Saturday, 15 December 2018

International Meeting Day Two: Welcome To Hell’s Kitchen

There is over £400,000 in prize money on offer on day two of the International meeting at Cheltenham for what promises to be a cracking day of jump racing.

We have selections in all seven races on Saturday, the highlights undoubtedly being the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (December Gold Cup) at 1.55 along with the Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle at 3.05 and the race formerly known as the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle at 2.30.

It’s looking like an explosive day of action with plenty of value bets to get stuck into, starting with the Triumph Hurdle trial at 12.10:

12.10 (Triumph Hurdle Trial – 2m+ Juvenile Hurdle – Class 2) – PROTEKTORAT

Plenty of attention (and money) will be thrown the way of both Fanfan Du Seuil and Fret D’Estruval but they may each be found wanting against French recruit Protektorat of the Tony Carroll hard.

Harry Bannister’s mount may well be underestimated given that he was runner-up over the Channel while the other two have been winning, though in truth his level of form more than matches up with the main two in the market and with plenty of improvement expected he could be the one to be on.

12.45 (2m4f+ Novices’ Chase – Class 2) – DROVERS LANE

Other than perhaps reappearing too early at Aintree following a successful seasonal debut at Hereford, this Drovers Lane has shown little but improvement in five hurdles and three chases so far and rates a fine bet to score once more for Rebecca Curtis.

His win over Soupy Soups last time out at Market Rasen was achieved with the minimum of fuss and he more then deserves a crack round here.

Le Breuil may be the one to chase him home under Daryl Jacob for the Ben Pauling yard.

1.20 (2m+ Handicap Chase – Class 2) – HELL’S KITCHEN

This Hell’s Kitchen didn’t exactly raise the roof on his seasonal reappearance at Aintree but remains a horse of potential for races such as this and gets the vote to score on this occasion.

Barry Geraghty knows how way around here and will understand fine well he’s on a horse who is improving overall and has plenty up his sleeve; no doubt he’ll be brought into race gradually before being produced when it matters.

Theinval of the ever powerful Nicky Henderson operation may prove to have plenty of potential and can fight on for place money at the very least.

1.55 (Caspian Caviar Gold Cup – 2m4f+ Handicap Chase – Class 1) (Grade 3) – FRODON

Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be was beaten narrowly at the Festival before being brought down on his seasonal return and is sure to command plenty of attention in the betting for this contest.

As good as he is though, he may well find one too good in the shape of the nicely priced Frodon who returned with a career best second in the BetVictor Gold Cup behind our selection Baron Alco and who can step up now.

With an improving profile and hailing from a quality yard, it’ll be no surprise to see Frodon score this time under Bryony Frost at the midnight expense potentially of Guitar Pete, the winner of this race last year.

2.30 (3m Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – Class 1) (Grade 2) – AYE AYE CHARLIE

I want to make it clear as it seems we are always going against the champ; but as good a chance as Doux Pretender obviously has, the definite value seems to be with this Aye Aye Charlie.

Fergal O’Brien’s charge won in bloodless fashion last time at Kelso and has plenty more to give. He has regressed in all honesty but it ready rock ‘n roll again and should take care of the aforementioned Doux Pretender.

3.05 (2m+ Unibet International Hurdle – Class 1) (Grade 2) – SUMMERVILLE BOY

This Summerville Boy should be well ahead given his fourth in the Fighting Fifth and his previous improving form over hurdles. Kalashnikov’s form and his win over him in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival makes him the best of this bunch all things considered.

Silver Streak and We Have A Dream are solid options for places and I couldn’t put you off backing them for a place, though all things being equal they shouldn’t be entitled to beat our boy.

3.40 (2m4f+ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Class 2) – OSCAR ROSE

Oscar Rose is cracking value in this race to reach a place at the very least. Fergal O’Brien’s 6yo mare has shown herself to be the type mare to improve race on race as the season goes on and she could well prove to be the best of these at a nice price.

Warren Greatrex’s Petticoat Tails looks like being the chief opposition following her improved second at Ascot last time out with jockey Richard Johnson always likely to attract support.

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