Cheltenham Saturday Preview - Day Two December Meeting 2022

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 12:05
Jamie Moore

Perseus Way

J: Jamie Moore
T: Gary Moore
Age: 3
Weight: 11-4
OR: 125
Days: 13

The first race of the afternoon at Cheltenham on Saturday is the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle and with plenty of double entries with Doncaster's Summit Juvenile Hurdle it looks a tricky punting event.

We are expecting the top two in the marker Nusret and Scriptwriter to turn up at Town Moor on Saturday so with that in mind we are siding with the Gary Moore trained Perseus Way.

Running a cracker on hurdles debut having been a decent horse on the flat for both Charlie Appleby and Owen Burrows, he looks to have a big chance on Saturday.

Sent straight into the Grade Two Triumph Hurdle Trial at the November meeting, the three year old gelding jumped poorly but travelled into the race really well to finish second behind the smart Scriptwriter.

If improving on his jumping next time out at Leicester he got off the mark over hurdles and if coming on again for that experience having form at the track could mean everything.

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 13:15
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 9
Weight: 11-8
OR: 147
Days: 36

A very tricky punting perspective comes in the Handicap Chase over 2m 1/2f where you could make a case for a few runners but the one we have come down on is the Paul Nicholls trained Dolos.

A horse that throughout his career has been seen racing off a mark in the 160s and over the last few seasons has ran credibly at times, but now sees himself in the high 140s and that could be workable.

Seen just the once this term having last had a credible run at Warwick, he started his winter campaign off at Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup when getting weight from multiple Grade One winner Greaneteen and finishing a seven length second to him looks solid form.

Dropped 1lb for that to a mark of 147 and with Harry Cobden choosing to ride the nine year old over stablemate Thyme White we think he could be the value.

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 13:50
Brendan Powell

War Lord

J: Brendan Powell
T: Joe Tizzard
Age: 7
Weight: 11-12
OR: 148
Days: 36

One of the big races of the afternoon at Cheltenham on Saturday is the December Gold Cup Handicap Chase and with 15 runners going to post we have played two runners at each way prices.

The first is the Joe Tizzard trained War Lord who looks to have been primed for this event since his run in the Haldon Gold Cup with a step up in trip imminent since that run.

War Lord pretty much improved with every start last season, winning his first two chasing events of the season at Newton Abbot and Carlisle and he then managed a good second to eventual Arkle winner Edwardstone in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, which represented a huge step up in class at the time.

He continued to run well in good company, winning at Lingfield in a decent Novices' Chase and he then was sent back into a Grade One at the Cheltenham festival when staying on superbly to grab fourth, again behind Edwardstone in the Arkle.

The gelding finished last season at Aintree in the Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase and again ran a cracker to grab second behind Millers Bank.

Sent into open company for the first time this season taking on Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup he looked to need the run, but did stay on eventually to grab third.

Dropping into a handicap off 148, always showing he has wanted another crack at this trip, he looks a cracking bet at 7/1.

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 13:50
Charlie Deutsch

Frero Banbou

J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 7
Weight: 11-5
OR: 141
Days: 21

Another in the race that is of some interest is the Venetia Williams trained Frero Banbou who is another who has been looking for a step up in trip and with the yard in flying form he can not be dismissed.

Having dropped to a lowly mark of 134 last season he got back to winning ways at Lingfield on heavy ground in good fashion.

Sent to Sandown after that he was bumped up to a mark of 140 and still ran a cracker to finish second to Dolos in a race he has made his own over the last few years.

Up 1lb to 141 he continued in good form to finish third of 16 in torrential conditions in the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham festival in March.

Excused for his last run of the season at Aintree with it maybe coming a bit too soon, he returned this year off a mark of 142 at Ascot when just losing out to the well Handicapped Thyme White for Paul Nicholls.

Sent back over the same course and distance off the same mark he was a good fourth to the progressive Boothill and So Scottish, yet again another stellar run.

Both of his this season have come on good ground showing he is versatile when it comes to conditions and at this stage of his career he does not look to have the pace to handle the two milers, but stepping up in trip and letting his jumping do the talking off 141 (the same mark as his third in the Grand Annual), he can't be overlooked at an each way price.

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 14:25
Aidan Coleman


J: Aidan Coleman
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 8
Weight: 11-1
OR: 154
Days: 14

The feature race of the afternoon at Prestbury Park is the Grade Two International Hurdle and although only five runners go to post it looks a very smart renewal.

Nicky Henderson sends two into the race but we can't get away from the superstar Epatante who is having her second run of the season only two weeks on from her second in the Fighting Fifth, but dropping back in Grade and having proven Grade One form makes her the bet at 6/4.

A top class animal during her career winning multiple Grade One events during her career including the Champion Hurdle, 2x Fighting Fifth Hurdles, 2x Christmas Hurdles and her latest victory in the Aintree Hurdle.

Back to her best last season when dead heating in the Fighting Fifth but then pulverising the field in the Christmas Hurdle, she was then primed for the Champion Hurdle and finished a superb second behind the Queen Honeysuckle.

Sent up in trip to 2m4f at Aintree, she revelled in the step up to land the Aintree Hurdle with any amount in hand and she then rounded off the season at Punchestown in the Grade One Mares Champion Hurdle, when maybe the runs caught up with her and she finished a narrow third to stablemate Marie's Rock.

Sent back to the Fighting Fifth looking for a third straight win in the race she would have landed the event if not for her freak stablemate Constitution Hill who beat her by 12 lengths.

Epatante herself pulled clear of the third Not So Sleepy and although it is a quick turn around this event is a drop in class and she should take advantage.

Knappers Hill the big danger but she is receiving 7lb off him.

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 15:00
Sam Twiston-Davies


J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Age: 5
Weight: 11-0
Days: 29

The penultimate event of the afternoon at Prestbury Park sees the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle last year won by the smart Blazing Khal and this year we are siding with the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Weveallbeencaught.

It looks a match race between the two at the top of the market but just having that more unexposed edge than Outlaw Peter we are going with the Twiston-Davies horse.

A winner of a PTP at Dromahane in December 2021 over three miles, he was then bought for £210,000 at the Cheltenham January sales and moved over to England.

Given his rules debut in a bumper over 2m 1/2 at Newbury in March this year he went on to beat the smart Collectors Item by half a length.

Saved for his hurdles career this term he made his seasonal debut at Cheltenham in November in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and looking to want much further the stayed on very impressively into third behind the very talented Hermes Allen.

His pedigree suggests he wants three miles and even further in the future, his run last time out suggests he wants to go up in trip and having won a PTP over three miles he should be much better off on Saturday at this trip.

Cheltenham - December 10 2022
Cheltenham 15:35
Nico de Boinville

Theatre Glory

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 5
Weight: 11-6
OR: 137
Days: 14

The final event of the afternoon at Cheltenham is the Mares' Handicap Hurdle over 2m 4 1/2f and Theatre Glory for Nicky Henderson looks a big contender.

A very consistent horse for the yard over the last 18 months, making her rules debut in May 20221 when landing a good bumper at Worcester.

Making her hurdles debut last season at Huntingdon she made it back to wins taking to hurdles really well and then went into Listed company at Newbury and finished a good third behind the talented Elle Este Belle and Mares Novices' Hurdle second Ahorsewithnoname.

Back to winning ways at Warwick when upped in trip to 2m3f under a penalty, she then went to Kelso in March on handicap debut and took the race well off 129.

Bringing up the hat-trick at Cheltenham in April over course and distance when bolting up in a Listed event she looked a very smart horse.

Seen just the once this term at Newbury in November when coming to challenge in the Gerry Feilden she unfortunately unseated her rider, but putting that behind her and dropping back into a handicap should see her back to form.

Most of her form has come on good ground and she should get that on Saturday.