There’s four races from Cheltenham and one from Bangor on ITV4 on a fun Friday.
The mare Chequered View is owned by HRH Princess Anne, who also bred Martin Keighley’s runner. She won on soft ground at Worcester three runs back with another of Friday’s rivals, Zara Hope, 17 lengths behind. She also won last time on nice ground at Fakenham but has climbed up the ratings, ao this will be harder.
Definitelyoscar ran really well at Kempton and took a big step forward when second to Really Super on nice ground. Friday’s rivals Skewiff and Molly Carew well behind that day.
Parlour Maid would be a great winner for a small yard and she won nicely at Lingfield last time.
She gets the nod and any overnight rain will only help her cause.
There are a lot of familiar names in this handicap chase. Cogry won this contest last year off a mark of 139 and races off the exact same mark here. The ground was soft last time when finishing third to The Conditional, who then ran a hell of a race at Newbury in the Ladbroke Trophy.
West Approach was a couple of lengths in front of Cogry at this venue in October – but has to give him 10lb in Friday’s race. Rock The Kasbah ran a lot better than his finishing position of sevenths suggested at Wincanton on his seasonal debut as he was bang there at the second last, before tiring. Testing ground won’t suit him though.
I’ll take Cogry to repeat last year’s win.
The Cross Country Chase on the card is a handicap, so that gives a few of these a chance. Yanworth looks an attractive option, even if he is carrying plenty of weight. Mark Walsh travels over from Ireland to ride him and the pair were successful in a similar event at Punchestown last month. You would expect him to improve for that experience as he has not been doing this aspect of the job for long.
He is trained by the master ‘banks’ trainer Enda Bolger in Ireland now, who will have kept schooling him since that victory to make him better.
He’s classy and I want him on my side.
French raider Easysland is attracting plenty of support as the French horses – Diesel D’Allier and Urgent De Gregaine – finished first and second in the Cross Country race at the November meeting.
Kilbricken Storm won the Albert Bartlett Hurdle in 2018 and beat a host of good horses. Off his current mark of 145, he can win this as the Tizzard’s will have him ready to rock on his seasonal debut. Champers on Ice would be a popular winner, but he was well positioned last time at Newbury and took advantage.
Nicky Henderson’s Falco Blitz was on a fact-finding mission last time at this venue to see how he would cope with soft ground. It’s safe to say he handled it really well when finishing second to Jatiluwih.
Ask Ben went up 3lb for putting in a great run at Haydock on his seasonal reappearance. He went for home early in a good race and wasn’t disgraced when finishing fourth.
This is a good contest, but I’ll take a chance on Kilbricken Storm each-way at 8/1 in a race where Paddy is paying 4 places.
A 2m 7f handicap hurdle at Bangor is thrown in with the Cheltenham coverage and trainer Donald McCain could almost walk his horses there because his yard is so close to the track. His Same Circus stays really well, handles soft ground and is the selection. Of the others, Doc Penfro is open to more improvement on what we have already seen of Emma Lavelle’s runner on the racecourse.
*Prices and runners correct at time of publishing