TODAY’S jumps cards must pass morning inspections but both tracks appear optimistic that racing will go ahead including Wetherby whose 8am inspection is described as precautionary.
The ground is sure to be testing and the card begins with a juvenile maiden hurdle over the minimum trip.
At Newbury last month Rayak finished runner up to the useful Dawalan (winner since) with Certification (12.20) just over a length behind in third but that was the latter’s hurdle debut and he is taken to reverse the form with that experience under his belt.
The selection was lightly raced on the flat but did finish runner up in two of his three starts including when 4l second to the smart Battalion at Ripon.
The mare Little Glenshee must go close in the next but Free World (12.50) has recaptured some of his old sparkle in recent weeks and remains well handicapped despite being 4lbs higher than when runner up over C&D earlier in the month.
He can follow up his Warwick success under similar conditions on New Year’s Eve.
Aachen (1.55) has only won going right-handed but he can defy a near 600-day absence in the Handicap Chase for trainer Venetia Williams and owner Tony Bloom who, among other things, owns Brighton FC.
The selection ran out a facile winner on his Chase debut when last seen in June 2012 and he was rated much higher than his current chase mark over hurdles earlier in his career.
Real Milan disappointed on his reappearance and has not progressed over fences as one would have expected and the danger might be the top-weight Rose Of The Moon with McCoy a significant booking.
Island Heights was bought for £30,000 at Cheltenham sales last month having won a maiden point in his native Ireland back in October.
His time will come but preference in the Novice Hurdle is for Tiqris (2.30) representing the very much in form yard of Philip Hobbs.
Placed in all five starts in bumpers or over timber there was much to like about the selection’s third to Josses Hill at Newbury last month with the winner subsequently running a blinder in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Kempton.
He certainly deserves to get his head in front and looks to have found an ideal opportunity.
Hobbs also saddles Mighty Mobb (3.05) who ran a cracker on his chase debut at Towcester behind a subsequent winner and is only 1lb higher.
Despite being a son of Accordion he coped well enough with the soft ground at Towcester and can only improve for that initial run over fences.
Irish raider Carrigeen Kariega destroyed her field at Thurles last time and there looked no fluke despite her SP of 25/1.
We know she will cope with conditions and she goes well for her amateur jockey. The Leicester inspection is also described as precautionary and winning bumper horse Come On Laurie steps up in trip having finished runner up in both starts over hurdles to date.
He will be a warm order to go one better but he may get outstayed by Cogry (1.10) who finished third to subsequent Haydock winner Wuff at Uttoxeter last month.
The form of the Twiston-Davies yard remains a cause for concern and prevents it from being a confident selection but a couple have run well and they did have a winner at Ludlow last Thursday. That said they are still not firing on all cylinders.
Teenager Thedreamstillalive (1.40) ran a cracker over C&D earlier in the month and can race off a 1lb lower mark as he bids to win as a 14-year-old in the “hands & heels” handicap chase. Trainer Jim Old had a winner at Towcester on Sunday and the selection won over C&D seven years ago from a 22lb higher mark!