Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 14 December 2019

UK Racing Best Bets - Saturday 14 December 2019

UK Racing Best Bets

Neil Morrice walks you through the front runners for Saturday's racing at Hereford, Wolverhampton, Doncaster 
and Cheltenham, including the feature race analysis for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase. 

Cheltenham Feature Race Analysis
Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 



The complexion of this cracking handicap chase changed dramatically when ante-post favourite RIDERS ONTHE STORM was taken out of the contest in error. This frustrating development for his connections throws the £130,000 prize wide open.

Paul Nicholls fields a powerful twin-pronged challenge with SECRET INVESTOR and BRELAN d’AS. Secret Investor probably needed his first run back when second to Real Steel in a Grade 2 at Down Royal. A winner of his final two races last season at Wincanton and Ayr, he should now be cherry ripe. Brelan d’As possible posted an even more meritorious run in defeat when beating all but Happy Diva in the BetVictor Gold Cup here last month.

Top weight CEPAGE is a bold jumper that likes to get on with things, as displayed when he chased home Riders On the Storm at Aintree. Importantly that was his first run since finishing second in this race 12 months ago, and might have brought him fully to the boil.

Sole Irish raider ROBIN DES FORET makes his handicap debut off a workable mark. He ran several cracking races in defeat as a novice for Willie Mullins last season, but needs to prove his fitness after a lengthy absence.

BENATAR is a pea out of the same pod, equipped with a hood for the first time. He hasn’t won since 2017, but is on a handy mark and was made favourite to beat Cyrname at Ascot in January when the latter was beginning his surge up the ratings.

CLONDAW CASTLE could be one to mull over at a big price. He ran well when in need of the run on his reappearance and has plenty of scope for progression.

Prediction

1st CEPAGE

2nd Secret Investor

3rd Brelan d’As

4th Robin Des Foret

5th Benatar

Unibet International Hurdle (Grade 2) 

If there’s an aspiring Champion Hurdle candidate in this recognized trial it is probably multiple scorer ELIXIR DE NUTZ.

Colin Tizzard reckons he has the wherewithal to develop towards a tilt at the hurdling crown but to achieve that he needs to fire an early shot over the boughs of these foes.

His absence of not far short of a year was due to an injury incurred after a hat-trick of novice hurdle wins, two at this track followed by the prestigious Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

PENTLAND HILLS claimed the Triumph Hurdle as the second of his three successes as a juvenile in an unbeaten season that also included the big 4yo hurdle at Aintree in April. Considering he only started his career at Plumpton in February he must be looked upon as something special but there is a slight question mark against his ability to handle cut in the ground.

That comment does not apply to the older CALL ME LORD who in my view is the undoubted joker in the pack. He doesn’t see the racecourse very often but his placed efforts in successive Imperial Cups give him the experience edge and he will almost certainly represent value following a comeback defeat at Ascot.

CH’TIBELLO showed his liking for this course when giving Dan Skelton a first Festival winner in the County Hurdle in March. His career path escalated following a breathing operation and his subsequent third to Supasundae at Aintree was also a cracking effort.

A fascinating contender is the Australian-trained BIG BLUE who is top class down under but a complete wild card as far as British pundits are concerned. However, his connections are to be praised for the ambition of bringing him over, as it seems an eternity since the likes of Crisp, Royal Mail and Grand Canyon plundered our shores from the Antipodes.

Prediction

1st CALL ME LORD

2nd Elixir De Nuts

3rd Pentland Hills

4th Ch’tibello

5th Big Blue

Cheltenham Undercard Best Bets 

Race 2: MISTER FISHER (6)
Trainer: Nicky Henderson  
Jockey: Nico de Boinville 

The stable’s preferred choice to Angel's Breath and stablemate of Champagne Platinum, MISTER FISHER can raise his game in this fascinating novice chase. He’s always been regarded as the type to do better over fences and was unfortunate to run into one when chasing home Torpillo at Warwick. That effort should have made him more streetwise.

Race 7: INDEFATIGABLE (1) (Each Way)
Trainer: Paul Webber   
Jockey: Gavin Sheehan 

From a yard that has excelled with its hurdling mares over the years, INDEFATIGABLE holds strong claims in an intriguing finale and should represent some value. A top bumper horse in her division, she came back to make a good fist of it against Lady Buttons in a Grade 1 hurdle at Wetherby. A repeat of that level of form can see her go one better, although a good word is also forwarded for Dame De Compagnie.

Hereford Best Bets  

Race 2: SHANTOU VOW (1) (Nap)
Trainer: Harry Whittington
Jockey: Page Fuller 

SHANTOU VOW has improved mentally since opening his account at Southwell where he looked to score with quite a bit up his sleeve. He came there swinging and only had to be shaken up to go clear in the heavy ground. His trainer believes that has invigorated the beautifully bred gelding as well as making him sharper. This track will suit h8s style of running and he can defy his penalty.

Race 4: FIRST FLOW (2)
Trainer: Kim Bailey 
Jockey: David Bass 

This should provide a springboard from which the aggressive front runner FIRST FLOW can launch his season. The gelding did nothing wrong when reappearing at Ascot and made a good fist of trying to lead throughout, only to be reeled in by the impressive Angels Breath. He should find this a much more straightforward assignment.

Wolverhampton Best Bets
Race 5: TOTAL COMMITMENT (6)
Trainer: Peter Hedger 
Jockey: Angus Villiers 

The upwardly mobile TOTAL COMMITMENT is three from four this year and looks to be progressing faster than the assessor can handle him. He’s taking a big jump up the ladder from a Class 4 into this Class 2 but that kind of improvement is not unusual in the sprinting division. Furthermore, he has a happy knack of just doing enough in his races, although he will need to be on his mettle at the gate to overcome a wide draw, which is the only negative.

Race 8: LORD HOWARD (3)
Trainer: Mick Channon 
Jockey: George Wood

LORD HOWARD has graduated out of the plating arena to gamely land two of his last three starts. He was ultimately a very tidy winner at Kempton at the end of last month, staying on strongly in the home straight to score going away. Judging from that he will be suited by today’s slightly longer trip, and can follow up.

Doncaster Best Bets  

Race 4: FARO DE KERSER (7) (Each Way)
Trainer: Tom George 
Jockey: Ciaran Gethings 

French import FARO DE KERSER was very easy to back on his debut for the George stable at Wetherby but belied his long odds for much of the race before blowing up on the run-in. It was an eyecatching run in a warm race and with improvement on the cards he can get into the shakeup.

Race 7: CLOTH CAP (3)
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill 
Jockey: Ritchie McLernon 

This race is sure to become tactical with Treackle Tart making the running. That is good news for CLOTH CAP who needs a decent pace that can bring his stamina into play at the business end. He looked like a horse getting ready to win when third in a competitive handicap chase at Ascot, where a final fence mistake cost him his chance. That run behind Militarian is there to be 8mproved on.

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