Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with nine to follow on Saturday at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Lingfield.
View selections below
The Caspian Caviar December Gold Cup is the feature race from Cheltenham this afternoon with thirteen going to post on perfect (good to soft) jumping ground. Caid Du Berlais is, surprisingly, only 5lbs higher than when winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month and looks a worthy favourite at 3/1 but at double those odds Barakilla (2.00) gets the vote for Evan Williams.
The selection was well backed on his reappearance but never really got competitive and finished third of 14 from a 1lb lower mark at Sandown. He is likely to be ridden more prominently this afternoon and the stable had a very easy winner at Warwick earlier in the week.
No Buts has been raised 10lbs for winning at Newbury in the style of a most progressive young horse and 6-year-olds have won two of the last five renewals of this race. At 7/1 he can reward each way support but Barakilla it is for me and note BetVictor are refunding losses as a free bet up to £20 if your selection finishes runner up.
As a son of Sinndar Hargam (12.15) wouldn’t want the ground too soft but he made an excellent debut over timber when runner up at the Open Meeting in Grade 2 company and he receives weight from a number of the other principles in the opener. If the ground is genuinely good to soft he would have an excellent chance of breaking his maiden tag over timber.
Blaklion will be a warm order stepped up to 3m for the first time but I think Port Melon (2.35) can reverse recent course form over 2m 5f in a race that developed into a bit of a sprint. The selection has always looked as if he would appreciate 3m and he is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time this afternoon.
I wasn’t particularly impressed by The New One’s recent Haydock win and, in receipt of 7lbs, a chance is taken on Vaniteux (3.10) (9/4 at BetVictor) in the Grade 2 International Hurdle. The selection finished third in the Supreme back in March at the Festival and might have improved again when runner up in the Greatwood Hurdle here in November.
I hope trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty can follow up in the finale with Volnay De Thaix (3.45) who failed to get home over 3m at Haydock last time and this drop back to an extended 2m 4f will certainly suit. Former Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby (3.45) looks the danger for Harry Fry in a fascinating finale.
At Doncaster First Mohican (1.05) makes a belated seasonal reappearance for Alan King and is reported in rude health by connections. The consistent Kashmir Peak looks the danger but I am sweet on the King runner who looks well weighted on the best of his hurdles form.
Neil King might have found a star in Zeroshadesofgrey (12.30) having won both starts over hurdles by an aggregate of 36 lengths. This is his toughest test to date but he could be very good especially on soft ground.
At Lingfield Tom Bellamy takes off a valuable 5lbs from the back of West End Rocker (1.30) in the Veteran’s Chase and this former Becher Chase winner showed when last seen at Uttoxeter back in March that he can run well fresh and enjoys soft ground. He is nearing his 13th birthday but these races are an excellent initiative and he can beat Tullamore Dew who never seems to get his head in front but barely runs a poor race.
Toby Lerone (2.40) is back to the same mark he won over C&D over 12 months ago and is blinkered for the first time by Dan Skelton whose string are in such excellent form.