1pt win Fine Casting @4/1, 12:55 Cheltenham, Monday

2m½f (New) Close Brothers Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 3) (5yo+)

This is a tight-looking novice chase at Cheltenham, but with the heavy ground, you are going to need to be some type to carry top-weight in the handicaps on New Years Day. Matata has to carry that burden, and with his exhuberant front-running style, I’m not sure he is going to quite get home in these conditions.

Petit Tonnerre continues to underwhelm and there is a 150/1 shot that is miles out of the handicap. That leaves this race to Libberty Hunter and FINE CASTING with preference just for the latter despite the strong performance posted by Libberty Hunter on his second chase start for which he has been raised 10lbs.

Fine Casting was a very solid hurdler for Ben Pauling, but promises to offer more as a chaser given that he put in a promising opening chase over 2m 4f on soft ground at Ffos Llas for which he remains on the same mark. Fine Casting may have just needed that run and the drop back to a stiff and testing 2m 0.5f could be absolutely perfect for a horse that finished fourth in the Imperial Cup off this sort of mark last season. His form on heavy ground reads particularly well and this race might just be set up for him as he races from off the pace and gets weight from all his rivals.

1pt win Fine Casting @4/1, 12:55 Cheltenham, Monday

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