Friday’s Racing Tips: All Eyes On Cheltenham5 min read
The first day of the Cheltenham December Meeting is today’s highlight but there are also good jumps cards at Doncaster and Bangor-On-Dee although the latter must pass a “precautionary” 8am inspection.
In Cheltenham’s Novice Chase I hope to see Duel At Dawn (12.45) follow up his recent Exeter win for Alex Hales’ who has his string in excellent form. Sizing Tennessee has failed to complete in his last two starts but has the best form in the book but I just think the selection can outstay his rivals up the hill over this near three-and-a-quarter mile trip.
In the 2m Handicap Hurdle Master Of Finance I see has changed stables since his last start. I think the 6-year-old is very well treated at present, but am looking forward to see him step up in trip on better ground in the spring.
My two against the field, however, are Sea Wall and Attest (1.20) with marginal preference for the latter who I thought ran a better race than his finishing position would suggest at Ascot on his return to hurdles. The handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds and the booking of Richard Johnson would suggest connections are expecting a bold show.
The Mares’ Handicap Chase is a cracker and I felt Theatre Territory (1.55) ran into one when behind Casablanca Mix at Huntingdon on her hurdles debut and I hope to see her go one better for owner Robert Waley-Cohen who is Chairman of the racecourse.
The selection is 7/2 joint favourite and she gets the narrow vote from Ms Parfois (7/2) who will appreciate the drop back from 3m and top-weight Song Saa (6/1) who has run two cracking races in defeat so far this term.
Wotzizname has been raised 5lbs for winning at Exeter last time and he looks a worthy favourite (9/4) for the three-and-a-quarter-mile chase but I am going to side with Mysteree (2.30) who has won first time out for the last three seasons and can take this for Michael Scudamore.
The selection was last seen finishing second in the Midlands National back in the spring and is another 5lbs higher in the weights but he is obviously best fresh and is 4/1.
Duel At Dawn
At Doncaster, Stowaway Magic (1.00) can go one better than when runner up on his chase debut for Nicky Henderson. The winner failed to complete at Newbury in his next start but it looked good novice chase form at the time and todays decent ground (forecast good) will suit.
Keep In Line (1.35) steps up in trip having finished third at Wetherby in a decent handicap hurdle at the minimum distance last time and the first and second have subsequently franked the form. The handicapper has left the selection on the same mark and this 2m 3f trip looks ideal.
Alvarado (2.10) becomes a teenager at the turn of the year but he ran a cracking race at Exeter on his reappearance and will appreciate today’s three-and-a-quarter-mile trip. Fergal O’Brien has had his string in fine form all season and he gets the vote with Brian Hughes in the plate.
Keep In Line
If racing gets the green light at Bangor Forest Des Aigles (1.10) cannot be opposed after running away with a valuable Carlisle contest twelve days ago. The 6-year-old step up to 3m for the first time this afternoon but I think he is potentially very good.
Forest Des Aigles
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