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Cheltenham puts down frost covers in bid to save Friday TV meeting | Horse racing

Cheltenham and Bangor, the venues for ITV Racing’s five-race schedule on Friday, are subject to inspections at 7.30am and 8am respectively. Frost covers over the entire track meant Cheltenham at least would have been raceable on Thursday so there are grounds for hope that the December meeting – two of the last four days at the course before the Festival in March – will proceed as planned.

Jon Pullin, Cheltenham’s clerk of the course, said on Thurday afternoon: “We are certainly hopeful at this stage and there is no frost under the covers at the moment. While we have that additional frost this evening, I would be hopeful that the covers continue to do their job and we’ll be in a good position for racing tomorrow.”

The Dahlbury Chase, a £70,000 handicap over three-and-a-quarter miles, is the most valuable race of the day by some margin and many punters will recall last year’s renewal, when the near-white Commodore summoned memories of Desert Orchid with a front-running success.

Venetia Williams’s chaser is back for another crack and is the likely favourite, but he is 9lb higher in the weights and may struggle to give 10lb to Captain Cattistock (2.25), who is also a winner over course and distance.

Fergal O’Brien’s gelding gets on particularly well with his rider, Liam Harrison, who is well worth his 3lb claim, has form figures of 1-1-3 in chases at Cheltenham and should be spot on for this after a promising return to action at the October meeting.

Bangor-on-Dee 1.30 The connections of Only The Bold will be desperate to see this card go ahead as he won with any amount in hand on his chasing debut over course and distance last month and will be very tough to beat even off a 10lb higher mark.

Cheltenham 1.50 Marta Des Mottes has made a promising start to her chasing career with an easy debut win followed by a close second in a much stronger race a week later. She has been raised 1lb for that and should have enough improvement to come to beat her main market rival, Hawthorn Cottage.

Q&AGreg Wood’s Friday tipsShow

Doncaster: 11.55 Midnight Moss, 12.30 Tommy Cullen, 1.05 Xcitations, 1.40 The Height Of Fame, 2.15 Rocky Lake, 2.45 Fine Casting, 3.17 Copper Beach.

Cheltenham: 12.40 Master Chewy, 1.15 Hidden Heroics, 1.50 Marta Des Mottes, 2.25 Captain Cattistock (nap), 3.00 Mullenbeg, 3.35 Flight Deck.

Wolverhampton: 12.15 May Remain, 12.50 Storm Master, 1.25 Twilight Fun, 2.00 Bedazzling, 2.30 Visibility, 3.05 All Aboard, 3.40 Nick Vedder, 4.10 Toplight, 4.40 The Gloaming. 

Bangor: 12.20 Starvoski, 12.55 Discko Des Plages, 1.30 Only The Bold (nb), 2.05 Yes No Maybe So, 2.35 Ivar, 3.10 Bay Of Intrigue, 3.45 Amidnightstar.

Southwell: 4.15 Coast, 4.45 Westmorian, 5.15 Hiya Maite, 5.45 Amourie, 6.15 Ward Castle, 6.45 Ron O, 7.15 Light Up Our Stars, 7.45 Reclaim Victory, 8.15 Brazen Arrow.

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Cheltenham 3.00 Having launched her hurdling career with two odds-on defeats, Mullenbeg has clicked in her past three starts and she had plenty in hand when completing her hat-trick at Ludlow last time. This will be her toughest test yet, with Punctuation also looking for a fourth straight win, but a 7lb penalty is unlikely to stop her streak just yet.

Cheltenham 3.35 Flight Deck returned to his previous, progressive form at Carlisle last time after a lacklustre seasonal debut and looks overpriced at around 9-1 off the same mark.

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