Horse racing: Be well on the Alert for Mongoose at Lingfield

New Year's Eve beckons and reminds me of last year's disaster day at Warwick races when heavy losses were only recouped with a brave bet on Radium on New Year's Day at Cheltenham.

With a plane to Tenerife to catch, there'll be no such antics this year but wherever you are, a bet on Mongoose Alert at Lingfield looks something of a must (1pm).

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Warwick and Uttoxter bring the National Hunt curtain down on 2010 tomorrow but those cards are hard to fathom without the final declarations.

However, there's nothing hard about picking Mongoose Alert at Lingfield who similarly should not be troubled to pick up this five-runner seller.

The improving eight-year-old has now won two from four on the flat and routed a decent field at Wolverhampton last month, winning comfortably from the smart Cosimo de Medici with a host of useful all-weather performers in behind.

That race was considerably stronger than tomorrow's seller and on the ratings Mongoose Alert has 12 pounds in hand of main rivals Mustajed and Talentini, even without the prospect of more improvement to come.

Bar any major mishaps, he looks something of a shoe-in and if he is anywhere near 1-2 he would look an odds-on bet of value as sometimes there genuinely are some – like when England were incredibly as big as 1-6 to finish off the Aussies the other day when the home side went out to bat.

It will be a big surprise if the Mongoose is beaten and the same can be said of Cloud Illusions in Lingfield's opener (noon).

Anyone who backed this horse last time will be on a major retrieval mission as Cloud Illusions really should have beaten hot favourite Bassett Road.

Bassett Road was backed as if defeat was unthinkable that day but defeat looked ominous as Cloud Illusions cruised alongside, only for jockey Eddie Ahern to seemingly get his whip out too late as the favourite obliged by a quarter of a length.

It looked a strange ride and perhaps Cloud Illusions is not straightforward but she seemed to run on fine once given a crack and the natural ability is clearly there.

Tomorrow's race does not look strong and it looks significant that Ahern again takes the ride, presumably to make amends.

Les Verguettes looks a big danger as he was only just chinned by the promising Corsican Boy last time but the feeling is that Cloudy Illusions should have won last time and should get it right tomorrow.

Hopefully our selections can land a nice little double with Sarah's Art appealing as perhaps the best of the rest in the handicap at 1.30pm.

This one is undeniably well-handicapped being several pounds below previous winning marks and the seven-year-old suggested his turn was again near when finishing like a steam train over six furlongs last time.

Going up a furlong tomorrow should suit ideally and he can hopefully beat off the likes of Caprio and Chilli Green at rewarding odds.

Hopefully a few winners can set us up nicely for the new year and anyone heading to Warwick tomorrow should be reminded that Tony McCoy was on fire in the corresponding card last year – his only booked mount at the time of writing being Rock Noir (1.50pm).

McCoy clearly likes the place – landing a treble on the corresponding card last year – and as all three denied bets of mine into second, don't I just know it!

Best of luck whatever you back and have a great night on New Year's Eve.

Lee Selby.

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