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13:25 Cheltenham A new start for racing broadcasting starts on ITV and their coverage starts with this Grade 2 Novices’ Chase. Clan Des Obeaux was mightily impressive at Newbury when winning the Grade 2 Berkshire Novices’ Chase by 10l and he didn’t come off the bridle. His jumping was impeccable and showed he has a very big future over these larger obstacles. This five year old son of Kapgarde looked a ready made chaser and looked on an upward curve. He receives weight from his main danger, so he should be able to make it two from three over fences. Nicky Henderson’s Whisper is the main danger but looks like he’ll play second fiddle. The nine year old comes late to chasing but went well over these fences just 22-days ago when winning over track and trip. However he is penalised for that win meaning he looks to have his work cut out against a rather smart rival. The mare Briery Belle won a Listed hurdle around here in April and has started this season over fences in similar fashion. She has won both starts over fences, including a Listed Mares’ Novices’ Chase at Warwick at the start of December. She stays well and looks one that could give the main prospects something to think about. Clan Des Obeaux (WIN)

13:40 Musselburgh A tricky puzzle to solve is this Handicap Chase where the early market cannot separate Pain Au Chocolat and Ash Park. I’m still struggling to weigh up the former for the Skelton team. He arguably ran his best race to date when second at Haydock but had no chance with a classy winner. There doesn’t seem to be anything of that class lurking here, so he should go well. Personally I think he’s at his best on a left-handed track, so this course may not suit. Ash Park has two seconds plus an unseat over fences but Stuart Coltherd’s charge is possibly going the right way. However he may be more of a stayer and want further than this trip. He’s off the same mark as when second at 12/1 just 15-days ago at Newcastle when proving tricky to steer in the closing stages, which he couldn’t afford to do here. Venetia Williams had three winners yesterday and Cold March could add to that in this race. He does carry plenty of weight but the first-time blinkers could spark life back into this seven year old. In two races this season he’s been up against some good rivals but the handicapper is slowly relenting. His last win came on good ground, so if  showing what he is capable of then I feel he’ll go very close. Cold March (E/W if 9/2+) 

14:00 Cheltenham This Grade 3 Handicap Chase was won by Richard Johnson and Philip Hobbs last year with Village Vic and he’s back to defend his crown. He ran well here when third behind the progressive Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup when rallying well when he was passed. He does like this track and once again showed a very likable attitude to dig in. The son of Old Vic carries second top weight, which doesn’t make it easy for him but he should once again run his race. Quite By Chance was fourth over course and distance when last seen plus we know how well the Tizzard horses have been running of late. Given he lost some momentum in that race when hampered he could have gone close therefore he looks a solid each-way bet. This eight year old has seemingly improved once again, especially with how he won a Listed chase at Ascot and off a relatively low weight could trouble the judge with a clear round. I’m taking a chance on Top Gamble. He’ll have come on for his run here in November in the Grade 2 Cheltenham Chase, so he should give his true running this time around. Kerry Lee’s charge was third in this race last year and if the tongue-tie, which is reapplied, can give him a boost then he can once again hit the frame in this race off top weight. It’s quite an eye catching jockey booking with Davy Russell having his first ride since Kerry took over the license and he know his way around Cheltenham. As De Mee could still prove on a leninent mark after a facile success at Aintree last time. He’s struggled at this track in the past, so that’s where the doubts lie. Tenor Nivernais was second in this race last year but would probably prefer slower ground. Top Gamble (E/W)

14:35 Cheltenham A competitive handicap hurdle where we see recent course and distance winner Call To Order reappear in a bid to make it two from two. The seven year old has gone up 7lb for that success and he stayed every yard of the trip, so you’d expect confidence to be high about his chances. That rise in the weights could potential underestimate him but he represents a yard in Jonjo O’Neill whose horses were in a hot spell at the time. He has the potential to win again. The one of interest is taking a big step up in trip and that is Rocklander. Tom George’s charge was last seen finishing a close second at Exeter over 2m2f after previously winning on handicap debut and following up at Leicester. He’s still unexposed over hurdles and is on a nice mark here. His pedigree suggests that he should see the trip out and if that proves to be the case then he is one to keep on side. Whataknight returns to hurdling after two goes over fences yielded a win and a second. On ratings he’s the one to beat after winning in stylish fashion at Haydock back in May. The handicap put him up 6lb for that, so Harry Fry has reacted by putting a amateur on board who takes off 5lb. The good ground will boost his chances and isn’t ruled out lightly. Neither is stout stayer Zeroshadesofgrey, who is another coming back to hurdles. He’s just 2lb higher than his last winning mark and is a key player if jumping well. Rocklander (E/W)

14:50 Musselburgh A second trip north of the border where the Country Handicap Hurdle winner Superb Story makes his return to the track after an 157-day absence. The Skelton horse hasn’t been seen since pulling up in the Galway Hurdle back in July. He was none the worse in that race but lost all chance he had when blundering badly. He’s won fresh before and back in this sort of company could prove the quality runner or as the saying goes ‘a group horse in a handicap.’ I’m taking a chance on Mirsaale who two modest Novice Hurdles at Perth but showed plenty of promise in them. Keith Dalgleish rates him highly by the fact his last three efforts have all been in graded company and one of them saw him finish second to Moon Racer at Cheltenham. If mustering a similar effort to that then he’ll be on the premises, especially with the good ground likely to favour. Kapstadt recorded a comfortable success at Cheltenham last time and is upped in class. Good ground suits Ian Williams’ charge and the trainers horses are going well of late too but he has to prove he acts right-handed with recent wins coming at Cheltenham and Sedgefield respectively. Aristo Du Plessis enjoyed a fine season last year and the James Ewart charge could try to steal this from the front and is a two-time course and distance winner. Mirsaale (E/W)

15:10 Cheltenham The Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle only looks to have two key players and the market looks about right. Lil Rockerfeller has been second on his last two starts behind classy types in Yanworth and Unowhatimeanharry; if he brings the same level of form to this race then he is the one to beat. This six year old is a consistent type who always runs his heart out and also has that inch of quality about him. He can turn the tables with last year’s winner Camping Ground. Nicky Henderson reverts L’Ami Serge to hurdles after running creditable races over fences in graded races. At times over fences he jumped out to the left, so sending him to this race looks a logical step to try and regain the winning thread. He does receive weight from Lil Rockerfeller, which could prove telling in a finish. As mentioned above Camping Ground won this race last year at 10/1 but Robert Walford’s charge didn’t really go on to achieve anything after that success. He was down the field in three races over hurdles after that win and his short spell chasing came to a crashing halt with a fall at Newbury. This could be to just build up his confidence back up after that fall plus I think the ground is against him. Protek Des Flos won a Triumph Hurdle Trial last January here and if showing that form then he could make his presence felt at a big price but he has stamina to prove. Dual World Hurdle winner Cole Harden looks up against it over this sharper trip but is likely to try and set the fractions in the first-time cheekpieces. Lil Rockerfeller (WIN)


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