cHeltenham and Bangor-on-Dee, the venues for ITV Racing’s five-race time table on Friday, are topic to inspections at 7.30am and 8am respectively. Frost covers over all of the observe intended Cheltenham no less than would had been raceable on Thursday so there are grounds for hope that the December assembly – two of the remaining 4 days on the route sooner than the Festival in March – will continue as deliberate.
Jon Pullin, Cheltenham’s clerk of the route, mentioned on Thursday afternoon: “We are for sure hopeful at this level and there is not any frost beneath the covers in this day and age. While we’ve that further frost this night time, I’d be hopeful that the covers proceed to do their task and we’re going to be in a just right place for racing the next day.”
The Dahlbury Chase, a £70,000 handicap over three-and-a-quarter miles, is the most valuable race of the day by some margin and many punters will recall last year’s renewal, when the near-white Commodore summoned memories of Desert Orchid with a front-running success.
Venetia Williams’s chaser is back for another crack and is the likely favourite, but he is 9lb higher in the weights and may struggle to give 10lb to Captain Cattistock (2.25)who is also a winner over course and distance.
Fergal O’Brien’s gelding gets on particularly well with his rider, Liam Harrison, who is well worth his 3lb claim, has form figures of 1-1-3 in chases at Cheltenham and should be spot on for this after a promising return to action at the October meeting.
Bangor-on-Dee 1.30 The connections of Only The Bold will be desperate to see this card go ahead as he won with any amount in hand on his chasing debut over course and distance last month and will be very tough to beat even off a 10lb higher mark.
Cheltenham 1.50 Marta Des Mottes has made a promising start to her chasing career with an easy debut win followed by a close second in a much stronger race a week later. She has been raised 1lb for that and should have enough improvement to come to beat her main market rival, Hawthorn Cottage.
Cheltenham 3.00 Having launched her hurling career with two odds-on defeats, Mullenbeg has clicked in her past three starts and she had plenty in hand when completing her hat-trick at Ludlow last time. This will be her toughest test yet, with Punctuation also looking for a fourth straight win, but a 7lb penalty is unlikely to stop her streak just yet.
Cheltenham 3.35 flight deck returned to his earlier, innovative shape at Carlisle remaining time after a lackluster seasonal debut and appears overpriced at round 9-1 off the similar mark.