Saturday Horse Racing Preview & Tips – 12th December– Seymour Biz

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This week we are back at Cheltenham for their final meeting of the year dubbed The International Festival where the going is currently rated as good to soft. I hope it stays like that because at the Paddy Power meeting a month ago, it changed halfway through the card on Saturday to soft and that threw up some very strange results for the rest of the day.

ITV have an early start as they are covering five races from Prestbury Park starting with the 1.15.  I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the seasonal reappearance of Goshen after he tipped up in the Triumph at the Festival with the race at his mercy. Backing up this meeting, the cameras are also covering three races from Doncaster with the final race being a classy handicap chase.

So with all this going on, here are my thoughts for this week’s Lucky Fifteen

Saturday Lucky Fifteen
1.50 Cheltenham. Southfield Stone
2.25 Cheltenham. Wynn House
3.35 Cheltenham. Miah Grace
3.15 Doncaster. Boldmere
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

I will start with the big handicap chase of the day- the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase at 1.50. Evan Williams’s Coole Cody turns up to try to repeat his victory at the course where he won the Paddy Power last month. I am sure Williams will agree he was helped by the soft going that day and his rivals may not give him such an easy lead in this. Also, he has an extra 7lbs to carry, and that diminishes his chances.

Paul Nicholls has an exceptionally strong hand here with three runners, including topweight Master Tommytucker who has had his jumping problems in the past. He appears to have put those behind him after two wins in small field races but the hustle and bustle he will find here added to the top weight put me off him.

Another Nicholls runner is Southfield Stone who is showing consistent form this year. His victory here at Cheltenham in October was followed up by a runner up spot last month once again at this course. He may well add to his excellent record here.

Brian Ellison’s Windsor Avenue ran a fine second at Carlisle last month and will relish the soft going but if the course dries out, that will put paid to his chances.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has a classy pair of runners with Al Dancer and Good Boy Bobby. The latter steps up some grades but Al Dancer will enjoy the better ground. He should be fine here than he did in the Paddy Power where he put in a good performance to finish third. However, he may have to settle for a place again behind the selection, Southfield Stone.

At 2.25 it is the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle over 3 miles and this looks to be a very close contest. The current favourite is Dan Skelton’s Ashton Lad who is fancied after winning on his last two outings, including a fine victory in a Uttoxeter handicap last time.

Ask A Honey Bee runs for Fergal O’Brien and he has been putting in good performances in novice hurdles this season. He was only denied by a head last time at Newcastle.

Paul Nicholls’s Danny Kirwan finally got off the mark over timber last month at Ascot. He has a tendency to jump left so will be suited round here.

There is an Irish raider from John McConnell’s yard, Make Good, who may try to win from the front but he seems to prefer a heavy ground. I like the look of Alan King’s Wynn House who may prosper from getting the mare’s allowance. She has won on both her outings this season with victories at Bangor and Ludlow and can make it a three-timer here.

The Close Brothers Mares Handicap Hurdle is the last race on the card at 3.35, a 2m 4f contest. The bookies choice is Lucy Wadham’s The White Mouse who came back after an 18-month layoff to win at Wincanton last month. The mare had four rivals she faces here behind her that day and I expect her to confirm those placings despite her rise in the weights but she may have to settle for a place here.

Paul Webber’s Indefatigable has top weight, a massive 11st 12lbs. After winning here at the Festival in March, she finished third on her seasonal reappearance last month and should improve on that run but surely has too much weight.

Paul Nicholls runs Eglantine Du Seuil who has not won since a fine victory in the Dawn Run at the Festival in 2019 must be respected but does not seem able to reproduce that form.

I will go with Jedd O’Keefe’s Miah Grace who ran a fine second at Wetherby a month ago and can possibly go one better here but she will want plenty of give underfoot.

The last race at Doncaster is the bet365 Handicap Chase where Paul Nicholls has the top weight with Give Me A Copper, a lightly raced 10-year-old. He had only two runs last year, firstly winning a Listed race at Wincanton then running down the field in another Listed contest at Ascot. That was last December and having to carry top weight plus being off the track for 12 months means he is best watched.

Emma Lavelle’s Manofthemountain won first time out this season at Bangor, but that was a poor contest. He was then fourth at Cheltenham but was over 50 lengths behind the winner.

Singlefarmpayment has not won since 2016 and I can’t see him winning here for trainer Henry Oliver despite some place form.

Another with place form is Nicky Richards’s Chidswell and he is also a course winner but he is surely not good enough for this.

Oliver Sherwood’s Jelly Bean has won his last two but he steps up in class here.

A course and distance winner is Caroline Bailey’s Boldmere who has faded into fourth place on his last two outings but should strip fitter for this. Last February at Wetherby he was unlucky when falling at the last in a Grade 2 contest. He was 3 lengths clear at the time and may well gain recompense here.

Saturday Lucky Fifteen
1.50 Cheltenham. Southfield Stone
2.25 Cheltenham. Wynn House
3.35 Cheltenham. Miah Grace
3.15 Doncaster. Boldmere
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

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