Centrepiece of the second day of the Cheltenham November meeting is the race that’s had more names than any of the Royal Family (do they still make Mackeson?), today called the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase, which is at 2.25.
18 currently go to post and Kalondra is the favourite at 5-1. This 7-y-o was last seen going tail over stifle in a conditions race at Galway when in the process of running a good ‘un, but it’s possible that the hurly burly of this race will again put pressure on its jumping, so we move on to the second favourite Rather Be.
This Henderson inmate was just touched off by today’s rival Mister Whitaker at the Festival meeting and now has a 9lb pull in the weights. Laid out for this ever since and said to have ‘blossomed’ in the past three weeks, we recommend an each way bet at 11-2.
Additionally, we can’t resist an each way punt on Happy Diva at a juicy 25-1.
Kerry Lee‘s mare finished 2 lengths behind the aforementioned Mister Whitaker when they both made their seasonal reappearances at Carlisle two weeks ago and enjoys a 4lb advantage this afternoon.
The first two races both feature short priced favourites, but, as is our wont, we oppose them both.
The (deep breath) JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) (Grade 2) (Class 1) at 12.40 sees the British debut of one of those Henderson horses that appear as if by magic from France with a reputation higher than Pegasus and today it’s the turn of Never Adapt, which is 11-10 top whack. A winner of its only race in France, clearly this young lady could win half the track, but she carries a penalty and is also hooded for the first time, so we will oppose it with the highly promising Montestrel, trained by Jane Williams.
This gelding stormed home on its first visit to a race track, beating the highly touted (and re-opposing) Quel Destin by a comfortable margin. Young Mouthy has been talking up this horse’s chances of late and we will go with her at 11-4.
The mallardjewellers.com Novices Chase at 1.15 has The Worlds End as the 5-6 favourite after its impressive chase debut win but we think that the other penalised winner in the line-up Minella Awards has equally good form and there recommend an each way bet at 5-1.
The BetVictor.com Handicap Chase at 1.50 over a marathon trip has a field of 15 and is 11-2 the field. Our pick for this is the reliable and consistent Calett Mad, which should be spot on today after two recent runs. Take the 8-1 each way, please.
The Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle at 3.00 looks at the mercy of the favourite First Assignment, which steps up to 3 miles for the first time and should improve even more for it. This lightly raced 5-y-o is available at 5-2 and should be backed.
In case something goes amiss, we also suggest an each way investment on the Irish raider Sweet Home Chicago, which has won its last two and is still improving. 11-1 are the odds of reward.
The BetVictor Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at 3.30 looks, like the previous race, nailed on for the Ian Williams runner Speedo Boy, which is available at 3-1. Rated 98 on the Flat, this horse can run off 118 this afternoon – nuff said, stands up, wins.
As before, though, in case anything goes wrong, have an each way bet on Harriet Graham’s handicap debutant Aye Right at an attractive 12-1. Not a trainer you would usually associate with Cheltenham runners, her charge could have the field on the stretch for a long way.
The Bumper at 4.00 is all yours.
Rather Be 2.25 Cheltenham e/w @ 11-2 (6 places)
Happy Diva 2.25 Cheltenham e/w @ 25-1 (6 places)
Montestrel 12.40 Cheltenham win @ 11-4
Minella Awards 1.15 Cheltenham e/w @ 5-1 (2 places)
Calett Mad 1.50 Cheltenham e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
First Assignment 3.00 Cheltenham win @ 5-2
Sweet Home Chicago 3.00 Cheltenham e/w @ 11-1
Speedo Boy 3.30 Cheltenham win @ 3-1
Aye Right 3.30 Cheltenham e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)