1pt win Fantastic Lady @7/1, 1pt win Sole Pretender @12/1, 13:50 Cheltenham, Saturday

2m4½f (New) AIS December Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Il Rodoto is favourite for this having finished fourth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup over C&D last time out when racing against several of the same opponents competing here. But I’m not convinced he is that solid a favourite with some stamina doubts ,and generally Paddy Power runners don’t far well in this.

I like the progressive look of FANTASTIC LADY from the Nick Henderson yard. This classy mare put in a cracking performance over three miles at Uttoxeter last time out to beat subsequent winner Zambella. I think that rates as strong form and she should have no issue with a stamina test here despite the drop back to a slightly shorter distance.

I’m also going to have a crack at SOLE PRETENDER who is stepping out of Grade Novice 2 company having finished third to Banbridge on his last start over two miles here at Cheltenham. He is rated off a mark of 145 with a 5lb claimer taking him down to 140 for his first start in a chase handicap. That is 10lbs lower than his hurdles rating where he is a Grade 3 winner in Ireland and even finished 5th in the Grade 1 Champion Stayers Hurdle over three miles at Punchestown in 2021 behind Klassical Dream.

I am not saying he is Grade 1 or 2 level, but I don’t think it’s the deepest of renewals. Sole Pretender has so far yet to run over 2m 2f as a chaser and I think his front running style and liking for quick ground could give him a great chance in this race. There are several in this with stamina doubts, but Sole Pretender and Fantastic Lady both feel like they are well worth a punt at this and should see out the trip.

1pt win Fantastic Lady @7/1, 1pt win Sole Pretender @12/1, 13:50 Cheltenham, Saturday

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