GALOPIN RAISED TO 180 RATING: The official rating for runaway Savills Chase winner Galopin des Champs is up only 2lb to 180, followed by Allaho 173, Shishkin 173, Bravemansgame 170, Hewick 169, Fastorlow 168, Gerri Colombe 167, Royal Pagaille 166, Gentlemansgame 160, Corach Rambler 159. Compare them with Sunday’s ratings by Daqman.

ONLY 20 GOING FOR GOLD: There are only 20 entries for the Gold Cup, seemingly because of Galopin des Champs’ domination, and Daqman reckons the field on the day will be in single figures.


NO gold rush. Only twice in 20 years has the Cheltenham Gold Cup had single-figure fields, nine each when Bobs Worth (2013) and Don Cossack (2016) won.

You’d think that my Sunday list of the 2023 top-10 quality chasers at 3m-plus indicated a bumper card for the big one.

But it’s likely that Galopin des Champs will keep the field down, with yesterday’s entry the lowest in 13 years by a long way; down in 2023 to 27; down even further this year to 20.

I’m keeping Fastorslow in my Fortune Cookies, as currently the only viable alternative to the hot favourite on those published ratings of mine.

Though Gentlemansgame and Bravemansgame also remain among the Cookies, they are destined for alternative targets, surely.

If you wonder what Bravemansgame is doing on the gold card, boggle the more so when you see his stablemate Stay Away Fay in there, too (current rating 147). He’s favourite for the Brown Advisory.

It all suggests that, if Galopin des Champs gets to the race fighting fit, he will face mainly his old enemies, ‘chancers’ because they have nowhere else to go: Envoi Allen, Shishkin, Royal Pagaille, L’Homme Presse will be weak opposition.

The little big horse Hewick may run because Shark Hanlon doesn’t expect him to jump the Grand National fences, and Willie Mullins may also saddle 2021 Brown Advisory winner, Monkfish, to accompany Galopin des Champs.

The only recent improver in the probables is Nassalam, raised 16lb to 161 for his impressive win in the Welsh Grand National for in-form Gary Moore, but I’m sceptical because it puts him 2lb ahead of Corach Rambler.

If the ground is bad as it was for Nassalam at Chepstow, and for Galopin des Champ’s Savills Chase romp, then Bravemansgame and Fastorslow are certain non-runners.

TOMORROW: More about 2024 Fortune Cookies with See How They Run held over until next week.


It’s all about Kempton today as the only surviving meeting. It’s all-weather to the rescue again on Thursday with 18 races from Lingfield and Newcastle – hopefully supplemented by Hereford’s jumps card which looks OK at the moment.

⭕ 5.30 Kempton I’m hoping the final chime of Big Ben on New Year’s Eve didn’t also signal a change in fortune for Roger Varian!

His form at the end of 2023 was 1131121 – his early 2024 form 359.

He should get back among the winners with Arts Of War in this fillies’ novice event over a mile. After an encouraging debut at Newmarket in November (on heavy ground) she was a staying on third at Southwell on her first start on the all-weather. She should appreciate the step up in trip tonight and has the best form on offer.

Wren House only beat two home on debut at Newbury despite being quite fancied in the market and her trainer Andrew Balding is currently 0-18.

The Sir Mark Prescott trained debutant Apostle has an interesting pedigree but not particularly strong in the early Betdaq Betting Exchange market.

A bigger danger for me is Bas Bleu who outran her 125/1 starting price when fourth on debut at Lingfield.


⭕ 7.30 Kempton Liseo has seemingly struggled off his new handicap mark since winning at Chelmsford and whilst he gets no respite from the handicapper tonight a reproduction of his November course and distance fourth in a much better class 2 event should easily prove good enough to land this.

Ocean Heights was a course winner over Christmas over the slightly longer trip but I wouldn’t be in a rush to back him to follow-up off a 5lb higher mark given the current form of trainer David Pipe (1 from 20).

Geelong appeals most of those at bigger odds. He has a good record here and the Coles are operating at an impressive strike-rate. I’ll include him as a second bet in the race.


⭕ 8.30 Kempton A speculative chance is taken on Publicity in the finale.

He was something of an eye-catcher on his handicap debut here when a staying on third. He left his previous form well behind and off the same mark is given a free spin of the wheel.

Mamalouka was heading the morning Betdaq market after a much improved effort at Chelmsford last time on handicap debut.

The balance of his form and temperament would make me nervous of taking short odds. His first race promoted the following comment: “Unseated rider in chute, awkward start, always behind”. A tricky customer.


5.30 Kempton (win 10, nap)
BET 5.2pts win ARTS OF WAR

7.30 Kempton (both win 10)
BET 2.5pts win LISEO
BET 1pts win GEELONG

8.30 Kempton (win 10)
BET 2.2pts win PUBLICITY

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