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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 16th December 2023

The Mandarin’s Cheltenham Racecard for Saturday 16th December 2023

JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle 12.05
An Bradan Feasa
Runner-up to the smart Burdett Road at the Autumn Festival last month, and without that rival lining up here has to be the one to follow. He did little wrong in that Grade 2 Trial, except for bumping into a good one, and should only come on for that first run here at Prestbury Park. The Skelton’s are in good form, so Wetherby winner Kourosh has to enter calculations, but An Bradan Feasa has the course experience so gets the nudge

John Wyke Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase 12.40
Course experience could pay off for Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Weveallbeencaught, now dropped into handicap company. With both his runs on this track this season, the undulations of Prestbury Park will hold no fears, and his runners-up spot to stablemate Broadway Boy looks a decent bit of form, despite 20 lengths separating the pair. A winner here over hurdles on New Year’s Day, Weveallbeencaught can break the maiden tag over fences

Quintessentially Handicap Chase 1.15
Calico (nap)
Calico was unlucky just to lose out here in November to Triple Trade, hitting the last and just losing momentum to see out the race. Returned to this track, and on soft ground, there’s every chance he can go one better for the in-form Lodge Hill Stables base of Dan Skelton. Brother Harry is up top to get the job done, so with form on soft, Calico looks the one to beat

Virgin Bet December Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 1.50
Fakir D’oudairies
Joseph O’Brien’s chaser is a dual Grade One winner over fences, and can add Cheltenham to the honours board with a win in this Premier Handicap. That said, he’s got to shoulder top-weight here, but is a classy sort that deserves the lofty rating that puts him there, and probably has too much talent to give weight away to Thunder Rock and Monmiral and still come out on top. Irish raider So Scottish lines up on a handy mark, so rates the main threat for the same owner, but Fakir D’oudairies should be right in the mix

Favourite From The Sun Now Daily Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 2.25
Malina Girl (nb)
The second of the Premier Handicaps can go to Irish raider, Malina Girl. Gavin Cromwell has his string in fine fettle, and his Malinas mare made no mistake when scoring here at last month’s Autumn Festival, 10 lengths clear of the field in an impressive run in the final mile. A deeper race here, with some quality opposition in Protektorat and course winner Broadway Boy, but Malina Girl is consistent and has more wins in her

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 3.00
One going the right way for Kim Bailey, Destroytheevidence has won three of his five starts over timber. With two of those coming at Kempton and the other at Worcester, so he has to prove equally as effective on something very different from those flat tracks, but this Kayf Tara gelding has been winning by some impressive margins, so would seem to have plenty in hand. A deeper race but more to come from Destroytheevidence, whose race experience should count for plenty

Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Mares’ Handicap Hurdle 3.35
It may pay to side with with Fergal O’Brien’s Bonttay for Saturday’s closer. Never out of the first two in nine career starts is a pretty impressive record, and includes a brace of Bumper wins here, so she clearly acts on this track. Theatre Glory is a course and distance winner at Graded level so rates the main challenger, but Bonttay hasn’t found her ceiling yet, so gets the big tick

The Mandarin

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