Saturday 14 December horse racing tips – O’Neill’s 11/10 chance can strike at Doncaster
Get Brian Healy's race-by-race selections, best bets and Saturday horse racing tips for every meeting going to post on 14 December.
A six-fixture line-up of UK and Irish horse racing meetings take place on Saturday, headlined by day two of the Cheltenham International Meeting featuring the Grade Two International Hurdle on a card that also includes the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
Elsewhere, there is also jumps racing from Hereford and Doncaster where Grade Two action takes place on Town Moor with both the Decemeber Novices’ Chase and the Summit Juvenile Hurdle on the agenda.
There is also jumps racing from Ireland with Fairyhouse going to post.
Saturday’s all-weather racing meanwhile comes from Newcastle in the afternoon on their tapeta surface, and from Wolverhampton in the evening who also race on tapeta.
Doncaster (jumps) – 11.50 – 3.20pm (7 races)
Fairyhouse (jumps) – 11.55 – 3.25pm (7 races)
Hereford (jumps) – 12.00 – 3.30pm (7 races)
Cheltenham (jumps) – 12.10 – 3.40pm (7 races)
Newcastle (flat, aw) – 12.15 – 3.45pm (7 races)
Wolverhampton (flat, aw) – 5.00 – 8.30pm (8 races)
BRIAN HEALY’S NAP OF THE DAY FOR SATURDAY 14 DECEMBER
(12.25) LOGAN ROCKS (15/8, William Hill) showed a decent level of ability in bumpers, and Amy Murphy’s charge stepped up on those efforts with a winning hurdles debut at Huntingdon last month, beating Evander readily by four lengths.
The Yeats gelding turns out here under a winners’ penalty and so has to give up 6lbs and more to this field; but he won with authority latest and could have better to come so is taken to follow up here and defy the weight concession he has to give to his rivals.
He looked a potentially smart prospect in that hurdling debut, and entitled to improve for that initial experience he could prove a tough nut to crack here.
(3.20) CLOTH CAP (11/10, Bet365) is still relatively unexposed as a chaser after just six starts, and Jonjo O’Neill’s charge has shown a decent level of form where he has won twice as well as make the frame in last season’s Scottish Grand National.
The Beneficial gelding scored wins at Stratford and Catterick, and he was only beaten four lengths behind Takingrisks at Ayr in April on his return from almost five months off the track. Having subsequently been off another six months, he made a promising return to action behind Ballyoptic at Chepstow in October, and he stepped up on that effort to finish third at Ascot latest behind Militarian.
He made a mistake at a crucial point in the race, challenging over the last but landing awkwardly and losing sufficient momentum he couldn’t quite recover from; but he can build again on that effort from the same mark, and every chance he can get back to winning ways now in what looks a decent opportunity for him to do so.
11.50 – Pagero
12.25 – Logan Rocks
1.00 – Sky Pirate
1.35 – Scarlet Dragon
2.10 – Windsor Avenue
2.45 – Navajo Pass
3.20 – Cloth Cap
(12.35) SHANTOU VOW (15/8, Bet365) had shaped with promise in a pair of bumper contests either side of five months’ break, and Harry Whittington’s charge stepped up on those efforts when making a successful hurdling debut at Southwell last month where the Shantou gelding ran out a six lengths’ winner over Fil D’ariane.
He did plenty wrong that day, running in snatches and making more than a couple of jumping errors; but he finished well on top at the end, and he is entitled to improve for that outing to do better here where he can win again.
This longer trip should suit, and open to progress with Page Fuller’s claim negating some of his winners’ penalty then he could build on that debut to follow up here.
(1.45) FIRST FLOW (8/13, Ladbrokes) has finished runner-up on both his chase starts since returning from a break, finding only useful sorts Sumerville Boy and Angels Breath too strong respectively in outings at Uttoxeter and Ascot, and this looks a decent opportunity for the Primary gelding to get off the mark in this sphere.
Kim Bailey’s charge was a three-time hurdles winner, which included at Haydock when beating Midnight Shadow in the 2018 Rossington Main Hurdle, but he struggled in subsequent outings a year apart, although he has returned in decent heart over fences this term.
He could prove hard to peg back here if granted a soft lead back at two miles, and he holds solid claims of a first chase success here.
12.00 – Benechenko
12.35 – Shantou Vow
1.10 – Heavenly Promise
1.45 – First Flow
2.20 – Air Horse One
2.55 – North Star Oscar
3.30 – The Mick Preston
(1.55) Paul Nicholls has a very good record in this contest, and while Brelan D’as can go well for the Ditcheat handler, it could be worth chancing on his other runner SECRET INVESTOR (6/1, Ladbrokes) who could still have plenty of scope for better to come over fences having had only six starts in this sphere.
A Grade Two winner over hurdles, the Kayf Tara gelding took a little time to warm to the task of jumping fences, but he rounded off last campaign with back-to-back wins at Wincanton and Ayr respectively, the latter of which came in the Grade Two Future Champions’ Novices’ Chase.
Subsequently far from disgraced behind Real Steel in the Daily Mirror Chase at Down Royal last month, he’ll come on a bundle for that effort having looked in need of the run while his jumping wasn’t always foot-perfect in the borderline heavy ground.
A mark of 150 switching to a handicap is certainly no gimmie in what looks a very competitive field, while the prospect of rain causes some concern given that he has done his winning on a better surface so he wouldn’t want too much rain.
However, he could be worth chancing given he still remains unexposed over fences and he should come on for his recent reappearance. Assuming the ground doesn’t deteriorate too much then he can post a big run off this mark if his jumping holds up in this big field.
(2.30) Valtor had Redford Road behind when getting off the mark over hurdles at Ascot last time, but the latter-named stablemate’s MOSSY FEN (7/1, Ladbrokes) comes into the race defending an unbeaten record and the Milan gelding can extend his sequence.
One of two runners in the field for Nigel Twiston-Davies, he was a winner between the flags for Donnchadh Doyle prior to joining this yard, and following on from a win at Worcester on his debut over hurdles and first run for this yard he stepped up to score readily over a shorter trip at Aintree last month, beating Keep Wondering by four lengths.
He looked a useful prospect in that success, making all the running and staying on stoutly to beat a field which included a next-time winner. This is a tougher test of his credentials, but he could have more still to offer and he’ll appreciate the return to three miles for this latest outing.
His earlier Worcester success showed he didn’t need to make the running, and he remains an exciting prospect who can continue to run well so every chance he can land the hat-trick here.
12.10 – Langer Dan
12.45 – Good Boy Bobby
1.20 – Destrier
1.55 – Secret Investor
2.30 – Mossy Fen
3.05 – Pentland Hills
3.40 – Mega Yeats
(12.50) Smart stayer RAYMOND TUSK (9/4, Ladbrokes) could prove a tough nut to crack if taking to tapeta, and Richard Hannon’s charge can get back to winning ways here.
The High Chaparral colt has acquitted himself well in defeat this term, finding only Dee Ex Bee too strong in the Sagaro Stakes back in May before posting a creditable third to Crystal Ocean next time. Subsequently far from disgraced in the Ascot Gold Cup, he finished fourth in the Ebor Handicap before a tilt at the Melbourne Cup where he travelled well for a long way but met trouble in running and was never able to challenge.
Despite all that went wrong, he was only beaten five lengths at the line, and this is a significantly less testing contest he finds himself in. If his travels haven’t taken something out of him then he ought to take plenty of beating on these terms.
(3.10) ABOVE THE REST (9/1, William Hill) has finished third in two of his last three starts, and the Excellent Art gelding can get back to winning ways returned to a more suitable trip.
David Barron’s charge beat only two home when last seen out contesting in a Lingfield Listed contest behind Judicial. However, that was over six furlongs, and he wasn’t suited by the steady pace. There should be more pace on this time around however, and the return to seven furlongs is a positive.
Eased 2lbs in the weights, he should find this drop in grade more to his liking, and every chance he can bounce back.
12.15 – War Empress
12.50 – Raymond Tusk
1.25 – Finespun
2.00 – Majestic Stone
2.35 – Dublin Pharaoh
3.10 – Above The Rest
3.45 – Landing Night
(1.05) MY MANEKINEKO (10/1, Paddy Power) is finding winning difficult, but the Authorized gelding has ran a series of solid races in defeat which includes latest when beaten three lengths into second behind Charlie Snow Angel at Newcastle over the larger obstacles.
James Nash’s charge is better treated back over hurdles, and he was beaten around the same distance on his last hurdles start from this mark at Galway in September and he ought to continue to run well.
This looks a winnable opportunity for the ten-year old, and he end a losing streak over hurdles stretching back more than four years.
12.30 – Wolf Prince
1.05 – My Manekineko
1.40 – Monkfish
2.15 – Zambezir
2.50 – Kayf Thou
3.25 – More Info
(5.50) GINGER FOX (11/2, Bet365) showed consistent form without managing to win for Ian Williams, but the Iffraaj gelding found some improvement switched to this yard when beating Hart Stopper by a neck, and David Loughnane’s charge can follow up.
That was his first win since scoring at Yarmouth on turf back in October last year, and he appeared to do the job readily enough where he could prove equal to the task of defying a 4lbs rise in the weights.
He has a good draw here, and still with the potential for improvement he could be worth chancing to double up having placed from this mark in the past.
(6.50) TOTAL COMMITMENT (5/1, Coral) is 3-4 at Kempton, and the Exceed and Excel gelding can strike again switching to tapeta.
Formerly with Roger Charlton, he also won on turf at Newcastle, and he has since joined Peter Hedger for a not inconsiderable sum. He now makes his debut for his new yard, and he is an interesting contender with his subsequent rise in the weights largely offset by his talented young rider’s claim.
If he can continue his progression for his new yard then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him go well here, and he can add another win to his tally.
4.50 – Rocking Reg
5.20 – Motawaafeq
5.50 – Ginger Fox
6.20 – Phienix Star
6.50 – Total Commitment
7.20 – Kybosh
7.50 – Big Daddy Kane
8.20 – Ember’s Glow
BRIAN HEALY’S BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY 14 DECEMBER
12.25 Doncaster – LOGAN ROCKS (15/8, William Hill)
12.35 Hereford – SHANTOU VOW (15/8, Bet365)
12.50 Newcastle – RAYMOND TUSK (9/4, Ladbrokes)
1.05 Fairyhouse – MY MANEKINEKO (10/1, Paddy Power)
1.45 Hereford – FIRST FLOW (8/13, Ladbrokes)
1.55 Cheltenham – SECRET INVESTOR (6/1, Ladbrokes)
3.10 Newcastle – ABOVE THE REST (9/1, William Hill)
2.30 Cheltenham – MOSSY FEN (7/1, Ladbrokes)
3.20 Doncaster – CLOTH CAP (11/10, Bet365)
5.50 Wolverhampton – GINGER FOX (11/2, Bet365)
6.50 Wolverhampton – TOTAL COMMITMENT (5/1, Coral)