Horse Racing: Ambrogina a top bet for Botti

AS the weather continues to decimate the programme, at least we can be pretty confident that Southwell should beat the elements where Ambrogina looks a decent bet.

Some trainers purposefully keep a select team of horses back for this time of year and Marco Botti appears to have done just that – and three winners from his last four runners suggest they are in rude health.

The Italian had plenty of options for Ambrogina over the coming days yet decided on the Bet In Running – Betdaq Maiden Fillies' Stakes and it looks a wise call.

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While she may have a few pounds to find with some on official ratings, she has been progressing with each run and although certainly no world beater, she can prove better than her current rating of 61. She looked all over the winner last time out here before not finding as much off the bridle as seemed likely, so dropping back to six furlongs from a mile looks a good call.

The opening contest looks a penalty kick on paper for David Nicholls' Machinist.

Only five runners will go to post for the Bet Carling Cup – Betdaq Claiming Stakes, yet on ratings the veteran sprinter has plenty in hand.

He has not run since May but that was a win at Thirsk in a handicap off a mark of 90 and he is now rated 93. That is not too far off a career-high which at the age of 10 is some achievement and despite giving nearly a stone away all round, he should still have enough up his sleeve to notch up a ninth career victory.

Another sprinter getting on in years is Obe Gold, now in the care of Paul Howling, but he also is in great heart.

A string of consistent efforts were rewarded with a victory in a Lingfield seller.

He remains at that level in the Betdaq.co.uk Selling Stakes and J-P Guillambert has struck up a fantastic partnership with him.

Being pulled up over fences is hardly the perfect preparation for a run on the level but Mick Easterby's Bright Sparky still makes some appeal in the Play Golf At Southwell Golf Club Handicap.

The seven-year-old has won on the all-weather, over hurdles and fences and his last run on the Flat was a decent effort.

His last performance can be excused as it came on soft ground, a surface which has never really suited him and Bright Sparky's last win on the level came after a run over fences.