• Tue 26 Sep, 2017
  • 10:19 BST
  • 06:19 EST (BST-4)
  • 12:19 CEST (BST+2)

Charlie’s Weekend Whispers

Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Newbury and Uttoxeter and three at Cheltenham on Sunday. View selections below

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Former Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin will host ITV’s coverage of racing from Cheltenham on New Year’s Day after the curtain came down on Channel 4 Racing 32 years at Kempton Park earlier in the week.

No terrestrial TV coverage this afternoon but Racing UK (Channel 432) are free-to-air today and they will show racing from Newbury whose feature contest is the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle for novices over an extended two-and-a-half miles.

Harry Skelton nominated today’s race as the immediate target for Robin Roe as soon as the horse won at Aintree on his hurdles debut (good ground) back in October and the runner up (No Comment) has subsequently franked the form winning twice.

Robin Roe is potentially the best horse in the field but Messire Des Obeaux (1.50) won a Sandown Grade 2 last time over today’s trip giving 7lbs to the Cheltenham Bumper winner Ballyandy and that is, arguably, the best form on offer. The selection is 4/1 at BetVictor and I would be disappointed if he didn’t go close.

Gordon Elliot brings over Naas winner Baltazar D’Allier although the form of that success has taken a couple of knocks and he is not considered to be in quite the same class as stablemate Death Duty; watch out for him over fences in time.

Knockgraffon is another Skelton horse likely to be all the rage but he has been raised 12lbs for winning over C&D last time and he must give 10lbs to the Fred Winter Hurdle runner up Romain De Senam (2.25) who may have needed the race when second at Plumpton on his chase debut.

The winner (Top Notch) has subsequently franked the form and the selection may have most to fear from fellow 4-year-old Cepage who routed his opposition from a 13lbs lower mark over C&D earlier in the month.

Yanmare is chasing a four-timer in the Mandarin Chase but he is at his best when the mud is flying and might find things happening too quickly this afternoon. Willoughby Hedge (1.15) fell when going well on this card last season and was well backed before being withdrawn at Doncaster on account of the unseasonably fast ground earlier in the week. The nine-year-old is lightly-raced for one of his years and he can reward each way support in a race named after the great former Lambourn trained chaser.

I can pass on a good word for Percy Street (12.10) in the opening juvenile hurdle for Nicky Henderson who has saddled the inner of the corresponding race for the last two years. The selection was rated in the nineties on the flat for Karl Burke at distances up to a-mile-and-a-half and he cost present connections 160,000 Gns when sold back in October.

Geordie Des Champs (3.00) is chasing the four-timer over hurdles and the handicapper has left him on his current mark after giving weight and a beating in a novices hurdle last time. Born Survivor and Floresco are two dangers in a fascinating contest and this could be a big day for the Skelton yard.

At Uttoxeter Pine Warbler (12.35) is bred to appreciate the step up in trip in the 3m handicap hurdle and Ciaran Gethings takes off a valuable 5lbs while Burtons Well caught a tartar on his break from a long lay-off at Sedgefield last month. He has been raised 4lbs for that effort and steps up in trip, however, and I think Pistol Park (2.15) is open to further improvement at the foot of the weights and can land what is a competitive handicap.

Mumgos Debut (2.50) drops back in trip for Lucinda Russell, but the forecast heavy ground and his sound jumping will suit this gelding who was outstayed over 2m 6f here when last seen back in November.

At Cheltenham on New Year’s Day I hope to see Clan Des Obeaux (1.25) follow up his Newbury win in the Grade 2 Dipper Chase for Paul Nicholls. The champion trainer has a strong hand with his novice chasers and the selection receives 5lbs from Henderson’s OO Seven.

I’m looking forward to seeing Vaniteux (2.00) stepping back up to 2m 4f on good ground in the 2m 4f handicap chase and Cole Harden (3.10) is reported in rude health ahead of the Relkeel Hurdle where he will be fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time reverting to timber having jumped poorly on his chase debut.

For all your racing odds this weekend check out BetVictor.com – new customers can claim Bet £10 Get £30 free

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