by John Burke

January 14, 2021

Good morning all,

It’s hard to believe but it’s only eight weeks to the Cheltenham Festival. There has been plenty of talk of late that there may not be any runners from Ireland at the meeting. If that was the case Cheltenham would be the loser, that’s for sure, given that over 40% of the runners at last years festival came across the Irish Sea.

For what’s it worth I think the big trainers like Mullins and Elliott will have their horses in attendance. However, should either Covid-19 restrictions or Brexit see them not travel over, then it’s worth taking a looking at what the Championship races betting would like without the Mullins and Elliott stars and see if there are any value betting opportunities.

Inside the main piece I go through some of the contenders for Saturday’s Classic Chase at Warwick. Plus, I have a selection from Catterick.


3:00 – Mccoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 3m 5f

Notachance heads the ante post market won a Class 2 handicap chase at Bangor in November. He’s up 7lb but is going the right way goes well on soft ground.

Captain Chaos made a bold bid from the front in this race 12 months ago. This track really suits him and he must have a good chance of going one better in what looks a slightly weaker race.

Storm Control has won his last two starts both at Cheltenham. He’s looked much improved since going 3m+. He’s only 5lb higher than for the last of those wins and trainer Kerry Lee saddled the winner of this in 2016.

Given the form of the Paul Nicholls yard you must respect the claims of Danny Whizzbang. He was sent off the 4/1 favourite for the Badger Beers Trophy on his seasonal return at Wincanton but seemed unsuited by quick ground there. The ground was also good when he pulled up in the Ladbroke Trophy. He’s on a competitive mark but is jumping good enough in big field handicaps.

Achille only ran once last season when runner-up to West Approach at Cheltenham 427-days ago.  He finished lame after that race and hasn’t been seen since. The 11-year-old had looked progressive and is on a decent mark. Venetia Williams saddled the winner in 2013 so has what’s needed to win the race.

Django Django beat the favourite at Newbury last season but pulled up in the Bangor race. He might have needed the run when staying on past tired rivals to finish 5th of 14 back at Newbury. The 8-year-old isn’t the most consistent and has yet to race beyond 3m 2f but shapes like this sort of trip could really suit. He looks well treated if it does.

Thursday racing

It’s the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick this afternoon. It’s attracted a field of just nine runners but looks a decent renewal of the race.

Last year’s winner Little Bruce looked an improving staying handicap chaser when winning this 12 months ago. Off 4lb lower and looks to have each way claims over C&D that suits.

Brian Boranha was still in contention when falling at the last 12 months ago. He’s now 9lb lower and looks well treated on his best form.

Late Romantic won at Haydock 43-days ago. He goes well on heavy ground but has a 5lb penalty to carry for that success which could find out the 11-year-old.

Chef D'Oeuvre looks well treated on his two-length 3rd of 15 in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February 2019.  An encouraging 2nd of 4 over an inadequate 3m at Wetherby last time. The return to staying trips is a positive as is soft ground.

Duc De Grissay, fourth in the Durham National on his seasonal return, was alongside the winner when taking a heavy fall at the last in the Borders National at Kelso last month. The handicapper has hiked him up 8lb which is a shade harsh. Still, he’s only had four starts over fences and could be capable of better.

Top weight Le Breuil heads the betting. The 9-year-old is having his first start since wind op and finishing 3rd of 14 in the Becher Chase at Aintree. He’s dropped down to a winnable mark and this a lesser race than last time. He needs to win this if he’s to get into the Grand National.

Selection:  Little Bruce – 17/2 – each way

**Update: Catterick is now abandoned**

Good luck with your Thursday bets.


John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here –

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

John Burke

John Burke is a long term tipster at the Victor Value service, a contributor to On Course Profits and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt. If you want all of John's selections every weekend and his horses to follow – Click Here

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