RACING: THE BIG RACE FIELD
Sunday 26 December 1999
1 04-113 BOARDROOM SHUFFLE (31) (BF) (A D Weller) N Chance 8 11 10 T J Murphy 120
yellow, white cross of lorraine, sleeves and cap
Useful handicap chaser, but far from top class and has never won beyond 2m 4f. Won at that distance at Plumpton in November but well beaten by Legal Right at Newbury last time out and holds little chance here
2 3D005- CHALLENGER DU LUC (FR) (262) (D) (D A Johnson) M Pipe 9 11 10 A P McCoy B 132
royal blue, emerald green sleeves, white cap, emerald green spots
Talented but moody individual who has won at this trip - a novice chaser at Exeter - but was beaten a distance into fourth place in this race behind Teeton Mill last season and looks up against it on his seasonal debut
3 F-1130 DJEDDAH (FR) (30) (CD) (J D Martin) F Doumen (Fr) 8 11 10 T Doumen B 126
dark green, pink epaulets and cap
French raider who won the Feltham Novice Chase over this course and distance three years ago but has failed to make it in the highest grade since and was a well-beaten ninth to Ever Blessed in the Hennessy at Newbury
4 03-421 DORANS PRIDE (36) (D) (T J Doran) M Hourigan (Irl) 10 11 10 P G Hourigan 147
emerald green, red stars, emerald green cap, red star
High class jumper who won the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1995 and has been placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups. Retains his ability, goes in the mud and, if bypassing an alternative Irish engagement
5 /114F- DOUBLE THRILLER (261) (D) (R C Wilkins) P Nicholls 9 11 10 J Tizzard 141
yellow, red armlets, quartered cap
Former top class hunter chaser who scored two bloodless victories at Wincanton last term before finishing 32 lengths fourth to See More Business in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Fell at the first fence in the Grand National
6 153-31 DR LEUNT (23) (CD) (P Emery) P Hobbs 8 11 10 A Thornton 134
yellow, dark blue stripe, dark blue sleeves, yellow armlets, white cap
Won the Racing Post Handicap Chase over this course and distance last season and beat Go Ballistic (16lb better off now) in the Rehearsal Limited Handicap Chase at Chepstow on his reappearance. Tougher task now
7 P224-2 GO BALLISTIC (23) (D) (Mrs B J Lockhart) A King 10 11 10 R Johnson 144
turquoise and silver diamonds
Ran a blinder to finish a length second to See More Business in the Cheltenham Gold Cup over 3m 2f 110yds in March and not disgraced against Dr Leunt on his reappearance. Needs good ground to show his best
8 111-31 LOOKS LIKE TROUBLE (24) (D) (Universal Conf. Trvl) N Chance 7 11 10 N Williamson 140
royal blue, red epaulets, white sleeves, red chevrons, royal blue cap, red star
Won the Royal & Sunalliance (Novice) Chase over 3m 1f at the Cheltenham Festival and 10 lengths third to See More Business (5lb better) in Charlie Hall Chase (3m 1f) at Wetherby on reappearance. Tough task at weights
9 23-632 MULLIGAN (17) (C) (Lady Harris) A King 9 11 10 A Maguire 134
mauve and yellow check, yellow sleeves
Smart chaser who used to race at around 2m and has never won beyond 2m 5f. Finished 31/2 lengths second to Star Traveller over 3m1f110yds at Cheltenham last time but infinitely tougher task here
10 1P31-1 SEE MORE BUSINESS (58) (CD) (J A Keighley) P Nicholls 9 11 10 M A Fitzgerald B 149
black, yellow stars, black sleeves, white armlets, yellow cap
Won this race in 1997 and returned to top form when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Seemingly better than ever judging by his easy win in the Charlie Hall, but thought to dislike soft ground nowadays
11 223/54 STRONG PROMISE (37) (G Hubbard) G Hubbard 8 11 10 R Thornton 140
emerald green, white sleeves, emerald green and white check cap
Runner-up to Cool Dawn in the 1998 Cheltenham Gold Cup but beaten a distance behind Edredon Bleu in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in November and looks a dodgy proposition nowadays
12 11-16U TREMALLT (23) (D) (Silkword Racing) T George 8 11 10 Doubtful 118
black, white chevron, white sleeves, orange armlets and cap
Useful handicap chaser but his last victory came off a handicap mark of 120 - See More Business is rated 170 - at Worcester and he faces an all but impossible task at level weights with these rivals. Doubtful runner
- 12 declared -
BETTING: 7-4 See More Business, 3-1 Looks Like Trouble, 6-1 Double Thriller, 13-2 Dorans Pride, Go Ballistic, 12-1 Dr Leunt, 25-1 Mulligan, 33-1 Challenger Du Luc, Strong Promise, 50-1 Djeddah, 66-1 Boardroom Shuffle
See More Business has a favourite's chance and it is hard to understand why Looks Like Trouble (progressive but with plenty to find on Wetherby running) is disputing favouritism with him. Soft ground looks the biggest obstacle to the Gold Cup winner but, if it is muddy, DORANS PRIDE, placed in two Gold Cups on unsuitably fast ground and still a smart chaser, could be the one to take advantage. Ian Davies
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