WITH hoof marks still fresh in the ground at Prestbury Park after a hugely enjoyable Cheltenham Festival, it's a little hard to think about flat racing, especially with Aintree and Punchestown still to come. But the Winter Derby (3.05) Lingfield is the first Group race of the British season and it's a signal that we must, as my sat nav would say, recalibrate. The flat season proper kicks off with the Lincoln at Doncaster in just a couple of weeks so the Winter Derby acts as a warm up act as we try to take our mind off hurdles and fences. Regular readers will have had to put up with me moaning about how I lost a fortune backing Jeremy Noseda's Grandeur in the trial for this last month, although I also said I'd consider backing him again. But having checked the betting, I've decided to oppose him this afternoon as I was looking for something a bit bigger than 5/1. Of course if he goes on to win, I'll be left pulling my hair out in frustrating - but when I priced up this race when the declarations came out, I had him down as a 7/1. In the long term, I have to trust that such underpriced bets are best avoided. The one that beat him in the Derby Trial was Grendisar, and Marco Botti's five-year-old gets the nod to complete the double today priced in the region of 4/1. Botti has said that he came out of his last race in great form and he comes here with every chance - although it must be said that he's a quirky sort and he usually idles mid-race. What he really needs is a strong gallop and a somewhat aggressive ride so I hope to see jockey Martin Harley stay up with the pace and give him a shake as soon as he starts to relax. That Winter Derby trial was his third Listed win in the space of a year and he hasn't finished outside the top two in nine races and his record on the all-weather is certainly impressive. All considered, 4/1 is a fair price. Along with Grandeur, Tryster has a good chance of troubling the selection. Charlie Appleby's gelding has beaten some useful sorts to complete a hat-trick of wins in all-weather handicaps and the assessor always seems to be one step behind. He's progressive, that's for sure, although this will be the biggest test he's faced in some time.
Wayne's book Sports Trading on Betfair is out now: