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WATCH: What A Shout: Al Agaila strong in Winter Oaks at Lingfield

The racing schedule may have been decimated this weekend, but the What A Shout team aren't put off and have been looking ahead to what remains in place.

There are Haydock and Lingfield tips with Dave Orton, Racing Post tipster Paul Kealy and bet365's very own Pat Cooney, while the panel take a look at four big races from next month's Dublin Racing Festival.

Harry Fry also joined What A Shout to give us the latest news on his stable stars and an update on his potential runners this weekend.

Watch the show on the link above, while you can read some of the best bits from What A Shout in association with bet365 below.

Honeysuckle needs a big performance against State Man 

The panel began with a look ahead to next month's Dublin Racing Festival, set for Leopardstown on 4th & 5th February. 

Paul Kealy admits that 4/11 Irish Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs is priced 'as if he's not just going to win, but absolutely slaughter the opposition' and suggests last year's winner Conflated at 8/1 could be a solid alternative given the favourite has raced only once outside novice company so far.

"I might have a few quid each-way on Conflated, that's how I'd play it," says Keals. "He (Galopin Des Champs) still has to prove it (at this level over three-miles)."

The What A Shout panel then moved on to day two of the DRF, with the Irish Champion Hurdle the feature on the Sunday, as 4/5 State Man looks to steal away the crown from 2/1 Honeysuckle – beaten for the first time in her career in the Hatton's Grace on her seasonal bow. 

"We have the 'big three'," says Pat Cooney. "State Man, Vauban and Honeysuckle.

"State Man has looked the part in fairness (this season). Honeysuckle – you hope she wins really, because they are saying she'll either run in the Champion Hurdle (at Cheltenham) or retire.

"If she got well beat by State Man and Vauban here, they will probably say 'that will do' for her.

"State Man looks the part, doesn't he? If anything is going to topple Constitution Hill, it's going to be him on merit. If all three run, this will be a very informative race."

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Fry still in Love with Mares' dream

This week's special guest on What A Shout was none other than trainer Harry Fry, busy managing his string amid the arctic conditions. 

Dave Orton started by questioning the trainer on the well-being of his star mare Love Envoi, a winner last spring at the Cheltenham Festival as a novice and now a 4/1 chance to land the Mares' Hurdle on 14th March following a brace of wins in her two runs this season.

"She's as hard as nails and just thrives on her racing," said the handler. "Last year she just kept surprising us every time we went to the racetrack. She answered every call.

"She went to Ireland at the end of a busy season and lost her unbeaten tag, but we had no complaints with that.

"We're delighted with what she has shown us this season, she looks progressive again. It's exciting to get to the business end of the season with the big targets." 

Dave pushed the trainer on rumours that Love Envoi might be aimed at the Champion Hurdle, but was batted off.

"The focus this season has always been the Mares' Hurdle. It's about winning in this game and we want to go where we have the best chance of winning. No exclusives today I'm afraid!"

Pembroke has Haydock form claims for Team Skelton

At Haydock on Saturday, one of their feature events is the Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle (1.30) – a trial for the Supreme at Cheltenham in March.

Dan and Harry Skelton enjoyed big-race success last Saturday and they have 6/4 Pembroke heading the market for the Haydock Grade 2, with Pat Cooney suggesting the time guru followers will be all over him following his recent efforts. 

In opposition is unbeaten 3/1 chance Chasing Fire for Olly Murphy as well as Toothless at 9/2 for Paul Nicholls and Evan Williams' 12/1 poke Doyen Star in a field of seven runners. 

"The times they've clocked in their wins justify Pembroke being as short as he is," said Pat Cooney. "I think he'll be hard to beat."

Paul Kealy admits the race is perhaps tougher to work out than the prices suggest.

"It's a horrible little race, with loads of wide-margin winners in it," he suggests. "We know Pembroke on what he's done has the best form. When horses win with the heads in their chests, we don't know how good they might be. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of those near the head of the market proved nowhere near as good as they looked last time."

Al Agaila goes for Oaks glory at Lingfield 

One card seemingly not worried about the weather this weekend is Saturday at Lingfield, where their Winter Million Festival begins a day late with action on the Polytrack before they intend on going jumping on Sunday – temperatures permitting.

The feature on Saturday is the Winter Oaks Fillies' Handicap (2.47) which features ultra-impressive last-time-out course and distance winner Al Agaila at 11/10 for the Simon & Ed Crisford team with James Doyle on board. 

William Haggas has 4/1 Morgan Fairy in opposition, while Charlie Fellowes saddles both 11/2 Purple Ribbon and 16/1 Tequilamockingbird. Eight runners allow for some each-way possibilities in the contest but Pat Cooney believes the favourite will be 'hard to beat' and Paul Kealy tended to agree.

"Al Agaila – you will wait a long time to find a horse winning a good handicap that easily," says Keals of her pre-Christmas demolition job when stepped up to the mile-and-a-quarter trip for the first time. She's gone up 11lb but could have plenty more to offer.

He added: "It was almost a canter. I think she deserves to be a short-price favourite for this." 

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