Darren Goodbody previews today’s racing at Cheltenham – Friday 9th Dec

Darren Goodbody previews two races from today’s Cheltyenham card (Friday 9th December)

CF ROBERTS ELECTRICAL & MECHANICAL SERVICES MARES´ HANDICAP CHASE (Challenger Mares Series Qual)

First of four live races from Prestbury Park this afternoon starts off with a mares handicap chase over just shy of 2m 5f. The strong favorite for this race is Dan Skelton’s Yes I Did who won at Fontwell will plenty in hand by seven lengths. Despite her taking time to settle throughout the race and a slight mistake three out she had the race in total command form three out stretching away from her two rivals. Her only visit to Cheltenham came back in April when finishing seventh in a Listed event over hurdles, lets not forget she is a first season chaser, respected as hurdler in her career over the sticks, she like the conditions but i am not so sure she is at the 124 rated level just yet.

A yard that has thrived over the past twelve months is Fergal O’Brien’s stables in Gloucestershire, they saddled here Troubled Soul who actually disappointed me when finishing runner up at Warwick just over three weeks ago. He looked the winner from three out until tiring in the closing stages, Song Saa was the favorite on that occasion a further seven lengths back in third when off level weights with Troubled Soul. Song Saa would probably want softer conditions this afternoon

Ben Pauling has an interesting entry here in Treaty Girl, she looked in need of her chasing debut at Huntingdon when finishing third eighteen lengths off the eventual winner Tagrita whp commands a rating of 139. Despite having to carry top weight here, she has to be respected getting in off a mark of 125 and a step up in trip for her second chase run. Queen Spud has the more experience around this sphere and gets the handling of Richard Johnson this afternoon who rode her to a facile win at Fakenham two runs back on good ground, off a mark of 114 this afternoon she is dangerous and can easily collect her three timer this afternoon.

Dawnieriver represents Michael Scudamore who has a chase record around Cheltenham of 19% and a healthy profit of +£34, his entry here has been ultra consistent with notching up three of her past four wins. Her run came to an end to the hands of Queen Spud last time at Fakenham. Thee was 4lb between them in favor of Dawnieriver and just half a length at the business end, that was over an extended three miles and dropping back in trip, and now getting 6lb from Queen Spud i feel she could overturn that defeat on this ground and off a low racing weight under Robert Dunne.

DAWNIERIVER : 1pt each way @ 8/1 (BOG)

UNICOIN GROUP HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3)

Now how do you sum up Paul Nicholl’s Southfield Theatre in one word “Costly” who be appropriate. He has plenty of ability if he could just iron out some jumping issues, you have to jump to win, his run in the Ultima Handicap Chase at this years festival saw him brought down seven from home, he had a;ready made a serious error at the first fence. We saw him back to his old self when falling at Wincanton on his seasons re-appearance, again he had the race won, edging into an half a length advantage he came to grief at the last. This is a horse that finished six lengths behind the likes Don Poli in the RSA Chase three seasons ago, I do want to believe he can win a race like this, but it’s his poor jumping ability and the fact he is still rated 154 which he has been struggling off for a while.

Murphy Group Handicap Chase winner Sausalito Sunrise has for me failed to improve on anything like she showed that day over the marathon trip here at Cheltenham. He was impressive when dropped back to 3m at Ascot when landing a Listed event when off a mark of 150. Finishing the season off behind the likes of Many Clouds and The Young Master, his seasons re-appearance looked rugged and rusty, made a couple of jumping errors which seem to take the stuffing out of him and he faded very tamely from a long way from home. He finished second on this card last year when behind King’s Palace, but to lump top weight here and still 7lb higher than he’s last winning mark he has a tough assignment ahead.

Out Sam has never adapted to Cheltenham for Warren Greatrex and I cannot see anything changing, his last defeat came four weeks ago in a Listed chase over a little further. He does have concerns though and would want more rain for him to really show his true colors. Theatre Guide has not won off his current mark of 149 since he won at Kempton back in 2014, he has been struggling off the rating for some time now, but he did put in a good shift when second at Wetherby off 149 when runner up to Indian Stream of Neil Mulholland’s, the trip was far too short for him that day and stepping back up in this company is not going to be an easy task, but on his day in a weak field that has exposed issues he could get involved.

Now if A Good Skin brings his Kim Muir effort to play here he would have to go close. He was making stealthy headway in the Kim Muir which was won by Cause for Causes, his two runs this season have been very encouraging finishing third on re-appearance when two and a quarter lengths behind Potters Cross and lastly finishing sixth to Antony in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot. he could not be in a better position of 10st 8lb and is a lot better than his current 139 rating.

A GOOD SKIN : 1pt each way @ 7/1 (BOG)

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