The weekend brings the return of top-class horseracing with a strong meeting at Cheltenham as well as supporting meetings at Bangor and Doncaster. There are a fair few runners from the alert list entered.
The Cheltenham meeting opens with a good novice chase over 3m1f which has been won on 4 of the the past 7 runnings by a horse from Paul Nicholls stable. He sends Vicente and that horse wont have an easy task giving weight away in this race.
I have been looking forward to the 3m2f Grade 3 handicap chase at 1:45pm all week and tho' it has cut-up somewhat, it still has a high quality field. The early fav is Sausalito Sunrise who won a competitive Grade 3 race here 4-weeks ago off OR148 and has been raised 6lb by the handicapper for that win. He may find life tough, as The Romford Pele (from my alert list) is weighted to reverse placings on that run with a 7lb pull for the 6-length deficit. He was staying-on strong off an easy ride and could find a lot of improvement on that run, and it is interesting that Paul Townend has been booked for the ride. Another from my alert list is Knock House who won for us at that meeting when ridden by Nina Carberry. He looks well-handicapped even after his re-rating to OR145 and I can see him topping 155 this season - but this trip will stretch him in my opinion and with plenty of strong stayers there will be no hiding place. He was coaxed to victory LTO under an exemplary ride over a 3m1f trip that may well have been his limit. I must admit, I wasn't impressed by the win of Vieux Lion Rouge LTO and his 7lb hike to OR146 will find him out, I fear. The Druids Nephew's OR156 rating looks very tough, as do the current ratings of Wonderful Charm and Forgotten Gold. At the odds, the 12/1 about THE ROMFORD PELE looks decent value as I'd have him at 7/1 based on the form of his latest run. Yes trainer Rebecca Curtis has only had 2 winners since the beginning of November from 30 runners, but THE ROMFORD PELE matched the best of his novice form LTO and he wasn't even being pushed for most of the race. We should see another top performance from Sausalito Sunrise, but he will likely need to improve over 7lb on his LTO performance to maintain the advantage over THE ROMFORD PELE.
LATE NEWS: Sausalito Sunrise and Forgotten Gold are non-runners, and that makes the 12/1 with BetVictor about THE ROMFORD PELE very generous; he's 10/1 generally which is still generous.
At Bangor there is nothing really suitable, and I'm never happy placing wagers when there is heavy ground. However, the 3-mile Class 3 handicap chase at 1:30pm has only 5-runners and I'd be happy to oppose the fav Hi Vic as he was beaten over 3m2f on his preferred soft ground last March when race fit. As such, the form of his LTO win at Uttoxeter when he beat 4 rivals a long way may be dubious. However, Kerry Lee seems to have found the key to Russe Blanc who was unfortunate to bump into a well handicapped rival LTO. The fly in the ointment is the Venetia Williams' runner Take The Mick who could improve a lot for his seasonal debut LTO as he did last season. The odds in this race are a bit too tight to play.
There is also nothing much to play at Doncaster. The 3m2f Class 3 handicap chase at 1:55pm is on my radar, but I'm not convinced that the credentials of most of the market leaders are worthy. This is a race that could well go to a long-odds outsider. Of the trainers, only James Ewart has any sort of record with his chasers at the course with 8 wins from 35 chase runners in the past 5 seasons, but his recent form is poor. Of the younger horses, I'm attracted to the 7yo Ballyben who won over 3m2f at Kelso in May, and who was (understandably, in hindsight) well beaten LTO when returning to that track over the same trip. He's been dropped 2lb to OR118 and could take some beating.
It is unfortunate that the novice chase at Doncaster is reduced to just 3-runners as I was very impressed with Katgary LTO and he could be worth a small wager to beat the chasing debutant Volnay De Thaix. The latter was a top hurdler but he wouldn't be the first to fail to transfer hurdling ability to chasing - nothing is guaranteed. I'm expecting both his rivals, who have proven ability to jump a fence, to put his jumping to test this afternoon by setting a strong pace.
Cheltenham 1:45pm THE ROMFORD PELE, £5 eachway AND £5 win @ 12/1 (BetVictor, fifth-odds a place 1,2,3)
Total Staked = £15
Those on the email list were advised to take the 16/1 with Ladbrokes on Thursday evening which is now subject to a 20p in the £ Rule 4 reduction on winnings; making equivalent odds 12.8/1
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Friday, 11 December 2015
Tostao, Revilino, Pele
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