2.05 Cheltenham

The Hollow Ginge finished runner up in the 3m 1f handicap chase on the card 12 months ago for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies and the 9-y-old can race from a mark 10lbs lower this afternoon. That pieces of form has not been lost on the layers, however, and he has been put in short enough at a best price of 7/2.

Gordon Elliot saddled the winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago and the mare Motown Magic will appreciate the step up to this extended three miles having been put in her place by So Scottish – followed up at Carlisle on Thursday – at Tipperary last time over an inadequate trip. The mare is not the biggest horse in training, but she jumps well and receives weight from her rivals. Note Elliot has also declared Tullybeg although he is due to run on Friday.

COEUR SEREIN has a good record fresh, represents the inform Jonjo O’Neill yard and reverts to fences having shown distinct promise in three starts over the larger obstacles last season. The selection was going to make a winning chase debut at Lingfield when coming down at the last, and there was no disgrace in either subsequent run when you consider he was beaten 8L by Corach Rambler here in December giving this year’s Ultima winner at the Festival 8lbs.

The 8-y-old was 12/1 earlier in the week but the 10/1 at the time of writing still looks fair with the more rain the better.

Recommendation: Coeur Serein EW at 10/1 with Bet365

2.40 Cheltenham

PIEP PIPER was last seen at Royal Ascot when he ran a terrific race in the Ascot Stakes in a first-time tongue-tie. The selection finished third in the Triumph Hurdle back in the spring before dead-heating with Knight Salute at Aintree before somehow losing the race in the Stewards’ Room. He can gain compensation back at Cheltenham where he had looked very smart when scoring in Group 2 company back in January.

Gordon Elliot last won the race back in 2014 with a certain Tiger Roll – wonder what happened to him? There was 6/4 available earlier in the week but the Evens looks fair.

Knight Salute had finished about 17L behind the selection in the Triumph Hurdle and a flat track is ideal for the Milton Harris 4-y-old despite him winning a very ordinary looking G2 over C&D back in November.

Recommendation: Pied Piper Evens across the board

4.25 Cheltenham

Rachel Blackmore is currently on the sidelines after taking a fall schooling at the yard of Henry De Bromhead earlier in the week. Darragh O’Keefe takes over in the saddle aboard Life In The Park who is penalised 5lbs for his win on chase debut at Listowel last month.

The 5-y-old – who runs in the colours of 2021 Gold Cup winner Minella Indho – has won his last three starts, but would not have been the best of these over timber. He jumped out to his right at Listowel and is not yet proven over three miles although stamina is unlikely to be an issue. Note De Bromhead had a double earlier in the week.

Life In The Pak must give MAHLER MISSION – seventh in the Albert Bartlett – 5lbs and a narrow vote goes to the John McConnell chasing newcomer. The selection won the Grade 2 3m River Don Hurdle at Doncaster at the end of January and has the size and scope to improve again over fences.


He had his limitations exposed at the Festival although he ran well enough to be beaten just over 20L in seventh. He lacks the chasing experience of Life In The Park, but he gets a narrow vote in a race won by Gordon Elliot’s Galvin a couple off years ago.

Recommendation: Mahler Mission at 

1.20 Doncaster

Tomfre won the opening race on the card at Doncaster two years ago from an 11lbs higher mark and he will enjoy the forecast soft ground more than most.

Mystery Fox is 5lbs higher than when scoring cosily over a mile at Goodwood last time but both career wins have been at the Sussex track, and he did finish last on his sole previous visit to Town Moor. He is a worthy market leader, but he might be a better horse around a bend.

MASTER ZOFFANY is a fascinating contender for Richard Fahey. I had him earmarked for a Chester handicap this autumn, but he comes here fresher than most after just three starts this term. A straight 7f on soft ground might be ideal. He met a bit of trouble in running around the bend over a mile at York last time but came there going well before his run petered out. The drop back in distance should suit.

Recommendation: Master Zoffany EW at 11/1 with William Hill 5 places  

3.35 Newmarket

Epicetus only went down by a neck in the Gp 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket andremains a colt of considerable potential. That fine run was only a fortnight ago, however, and he has to prove that he can cope with soft ground.

AUGUSTE RODIN represents Aidan O’Brien in this final Group 1 of the British flat racing season and Ballydoyle have saddled the winner of the race three times in the last five years including with Luxembourg 12 months ago.

O’Brien said of his son of Deep Impact after he had won a Group 2 at Leopardstown on Irish Champions weekend: “He has plenty of class and quality, and probably will sharpen up a lot from today. We thought he could be the type of horse to do both the Guineas and the Derby.”

As with Pied Piper there was 6/4 about earlier in the week but the selection now trades a bit of odds on at 10/11. I will be disappointed if he didn’t land his Group 1 and go onto winter quarters one of the market leaders for the colts’ classics next year.

Recommendation: Auguste Rodin at 10/11 with William Hill

4.00 Kelso

There are a couple of horses in opposition in the extended 2m 1f handicap chase EDMUND DANTES and Corrigeen Rock that I am interested in going forwardand the former gets the vote despite the fact that he gets further.

This is a good pot for a 0-120 and I remember vividly the selection coming down three out when he had not been asked a serious question at Newcastle last term. Champion jockey Brian Hughes takes the mount for Ruth Jefferson. Any significant rain would be a plus.

Corrigeen Rock fell at the fifth on his chase debut, but he had flown the first four and just overjumped at the first in the home straight. He, too, will get further in time but he must give the selection 18lbs and that might be beyond the Lucinda Russell trained 5-y-old who won his sole point and also a 2m maiden hurdle at this corresponding meeting 12 months ago   

Recommendation: Edmund Dantes at

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