Latest news from today's meetings, including a classy card at Ascot
The first day of Ascot's two-day Christmas meeting takes centre stage on Friday, with a pair of Grade 2 contests, some competitive handicaps, a classy maiden hurdle and a Listed bumper to whet the festive appetite.
Just three go to post for the Grade 2 novice chase (2.30), including Finian's Oscar, a winner at the highest level over hurdles last season but on a recovery mission having failed to land a blow in Sandown's Henry VIII 13 days ago.
Finian's Oscar's stablemate Slate House bids to make it three wins from three runs for the Colin Tizzard team in the Grade 2 novice hurdle (1.55), but with five of the six-runner field winning last time, it will be no easy task.
Away from Ascot, Ayr and Uttoxeter also stage jumps racing, while Southwell, Dundalk and Wolverhampton add some ballast to the programme with all-weather meetings.
Southwell - first race 11.50
Ayr - 11.55
Heavy, soft in places (GoingStick: Chase 5.9, hurdle 5.7 as of Friday 7.15)
Uttoxeter - 12.00
Chase course: Heavy, soft in places; hurdle: Soft, heavy in places (GoingStick 6.7 and 7.0 respectively on Friday 7.15)
Ascot - 12.45
Soft (GoingStick 5.4 on Thursday 8.15)
Dundalk - 4.30
Wolverhampton - 5.45
Ayr 11.55 Cool Mix 11-8 (from 5-2)
Uttoxeter 12.00 Sunday Central 9-4 (from 15-2)
Southwell 1.35 Casterbridge 3-1 (from 4-1)
Southwell 2.10 Iniesta 9-2 (from 6-1)
Ascot 3.05 The Mighty Don 4-1 (from 6s)
Dundalk 5.30 Ishebayorgrey 10-1 (from 16s)
Wolverhampton 7.15 Doctor Sardonicus 4-1 (from 11-2)
What to back
Signpost Sweetspots have found some strong percentage strike-rates for leading combinations today.
The Tips Box is brimming with the best bets from around the training centres.
Tom Bull has a tip for Ascot today. Just click on the video below to find out where his money is going . . .
What to read
A small-scale trainer identified by Hughie Morrison's barrister as a "person of interest" at the Our Little Sister doping hearing on Thursday has strenuously denied having anything to do with the case.
Disko has been ruled out of the 32Red King George VI Chase with trainer Noel Meade preferring to let the Gigginstown House Stud-owned grey take his chance against stablemate Road To Respect in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase two days later.
There was in-running carnage at Towcester on Thursday, with Pauls Hill hitting 999-1 before a dramatic last-gasp victory for Paddy Brennan and Fergal O'Brien in the 2m5f novice hurdle.
What to watch
Get in the festive spirit with the football Postcast Christmas special. The panel assess the state of the Premier League at the halfway point of the season and preview every Premier League game this weekend. PLUS their best bets amongst the Boxing Day fixtures.
The best of Racing Post Sport
Dan Childs thinks home advantage could be key in Friday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool. Do not miss his big-match preview and betting advice.
It is a massive day for Hughie Morrison, who will today learn his fate in the long-running investigation that began when his filly Our Little Sister tested positive for the steroid nandrolone after finishing last at Wolverhampton on January 14.
Morrison theoretically faces disqualification of up to ten years, but his QC Graeme McPherson argued earlier this week during a two-day hearing in London that he should avoid all punishment, claiming his client had been a victim of malicious intervention.
Avoiding punishment altogether would require the panel to once again reinterpret the rule under which Philip Hobbs escaped punishment for a positive test last month, a result which would be painful for the BHA and undermine the sport's strict anti-doping rules.
A pivotal day for Morrison, no doubt, but a pivotal day for the regulator and sport also. The result will be revealed at noon.