Who To Follow On Day Two Of Cheltenham's December Meeting

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

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.


Trainer To Follow - Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls sends a superb team of runners to Cheltenham on Saturday and could come away with a handful of winners which makes him the trainer to follow across the afternoon.

The yards first big runner of the afternoon comes in the Novices' Chase where the event has only attracted three runners and it looks a big opportunity to Monmiral to get off the mark over fences.

Next sees the Handicap Chase over 2m 1/2f and Nicholls sends two chances into the race with Dolos and the younger Thyme White both having angles into the contest.

Nicholls has the favourite in the December Gold Cup with Il Ridoto looking to prove the doubters wrong that he does stay this trip and the yard also field Simply The Betts, who is a class act on his day.

Knappers Hill is the Ditcheat stables big runner in the Grade Two International Hurdle on Saturday with him being very progressive and looking a value player at 4/1.

The final runner for the yard on the afternoon is Outlaw Peter in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, with the 6/4 joint favourite looking for back to back wins.

Nicholls heads into the Cheltenham meeting sporting a strike rate of 34% for the last two weeks, managing to land 14 winners from his last 41 runners.

Jockey To Follow - Sam Twiston-Davies

The jockey to follow on the final day of the December meeting is Sam Twiston-Davies who has a cracking strike rate at this meeting over the last few years.

A runner in the Juvenile event at the start of the meeting he will be looking to see if Planet Legend can complete this time having unseated last time out.

One of the riders big chances of the afternoon comes in the International Hurdle on Greatwood winner I Like To Move It who holds leading credentials for a yard that does well in the race.

Another big chance for the jockey comes on Weveallbeencaught who was third in a Grade Two last time out at the track and now up in trip holds a big chance.

Finally, Twiston-Davies finishes on the outsider Peltwell who is looking to get back to form.