BENATAR OWES ME FOR HOURS OF STUDY!
Cheltenham 1.50 - Coneygree’s presence here has resulted in a few of these get in off a lightweight. Single farm payment, Rock The Kasbah and CALETT MAD all look well treated but it’s the latter who edges the vote.
It’s easy to forget Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge is still only six as he seems to have been around for much longer, but as he is still maturing into his frame he could have plenty of improvement to come. Of the market leaders, he looks the least exposed and given he had a decent pipe opener around here last time he should be ready to show his best. At 7/1 he should be a free each way bet. Cheltenham 2.25 - With dificulty, I’ve whittled it down to Rather Be and BENATAR and I’m hoping Gary Moore’s charge can reward me for the hours I spent weighing up the race. He looked a progressive novice last term, racking up a streak of victories before signing off with third in the JLT.
That race looks to be one worth following as many runners have won since. For this reason I can’t understand why he is double the price of Rather Be as quite clearly the form of the JLT is much stronger than the form of the novice handicap chase in which Rather Be came second. Obviously, Benatar’s prep run at Newton Abbot didn’t go well but that was on bottomless ground and Moore just needed to get a run into him. I am expecting a much better performance today.
Lingfield 2.45 - The first of two listed prizes at Lingfield can go the way of ADDEYBB. William Haggas has had to reign back this horse throughout the Flat season as he has a distinct preference for soft ground and with such a dry summer it was near impossible to get him out. It’s interesting that he is kept on the go through the winter but connections may have aspirations to take him abroad or even mop up the lucrative all weather prizes in this country. Either way, he is the class horse of the race. Cheltenham 3.00 - I’m glad Ian Williams has decided to step up FIRST ASSIGNMENT (NAP) to three miles as he stayed on well to claim victory on his reappearance. He wouldn’t have been spot on for that and connections would have been pleased he was good enough to win. I spent a bit of time with Ian Williams and his team prior to the season and this is a horse which took high rank on my list of horses to follow.
A lightly-raced novice last year, he showed more than enough to suggest he could progress nicely in handicap hurdles this term and his new mark of 130 still looks well within his remit.
Lingfield 3.15 - Could It Be Love stands out at the bottom of the racecard receiving weight off her rivals but has yet been able to string two runs together. Gifted Master will ensure a good gallop and if they leave him alone for too long he could be hard to peg back. I would hope that CORINTHIA KNIGHT won’t be too far off the pace as I think he has outstanding claims back on his favoured surface. Providing he can get a clear run, this should be a good start to a profitable winter campaign. Cheltenham 3.30 - Second season novice, LYGON ROCK (NB) seems to have benefited from wind surgery in the summer and can now make his way up the handicap hurdle ladder. A half decent novice last year who had a knack of finding one too good, he looked a reformed character when finding only the classy Paisley Park too good at Aintree. The third place horse has come out since and bolted up. You do need some fortune around here so the 16/1 about him looks fair.