Cheltenham preview (13.55): Tenor to hit the high notes
David Metcalf | January 1, 2016
Tenor Nivernais goes well in the mud and looks the answer to the big 3m 2f handicap chase on a competitive New Year’s Day card at Cheltenham (13.55).
The Venetia Williams gelding scored first time up last season when staying on strongly and showing a good attitude to get up in the final stride and beat King Edmund at Kempton, and backed that up with a solid fifth of 13 to Splash Of Ginge in this contest.
Although now 10lb higher in the weights, Tenor Nivernais showed he could be competitive of his current rating when third of 14 to Village Vic over course and distance last time out.
The eight-year-old stayed on well to be beaten 5 1/2 lengths and now meets the winner on 7lb better terms.
That may well be enough to see Tenor Nivernias reverse the placings, especially as he will relish the testing conditions at Prestbury Park.
Will Village Vic be weighted down?
The aforementioned Village Vic is unbeaten in three runs this season and looks a big player despite rising markedly in the weights.
Having started the season off with a victory at Wetherby off a mark of 125, the Philip Hobbs trained eight-year-old now has to race off a career-high rating of 144.
That may well not be beyond him, but the race he won last time out at the track had been his target for a long time and Village Vic will need to step up again to land the four-timer.
Punters look up to the Seventh Sky
Another who looks sure to go well is the Charlie Mann trained Seventh Sky.
The nine-year-old was an impressive winner of the Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase on heavy ground at Haydock Park when last seen in action, and prior to that had run a blinder to finish runner-up over the Grand National fences when second in the Grand Sefton at Aintree.
This is tougher and demands a career-best from Seventh Sky, but he is a game sort who relishes a slog and looks sure to give it his best shot.