2pt win Coole Cody in the 2.05 Cheltenham at 9/2
1.5pts each-way Captain Tom Cat in the 2.40 Cheltenham at 7/1
1pt each-way Aaron Lad in the 3.50 Cheltenham at 10/1
1.5pts each-way The Mighty Don in the 4.25 Cheltenham at 11/1
COOLE CODY built upon a solid runner-up effort at Cheltenham in October when landing the Paddy Power Gold Cup three weeks later. He also placed sixth in December’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and again ran well when placing fourth in last month’s Paddy Power Plate, chasing home subsequent Grade 1 runner-up The Shunter and and Grand National fifth Farclas.
The latter two efforts came over this course and distance and Evan Williams’ ten-year-old will compete off the very same mark from which he placed fourth last month.
Coole Cody appreciates decent ground and will receive weight from his two main market rivals. This therefore looks a good opportunity to land another decent prize.
CAPTAIN TOM CAT won three of his first four starts over hurdles on good ground, including a comfortable 2.5L success over 2m5f at Cheltenham in October, and can return to winning ways on a suitable surface.
Dr Richard Newland’s six-year-old placed third on soft ground at Cheltenham in November and sixth in similar conditions at Aintree in December. The son of Dylan Thomas is just 5lbs higher than when victorious at Cheltenham in October, and he could easily continue his progression on better ground.
Captain Tom Cat defeated a subsequent dual scorer at Uttoxeter in July and did the same again in August. Cillin Leonard, whom was on board at Prestbury Park in the autumn, will take a handy 7lbs off his back and he remains open to further improvement over this trip.
AARON LAD ran well for a long way on his return from a 391 day absence at Newbury last month and, given connections, it’s possible that this race has been the plan.
The experienced ten-year-old is now 1lbs lower than when scoring over this course and distance in December 2018 and 9lbs lower than when placing sixth in this race in April 2019, and two of his 5 career victories – including his aforementioned Prestbury Park success – have been achieved on good ground.
Charlie Hammond was in the saddle at Newbury last month and Cillin Leonard will take a handy 7lbs off his back on this occasion, which naturally enhances his prospects.
Track, trip, ground and his current rating all look favourable. Aaron Lad is therefore a tempting each-way proposition.
THE MIGHTY DON beat a subsequent dual scorer on his chasing debut at Chepstow in October, and he ran a mighty race to place second, beaten just 3.75L, behind Saturday’s easy handicap scorer Happygolucky, whom readily defied a rating of 149 and now boasts a rating of 157, over this course and distance in December.
The runner-up at Chepstow, Enrilo, in now rated 143, while the 140 rated Hold The Note, whom placed third at Cheltenham in December, has placed second in competitive handicap company at Newbury and fourth in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival since.
It’s easy to make a case that The Mighty Don is well handicapped off a mark of 140 in view of that form, and he gained further experience of Cheltenham when placing sixth in a good renewal of the National Hunt Chase at the Festival last month.
Nick Gifford’s nine-year-old achieved one of his two hurdling victories at Prestbury Park and he will be well suited by the decent ground. While he also has scope for improvement on just his sixth start in this sphere.