815
To keep interest warm and slow burning during the day between shopping trips, lunches out, visits to the local coffee lounge or bookshop I have selected one horse from the most valuable horse race at each of the day's meetings.
Coincidentally, there are five meetings taking place which means there will be five selections to follow. Hence the strap line 'FFS' which means 'FIVE FOR SATURDAY. (I wonder how many readers thought of something completely different?)
On with the selections:
Off to Taunton in Somerset for the 1415 race, The Bathwick Tyres Senior Handicap Hurdle, with a first prize of £11,574. At the time of writing there are six runners declared with ages ranging from 8 to 11 years old. In this narrow field there are two entrants of stellar quality. They are Monbeg Legend and Irving. Monbeg Legend is 6/4 and has the form of 1st, 1st, 1st and another 1st to justify that favoritism. Irving is quoted at 2/1 with less consistent form over the last six outings but has run in today's conditions of 'Soft - heavy in place' today without disgrace so that is my choice; Irving.
Then off to Lingfield for the 1435 Betway Handicap worth £11,828 to the winner who will storm home from a field of six. Lawless Secret goes into the starting gates having achieved third place just 18 days ago. None of his competitors have raced at all this season and the handicapper seems to have overlooked this for this race so that is my choice at 3/1.
At Haydock, there are two races offering top prize money of £42,712. The 1440 only has four runners with a very narrow range of odds, so I am opting for the slightly later race, the 1515, that has 16 runners and a good spread of odds for making an each way selection. Highland Lodge is coming into this race just 42 days since his last outing where he came third in conditions similar to today's. At 16/1 this is my each way selection and with this size field most bookies will be paying out on the first three past the post.
And so on to Ascot the creme de la creme of racecourses set in the picturesque Berkshire countryside. This afternoon's most valuable race is the 1535 'Royal Salute Whisky Clarence House Chase' worth £85,425 to the winner but there are only five runners chasing this excellent prize. There is Speredek who is the 20/1 rank outsider in the betting. Three outings already this season and never placed worse than second who I hope will give the others a run for their money. This is my wild card selection for the day.
Finally, from Ascot we travel over to Chelmsford City east of London in Essex. There the most valuable race is the 'Bet Tote Exacta At Bet Fred.com Fillies Handicap' run at 1945. Five runners chase the first prize of £7,310. I have already selected another Simon Crisford trained runner in our jaunt around Britain's racecourses; Lawless Secret in the 1435 at Lingfield). So I may as well attempt a trainer double today and select Spinning Melody quoted at 9/4. She has understated qualities and promising form from last season that could herald a winning debut on her first race of this campaign.
I think there is enough there to keep interest alive for a few hours so good luck everyone and have a great Saturday. Don't forget, that if you want up-to-date information on any of today's racing or just want to enjoy a Saturday read over a latte then there is always the Racing Post. Go on, treat yourself.