Cheltenham preview: Ryman Stationery Handicap Chase (13.45)
David Metcalf | December 10, 2015
Wonderful Charm has a good record fresh, so looks decent value to defy top weight and make a winning return to action in the 3m 2f Ryman Stationery Handicap Chase at Cheltenham (13.45).
The Paul Nicholls trained gelding is a four-time winner over fences, and has some very smart form to his name.
This seven-year-old finished a decent fifth to Taquin Du Seuil in the Grade 1 JLT Novice’s Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, and was then far from disgraced when third to Holywell in a Grade 1 affair at Aintree.
Charm could be a Wonderful bet
Wonderful Charm also ran very well runner-up to the ultra-smart Don Cossack, now the highest rated horse in the UK and Ireland, at Down Royal in November 2014 and backed that up with a solid 1 3/4 length third to Wishful Thinking in the Grade 1 Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.
That is very strong form, and although the son of Poliglote hans’t really shined in four subsequent outings it would ne no surprise to see him bounce off what looks a workable mark of 160 on the pick of his form.
Nicholls is a dab hand at getting horses back on track and, although Wonderful Charm has not been seen in action 230 for days, he has won three times after lengthy lay-offs in the past, so fitness is unlikely to be an issue and first time up may well be the best time to catch him.
The Druids Nephew a danger, as is Vieux Lion Rouge
The Druids Nephew scored impressively at the Festival back in March, and looks a big player following a recent pipe-opener over hurdles, and another that looks sure to go well is Vieux Lion Rouge.
Vieux Lion Rouge was a useful hurdler who has taken well to fences and comes into the contest on the back of a hat-trick of successes over the larger obstacles.
After landing two novice contests, the David Pipe trained gelding took the step up into class 2 company is his stride when beating Sun Cloud by four lengths at Haydock off a mark of 139.
Although now 7lb higher in the weights, the six-year-old idled in front and was value for more than the winning margin and looks the type who may have even more to offer.
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Coral’s top tip: The classy Wonderful Charm has a good record fresh and well worth a wager to make a winning return. Vieux Lion Rouge has a progressive profile and looks sure to go well