We’re back at Cheltenham for the December meeting with two good days of racing starting on Friday. Nick has previewed the action as well as race from Bangor.


ROSE OF ARCADIA can take the televised opener at Cheltenham on Friday (1.50pm) at 4/1. A pretty smart Point-to-Point winner when she beat her subsequent stablemate Shirocco’s Dream, she’s been a bit of a slow burner over hurdles, but she ran quite well in the mares’ final on nice ground at Newbury and ran much better still on her comeback at Wincanton. She goes chasing off a perfectly fair mark and hopefully the application of a hood will curb her keenness.

SANTINI is a sporting wager at 15/2 in the feature (2.25pm). Unlucky not to win the Gold Cup in 2020, it is not as though he can be considered a busted flush just yet, for all last season was a disappointment. He is now running in his first handicap from a mark in the 150s, and might have been freshened up by his new stable, who have taken their time to get him fit for his seasonal debut. This looks the right spot, and he could just outclass these, with Enrilo clearly the one he has to beat.

DIESEL D’ALLIER (4/1) is taken to reverse the form with the front two from their November runnings in the Cross Country (3.00pm). I fancied him that day, but he didn’t see the race out quite as well on ground that would have been livelier than he had previously encountered. A bit more ease in the ground and a fractional pull at the weights should help him to bridge the gap, as should the benefit of a run this season.

SAINT DALINA is an each-way play at 12/1 in Friday’s finale (3.35pm). In truth, Sporting John can probably boss these inferiors again, but he’ll be a short price and there may be more mileage in trying to work out which of the low weights could be better than their mark. Hence the selection, who was praised for her toughness and staying power multiple times last year and who should be extremely well tailored to the stamina sapping nature of the new course over hurdles.


SARTENE’S SON is a bit of an all or bust in the televised race at Bangor (2.05pm). A tricky character, he’s nonetheless more than capable of winning off this mark if he feels like it. More to the point, he has soft ground, his favourite track and the strong possibility of an uncontested lead to help him. If he takes to the first time blinkers, he might surprise a few of these at 11/1.