Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation looked ready for a step back up in trip when rallying up the hill to defy Defi Du Seuil in the Grade 2 Dipper Chase at Cheltenham (2m 4f) on New Year’s Day. The novice chaser was cut to 8/1 at BetVictor for the JLT Chase over the intermediate 2m 4f trip although his trainer suggested he considered him more of a stayer. He is 16/1 with BetVictor for the RSA Chase.
They go at Ludlow this afternoon and Le Precieux looks likely to go off a short price in the four-runner Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase given he was a facile scorer at Leicester over the Festive period. He carries a 7lbs penalty for that win, however, and I am keen to take him on especially if the ground is no better than good to soft.
Going Gold has talent, but he bled when disappointing on his first start for Ian Williams when last seen in November. He is best watched at present. Oxwich Bay has failed to complete in his last couple of starts but should not be dismissed lightly. The vote goes to Clondaw Castle (1.15) who travelled well for a long way in a much better race than this before finishing tailed off at Newbury on his reappearance.
The selection, a winning pointer, is 3lbs lower today and regular pilot Ciaran Gethings, who rode a double at Fakenham on New Year’s Day, is in the plate for Tom George who could do with a winner after a largely frustrating Festive period.
The booking of Richard Johnson for Muthabir takes the eye, but the Richard Phillips yard look out of form at present and he is best watched at present unless the betting says otherwise. Sliding Doors (1.15) is professionally ridden for the first time this season and gets a narrow vote from near the foot of the weights for Ian Williams.
The selection ran a terrific race on his reappearance when third behind two well-handicapped rivals at Aintree and this lightly-raced maiden remains open to further improvement.
The winner of the conditional jockey’s handicap chase will escape a penalty until reassessed by the handicapper and it may be significant that Anthony Honeyball’s prolific point-to-point winner Mistress Massini (2.15) already holds a couple more entries for this weekend. The mare won a Bumper here on fast ground a couple of years ago and could be well treated off an opening mark of 89. Do note the jockeys are able to carry but not use their whips.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival begins at Meydan and I am looking forward to seeing Bin Battuta (2.30) return to the track after a near 500-day break for Saeed bin Suroor. The selection was last seen finishing runner up at York in autumn 2017 but looks sure to be ready to do himself justice and has the plum draw in stall one. Charlie Appleby’s Ispolini – another returning from a long lay-off – looks the main danger.
Key Victory (4.50) was a horse I thought could go to the top when beating stablemate Old Persian in the listed Newmarket Stakes on his reappearance last spring over 10f. The slight drop back in trip and a moderate draw in stall seven is a slight concern, but he clearly goes well fresh. This corresponding race was won by Benbatl 12 months ago and I would suggest this is a race which will throw up several future winners at this year’s Carnival.
In the finale James Doyle can’t do the weight (8st 5lbs) on Aurum (5.25) so Brett Doyle takes the mount on Charlie Appleby’s lightly-raced 4-y-old who hasn’t been seen since getting bogged down at Epsom back in June.