Frodon can revenge on Baron Alco to win the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase (1.55pm) for a second time at Cheltenham on Saturday afternoon.
Last month’s BetVictor Gold Cup over course and distance could be the key contest in finding the winner of the Grade Three feature back at Prestbury Park.
Baron Alco landed the spoils beating Frodon by two lengths with last year’s winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, Guitar Pete, a further eight lengths adrift.
Those three look to hold the best chances of victory again, but on the revised terms – Frodon gets 3lb from his conqueror – Paul Nicholls’ improving six-year-old can revise placings.
A winner of the Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree Racecourse on his reappearance, Frodon ran a fine race under Bryony Frost to be second at Cheltenham last month.
He won this two years ago and seems to be in even better form now. Despite carrying top weight of 11st12lb he can add to his trainer’s fine record in the race and emulate Nicholls’ Poquelin (2009-10) by winning the extended 2m4f contest twice.
Liverpool-born owner John Neild’s Splash Of Ginge would be a danger on softer ground but could run into a place a biggish odds.
Tom George’s Cheltenham Festival winner Summerville Boy looks the most likely to score again in the Grade Two Unibet International Hurdle (3.05pm).
He was fourth behind dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur d’Air on his seasonal return and should be spot on to resume his progress from novice to genuine two-mile contender.
Le Breuil can go one better back at Cheltenham in the Ryman Novices’ Chase (12.45pm).
Ben Pauling’s six-year-old was beaten by Count Meribel over course and distance last month and finished third at Newbury last time out. He can grab a second win in four starts over fences.
Dan Skelton’s Supremely Lucky can make it two wins from three starts over obstacles with victory in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Bristol Novices’ Hurdle) (2.30pm).
Nicky Henderson’s Theinval has a decent chance of upsetting a couple of much better fancied rivals in the Junior Jumpers Handicap Chase (1.20pm); while the Harry Fry-trained Definitelyanoscar may score again in the OLBG Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Nhmops Bonus Race) (3.40pm).
At Doncaster Nicholls’ Cliffs Of Dover can grab the feature, the Grade Two bet365 December Novices’ Chase (2.10pm).
Trainer Alan King could be among the winners at Doncaster and Cracker Factory may be one of them in the Grade Two bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle (2.45pm).
Kim Bailey’s course and distanc winner Rocky’s Treasure may triumph again on Town Moor in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle (1.35pm).
12.10pm Fanfan Du Seuil
12.45pm Le Breuil
1.55pm Frodon (NAP)
2.30pm Supremely Lucky
3.05pm Summerville Boy
11.50am Golden Jeffrey
12.25pm Newtown Boy
1pm The Unit
1.35pm Rocky’s Treasure
2.10pm Cliffs Of Dover
2.45pm Cracker Factory
3.20pm Go Conquer
12pm Alberto’s Dream
12.35pm Star Of Lanka
1.10pm Troubled Soul
1.45pm Style de Garde
2.20pm Jam Session
2.55pm Steel Bob
3.30pm Foxy Singer
12.55pm Festival Of Ages
1.30pm Tomorrow’s Angel
2.40pm Nearly There
3.15pm Enchanting Man
4.20pm Mystical Moon
SUNDAY’S NAP: Kris Spin (Carlisle 2.25pm).
Haydock Park getting in Festive spirit with two weekend meetings
Haydock Park is set to host back-to-back festive fixtures, starting with next Saturday’s Tommy Whittle Chase day.
The Merseyside venue has a Saturday then a Sunday fixture for racegoers keen to get to the track over the Christmas break.
Next Saturday sees a seven-race jumps card with the Smarkets Tommy Whittle handicap Chase the feature on the final race-day before Christmas.
In 2016 the Venetia Williams-trained Yala Enki won the Tommy Whittle, while last year Captain Redbeard took it for Scottish trainer Stuart Coltherd.
Although not quite of the same level of contest these days the roll of honour includes Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Forgive N’ Forget (1986) and The Thinker (1988); the smart One Man (1995); dual Grand National runner-up Suny Bay (1998) and more recently Donald McCain’s Cloudy Lane beat subsequent Grand National hero Comply Or Die in 2007.
Gates open at 9.50am with the first race, the getsbk.com The Superprice Sportsbook Handicap Hurdle, due off at 11.50am. The finale, the Smarkets Betting Exchange Handicap Hurdle, at 3.15pm. The feature, the Tommy Whittle Chase is at 2.40pm.
The following Sunday (December 30) is The Last Fling Chase day featuring another seven-race card and a family day at the races. The Last Fling Chase is named after Sue Smith’s former smart chaser, who won the race in 2000.
Gates open at 10.20am, with the opener, the Bryn Gates Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, is due off at 12.20am.
The finale, the Platt Bridge Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race is at 3.35pm with the feature, with The Last Fling Chase due off at 2pm
Prices start at £14 for the Grandstand and Paddock. It is £27 for the County Enclosure, while there are hospitality packages available, by ringing 01942 402624.
For tickets and more details at http://www.haydock.thejockeyclub.co.uk/events-tickets/ or on the ticketing hotline 0344 579 300.
Missed Approach on course for Grand National after Becher Chase sixth
Missed Approach will be aimed at a crack at the Randox Health Grand National following a decent first try over the big obstacles in the Becher Chase at Aintree last Saturday.
Despite losing up to 20 lengths at the start, he got near the head of affairs and ran with great zest until tiring late on to be sixth behind winner Walk In The Mill.
That was the Warren Greatrex’s Cheltenham Festival winner’s first start of the season.
The trainer was pleased with the eight-year-old’s efforts and he will be aimed at a return to the Liverpool track for the world’s greatest steeplechase on April 6 in the new year.
Missed Approach is a best-priced 50-1 with Skybet and Unibet for the Grand National.
And Greatrex said: “He’s come out of it OK, no problems. Obviously it was a bit frustrating to get left at the start, but he jumped round well. He attacked the fences and showed us that he liked them.
“It didn’t help missing the break and then we made up the ground quite quick.
“The plan will be all around the National, so we probably won’t run him until the weights come out and then we’ll find something for him in February before embarking on the Grand National.”
He added: “He always seems to perform well in the spring. The four miles will help him and the better ground as well.
“There was a lot to take out of it. I thought he ran a solid race and there’s more to come, I’d say.”