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I feel MILLERS BANK should come with a health warning for punters! He is talented and he is proven on a soft surface. He is also one of the best of these, but you are taking a gamble on his jumping and he was a little hit-and-miss at Newbury before coming down last time.
The Alex Hales-trained gelding would have won that day though, and I feel on this ground he will get half a chance. He was third in a Grade 1 at Aintree over this trip too. L’Homme Presse is a worthy favourite and he is a very good jumper. My selection is Millers Bank, but you may be watching him from behind the sofa!
STONER’S CHOICE ran well at Kempton last month and did well enough in a competitive race at Sandown last time out over further than this contest will be. He has form on soft ground, and I feel back at this trip he will be better suited. Fergal O’Brien’s charge is still handicapped to be bang there.
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I may well be a wreck after racing on Saturday as ZANZA is another one who was a little iffy over the obstacles. Philip Hobbs has his team in very good form, and they have stuck cheekpieces on here. I’m hoping that might just sharpen him up, along with the fact that we have softer ground. Coole Cody is a solid alternative, but I am happy to stick with Zanza.
Tommy’s Oscar and CHRISTOPHER WOOD met at Kelso in March, but that was on very different terms and the Paul Nicholls runner is 2lbs better off here. Chuck in the fact that Christopher Wood has run twice at the track and won both times, so that’s why he gets the nod here.
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Fergal O’Brien is fast approaching 100 winners for the season and Art Approval went up 8lbs for winning at the track last time out. He was value for a lot more than the winning distance after a blunder at the last. He has form on heavy ground too, so that is not an issue.
Amour De Nuit will be my selection for the £20 challenge on The Opening Show for ITV. I thought he had was a very good run at Newbury on his last outing and he has Gaelik Coast – who reopposes here – a long way behind. His run over hurdles at Chepstow was strong also.
MCFABULOUS has had a wind op since disappointing at Aintree back in April. He met Brewin’upastorm at Fontwell when Olly Murphy’s charge was in receipt of 6lbs. McFabulous got in a real muddle that day and made two real howlers as he was trapped on the inside. I am happy to take a punt on him turning the tables on Brewin’upastorm with a trouble-free round here though.
Good luck to everyone and Happy New Year!
13:25 Cheltenham – Millers Bank
13:40 Musselburgh – Stoner’s Choice (Each-Way)
14:00 Cheltenham – Zanza
14:10 Musselburgh – Christopher Wood
14:35 Cheltenham – Art Approval
14:50 Musselburgh – Amour De Nuit
15:10 Cheltenham – McFabulous
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