ITV Saturday Cheltenham And Doncaster Preview

Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 13:50
Aidan Coleman

Dostal Phil

Aidan Coleman
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.

Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 13:50
Ryan Mania

Midnight Shadow

Ryan Mania
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.

Doncaster - December 11 2021
Doncaster 14:05
Paul O'Brien

Takeit Easy

Paul O'Brien
Pam Sly
Age: 6
Weight: 10-13
OR: 134
Days: 32

The first event of the afternoon on ITV from Doncaster is the Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over two miles and the Pam Sly trained Takeit Easy takes the eye.

The six year old gelding is a largely progressive horse that is also very consistent with three wins and two seconds in his last five events.

Having won at Ludlow in March, he then returned over the same course and distance in May and made it back to back successes.

Sent to Stratford in June the gelding could only manage second on his hat-trick bid, but made up for it next time out when getting back to winning ways at Wetherby in October.

Looking to keep his form going at Huntigdon last time out he was a fair second behind Onemorefortheroad, who has since gone on to frank the form in a big way when winning a valuable Listed event at Newbury.

Big player on form and still on a nice mark.

Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 14:25
Donal McInerney

Blazing Khal

Donal McInerney
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.

Doncaster - December 11 2021
Doncaster 14:40
Jamie Moore


Jamie Moore
Gary Moore
Age: 3
Weight: 11-3
OR: 130
Days: 43

Our only other selection from Doncaster comes in the highlight event of the day with the Grade Two Summit Juvenile Hurdle throwing out some lovely young horses.

The one we are siding with is the Gary Moore trained Porticello who looks to have the world at his hooves, racing twice to date and winning both impressively.

The three year old son of Sholokov was bought over to Gary Moore from France in the summer having won his only start at Auteuil, beating market rival Magistrato.

Making his British debut last time out, the gelding was pitched straight into Listed company and went on to win the event by close to four lengths.

Stepping up in class again he needs to improve, but from his sole British outing he looks a force to be reckoned with.

Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 15:00
Aidan Coleman

Song For Someone

Aidan Coleman
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.

Cheltenham - December 11 2021
Cheltenham 15:35
Harry Cobden

Her Indoors

Harry Cobden
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.


James Mackie | @JMackieRacing