Racing tips: Caspian Caviar Gold Cup runners and riders: Your Pinstickers' guide to Cheltenham's big race live on ITV

BRELAN D’AS can strike Gold for Paul Nicholls. The champion trainer has a superb record in this race with five wins in the past decade.

He has another big chance here after an excellent second in the BetVictor Gold Cup on the Old Course here last time.

Barry Geraghty’s mount finished well in second and this is a slightly greater test of stamina, which should be right up his street.

The handicapper has been fair with a 5lb rise in the weights.

CEPAGE 3/5

Page turner. Had just one run since finishing an excellent second in this race last year. Put in a good effort at Aintree last month when running on well behind Riders Onthe Storm. Can progress from that but may need to given how much the handicapper has shoved him up. On the shortlist.

KEEPER HILL 2/5

Hill to climb. Back from break and a wind operation to win in a small field at Haydock last time. Open to improvement as chaser but needs to iron out jumping errors. This is a much hotter contest so needs more.

RIDERS ONTHE STORM 4/5

Storm could blow in. Moved from Tom Taaffe to Nigel Twiston-Davies and ran a cracker on debut for his new yard when winning at Aintree last month ahead of Cepage. Has shot up 13lb for that but should improve and slightly longer trip not an issue.

SECRET INVESTOR 3/5

Secret’s out. Been going well in small fields and landed a Grade 2 at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting in April. Promise on comeback in Ireland last time when the ground may have been too testing. More to come and yard loves this race.

LALOR 1/5

Lalor’s a lay. Looked a potential star as a novice but has lost his way including when jumping poorly in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on comeback. Best form so far has come over shorter and needs to find old spark. Would be nice to see him run well but best watched.

BENATAR 1/5

Big Ben’s not chiming. Was third in the JLT Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 but has been a little hit and miss since. Was last seen struggling at Ascot in January and entitled to need this comeback.

ROBIN DES FORET 3/5

Robin the money. Regular placer in good Irish races and ran well in a Limerick Grade 3 last time out, although that was back in March. Likes this trip and could be on a fair mark for this belated handicap debut. Willie Mullins runners are never ones to write off.

IMPERIAL PRESENCE 1/5

Imperial ain’t minted. Did well over fences a couple of seasons ago but has been wide of the mark for a while now including on both starts this season at Ascot. Is still higher in the weights than his last win and looks outclassed.

Pinstickers' top tip for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup

  • 1.55 Cheltenham – BRELAN D'AS (Bet now)

SPIRITOFTHEGAMES 2/5

Not playing Games. Has relatively few miles on the clock and hasn’t managed to win since scoring in Listed company on his chase debut last October. Has run some good races including when third in the Stable Plate at the Festival in March. His two runs this season have been poor but it’s too early to write him off.

KNOCKNANAUSS 3/5

Don’t Knock him. Has shown promise in lower grades and was a good third on comeback here in October before hating right-handed Ascot last time when he jumped left throughout the race. He needs to raise his game a little for this level but trip and track suit. Each-way shout at decent odds.

CLONDAW CASTLE 4/5

Clondaw could score. Ran a cracker to finish fourth in the Arkle last season when up with the crazy pace and looked good when second at Ascot on comeback last month. He finished well over the extended two miles so this longer trip could suit. He has more to offer and should run well.

BRELAN D’AS 5/5

D’As you like it. Clocked a big personal best when a close second in the BetVictor Gold Cup last month. The similar trip helped there and he was running on again at the finish. He’s just 5lb higher in the weights for that excellent effort and he’ll be right there again.

GOOD MAN PAT 3/5

Good’s not bad. Looked a nice prospect last season despite struggling in the Close Brothers at the Festival. He finished off with a good run at Sandown and came back to show promise when fourth at Ascot. He stays further than this and should be running on at the finish from what looks a fair mark.

GENEROUS DAY 3/5

Could be his Day. Has been impressive on his past two chase runs with a convincing win at Warwick before a game success at Kempton last time. The handicapper was watching and shoved him up 8lb for that which means he needs more. That’s perfectly possible though and he sees out this trip well enough.

WARTHOG 3/5

Hog may roast em. Showed a liking for Cheltenham when third in the BetVictor Gold Cup and stayed on well having been up with the pace. Some give in the ground suits and he has plenty of stamina so the more rain the better. Looks weighted for another big run.

NOT THAT FUISSE 3/5

Not out of it. Promising effort over fences when second here in October at novice level but he took a step backwards at Warwick after that. Looks on a fair mark taking his hurdles form into account and this longer distance should hold more fears. Needs to improve but may do.

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Templegate's racing tips: Cheltenham and Bangor races live on ITV – Top betting preview for Friday's racing

CHELTENHAM

1.55

DEFINITELYANOSCAR can act up in this mares’ contest. She isn’t the easiest of rides but has plenty of talent as she showed when finishing a good second at Kempton last time.

That was a fair race and the handicapper has left her mark alone. She stays well and trainer Harry Fry has been firing in the winners.

Rain would help the chances of Parlour Maid who loved the mud when scoring at Lingfield latest. She stays all day and would love this to turn into a slog.

Chequered View looks progressive and can step up on her win against three rivals at Fakenham last time. She had that race won with the best part of a circuit left and is another who has plenty of stamina.

Skewiff is hit and miss and was out of sorts behind Definitelyanoscar. Her best recent form has come over hurdles so is hard to fancy today.

Zara Hope looks a bigger threat after getting her act together at Market Rasen last week. This is a tougher test but she can’t be ruled out under a penalty.

2.30

COGRY loves this track and can put in another gutsy effort. He was last seen ploughing through the mud to finish an excellent third at the October meeting here. He comes back from the same mark and is sure to make another bold bid from the front in a race he won 12 months ago.

West Approach went off favourite for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury last time but unseated early on. He saves his best for this track and Robbie Power pulled off his waiting tactics to perfection when winning a Grade 3 on his last visit. He’s up 8lb for that but should be right there.

Dandy Dan has done well in small fields and is one to keep a close eye on. He needed his comeback effort at Kelso last time and looks well handicapped.

Rock The Kasbah has lost his way a little lately but is proven at this level and won a similar race to this last year from just 1lb lower. He could bounce back after his pipe-opener at Wincanton.

Onefortheroadtom was a solid fourth here in the mud last time and warrants respect, while Singlefarmpayment is 6lb lower when second in this last year and is another to consider.

Templegate's TV tips

  • 1.55 Cheltenham – Definitelyanoscar (Bet now)
  • 2.10 Bangor – Same Circus (Bet now)
  • 2.30 Cheltenham – Cogry (Bet now)
  • 3.05 Cheltenham – Easysland (Bet now)
  • 3.40 Cheltenham – Ask Ben (Bet now)

3.05

EASYLAND has been in red-hot form in cross-country races in France and raiders from across the Channel are capable of winning these.

He made it four in a row when taking a Listed contest in testing ground where he saw out the trip nicely. He could be the most unexposed of this field.

Yanworth looks the pick of the Enda Bolger brigade given he was a Grade 1 performer at his best who landed big victories here before switching to this game. He was impressive when winning over the banks at Punchestown last month and is the main threat despite giving weight away.

Neverushacon was second in that race and is another open to improvement on this course. Josies Orders loves it here and could be booked for another placing.

He chased home Tiger Roll at the Festival and is sure to run well again. Chic Name had his first taste of this challenge when third here at the November meeting. He finished off the race well and his staying power will be an asset if he can stay a bit closer to the pace.

3.40

ASK BEN can answer all the questions. He rose through the ranks quickly last season and went close in a Grade 2 before a solid effort in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival.

He came back with a rusty fourth at Haydock last time where he tanked along before getting tired late on. That should see him fit and ready to get back on the winning trail.

Champers On Ice has done nothing wrong this season and followed an easy Ffos Las win with a battling victory in decent company at Newbury. He has winning form around here and is still well handicapped.

Falco Blitz went close on his handicap debut here last month. He travelled like a quality performer and was just run out of it in the closing stages. There’s plenty to build on and this slightly longer trip could suit.

Smackwater Jack looks better than his fourth in Listed class here 27 days ago. There should be more pace on today which would play to his strengths. He looks on a fair mark and is a proper stayer.

Of the big prices, Printing Dollars is capable of more than we’ve seen this season. She’s coming down the weights and has run well here before.

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BANGOR

2.10

Donald McCain can win this race for the fifth year running with SAME CIRCUS. She has been keeping fancy company this season and landed a 40-1 stunner on comeback at Aintree in October.

She followed up with a solid fifth at Ascot and will relish this testing ground. This is a tight contest and they all have a shout.

Justatenner impressed at Ayr last time when getting home well over three miles. A 4lb rise in the weights looks fair. Doc Penfro went well for a long way at Stratford on comeback before tiring late on. He makes his handicap debut here with a quality 5lb claimer on board and rates a danger.

Bryden Boy had no fewer than 41 lengths in hand when scoring at Sedgefield last time and loves this sort of stamina test. He’s up in class but couldn’t be in better form.

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Six tips for decorating Christmas tree to make it Instagram worthy

Is YOUR Christmas tree Insta-ready? Six must follow style tips according to an expert, including natural twigs, colour-matching with cushions and… going artificial

  • ‘Mary Berry of Christmas trees’ reveals how to best decorate yours for maximum wow-factor 
  • They include using an artificial tree that comes with lights attached and plenty of extra large baubles
  • She recommends a variety of decorating materials, including natural twigs sprayed gold or silver

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree is seen by many as an essential part of any home during the festive period, helping to create a sense of occasion for friends and family. 

Many will have put theirs up this weekend – or plan to this week – but it may not be the success you hope for if your decorations are not up to scratch.

We’ve turned to a professional stylist – the ‘Mary Berry of Christmas trees’ – who reveals how to best dress yours to make it the envy of your neighbours, or your Instagram followers. 

She also highlighted how to avoid the Christmas tree pitfalls that blight some British homes during the festive period.


From naked Christmas tree to beautifully decorated by Alexander James Interiors

Jane Briggs, a stylist at Alexander James Interiors, exclusively told MailOnline Property that there are some key dos and don’ts of decorating a Christmas tree.

Every year, Jane is hired to decorate ones found in multi-million pound homes in some of the most expensive parts of the country to ensure they are well-dressed and presentable. 

Here’s six top tips on how to make yours look as good as possible, no matter how big or small the budget.  

While artificial trees may have once had an unsophisticated reputation, their quality has vastly improved and they have now become much more fashionable.

Indeed, Jane now advises avoiding real Christmas trees altogether and beginning with an artificial tree instead.

During MailOnline Property’s Christmas tree decoration session, Jane used an artificial tree with lights attached, from John Lewis.

Jane Briggs, a stylist at Alexander James Interiors, reveals how best to decorate a tree

She said: ‘If you buy a real tree, they dry out too quickly because of underfloor heating, central heating and open fires.’

And she added: ‘Try to buy with the lights already involved in it because it’s so much easier, with the lights distributed correctly.

‘If you put your own lights on the tree, you have the wires and lights everywhere to deal with.’

2. Large baubles

Once you start adding items to the tree, the key is making sure they are big enough, according to Jane.

She said: ‘Try not to buy items that are too little. They just blend in and you don’t see them. You need some good sized, larger baubles. Then you add in the little interesting bits you’ve collected over the years.’

3. Use colours in the room

Try to use the colours in the room where the Christmas is going to stand. In our session, the room had orange cushions, and this was the accent colour used on the tree. 

Jane said: ‘The cushions in this room are orange. You don’t want too much orange, but you want the tree to look right in the room, so we’ve just brought in a little bit of orange to pull in the colours of room. 

‘This makes it look balanced and dressed.’

Top tips include using large baubles – and plenty of them, to ensure the tree looks well dressed

4. Use natural twigs

One of the biggest pitfalls of decorating a Christmas tree is leaving it too sparse, Jane suggested.

‘If you can’t afford baubles, then get ribbon and you can put them around the tree as it fills up the space,’ she said.

She also suggests using feathers or natural twigs to fill up the space on your Christmas tree. Spray them gold or silver, before ‘poking’ them into your Christmas tree, Jane suggested.

‘Whatever you want to put on will look good, but you need to put enough on or it will lose the effect,’ she said.

One of the biggest pitfalls of decorating a Christmas tree is leaving it too sparse

5. Start at the top 

Jane begins decorating a Christmas tree by starting at the top and then ‘zig-zagging her way down’.

She says: ‘You always have to do a bit at the back, because you can see through a tree. But if you’re going putting it up against a wall, I’d only do a bit either side so that it looks dressed.’

During our Christmas tree decorating session, Jane collects baubles of a similar size and colour, and starts adding them to the tree.

‘Make sure they are in a place they can actual dangle,’ she advises. ‘And don’t spend a fortune on Christmas baubles because they’ll break. The cat is bound to go up the tree and smash a few, or someone will fall against it.

‘Unless they are memories, I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on baubles.’

6. Use odd numbers

As is best with most interior design and gardening, it is best to use colours in odd numbers.

Jane explained: ‘If you’re doing any colour, it is always best to odd numbers. So do three, or five, or seven, different colours because it just works as they are odd.

‘Working in twos or fours is never quite as easy as working with odd numbers.’

Jane finishes decorating the Christmas tree, creating a look that is worthy of any social media star’s Instagram: 

It is best to use colours in odd numbers when you’re decorating a Christmas tree

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