Frost is the only thing that can prevent the Black Aeroplane triumphing again

Bill Esdaile
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THE winter has arrived with a bang this week and it must be doubtful that either Haydock or Ascot will get the green light to race tomorrow.

My weather forecasting skills aren’t the hottest but Ascot looks to have a slightly better chance, and if the snow stays away, we have a real treat in store with the return of Sprinter Sacre in the Victor Chandler Chase at 3.35pm.

Now, this isn’t a race for betting purposes. The so-called Black Aeroplane is a best-priced 1/5 and he is as near to a certainty as you get in this game. Somersby would be the one for the forecast, but I’m happy to sit back and watch one of the best two miler chasers we are ever likely to see.

If racing goes ahead, the one bet I will be having is VINO GRIEGO for the red hot Gary Moore team in the Handicap Chase (3.00pm). He sneaks in at the bottom of the weights, goes well at this track and should be a decent each-way price.

He has an alternative engagement at Taunton, so if he is rerouted there he will be worth backing.

We’re now less than two months away from the start of the Cheltenham Festival and I’m ready to have a decent each-way bet on FIRST LIEUTENANT at 12/1 for the Betfred Gold Cup.

The sponsors are offering non-runner no bet on the race and that’s a nice insurance as Mouse Morris’s charge could easily switch to the Ryanair Chase.

However, I think he’ll go for the big one and he is sure to improve for better ground. The eight-year-old won the Neptune Hurdle at the Festival two years ago and only found Bobs Worth too good in last year’s RSA.

He seems to have improved again this term and now heads to Cheltenham on the back of a break like he’s done for the last two seasons.

Follow me on Twitter @BillEsdaile for all my latest views.

VINO GRIEGO e/w 3.00pm Ascot (tomorrow)
FIRST LIEUTENANT 12/1 e/w Gold Cup (Cheltenham Festival)