After a hiatus since late spring, things are ready to figuratively heat up as the cold winter months come along.
Two days of cracking action at Chepstow begin on Friday with their seven-race card from 1.00pm-4.25pm to be headlined by the Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at 2.45pm.
You can watch all the Chepstow action – alongside every race from the UK and Ireland – via live streaming when logged into MansionBet. Our tipster takes a look at Friday’s card.
1.00 – Andy Stewart Racing’s Great Friend Novices’ Hurdle (2m)
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is known to target this meeting and he’ll be especially keen to take this race, named in memory of Big Buck’s owner Andy Stewart, a stalwart at Ditcheat down the years. No shock then that unbeaten bumper performer KNAPPERS HILL starts his hurdling career here. He won a Grade 2 when last spotted and has been receiving plenty of positive reports from his trainer in regards to his schooling. Newcomers Pikar and Supasunrise are possible dangers, as is Earth Business on the strength of his Taunton maiden run in the spring.
Selection: Knappers Hill @ SP
1.35 – Tom Malone Bloodstock Novices’ Chase (2m7½f)
Four runners for this novices’ chase and it would be churlish to rule any of them out. Does He Know was a little underwhelming after landing a Cheltenham Grade 2 novice last November but is respected, while Ask Dillon was a faller at the same venue in October last year on chasing bow. He became a solid handicap hurdler afterwards. THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE’s only hurdles defeat was in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival (3m, good to soft) and he can live up to his name by ensuring Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden are off to a flying start on this card.
Selection: Threeunderthrufive @ 15/8
2.10 – Professor Caroline Tisdall Supports Heroic Jumpers Veterans’ Handicap Chase (2m7½f)
Geordie Des Champs was in excellent fettle over timber in early summer and Rebecca Curtis’ course winner could have a major say back fencing after a layoff as this Veterans’ contest surely sets up well for him. VIVAS was shaping with some promise at Warwick recently on his return from a break/wind surgery before he unseated his rider. Charlie Longsdon’s charge stays this trip and is lurking on a decent mark for this first foray into veterans’ company.
Selection: Vivas @ 7/1
2.45 – Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m3½f)
His technique over the obstacles still needs some work but FIRST STREET clearly has a good engine judged on his wins at Bangor (2m3½f, good) and Warwick (2m5f, good) so far in this sphere. He’s facing better rivals now but that might well enable him to make more progress himself and the Nicky Henderson inmate could prove best of these. Camprond, Up For Parol, Hidden Heroics and Paso Doble are all listed as dangers.
Selection: First Street @ 4/1
3.20 – Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 4-Y-O Hurdle (Limited Handicap, 2m)
Casa Loupi will be a danger to all if allowed to dominate up front but that may not be afforded to Jamie Moore’s mount here. The likes of Hell Red, Cabot Cliffs and Orchestral Rain need monitoring but there could be more in the offing this season from ELHAM VALLEY. He looked a decent sort when scoring on hurdles bow at Sandown last December and was given some tough assignments afterwards, including when third in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival. Held back there the following month, it will be interesting to see what he can do back amongst his peer-group on seasonal return.
Selection: Elham Valley @ SP
3.55 – ITM – It Pays To Buy Irish EBF Mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (2m3½f)
She’s penalised for it but NINA THE TERRIER made an ideal start to her hurdles career when scoring at Warwick (2m, good to soft) in May, doing so in competent fashion for Alan King and Tom Bellamy. The form is hardly spectacular but the Milan mare returns from her summer recess now and sets the standard for these rivals to aim at. Irish point winner Runwiththetide is in excellent hands with the Skeltons and could throw down the main challenge.
Selection: Nina The Terrier @ SP
4.25 – Dragon TV & Film Studios Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (2m7½f)
Huntsmans Jog made an underwhelming start to his chasing career at Southwell in May but Fergal O’Brien’s charge is visored now and has gone well fresh before – he shouldn’t waste too long bettering his lot over these obstacles. The Nigel Twiston-Davies runner KILPIN showed more than enough in his first three chase starts last term to suggest he’ll win races. He was second over 3m on so soft ground at Warwick in December on his third attempt and perhaps properly heavy ground at Bangor in January was against him. He’s undergone wind surgery in his break and appeals as being well-treated with Jordan Nailor taking 3lb off now and an ability to go well fresh demonstrated already.
Selection: Kilpin @ SP
*All odds correct at time of writing.