Horsebetting.com experts give their 2018 December Handicap Chase betting tips for the 3m 2f Grade 3 featured at Cheltenham on Friday, 14 December. Theatre Territory looks nicely treated and worth a punt to land the spoils under Sam Waley-Cohen. Festival winner Coo Star Sivola is feared most, whilst Doing Fine looks a lively outsider and appeals each-way. Read our in-depth 2018 December Handicap Chase betting tips preview below for more details on these horses’ chances on the opening day of The International meeting at the home of jumps racing.Theatre Territory weighted to deliver in December Handicap ChaseTheatre Territory is on a handy mark at present, so looks worth a bet to gain a deserved big race success in the Grade 3 feature contest at Cheltenham on Friday, the 3m 2f December Handicap Chase (14:30). This Warren Greatrex trained mare is yet to get her head in front in seven starts over fences, but has made the frame on every occasion and undoubtedly has the ability to land a big pot of this nature.
They include when runner-up in a hot novices’ handicap chase here back in January to Mister Whitaker. The winner, from whom she was receiving just 4lb has won twice since – including at the Cheltenham Festival – and finished a fine fourth in last month’s BetVictor Gold Cup here off a rating of 153.
Sizing Tennessee, who finished a further 15 lengths behind in third, has gone to to land the Ladbrokes Trophy, whilst the fourth home War Sound bolted up by six lengths at Aintree on seasonal reappearance off 136. That gives the form a rock solid look and Theatre Territory went on to round off the campaign with a cracking 9 3/4 lengths third of 27 to Ultragold in the 2m 5f Topham Chase at the Grand National meeting.
Gallant runner-up on reappearance
There was also lots to like about the eight-year-old’s return to action at Cheltenham last month when going down by just a length to Ibis Du Rheu in a decent six-runner novices’ chase. Theatre Territory is entitled to strip much fitter for that outing – her first in 218 days – and now reverts to handicap company off a mark of 132.
That is the same as when she ran such a gallant race in the Topham and, on her run behind Mr Whitaker, makes her a massive player in the weights in this. Top amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen also takes off a handy 3lb with his claim and underfoot conditions are fine.
So, in receipt of weight from all bar one of her rivals, Theatre Territory looks to have plenty going for her and hence features as the main selection in our 2018 December Handicap Chase betting tips. Festival winner Coo Star Sivola a major playerIn a race in which a case can be made for many, Coo Star Sivola is feared most. Trained by Nick Williams, this six-year-old has won two of nine starts over fences and enjoyed his finest hour in the last of those when landing the ultra-competitive Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase over 3m 1f at the Festival here back in March.
After tracking the leaders going well under Lizzie Kelly, the son of Assessor was produced to take up the running three from home. Coo Star Sivola then came under a ride two from home and dug deep for pressure on the stiff run-in when strongly pressed 100 yards from home to beat Shanout Flyer by a neck off a mark of 142.
Coo Star Sivola got put up 8lb to a rating of 150 for that game display, but failed to shine when pulled-up in a Grade 1 at Aintree’s Grand National meeting. That undoubtedly came too soon after such a hard race, so it’s easy to put a line through that effort.
The gelding has had just two starts this season and shaped as if coming to hand in the last of those at Sandown when third to Elegant Escape in a Listed contest. Coo Star Sivola got outpaced approaching the third last, but was not knocked about in any way, shape or form to be beaten 10 1/2 lengths.
That run should have put Coo Star Sivola spot on for this and, having been eased a further 2lb in the weights, he is now able to race off a rating of 147. It gives him every chance at the weights judged on his Festival success, while regular pilot Kelly is once again in the saddle and takes off a handy 3lb with her claim.Doing Fine the each-way optionOf those at bigger odds, Doing Fine looks weighted to go well and capable of making his presence felt. This Neil Mulholland trained 10-year-old notched his last success at this venue back in April 2018 when readily pulling clear to score by six lengths off a mark of 129.
The son of Presenting has posted some solid efforts in defeat since, including when a 5 3/4 lengths third of 16 to the re-opposing Cogry here 13 months ago off 137. Doing Fine also ran well off the same rating when fourth in the London National and a cracking 11-length fourth of 29 to Joe Farrell in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr off a rating of 135.
He is now able to race in this off 3lb lower (132) and that gives him every chance from a handicapping perspective on the pick of his form. Doing Fine also comes into the race having caught the eye when a staying on never nearer 14 3/4 length seventh of 15 to Rock The Kasbah – another who re-opposes – here last month.
That was his second start of the campaign and Doing Fine should now be fully tuned to do himself justice. If that proves to be the case, then he has every chance of hitting the frame in this and that’s why he features as the each-way punt in our 2018 December Handicap Chase betting tips.Your Next Bet