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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Cup day at Cheltenham

We managed just a place from one or the two selections when Valhalla came 3rd at Cheltenham in the 3-mile hurdle. I thought he put in an improved performance on the better ground, but he just didn't stay well enough and it may be that he's best at trips around 2m6f. Unfortunately, my other selection Subtle Grey just wasn't good enough, and it may be that he needed the run so (for now) we will keep an eye on him.

The feature race of the day at Cheltenham went to that old warrior Theatre Guide, who had run 2nd in this race off OR147 back in 2013. This win was right up with his best efforts, but he is unlikely to find more improvement.  In 2nd, beaten just a nose, was long-time leader Perfect Candidate who repeated his effort of last April here when he won over C&D. Trainer Fergal O'Brien has found plenty of improvement in this horse in the past 18 months. 

We have a few from the alert list running on Saturday at Cheltenham, but none are running in the initial couple of races on the card which should both go to the market leaders in Defi Du Seuil and Different Gravey.  At 1:15pm we have an extended 2-mile Class 2 handicap chase in which Vaniteux is the market leader at 5/2.  Despite looking, I cannot find anything to oppose him at this trip and I am sure he will find more than 5lbs of improvement from his seasonal debut.  The opposition looks fairly poor apart from the unexposed Baltimore Rock, but he isn't really value at the odds available (he's 15/2). My only worry about Vaniteux is that his jumping can let him down, and he cannot afford to make an error in this race.

The main race is the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over 2m4f & 166 yards at 1:50pm.  The market leader is Bouvreuil and he looks well handicapped on OR146.  However, this looks a top-class renewal as Kylemore Lough looks even better handicapped on OR156, however, there is a doubt as to whether he will appreciate this "good" ground. The 6yo Aso is also very well handicapped on OR144 as he looks a 150+ horse and I'm sure he would have won LTO had he not thumped the 2nd last fence.  However, there is a doubt whether he will act on this ground as well. I cannot see Village Vic repeating his efforts of LTO as he's been raised 3lb. This looks a tough ask and the winner could well be a very decent horse.  Bouvreuil is guaranteed to handle the ground, but if either Kylemore Lough or Aso handle this ground then they should beat him - it is a very tough call.

For my wager of the day I'm looking to Doncaster and the 3-mile chase at 12:50pm. This Class 3 event has attracted a decent field but one horse stands out to me and that's KNOCK HOUSE who we were on when he won at Cheltenham last November off OR140.  He races off OR141 in this and he will love the "good " ground here.  A run similar to his win at Cheltenham or when he returned there for the Festival and ran 4th off OR144 should be good enough to take this race.  I reckon Sego Success is best on soft ground and Ziga Boy may need another run under his best to reach peak fitness, while the remainder of the field look in the grip of the handicapper. The odds of 11/2 (as advised to those on the email list on Friday evening) look to good to miss, as I reckon KNOCK HOUSE should be the 3/1 fav.

Doncaster 12:50 - KNOCK HOUSE, £10 win @ 11/2 (et365, BetVictor and Paddy Power) 
This wager was advised to those on the email list on Friday evening at 17:35pm

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