11.50 - William Hill Acca Club Mares' Handicap Chase (3m)
Venetia Williams' string are continuing to be in fine form, with a 35 per-cent strike-rate in the fortnight preceding Christmas and they can capture the opener at Wetherby with TOP AND DROP.
The mare racked up a quick hat-trick in early 2019 over fences but hasn't scored since. There have been a few lengthy absences in there but she was runner-up at Leicester (2m6f, heavy) in February when last spotted, bumping into a cosy winner and having pulled well clear of the remainder herself.
That was a first start post wind-op and the handicapper has eased her 2lb, while her rider can claim 7lb today as she moves back into mares-only company. She has gone well fresh before and this is a good opportunity.
The Toojumpa is a threat if getting around safely but there are likely to be some worrying moments along the way and so second choice is Golden Robin, third over C&D this month on her chasing intro and with scope to do better.
Selection: Top And Drop
Next Best: Golden Robin
12.25 - William Hill Lengthen YourOdds Novices' Hurdle (2m)
Last-time-out winners HARBOUR LAKE and Lakota Warrior are potentially the ones to focus on, despite their penalties. The latter won easily over C&D last month for the Skeltons but that form has been knocked already and doesn't look strong.
Alan King's charge also scored over track and trip, in October, on what was his first trip to the racecourse. He did it very easily and the third home, Nigel Twiston-Davies' Stream Of Stars, has won both starts over hurdles since.
Harbour Lake even had time for a mistake at the final flight last time before pulling away readily and, with his hurdling only likely to improve, he is fancied to make it 2-2 for his Barbury Castle handler.
Selection: Harbour Lake
Next Best: Lakota Warrior
1.00 - William Hill Pick Your Places Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (2m3½f)
Erne River was a really easy winner of a novices' hurdle over the trip here in February for Nick Kent, making it 2-3 over timber when he scored that afternoon. He's been off since but he's a winning point-to-pointer and should make up into a useful sort over fences. Any market support for him on his seasonal/chasing bow would therefore be interesting.
Chinwag looked unlucky on his fencing bow at Newcastle (2m5f, heavy) in October as he got hampered late on, and he has duly turned that form around since at Ffos Las. He's a player for Neil Mulholland but PAY THE PIPER is the call.
He was a fine novice over hurdles last year and has already bagged wins here (1m7f) and at Newcastle (2m½f, good to soft) in five starts over fences. The other three races he contested were won by Minella Trump, Fiddlerontheroof and Bravemansgame - and he was competitive enough in all three to be suggesting he lost little in defeat.
He fended off a determined challenger last time when giving away lots of weight and, while again carrying the burden here, his class may turn things his way as he steps up in trip.
Selection: Pay The Piper
Next Best: Erne River
1.35 - William Hill Plus Bet Club Juvenile Hurdle (2m)
Lifetime Legend was above-average on the Flat and is an interesting recruit to this game for Neil King - he's certainly worth paying some attention to in the betting. The very same sentiments can be applied to Thunder Ahead, who has joined Alan King to commence his time over jumps.
Poetria has twice shaped well in bumpers and could play a part, while Shamrock Wine would have claims on October's Sedgefield second, but he wasn't near as good since at Catterick.
French import Piecederesistance was turned over at odds-on when only third at Sedgefield last month, he is capable of better but he'll need to step up as MONSIEUR POM POM was runner-up in a Juvenile Hurdle at Catterick 13 days ago for Adrian Keatley and could well go one better now.
He moved a long way clear of the third in that contest and with his jumping likely to be improving as he goes along, there's more to come now.
Selection: Monsieur Pom Pom
Next Best: Thunder Ahead
2.15 - William Hill Castleford Handicap Chase (1m7f)
Cornerstone Lad was second in a three-runner novices' handicap over C&D in November. He was rather disappointing since at Newcastle, however, and perhaps remains in the handicapper's clutches at this stage.
Nuts Well knows where the winning post is (8-22 over fences) and he ran well in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October when last out - a race he had won in 2020. He's got plenty of weight to concede but shouldn't be overlooked in haste.
Cheddleton has a bit to find with him on a line through Allmankind, but Jennie Candlish's charge has run two good races in defeat this season and, at six, is entitled to be getting stronger.
Eclair D'ainay was pulled up at Newbury last month and needs to rebound. FRANSHAM had Cornerstone Lad behind in second spot when scoring over C&D last month and Pam Sly's charge was probably value for more than the winning margin. That was an improved showing on just his second start over fences and a 3lb rise looks fair. This is asking more of him, for sure, but he may have the answers.
Next Best: Nuts Well
2.45 - Follow WillHillRacing On Twitter Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (3m)
The step up to this sort of trip in a first-time tongue-tie appeared to bring about improvement in High Grounds as he scored at Market Rasen back at the start of the month. He's likely to give another good account of himself but, now racing from a 13lb higher mark, this is going to be more demanding.
THUNDERSOCKSSUNDAE has made the frame in two starts since joining Fergal O'Brien, those runs coming over approximately 2m4f at Worcester and Southwell. He was essentially showing improved form in doing so and, while still a maiden, he should be able to pick up a small prize somewhere. He appears to lack a change of gear and perhaps is worth another crack at three miles having done better since moving to this yard. Peter Kavanagh takes 5lb off in the saddle to aid his cause.
Next Best: High Grounds
3.20 - William Hill Racing Radio Open NH Flat Race (2m)
An open bumper and one where the betting will be informative. SULLIVAN'S BROW won a point-to-point in Ireland in May at the second time of asking for the excellent Colin Bowe. He has since moved to Britain and is with Donald McCain. At six, he's late getting to the party on the racecourse proper but he could be good enough to win a race such as this one.
Phantom Getaway is another with an Irish point success on his CV and goes on the shortlist starting out for Kim Bailey, while Grey Dawning debuts for a Dan Skelton team that enjoyed a blistering start to the Christmas racing blitz on Boxing Day.
Selection: Sullivan's Brow