Cheltenham‘s November Meeting kicks off today, with three days of the best jump racing can offer, taking place (thankfully) on perfect racing ground.
Most valuable race on this afternoon’s card is the BetVictor Handicap Chase which has a field of 7, headed by the perennial ‘nearly’ horse Bun Doran at 11-4. Always seemingly handicapped to win but never quite producing the goods we will pass this one up, albeit with some trepidation, as is also the case with last year’s winner of this race Doitforthevillage. Last year this 9-y-o had two runs under its belt whereas this time it’s first time out and previously the first run has been badly needed.
At a more attractive price, our selection is the Lucy Wadham trained Movie Legend, available at a palatable 13-2. Already a chase winner of today’s mark of 124, a wind op and an easy hurdles win 4 weeks ago should have set this gelding up for a big run under Leighton Aspell.
Proceedings start with the Market Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at 12.40 and all the top Corinthians have pitched up for this one.
Derek O’Connor is aboard the favourite For Good Measure, currently trading at 7-2 and after the promise showed on its comeback run over CD 3 weeks ago, we recommend a win bet.
We also put up an each way alternative in Lovely Job, trained by Fergal O’Brien, which is available at 8-1. Very consistent last year, LJ is likely to have come on a bundle for its reappearance effort last month and is well worth a punt.
The ‘impossible’ race is at 1.15 when 20 novices line up for the Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, but we think we have this well and truly sussed.
Start with a win bet on the fav, Dostal Phil at 9-4, because it just might be miles better than the handicapper thinks.
Follow that with an each way bet on the Tizzard two, namely Rockpoint at 12-1 and Sizing Cusimano at 20s and there you have it.
The Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase at 2.25 has attracted a high class field of 7, but we have no hesitation in plumping for Mr Whipped at 11-4. Looked a ‘monster’ in winning its first three hurdle races, after which we got the ‘wait ’til it goes over fences’ comments and who are we to argue with the Master of Seven Barrows.
Regular readers will know we have no truck with the Walt Disney race at 3.00, which leads us on to the final race at 3.35, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over 2m 5f, which has a competitive field of 9, headed by the NJH trained Pym at 2-1.
For a horse that was easily brushed aside last time out, these are pretty skinny odds and we prefer a bet on Coolanly at 7-2. Made favourite for the Persian War at Chepstow for its seasonal debut, Coolanly tipped up at the 4th flight and is on a recovery mission today. Close fifth in a Grade 1 at Aintree last April, this would be a good time to break its maiden tag at the fifth time of asking.
Movie Legend 1.50 Cheltenham win @ 13-2
For Good Measure Cheltenham 12.40 win @ 7-2
Lovely Job 12.40 Cheltenham e/w @ 8-1
Dostal Phil 1.15 Cheltenham win @ 9-4
Rockpoint 1.15 Cheltenham e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)
Sizing Cusimano 1.15 Cheltenham e/w @ 20-1 (5 places)
Mr Whipped 2.25 Cheltenham win @ 11-4
Coolanly 3.35 Cheltenham win @ 7-2