The week has not gone quite as well as one could hope. Nil By Mouth on Day 1, followed on Day 2 by one of those unmentionable medical procedures involving cameras and a sizeable film crew; a huge dose of some stupefying drug to relax Kneesup; Day 3 recovery and then some mentoring yesterday which led to a Grade 1 hangover this AM. My mentoring colleague, The Fat Owl, reckoned we were up a half dozen various by close of play and that we had become parlous close to the cliff edge of irresponsibility. Fortunately, our face masks never slipped, nor our manners, so other than feeling terribly ill, a steely determination has seen us through. A long lie-down beckons, however, as once again a volcanic Bloody Mary backed by a glass of Guinness fail to work as a two-step restorative.
Talking of things that don’t work, here are some brief tips for today’s TV races.
1:15 Cheltenham CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares’ Hcap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m4½f
When Megan failed to deliver at Aintree recently, I was curious to know how many horses have come from Leicester and won a Aintree. The answer, I discovered post-event, was 3 from 68 runners (0.55% A/E). At Cheltenham, it is only 6 from 158 (0.53% A/E) and 0/20 in the month of December. Thus I think that makes AGENT VALDEZ A Lay. Instead, I fancy SWEET ADARE, for whom the extra 4f will help and she comes from the wily Vic Dartnall’s yard.
SWEET ADARE e/w
1:50 Cheltenham Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f
I honestly don’t believe he can win, but BUN DORAN’s figures at Cheltenham reads 621223 and at 22/1, you’re effectively getting a 5/2 for the 3 places. James Bowen takes the ride, and his last 9 runs read 211213112.
BUN DORAN e/w
2:05 Bangor-on-Dee Buy Christmas Cards @ijf.org.uk Hcap Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+ 0-135) 2m7f
ROBIN GOLD is going to be hard to beat. She got a stiff 8lb for a ½l win at Bangor, but frankly she was was probably good for further as she needs to arrive late. That might be thest way to play her, and that is to back her to win a furlong out, when I suspect she’ll have drifted to near evens. There is nothing else I can see here likely to be an issue.
ROBIN GOLD Win
2:25 Cheltenham Unibet Hcap Chase (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m2f
The Mullins-trained COURT MAID makes the trip from Ireland and is in top form. Three wins from the last four starts, the ground and distance are fine, should be the one to beat here today
COURT MAID Win
3:00 Cheltenham Glenfarclas Cross Country Hcap Chase Cl2 (5yo+) 3m6f
The ever-optimistic Charlie Mann runs DEFI DES CARRES. Charlie is one of very few Brits who has run in ad won The Pardubice, so if anyone can tell a decent cross country type, it must surely be Charlie. At 33/1 a small e/w lunge might be appropriate. Cheekpieces will help SOME NECK who has a 5lb pull over NEVERUSHACON, who I’m not convinced gets this trip.
SOME NECK e/w – DEFI DES CARRES e/w
3:35 Cheltenham Citipost Hcap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+) 3m