Theatre Territory is backed to finally come good over fences by Simon Holt, who has two tips for day one of the International meeting at Cheltenham.
Recommended bets: Friday December 14
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
THEATRE TERRITORY is still seeking a first win over fences but the Warren Greatrex mare may never have a better chance than in Friday's CF Roberts 25 Years Of Sponsorship Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
Placed on the course behind the subsequently much-improved Ms Parfois and Cheltenham Festival winner Mister Whitaker on two occasions last season, the eight-year-old made an excellent reappearance (following wind surgery) when chasing home Ibis Du Rheu in a novices' chase here at the November meeting.
Under the ruling in such races that only winners can go up in the ratings, Theatre Territory remains on a mark of 132 whereas her one-length conqueror rose 8lb. Therefore, the selection is, in theory, 7lb well in at the weights here. What's more, regular rider Sam Waley-Cohen can claim 3lb now which wasn't the case on that occasion.
With the likely good ground conditions in her favour, she should have an excellent chance off her light weight.
Indeed, the selection is set to receive a massive 21lb from top weight Rock The Kasbah, who produced a game performance to win here last time (up 6lb) but who faces a tougher task now. That form was slightly let down by runner-up Royal Vacation at Sandown last Saturday, but Philip Hobbs' tough chaser can still confirm placings with Singlefarmpayment (fourth), Cogry (sixth) and Doing Fine (seventh).
Of the others, the Paul Nicholls-trained El Bandit is feasibly treated but needs to jump more fluently than when pulled up (returning after a long absence) at Wincanton last month while Festival winner Coo Star Sivola might prefer softer ground.
Later on, AARON LAD is fancied to follow-up his recent Market Rasen success despite racing off a 9lb higher mark in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle.
The seven-year-old, aboard whom Charlie Hammond again claims his 5lb allowance, put up a career-best when out-staying the runner-up Jersey Bean (the winner of his previous three starts) and the pair were fully ten lengths clear of the re-opposing Clondaw Native (now 10lb better off).
The latter should get closer this time but Aaron Lad, who had stayed on well on the Old Course here when sixth of 20 in October, looks an improver for his very shrewd trainer.
The Nicholls-trained Worthy Farm is bound to attract support towards the bottom of the weights but this step up into class two company having scrambled home by a neck at Taunton (class four) last time may require plenty of improvement.
Irish raider Great Trango is respected after his second at Listowel in September and a line through third-placed Dawn Raider (three places ahead of the subsequently improved Aaron Lad here in October) suggests he has a good chance at the weights. However, while very consistent, Sean Flanagan's mount seems to place more than he wins whether racing on the Flat or over hurdles.
Preview posted at 1600 GMT on 13/12/2018