Cheltenham Saturday Preview - 11/12/21

Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 12:05
8
Niall Houlihan

Yorksea

J:
 
Niall Houlihan
T:
 
Gary Moore
Age: 3
Weight: 10-12
OR: N/A
Days: 28

The first race of the day on Saturday at Cheltenham is thre JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle and the horse we are siding with is the Gary Moore trained Yorksea.

The exciting son of Sea The Stars is a french recruit for the yard this season having been running over staying distance on the flat.

At the Cheltenham November meeting he stepped up for his hurdles/British debut and the penny started to drop late on when finishing well to grab third behind the smart Knight Salute.

He also managed to pip Magistrato to grab a place who is a nice horse and he will be sure to improve for that run.

Handles Cheltenham.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
11/12/21CHL17GS10-122
13/11/21CHL16.5Gd10-123
16/06/21SAI15GS9-55
28/05/21AGR10.5Gd9-11
06/04/21SAI10Gd8-711
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 12:40
3
Harry Skelton

My Drogo

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 6
Weight: 11-2
OR: 155
Days: 29

Next up is the 2m4 1/2f Novice Chase where only four runners head to post and we are giving another chance to My Drogo, who should be a class above this field.

My Drogo came into this year as one of the most exciting novice chasers to follow having landed all four of his hurdle starts last term, including signing off the season with a victory in the Grade One Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

Looking to make it 5/5 over obstacles, he went into a match race with Gin On Lime for Henry De Bromhead and in one of the most dramatic races of the season, he took a tumble at the second last and was out of the race.

He was sure to win that day and if brushing up his jumping should have far too much for this field.

Potential superstar.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/11/21CHL20Gd11-2F
10/04/21AIN20GS11-41
06/03/21KEL18GS11-71
18/12/20ASC15.5Sft11-01
27/11/20NBY16.5Gd11-01
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 13:15
7
Charlie Deutsch

Frero Banbou

J:
 
Charlie Deutsch
T:
 
Venetia Williams
Age: 6
Weight: 10-8
OR: 134
Days: 14

Another nice event on the card for punters to get stuck into is the Class 2 Handicap Chase over two miles and at the prices Frero Banbou for Venetia Williams is our selection.

The six year old gelding has been a very consistent horse for the most part of his career, winning twice in France before coming over to England and since then has been in and around the frame on most his starts.

Last season he put up two nice thirds at Exeter and Haydock, before then going to Sandown and got off the mark by nine lengths.

Frero Banbou signed off last season putting up a career best when finishing a good fourth of 18 runners in a value handicap at the Grand National meeting off a mark of 137.

Back this season he started the term off at Ascot in a Listed Handicap Chase and was a solid fourth of 10, slightly needing the run.

He used that run to go one better at Newbury last time behind a nice type in Il Ridoto for Paul Nicholls and off a mark of 134, he looks to be a big each way player with the yard in form of late.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/04/22AIN16GS11-19
16/03/22CHL16Hy10-113
05/02/22SAN15.5GS11-52
21/01/22LIN16Hy11-51
11/12/21CHL16.5GS10-83
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 13:50
7
Aidan Coleman

Dostal Phil

J:
 
Aidan Coleman
T:
 
Philip Hobbs
Age: 8
Weight: 10-12
OR: 143
Days: 28

One of the big races of the day at Prestbury Park is the Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap Chase over 2m 4 1/2f and with 15 runners heading to post we have two each way punts at the race.

The first is the Philip Hobbs trained Dostal Phil who finished last season in some decent form and returning this term was a big eye-catcher in the Paddy Power Gold Cup over course and distance.

Finishing a good second behind a nice type in Grey Diamond and then a better third of 18 in a tougher race at Aintree after that, Dostal Phil showed superb chasing ability in handicaps.

Although unseating his rider when fancied at Punchestown on his final run last term, he put things right on seasonal debut at Cheltenham when a staying on fourth in the competitive event.

Racing off only 1lb higher for this event and having the fitness edge from his seasonal debut, he looks a huge player at a nice price.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/11/21CHL20Gd11-04
30/04/21PUN21Y10-7UR
08/04/21AIN16GS11-23
12/03/21SAN15.5Gd10-132
06/02/21SAN15.5Hy11-83
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 13:50
2
Ryan Mania

Midnight Shadow

J:
 
Ryan Mania
T:
 
Sue Smith
Age: 8
Weight: 11-9
OR: 154
Days: 28

Our other nice priced selection is the winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup Midnight Shadow for Sue Smith who could still be well handicapped off 7lb higher.

The eight year old has been a superstar for the yard over the years landing the Grade Two Dipper Novices' Chase and also finishing second in this race last year.

However, his defining moment came this term, having had a good prep run when third in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, he then went into the Paddy Power Gold Cup off a mark of 147 and went on to win well.

He went clear jumping the last but stumbled slightly which allowed Protektorat to close late one and he has since franked the form in the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase.

Up 7lb to 154 might not be enough to stop him and having showed he handles the track well, he has a lot of positives.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
29/01/22DON24Gd11-12PU
11/12/21CHL20.5GS11-93
13/11/21CHL20Gd11-51
24/10/21AIN20Gd10-103
17/02/21WET19.5Sft11-12PU
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 14:25
1
Donal McInerney

Blazing Khal

J:
 
Donal McInerney
T:
 
C Byrnes
Age: 5
Weight: 11-3
OR: 145
Days: 29

The first Grade Two event of the afternoon at Cheltenham is the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle over three miles and we can't look past the last time out winner Blazing Khal.

The five year old for Charles Byrnes is chasing a four times having won twice this season and landing a bumper last term.

Showing ability in bumpers, he finally got off the mark at Limerick when seeing off nice types for Henry De Bromhead and Emmet Mullins.

Saved for hurdles this term he made his seasonal debut at Galway where he went on to beat a nice gelding in Gringo D'aubrelle, who has since franked the form.

Blazing Khal also gave the form a boost next time out at Cheltenham over 2m5f when landing the Grade Two Ballymore Novice Hurdle, with the best of his work coming at the end of the race.

This makes us think the step up in trip will suit him perfectly and although giving weight away to market rival Gelino Bello, the way he swept him aside last time out gives us confidence he will do so again.

Bet of the day.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
11/12/21CHL24GS11-31
12/11/21CHL21Gd11-01
05/10/21GAL19Sft12-01
30/12/20LIM16Hy11-61
11/12/20PUN16.5Hy11-44
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 15:00
2
Aidan Coleman

Song For Someone

J:
 
Aidan Coleman
T:
 
Tom Symonds
Age: 6
Weight: 11-6
OR: 155
Days: 21

The feature race of the afternoon at jumps racing HQ is the Grade Two International Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and last year's winner Song For Someone is our pick to defend his title.

The French flat recruit managed to win twice over hurdles as a juvenile before finishing sixth in the 4-Y-O hurdle here won by Pentland Hills. 

In his first season in open company he was first tested in handicaps. Winning a low grade event easily, he then went on to place in a listed event and a Grade Three. 

A mark in the 150’s started to look too stiff for handicaps and he transitioned into graded conditions company. Grossly outpaced in the Kingwell Hurdle two out, his massive engine kicked in and he rallied from the last flight to snatch victory at the line. 

The really likeable performance saw him put away. Returning to the track last season for the three runner Ascot Hurdle, he was the outsider but won almost unchallenged when making all from the front. 

Dropped in trip for his next run in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December, another very likely performance saw him deny Silver Streak by a nose. Conceding a penalty for Grade Two successes, he showed his tenacity to hold on in a tight finish. 

He was next seen in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, a change in tactics didn’t play to his strengths. Held up at the back of the field didn’t make use of his stamina and he failed to get anywhere near Goshen.

He rounded off last term being pulled up in the Aintree Hurdle with nothing going right for the horse on the day.

Back for another season he made his seasonal return when a good second behind Buzz in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot and following the same path to his win in this last year, he should be fully tuned for another big run.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/03/22CHL24Sft11-109
05/02/22SAN16GS11-114
11/12/21CHL17GS11-62
20/11/21ASC19.5Gd11-62
08/04/21AIN20GS11-7PU
Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
3
Harry Cobden

Her Indoors

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Alan King
Age: 4
Weight: 11-0
OR: 133
Days: 42

The final event of the afternoon is the Mares Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f and the value lies with Her Indoors for the McNeill family and Alan King.

The four year old filly was a decent flat horse last year and in the new year was sent over hurdles by the master dual trainer and has shown some smart ability.

She made her debut in December at Aintree in a Listed Juvenile Hurdle and finished a good second behind Talking About You.

The daughter of Raven's Pass then went to Kempton over two miles and was another good second behind Heross Du Seuil for Nicky Henderson

She finally got off the mark at the third time of asking at Doncaster in a Listed Juvenile Hurdle, reversing the form with Talking About You.

The filly was pitched in the Boodles at the festival off the back of that and was slightly outclassed by a few of them finishing mid-field.

Back at Cheltenham she then bolted up in a Grade Three Handicap Hurdle seeing off a nice Irish raider by close to four lengths.

Not seen again until this season in October she was third on seasonal debut back on the flat at Nottingham and then last time out on her first hurdles run of the term, she could only manage fifth in a good Listed Mares Hurdle at Wetherby.

Back at a track she handles well she has obvious claims and the form of her latest fifth has been massively strengthened with the second and fourth since winning better events.

Value angle.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/02/22WET19.5Sft11-04
11/12/21CHL20.5GS11-05
30/10/21WET16GS10-135
06/10/21NOT14Sft9-93
15/04/21CHL17Gd11-61

James Mackie

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