1.55pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 01/01/2016

1.55pm Cheltenham Friday 1st January

Free Tip: Tenor Nivernais at 6/1 EW

Race Details

Race Time: 1.55pm Meeting: Cheltenham Day: Friday 1st January 2015 Full Race NameBetBright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase (Grade Three) Class One

Betting Preview

An interesting handicap comes next on the Channel 4 list for Friday and once again, as things stand, we will be watching anything trained by Paul Nicholls to see if the yard are coming out of their mini slump – or not. Mr Mole (16/1) is all set to carry top weight here and is the best horse in the race assuming he can run to form, of course. After running up four wins in a row at about this time last season he was upped in class and has since been beaten by Dodging Bullets, Special Tiara, Sprinter Sacre, and Sire De Grugy in that order, so what chance did he really have against the best two milers in the business? Dropped in class today, even top weight may not be enough to stop him and if the stable were firing at all he would be our bet, but the fact is they aren’t and it is difficult to see how we can dare to suggest him in those circumstances.

Over a stone below him in the weight sits the Philip Hobbs trained Village Vic (7/2) who has won all three races this season and will be looking for number four. Last time out over this course and distance, he made all the running to see off stablemate Champagne West by close to five lengths, and although he has been put up another eight pounds for that win, who is to say he has stopped his winning sequence over a track and trip he clearly loves. Richard Johnson rides as he has for all three mentioned wins, and if he gets a soft lead which seems quite possible, he ought to prove mightily difficult to catch when needed.

Interestingly, Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the last two renewals courtesy of Double Ross and Splash Of Ginge and he seems sure to rely on Little Jon (11/1) this afternoon, but should we take the hint? He was thirty-one lengths behind Village Vic last time out here at Cheltenham and is only three pounds better off today, but he did slip up early in the race as well as making a hash of a couple of fences so the run may be best forgotten, and as he did win at Newbury the time before (though off a six pounds lower mark), he one to consider for a place, assuming his last little mishaps haven’t put him off the racing game for good.

As we write trainer Kerry Lee has booked Jamie Moore to ride Top Gamble (10/1) here and after a good third to Little Jon at Newbury, who he now meets on eleven pounds better terms for six lengths, which really ought to turn things around with a bit to spare. That was only his second run of the season after pulling up at Chepstow giving every reason to think he may well improve again for the race, in which case he comes here with an excellent chance and is well worth considering.

Saving what we hope will be the best to last, and Venetia Williams has her string in good form still and will be expecting a big run from Tenor Nivernais (6/1) who seems to have outstanding each way prospects from a decent enough weight, over a trip that suits him ideally. After winning at Ascot on his return to action in November, he ran a perfectly respectable third to Village Vic when beaten five and a half lengths last time out and meets that rival on seven pounds better terms this afternoon which in theory ought to be enough to turn that form around. Most of his wins are on soft going with one on heavy, so he ought to be able to handle the ground, and as things stand he certainly looks to be a solid bet to us.


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