There are two ordinary National Hunt fixtures on Friday and the going at both tracks is projected to be soft. If there is significant overnight rain or freezing temperatures the meetings at Hereford and Musselburgh could be under threat. The betting industry in the UK will then be more dependent on All-Weather racing and the meetings at Southwell and Wolverhampton. There are now seven active AW tracks in the UK and Ireland.
The richest race on artificial surfaces is the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap over six furlongs at Southwell at 18.15 GMT. On form and ratings, Zylan is the horse to back at +1800 with William Hill. In overnight betting the horse is the outsider of seven and that assessment seems wrong. This bookmaker offers Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) but that is only from 10am on the day of the race. The place terms are one quarter the odds for 2 places so the place element of any bet on Zylan is +450.
Lingfield was the first All-Weather track in the UK and first held meetings on an artificial surface in 1989. This type of racing accounts for about 20% of all fixtures in the UK. The going is nearly always Standard on the following types of surface:
- Polytrack: Lingfield, Chemlsford and Kempton;
- Fibresand: Southwell;
- Tapeta: Wolverhampton and Newcastle.
The season builds to the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield on Good Friday. The current leading AW jockey is Ben Curtis. There is £1 million pounds on offer in prize money on Finals Day which was first staged in 2013. The qualifying season began at Newcastle on October 22nd. There are six championship races at Lingfield on Good Friday. A relatively recent development is the participation of French horses. Any runner from across the Channel warrants special attention in assessing the form. In 2020 there are also All-Weather fixtures at Newcastle and Chelmsford on April 10th.
Zylan is unlikely to qualify for the All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield on Good Friday (10th April), but the horse seems overpriced and could be backed ahead of his race on Friday at Southwell.
The horse has won three races over the course and distance but is on a losing run of 12 races. There could have been something amiss when the horse was unfancied and finished last of 11 on the Tapeta at Newcastle. It's fair to say other runners make more appeal but the price on Zylan to finish first seems too big. He has previously won at this handicap mark.
Aleef is the favourite for the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap. The horse has a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 87 while Zylan has run to a mark of 100. Zylan has the historical form in the book but Aleef has the better recent form and could be a well-handicapped horse. The Ralph Beckett trained Aleef had three wins from 13 starts last season but was a beaten favourite last time out, he was trading at +225 with Bovada in early betting but Zylan offers better value.
If Musselburgh does go ahead, the handicap hurdle over three miles at 14.25 GMT is the most lucrative race over jumps this Friday. There are eight declared runners which means each way bets are settled for three places.
Chanceanotherfive was the early favourite but Buckled at +1400 with Bovada offers the standout value. This is another horse that could be backed and at the time of writing the double, with Zylan, pays +19400 with Bovada.