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We have been off for what seems like eternity but in reality, it’s been a couple of weeks due to frozen ground & while there is a precautionary inspection, we fully expect Cheltenham to go ahead.
It seems that everyone, except Great British Racing & the BHA don’t know why attendance’s at racing are falling & that spending a shed load of money on Everyone’s Turf campaign, didn’t work!
Would have nothing to do with the celebrity’s they paid to do the advert, instead of using regular racegoers? Nothing to with the Dress Code for certain course’s or Meetings? Over priced poor quality food, expensive beverages or the admission prices? OR possibly, that there is far too much racing in the UK that is sub standard, compared to Ireland or France?
But the BHA & Great British Racing are oblivious to these points of view & WASTE, yes, waste money on an ad campaign that yielded ZERO results! You have to despair at times….
( Editor’s View)
Anyway, back to the racing & we are pleased to have Chris back, alongside Jamie, Neil & Rich….
11.40 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
Scriptwriter has won both starts over the smaller obstacles, including the previous Triumph Trial run here in November on the old course, the form of which looks useful. He proved his wellbeing with a gutsy win over 12f on the flat at Wolverhampton since. Facing deeper waters here, connections will hope the son of Churchill takes another step on the ladder. He holds strong claims today should he handle conditions and could be bang there up the hill.
3.35 Ballymore Novices Hurdle
A fascinating race on paper, I’m siding with Pembroke to land this Grade 2 Trial. A wide margin winner over 2m at Ludlow before Christmas, trainer Dan Skelton hinted that there would be more to come with a step-up in trip. Soft ground conditions will suit, as will the likely strong pace on offer today. In what doesn’t look the strongest renewal today, he wouldn’t have much improvement to find to land the spoils.
2:25 – Cotswold Chase (G2)
Selection: Noble Yeats
A fascinating head to head as the reigning Grand National & Betfair Chase winners meet at Prestbury Park. If Noble Yeats has improved since his last race and continues on this upward trajectory then I think he may prove too strong for Protektorat. Since his famous victory in the Grand National Noble Yeats has won both his two races so far this campaign, including a strong staying performance in the Many Clouds at Aintree last time out, where he had two of today’s rivals behind him. The further this horse goes the better, so he will relish tackling the famous hill. If Noble Yeats is in touch turning for home there will be few horses staying on better. He is only rated 3lbs below Protektorat…
3:15 – Great Yorkshire Chase (Premier Handicap)
Selection: Java Point
A slightly smaller field than usual for this big pot over 2m 7f 214yds as 12 runners head to post. I’m on the lookout for each way value and I think Java Point has every chance of hitting the frame today at double figure odds (at the time of writing). My selection has been improved a lot over the past 12 months and has put together two rock solid performances so far this season. The first came at Newbury when third behind Zanza, he never had a chance with the winner but it was a pleasing reappearance. Last time out Java Point ran arguably a career best when second in a competitive class 2 heat at Cheltenham over today’s trip. Racing off 10-11 I think he can still improve and back on better ground today Java Point has solid claims of being in the mix in the final stages of this contest.
*Each way advised*
1.50 Cheltenham, Handicap Chase, 2m4f 127yds
A typical Cheltenham handicap where you can expect a solid pace from start to finish.
One horse who catches the eye here is Silver Hallmark from the Fergal O’Brien yard.
This 9yo is very lightly raced having had just ten career starts but seems to be coming to hand, he was third at Chepstow over 2m3f and represents a good eachway shout as he should be primed for putting in a solid round of jumping.
He’s a Grade 2 winner back in his novice days and while he hasn’t tasted success since this extra couple of furlongs will certainly be a step up in the right direction.
3.00 Cheltenham, Cleeve Hurdle, 3m, G2.
All eyes will be on the old warrior Paisley Park who has been one of the most popular horses in training over the years but at the short price that he currently is I’m going to oppose him with the younger legs of the Paul Nicholls trained Gelino Bello.
It resembles shades of Big Buck’s here, three starts over fences have yielded two wins but both have involved beating only one other horse in both of them, he didn’t seem to be enjoying himself at Kempton in the Feltham but the form so far looks steady with Galia Des Liteaux who pulled up in that race came out a fortnight ago winning the Hampton Novice Chase at Warwick.
Going back over timber might be a good idea here, he won the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at the Grand National Meeting last season and could be aimed at the Stayers’ Hurdle should he go well this afternoon, he’s a horse I’ve always liked and still remains full of untapped potential.
3.15 Doncaster, Great Yorkshire Chase, 3m
Only twelve declared which for a race like this is quite a surprise as it’s usually bigger but it looks a competitive affair with some old favourites and improving sorts in the fields.
Jockey bookings can often prove to be significant in races of this nature and with that in mind I’m going for what has been a recent trend and go for a horse whose in double digits and the 11yo Cloth Cap.
Surprisingly neither trainer Jonjo O’Neill or jockey Brian Hughes have ever won this race and today could be the day both shed their maiden tag in this proper hardknocking northern handicap.
He’s slowly tumbling down the weights and ran a nice race last month over the big Grand National fences in the Becher Chase when 6th about 13 lenghts behind winner Ashtown Lad.
That was a fare run and he has course experience going around the Town Moor and if he can get into a nice rythmn then i expect him to go well.
Lingfield – AW – Standard
2.18 – Handicap – Class 4 – 4yo+ – 6f…
Tyger Bay – Cable Bay X Ribbon Roya;e 6yo gelding.
8 runs since his last break from racing ( August to October – 52 days) with 2 wins & 4 places from his 8 starts. C&D is key around Lingfield & with 3 C&D wins to his name & dropping from Class 2, where he finished a 1 & 3/4 length 3rd to Annaf on January 14th in a 6f Handicap & runs in a 6f Class 4 Handicap today from a record high mark. – WIN
Doncaster – Good
3.15 – Handicap Chase – Class 1 – Premier Handicap – 5yo+ – 2m 7f 218yds…
Java Point – Stowaway X Classic Sun 8yo gelding.
2 places from his 2 starts since November 2022, having landed 3 wins & 2 places from his 6 starts last term. He ran 3rd to Zanza on season return in a Newbury 2m 6f Class 2 Handicap Chase in November before finishing 3rd, to Rapper by 8 & 1/2 lengths over 3m 2f in a Cheltenham Class 2 Handicap on January 1st – Each Way
That’s everything today, a wee heads up though – The BIG Interview will return VERY SOON!
Thanks for popping by, we really appreciate it.
Good Luck – The AOLR Team