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Mister Whitaker to rule again at Cheltenham

 

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Mister Whitaker can continue his love affair with Cheltenham by registering a third course success in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday.  (stock photo)

Mister Whitaker can continue his love affair with Cheltenham by registering a third course success in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday. (stock photo)

Mister Whitaker can continue his love affair with Cheltenham by registering a third course success in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday. (stock photo)

Mister Whitaker can continue his love affair with Cheltenham by registering a third course success in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday.

Doubters will point to a 7lb hike in the weights as a potential stumbling block for the Mick Channon-trained six-year-old.

That rise was due to an emphatic victory in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on his seasonal debut earlier this month.

The Channon team will have been fully aware of the repercussions that day, but it was a race worth winning in itself and will have put Mister Whitaker spot on for this valuable handicap chase.

The Carlisle venture was Mister Whitaker's first run since the second of his two wins at Cheltenham last term, in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Festival in March when he got up just before the line to deny the reopposing Rather Be by a head.

It is likely, therefore, that Mister Whitaker needed the match practice which would outweigh the extra pounds he was given - and with just six runs over fences under his belt, it is fair to suggest there is more improvement to come.

Rock The Kasbah can show the benefit of his first outing for six months by winning the BetVictor.com Handicap Chase.

The Philip Hobbs-trained stayer ran well for a long way when sixth to The Young Master at Chepstow last month, after finishing second to Step Back in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on his previous start in April.

Intrestingly, he was sent off the 2-1 favourite at Chepstow.

Rock The Kasbah is certainly worth another chance with the stable in top form, and he did shape encouragingly on his only effort over these fences over a much shorter distance than this near three and a half miles.

The Worlds End made a big impression on his fencing debut at Chepstow, and can confirm that view by following up in the mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase.

Tom George's charge was a Grade One winner over hurdles and could take high rank over the bigger obstacles, judged on the superb round of jumping he put in.

Montestrel may have sprung a 20-1 surprise on his jumping debut at Chepstow five weeks ago, but it was not totally unexpected by the Jane Williams stable.

The four-year-old can show that was no fluke by doubling up in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle.

Kajaki looked like he could be an above-average jump recruit when striking first time at Sedgefield four weeks ago.

Kevin Ryan's juvenile has more to do on this occasion but can prove up to the task in the Biggest Ever Jumps Season On RUK Introductory Hurdle at Wetherby.

Another Frontier can make amends for parting company with his rider at the first fence at Cheltenham last time by winning at Uttoxeter.

CHELTENHAM: 12.40 Montestrel, 1.15 The Worlds End, 1.50 Rock The Kasbah, 2.25 MISTER WHITAKER (NAP), 3.00 First Assignment, 3.30 Point Of Principle, 4.00 Mrs Hyde.

LINGFIELD: 11.55 Molten Lava, 12.25 Garrison Commander, 1.00 Humanitarian, 1.35 Salateen, 2.10 Side Effect, 2.45 Addeybb, 3.15 Above The Rest, 3.45 Your Band.

PUNCHESTOWN: 12.05 Got Trumped, 12.35 Mall Dini, 1.10 Cadmium, 1.45 Kalum River, 2.20 Stormy Ireland, 2.55 A Place Apart, 3.25 Rebel Og, 3.55 Tongie.

UTTOXETER: 12.15 Boychick, 12.50 Arthur's Sixpence, 1.25 Another Frontier, 2.00 Tokay Dokey, 2.35 Molly The Dolly, 3.05 Northern Girl, 3.40 Helford River.

WETHERBY: 12.30 Leodis, 1.05 Miles To Milan, 1.40 Apterix, 2.15 Cataraman Du Seuil, 2.50 Kajaki, 3.20 Beeno, 3.50 Ravenhill Road.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.15 Rajman, 5.45 So Hi Storm, 6.15 Amjaady, 6.45 Sezim, 7.15 Hello Bangkok, 7.45 Be Thankful, 8.15 Three Little Birds, 8.45 Aljunood.

DOUBLE: Mister Whitaker and Rock The Kasbah.

Belfast Telegraph