16th December 2017 – Selections
A busy weekend to get your teeth into as the national hunt season is fully in flow. All roads lead to Cheltenham and this weekend is no exception so what better place to start. Disregarding the first which should be a complete walker, this competition is extremely strong and we find picking a winner incredibly difficult.
12.10 Cheltenham JCB Triumph Juvenile Hurdle
There should be no doubt in punters’ minds that APPLE’S SHAKIRA should romp home here but will go off an extremely short price. Advice is too look for a “to win by X lengths” market. Nube Negra and Knight Destroyer have both started their careers well but look nothing like the sort of horse that Apple’s Shakira can go on to be. Tamayef continues to be unconvincing.
13.20 Cheltenham Junior Jumpers Handicap Chase
Sire De Grugy will attract money due to form of years gone by but he just doesn’t look the same horse anymore. Kerry Lee enters two into this race with old boy Grey Gold likely to find this too hot. Harry Skelton takes the mount of GINO TRAIL with usual rider Jamie Moore otherwise engaged on Sire De Grugy and I fancy him to get the best out of him, despite all of Harry’s 100 wins this season coming for Dan Skelton trained horses. Bun Doran cannot be ignored with a low weight and Ciaran Gethings claimer but the class of both horse and jockey can see Gino Trail home at 10/3. Knockgraffen is always an interesting ride and champion jockey Richard Johnson is booked.
13.55 Cheltenham Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase
An early Christmas gift for racing fans with a field this strong and virtually impossible to pick the winner. Paul Nicholls sends three for this race but Le Prezien keeps getting beat so I cannot side with him. Clan Des Obeaux is of obvious interest just looking at the form column and Harry Cobden has done a fine job deputising for the injured Sam Twiston-Davies but Romain De Senam would be my pick of the Nicholls horses at a big price of 10/1. Foxtail Hill disappointed last time out, suggesting this company will prove too much. He was beat last time out by SPLASH OF GINGE who loves it around Cheltenham and I find 8/1 irresistible. Starchitect and King’s Odyssey always demand respect.
15.05 Cheltenham Unibet International Hurdle
You could be forgiven that this is a best of the rest hurdle event after the recent runaway victories of Faugheen and Buveur D’air but this looks another tough race to untangle. Last time out, MELON beat the classy Coquin Mans with some in hand and is a horse talked about for a long time. Sam Twiston-Davies opts to return from injury on The New One – a horse he has enjoyed so much success on over the years. The New One looked like he needed the weight claimed by Zac Baker when last seen winning and could only manage fourth last time out. It will be surprising if My Tent Or Yours isn’t in the frame as he continues to shine. Old Guard won in spectacular fashion under Bryony Frost last time out but can offer tremendous value without her today at 10/1. Dell A’rca just isn’t in this league.
13.40 Doncaster bet365 Handicap Hurdle
It wouldn’t be a Saturday in 2017 unless Bryony Frost got a mention and she can make headlines again on AMOUR DE NUIT. Currently, at 5/1, this looks an each way steal. He should have won last time out but for an error at the last and can right that wrong today. Percy Street will attract punters at a reasonably long price but hasn’t performed for a while. Flying Tiger brings better form than the numbers suggest and Irish Roe beat William Of Orange last time out. Star Foot’s three 1s in the form column cannot be completely ignored.
14.10 Doncaster bet365 December Novice’s Chase
Bryony Frost would take this race on BRAQUER D’OR if able to claim her usual allowance but the horse’s performance last time out suggests the rich vein of form will continue. Rival, Keeper Hill, is no slouch but was well beaten last time out. Rocklander is an interesting prospect for this race but doesn’t do his winning over this far a distance. However, up three furlongs from his last win doesn’t look too much an ask. Ballycrystal is rated considerably lower and the race should reflect that.