CHELTENHAM GO-AHEAD: PUNCHESTOWN ‘BLEAK’: Bangor abandoned but Cheltenham’s two-day December Gold Cup meeting is on today after two inspections, with a lively first-day card. Currently unraceable, Punchestown is having to check tomorrow on the ‘very bleak’ prospects for Sunday’s card.

FORTUNE COOKIE BIDS FOR 120-POINT STRIKE: Daqman is staking 20 points on his Fortune Cookie at Cheltenham, which could win more than 120 points


⭕ 1.50 Cheltenham Lays Logic dictates that it would be rare for a nine-year-old mare to win a race like this; in fact, it’s unique among winners of this particular handicap chase.

Hawthorn Cottage may have to give way to a younger mare; maybe Electric Annie, who reappeared at Kempton last month.

She needed her first time back last year but then ran three cracking races (form 211; officially improving a total of 16lb).

Trainer Robert Walford landed a double on Tuesday and has booked Harry Cobden for ‘Annie’, with the jockey on 21% for the yard.

Betdaq Betting Exchange 8.4 Electric Annie


⭕ 2.25 Cheltenham Just the one Fortune Cookie today, Commodore, bidding for a double in this race.

Commodore won it last year off 133, carrying 10st, but this year’s renewal so lacks quality that his new mark of 142 commands 12st this afternoon.

Captain Cattistock was a CD winner here in April, and he’d previously scored over around 4m; so he won’t be stopping. Stable keen on his chances.

Undersupervision had never put two races together so it wasn’t a complete surprise when the Grimthorpe winner failed to finish in that April race.

Eva’s Oskar has twice been second in decent Cheltenham handicaps at this time of year but has never reached the frame off today’s mark.

Nassalam swerves tomorrow’s December Gold Cup for this. Was the confidence that made him favourite six races in a row (won three) ultimately misplaced, when he finished down the field twice in Grade 3?

To be fair, he had excuses the last day in the Autumn Gold Cup here at Cheltenham, hampered by a faller three out.

As so often, Paul Nicholls relies on a novice but Switch Hitter is seven already, not the five-year-old he usually puts over big fences early on in life. Might need the run.

Spiritofthegames is 1-21 over fences and it’s hard to hope for improvement in a 10-year-old so exposed. But hope is Dan Skelton’s byword.

Broken Quest is also well exposed and raised in class. Dominateur hasn’t won since a novice nearly three years back.

BETDAQ value 6.6 Commodore


⭕ 3.00 Cheltenham A 23lb hike for a double in January seemed to be too much for Anyharminasking in October, when he tailed off at Ascot.

But going the ‘wrong’ way round next time, rather than his weight of 12st 1lb, seemed the main reason for his defeat at Huntingdon, third, hanging, in a better race.

Mullenbeg completed a hat-trick when upped to that class-2 level and her rating is raised again to try to level out her progress.

But she gets 15lb from Anyharminasking and the truth is the lady’s not been for stopping throughout her career, never out of the first four, 114232111, including a Listed bumper here at Cheltenham in January.

Too Friendly is only four but his best form was at the Cheltenham festival not beaten far, fifth, in the Fred Winter.

Punctuation has shown 16lb of progress, unbeaten in three starts for the switch from Charlie Longsdon to Fergal O’Brien.

Though he’s raced only once in an open handicap, and is up two grades here, he has shown stamina by winning over further but softer ground may be needed for that stamina to kick in.

Lively Citizen was runner-up in the Imperial Cup in March on the soft, but his current form is weak and he has to bounce back to that level.

Le Patron has his first run, hooded, for in-form Gary Moore, but may also prefer the soft ground of is excellent second at Auteuil in June.

BETDAQ value 3.95 Mullenbeg


⭕ 3.35 Cheltenham It’s Lays Logic not to take too short a price about Brown Advisory fifth Dusart, whose schedule was an intermediate chase at Sandown followed by last month’s Newbury Gold Cup.

He missed both and returns here in a hurdle after surgery to his back and wind, and trainer Nicky Henderson also runs Captain Morgs (wind-op-2 and cheekpieces).

Annual Invictus, a graded hurdler a stone behind Dusart, bounced back ‘over the sticks’ after his chasing career went pear-shaped.

Jatiluwih and Brazos seemingly want softer ground, and I’ll have small stakes on Indefatigable, who loves Cheltenham: won the Martin Pipe, fourth in the Mares Hurdle and beaten a neck in last year’s Mares Hurdle which comes round again tomorrow.

BETDAQ value 23.0 Indefatigable


1.50 Cheltenham (win 20, nap)

2.25 Cheltenham

3.00 Cheltenham (win 12)

3.35 Cheltenham (win 22, 4pt place)
BET 1pt win and place INDEFATIGABLE

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PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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