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Theatre Guide to star on Friday’s Cheltenham card

Channel 4 cameras are at Cheltenham on Friday for the opening day of the December Gold Cup meeting. Four races are to be screened live including the Grade 3 Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase at 2.10.

Theatre Guide was a decent novice last season, beating Hinterland impressively at Exeter and finishing third to Dynaste at Newbury. He lost his way towards the end of the season before a confidence boosting win at Newton Abbot in April.

Trainer Colin Tizzard started him off at Kempton this term where he was a fair third to Bury Parade before pitching him into the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. He produced a career-best to finish third to Triolo D’Alene and Rocky Creek, beaten only four and a half lengths.

His biggest danger could be Knockara Beau who ran a great race here last time to finish second to Alvarado. Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude was back in fourth with Burton Port twelfth and Quentin Collonges beaten when unseating his rider.

The card opens with a fascinating novice chase featuring a clash between Wonderful Charm and Oscar Whisky. Preference is for Nicky Henderson’s former top-notch hurdler who is set to receive 8lbs from Paul Nicholls’s promising French import.

The Cross Country Chase could go the way of Any Currency who knows his way around here. He was third over this course behind Balthazar King at the last meeting. The danger could be Keep On Track who held every chance when slipping up at Punchestown in a similar event last time.

Paul Nicholls has his string in flying form and looks to have found a great opportunity for Southfield Theatre in the 3.15. He travelled strongly throughout before being pipped in a three-way battle by Return Spring and Salubrious.

He is marginally better off at the weights with the winner and can gain his revenge. There are some decent novices in the closing race which can go the way of the unbeaten Garde Le Victoire.

Selections: 12.30 Oscar Whisky, 1.05 King Massini, 1.40 Zafranagar, 2.10 Theatre Guide, 2.40 Any Currency, 3.15 Southfield Theatre, 3.45 Garde Le Victoire