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Cheltenham New Year's Day Preview: To The Well Once More

Splash of Ginge won this race for Nigel Twiston-Davies in 2015, following in the footsteps of stablemate Double Ross who had obliged 12 months earlier, and could yet bid for a second Betbright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Cheltenham New Year's Day Preview: To The Well Once More

Splash of Ginge won this race for Nigel Twiston-Davies in 2015, following in the footsteps of stablemate Double Ross who had obliged 12 months earlier, and could yet bid for a second Betbright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

He showed great tenacity to fend off Starchitect at the track in November, but wasn’t in the same form a month later when only seventh behind Guitar Pete last time. Stablemate Foxtail Hill was sixth in the same contest, but looks in the grip of the handicapper, having gone up 7 lb for his win at the track in October (only dropped 2 lb since for two defeats).

Connections of Waiting Patiently Horseform have had to bid their time, the seven-year-old not seen on the track since winning at Carlisle on his reappearance in early-November. That was his fifth win in a row, having secured three novice chase wins last term, including beating subsequent Tingle Creek winner Politologue at Haydock last January. Waiting Patiently is clearly progressive, and looks potentially well-treated on his handicap debut (on a form line through Carlisle runner-up Belami des Pictons), so must be taken very seriously despite encountering the biggest field he has faced.


Venetia Williams saddled Stan to win this race in 2009 and looks to have another leading contender in Burtons Well Horseform. He finished runner-up to Waiting Patiently at Uttoxeter last December, before going on to finish fourth in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase here the following month.

Burtons Well was still going well when falling at the ninth in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Festival in March, but proved he was over that incident when beaten a neck by Romain de Senam at Stratford on his reappearance in October. The winner was well-in under a 6 lb penalty that day, and has franked the form since, finishing fifth in both the Bet Victor Gold Cup and Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. Likely to get his preferred ground (best form on soft/heavy going) and open to further improvement, Burtons Well is fancied to defy a 3 lb higher mark.

Shantou Flyer Horseform, who has joined Richard Hobson from Rebecca Curtis since, won this race last season (Quite By Chance sixth from 1 lb lower mark) and is only 3 lb higher here. He has mainly contested better races since, including the Grand National, and should be suited by the drop in class and trip here; he can run well at 20/1, especially if the ground deteriorates any further.

Sametegal Horseform has improved for the application of a tongue tie, running well on his return from 608 days off at Wetherby in November. He wasn’t quite in the same form when seven lengths third to Gas Line Boy in the Grand Sefton (Mercian Prince eighth) at Aintree last month, but it was encouraging that he could string good efforts back to back after his long absence; he looks on a fair mark.

Oldgrangewood also has recent form of the Grand National fences, third in the Old Roan at Aintree in October, and he then ran as well as ever when winning at Newbury last time by half a length from Jameson. He is 3 lb higher here but should continue to give a good account. Buywise appears to be at the other end of the spectrum, seemingly on a downhill slope since finishing fourth to Un Temps Pour Tout in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Festival in March. He is now very well-handicapped, however, and should get the strong pace here which sees him to best effect; if his jumping holds up he could surprise a few.

Of the others, Ramses de Teillee converted a series of placed efforts when winning comfortably at Chepstow in November and his second to Get On The Yager at Fontwell last time was franked by the winner in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day. Theinval is starting to look attractively handicapped, but was slightly below form when third to Overtown Express last time and is yet to prove he stays this far on ground worse than good.

Conclusion

Burtons Well ran a cracker on his reappearance and can take another step forward here on ground which he handles very well. The prolific Waiting Patiently is the obvious danger.

Recommendation

Back Burtons Well to win the Betbright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day at 6/1
Timeform




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