Wednesday’s best bets, by Chris Cook

The latest example of racing tripping over its own feet came on Tuesday when video replays of Irish races disappeared down a hole as the rights to screen Irish horse racing transferred from one company to another. This has happened in the past when rights to a particular track switched companies and the companies involved have been aware of the issue for months but it doesn’t seem to have helped them reach a solution for their customers in time.

A spokesman for Racing TV, which has acquired the rights to Irish racing, sent me a statement: “Racing TV will provide the archive to all Irish fixtures from 1 January. Discussions on providing the Irish racing archive prior to 1 January are ongoing. We are working on trying to resolve the situation by the end of the month.”

As a result, the Cheltenham Festival is two months away and anyone who wants to have a sit down and analyse any of those races will have to do it without footage of past Irish races, other than the ones to be found on YouTube.

I can’t help feeling there was a role in the past few months for the ruling bodies in Britain and Ireland to get involved and try to get senior figures at the relevant companies focused on making sure that this predictable problem did not arise. As far as I can make out from background discussions, no such pressure has been applied.

The British Horseracing Authority is understandably wary of wading into commercial negotiations between companies. But here we have a problem that undermines racing’s appeal to its audience and it would have been entirely appropriate, in my view, for the BHA to make a visible effort at ensuring continuity of access to replays. The sport needs leadership.

One For Harry (2.40) is the name that appeals to me most on Wednesday’s jumps card at Ayr, where Nicky Richards, his trainer, could be in for a good day. There wasn’t much encouragement to be taken from his reappearance run in early November but I’m hoping this will be the third season in a row when he’s moved on from a poor initial effort to score on his second start. His rating is just 1lb higher than he had for each of his last two wins. The 7-1 looks too big.

I’ve napped Sebastopol earlier on the card but, as it turns out, he’s as short as he should be at 4-6 or so. There might be more juice in the 3-1 about Holme Abbey (3.45) in the closing bumper, this Richards runner having been green when fancied for a similar race in November.

There’s also 7-1 about Compton River (12.40) in the opener at Wolverhampton. He’s a course and distance winner who hasn’t been to this track for almost two years, during which time he’s been on a long losing run that has sent his rating tumbling. There have been flashes of hope in recent runs elsewhere.

Finally, I’d be interested in the views of our regulars on here about Defi Du Seuil’s run at Cheltenham on Tuesday. I’d have said he was clearly a two-miler in the making, judging by how well he travelled and how he quickened past his main rival before failing to stay up the hill. But the first reaction from Sara Hobbs was they they might stick at two and a half miles with him.

Obviously his owner has another Arkle candidate in Le Richebourg. Still, I’m not sure there’s much to be gained in persevering with Defi at that distance if he doesn’t see it out on good to soft.

Ayr 12.30 Johnbb 1.00 Strong Resemblance 1.35 Sebastopol (nap) 2.10 Echo Express 2.40 One For Harry 3.10 Left Back 3.45 Holme Abbey (nb) 

Wolverhampton 12.40 Compton River 1.10 Benny And The Jets 1.45 Peachey Carnehan 2.20 Military Law 2.50 Crossing The Line 3.20 Inaam 

Hereford 12.50 Uno Mas 1.20 Abbeygrey 1.55 Poucor 2.30 Charming Zen 3.00 Rosemary Russet 3.30 Loveherandleaveher 

Newcastle 3.35 Ice Pyramid 4.10 Space Bandit 4.45 Fiction Writer 5.15 Lads Order 5.45 Man Of Verve 6.15 Chosen World 6.45 Royal Prospect 7.15 Star Cracker 


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