There are six races on the main ITV network to enjoy on Saturday including four from Cheltenham and two on the all-weather at Lingfield. So, let’s get straight to the action, and see if we can dig out a few winners with Christmas just around the corner now.
The 1.50pm at Cheltenham is a Grade 3 handicap chase over an extended 3m 3f. BIG RIVER has been off the track for a little while now for Lucinda Russell but everything is in place for a huge run. He loves soft ground and stays all day, having only got going towards the end of the race when fifth in a Scottish National. He could plod best in plodding conditions.
Next at Cheltenham is the 2.25pm, the big Grade 3 handicap chase betting event over 2m 4f. I’m going to take a leap of faith here and take a chance at a huge price with the 2017 winner of this event SPLASH OF GINGE. He could just as easily be tailed off as actually win, but if you don’t take a chance sometimes in this game you never get a big thrill and Paddy’s paying the first 6 if there’s 16 or more runners at post time.
The facts are he is 4lb lower than when landing the prize and he loves soft ground. Two positives amid negative form. A few quid each-way.
The 3.00pm at Cheltenham is a Listed handicap hurdle over 3 miles. Tough race to call, so again a few quid each-way on the in-form VIEUX LION ROUGE, who is best known for going over the National fences. The David Pipe inmate won a chase well at Chepstow last time and will enjoy the stamina test here.
The final one at Cheltenham, for the 3.30pm handicap hurdle over 2m 5f, I’m going for another each-way choice here for Pipe in REMASTERED. He’s lightly raced but talented and has plenty of form in the mud. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, at the 2.45pm in Lingfield which is a Listed event over 1m 2f, LORD NORTH should be a good thing. The Cambridgeshire winner landed a Listed event for John Gosden last time and seems to be improving. Frankie Dettori turns up for the ride which says a lot.
In the Listed stakes event over 6f at 3.15pm in Lingfield, it’s a tough heat. There’s every chance the 2017 winner GIFTED MASTER can go in again for Hugo Palmer. Despite his stall being a bit wide, if gets an easy lead he’ll be very hard to catch.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
Matt Chapman Picks:
1.50pm Cheltenham – Big River @ 9/2
2.25pm Cheltenham – Splash of Ginge @ 33/1
3.00pm Cheltenham – Vieux Lion Rouge @ 8/1
3.30pm Cheltenham – Remastered @ 5/1
2.45pm Lingfield – Lord North @ 4/7
3.15pm Lingfield – Gifted Master @ 7/2
*Prices correct at time of publishing