January 2 Racing Tips and Odds: King Of Stars to shine at Newcastle

Our Planet Sport tipsters left their New Year’s Day parties early, opened up Sunday’s race cards and put together a list of five top tips from Plumpton, Newcastle and Ayr.

If you're looking to mark the first Sunday of 2022 in style, you've come to the right place.

Here are five selections ahead of today's horse racing action. Click on the horse's name to have a punt with Planet Sport Bet.

Annual Invictus (12.38 Plumpton)

King Of Stars (1.30 Newcastle)

United Front (2.05 Newcastle)

Salty Boy (2.20 Plumpton)

Storm Nelson (2.30 Ayr)

1.30 Newcastle - King Of Stars

King Of Stars has been mentioned as a possible contender for the Dubai Carnival and he can warm up for that trip with victory in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Newcastle.

Mick Appleby's charge was a relentless improver in 2021, winning off a mark of 75 at Southwell in January before cutting a swathe through the handicap ranks to end the year on a perch of 104.

The grey also won at Bath in April and Pontefract at the beginning of September, before signing off for the campaign with an impressive verdict at Yarmouth later that month.

Testing conditions at Ascot scuppered a planned try at Listed level at the beginning of October so King Of Stars returns from a lengthy lay off here. But even so he looks a runner still on the upgrade and can find the necessary extra to see off Good Effort, who is favoured at the weights.

2.05 Newcastle - United Front

Appleby can double up with United Front in the MansionBet Proud Partners Of AWC Conditions Stakes.

Another who has rattled up the rankings, this time last year he was rated just 88 but he is now running off 106.

That matters not in this contest, however, as it is a level stakes race being a fast-track qualifier for Finals Day.

United Front has upwards of 4lb in hand of his nearest rival, Bless Him, who appears to be on the downgrade now in any case.

The others all have plenty to find, even The Last Lion - a Group One winner in his prime but has been some way below that level in two runs since his return to action, albeit there was some promise in his second start back.

United Front has a course and distance win to his credit and really should be winning this.

2.20 Plumpton - Salty Boy

Salty Boy can land the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National at Plumpton for David Bridgwater.

Down in grade slightly having run respectably at Sandown last time out, he is a dour stayer.

He had won the Southern National at Fontwell on good ground and had earlier shown he is just as effective on soft when third in last season's Tommy Whittle and Eider Chases.

On his most recent outing he was just over 10 lengths behind Highland Hunter in the London National, when he was doing all his best work up the Sandown hill.

Highland Hunter franked the form when second in the Welsh National over Christmas so Salty Boy has a lot in his favour.

12.38 Plumpton - Annual Invictus

Annual Invictus can get back on the winning track in the Follow @attheraces On Twitter Novices' Chase.

Chris Gordon's charge was good enough to finish fourth in last season's Betfair Hurdle and certainly appears to have transferred a fair chunk of that ability to the bigger obstacles, finishing second on his initial try before adding two comfortable wins to his tally at Cheltenham and Plumpton.

Annual Invictus was then well fancied for his debut in open company at Aintree in early December, but an early mistake appeared to throw him off his game and he was eventually pulled up in what were pretty desperate conditions on Merseyside.

Gordon felt Annual Invictus merited a Grade Two entry at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and while he ultimately sided against that option, this looks a fine opportunity.

2.30 Ayr - Storm Nelson

Storm Nelson won all three of his races last year for Sandy Thomson and can be excused his first run of the current campaign.

He is one of two runners for the yard in the Golf Inn Prestwick Handicap Hurdle at Ayr and has assistant trainer Ryan Mania is in the saddle.

Storm Nelson was probably racing over a trip short of his best Aintree, another who may have been bogged down that day in early December on Merseyside, and he can return to winning ways closer to home.

READ MORE: Al Boum Photo powers to victory in the New Year’s Day Chase

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