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Racing Strike gold at Cheltenham this afternoon

THE Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham (1.55) is the big betting highlight of the day and several of the 11-runner field lock horns again after running in the BetVictor Gold Cup last month when that old warrior Splash of Ginge beat Starchitect, Le Prezien, Ballyalton, Romain de Senam, Foxtail Hill and Guitar Pete.

At the weights there is little between the first five there and the deciding factor could well be the state of the ground.

Any more rain would certainly suit the winner and King’s Odyssey who returned to the track with a good opening salvo at Carlisle.

However, all of them may well be eclipsed by the top-weight Clans Des Obeaux.

His trysts with Whisper have since been cemented by the latter and it could be that the Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old is well handicapped here despite his welter burden off a rating of 155.

Just over half an hour later Count Meribel, Equus Secretus and Global Stage put their unbeaten seasonal records on the line in the Grade Two Bristol Novices Hurdle over three miles.

However, they could all be thwarted by Kilbricken Storm (nb). A point-to-point winner in April, Colin Tizzard has brought this young horse on slowly as he matures and strengthens into his frame and his victory over two miles at Wincanton last time signalled he was getting the hang of things.

This big step up in trip as well as class should tell us a whole lot more about him but I think this thorough test of stamina is exactly what he is crying out for and he should not be missed.

Earlier on Apple’s Shakira (12.10) and Coo Star Sivola (12.45) should take the world of beating in the first two races on the card while RON’S DREAM is set to outrun her price off top-weight in the finale due off at 3.40.

Over at Doncaster, the filly Castafiore (nap) looks sure to relish the good ground in the two mile handicap hurdle at 12.00.

She has fallen from a mark of 122 down to 112 and with Paul O’Brien taking another 5lbs off her back, Charlie Longsdon’s charge looks weighted to play a part in the finish on her preferred good ground.

The main event of the day at the Town Moor track is the Summit Juvenile Hurdle at 2.45 and I am expecting Act of Valour to retain his 100 per cent record following a smooth opening success at Newcastle at the beginning of December.

The Bet365 Handicap Chase at 3.20 looks a cracking affair and Kilcrea Vale from the Nicky Henderson yard looks the one to be on.

A fair novice hurdler, he was always going to make a better chaser and has run two solid races at Haydock and Ascot this season.

However, it is the step up to three miles which could well be the making of him and the prevailing good ground is a bonus for this strapping son of Beneficial.

Finally, have a look at the evening card at Wolverhampton where both Rapid Rise (6.45) and Daily Trader (7.45) should go well at each-way prices.


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