A real treat for punters on Friday with terrestrial TV coverage of Cheltenham on ITV plus one contest from Bangor for good measure.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 13.55 at Cheltenham is a handicap chase over an extended 2m 4f. This might be the day DEFINITELYANOSCAR comes good for Harry Fry and Jonathan Burke.
There is only a small field here, and my hope has been knocking at the door finishing second in a bigger field at Huntingdon before chasing home Really Super at a distance of six lengths at Kempton. I think he stays well enough and while he doesn’t have much in hand on the handicap, this might be his day for the first time since scoring at Newton Abbot in August.
He has a win in the soft at Warwick.
Next at Cheltenham is the 14.30, a Grade 3 handicap chase over 3m 2f. A real slog here and stamina will be everything. West Approach is clearly a threat as he tries to bounce back from unseating Robbie Power at Newbury last time.
The one I like each-way is SINGLEFARMPAYMENT, again for Jonathan Burke but this time trained by Tom George. The selection has a decent record at Cheltenham and will have no problem with conditions. Soft ground and stamina is his forte. He’s not always consistent, but his return at Haydock was perfectly reasonable and he’s down 6lb from a few runs ago. If he runs his race, he’s got strong place claims off a mark of 140.
The 15.05 at Cheltenham is the Cross Country chase over 3m 6f. KINGSWELL THEATRE loves this course but was not at his best for Michael Scudamore when only fifth here in November. He was strongly fancied that day and will need to do better here, but there is every chance that will happen. With Tom Scudamore on board he has a fair each-way chance here against some old favourites like Josies Orders and the progressive Yanworth.
We finish off at Cheltenham with the 15.40, a handicap hurdle over 3m. CHAMPERS ON ICE is up another 3lb for his win at Newbury last time having gone up 5lb before that for another success. So his mark of 140 is now stiff enough, but he’s in tremendous shape for David Pipe and should give Scudamore another good spin. I loved his attitude last time and he’s a hard horse to pass now on song.
Meanwhile, at Bangor ITV show the 14.10, a handicap hurdle over 2m 7f. I like the look of BRYDEN BOY here, who has stamina in spades and that his what is going to be needed in the conditions. He was a fine winner at Sedgefield last time and while up 5lb can go in again in a better race.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices and runners are correct at time of posting