There are two days of top class action from Cheltenham this Friday and Saturday as they stage the International Meeting.
A bonus for racing fans on Friday as the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase – lost to flooding last weekend at Huntingdon – is saved on the Cheltenham card. Racing is from 11.30am-3.35pm and you can watch all eight Cheltenham races via live streaming when logged into MansionBet
Our tipster provides selections for day one of the Cheltenham International Meeting below.
11.30 – British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (2m1f)
A good start to the card as Any News, Make Me A Believer and LUCKY ONE all have degrees of promise in this novices’ contest. Dropping back in trip isn’t necessarily a plus for David Pipe’s Lingfield runner-up Make Me A Believer (wind op since) while the Bangor race won by Any News wasn’t overly strong.
Preference therefore is for Lucky On, the ex-French/ex-Willie Mullins son of Authorised having put it all together when easily winning a Southwell maiden dropped to 2m early this month. He can build on that now and his experience is sure to be valuable.
Selection: Lucky One @
12.05 – International Decorative Surfaces Novices’ Chase (3m1f)
Hold The Note has something of a frustrating chasing profile after two lacklustre runs this season, though he does have talent. Happygolucky was a good winner on chase bow at Stratford in October though disappointing since at Fakenham. An increased trip may suit him.
L’AIR DU VENT had The Mighty Don behind when scoring on his second chase start at Exeter on heavy ground recently and, despite a 5lb turnaround, can rubberstamp that superiority in doubling his tally. The Colin Tizzard string are getting better with racing this season and this six-year-old has handled this track during his short hurdles career. There’s plenty of scope for better in Robbie Power’s mount.
Selection: L’air Du Vent @
12.40 – Catesby Handicap Hurdle (2m1f)
A hatful of chances here. Tegerek built on his course win in October when he ran third in the Greatwood last month from 8lb higher and should be a factor, while Breffniboy and Sarasota Star are both thriving right now.
Rex Dingle takes off a handy 3lb on the latter, who goes unpenalised for his latest Carlisle success. HAAFAPIECE ended last season on the rise and has twice placed this season at Wetherby. Gina Andrews takes off 3lb and there may be each-way claims in their partnership.
Selection: Haafapiece @
1.15 – CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares’ Handicap Chase (2m4½f)
She was second in this contest two years ago from a higher mark and BLACK TULIP has fine prospects of going a place better. Henry Daly’s mare was ridden forcefully at Uttoxeter in October when making the running and scoring over 2m6½f on soft ground.
The slight drop in distance isn’t a worry here and she’s on a workable mark if the same tactics pay off again. Bit On The Side is forgiven a lesser run at Market Rasen (early mistake, possibly didn’t stay 3m) and could have more to offer for the Twiston-Davies’, while Arian is 2-2 since joining Philip Hobbs and a contender.
Selection: Black Tulip @
1.50 – Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase (Grade 2, 2m4f)
A bonus race here with this Grade 2 having been lost to flooding at Huntingdon on Sunday. Last year’s winner Top Notch lacks a recent run this time and so stablemate Mister Fisher – pulled-up here last month – may prove Nicky Henderson’s best hope despite the fact Daryl Jacob’s mount can go well fresh.
Both are overlooked in favour of Venetia Williams’ FANION D’ESTRUVAL, second to a match-fit Magic Saint over 2m here last month. That rival held up the form in a good race at Ascot since and this French import is well worth another go in graded company, while there may be more to come upped in trip based on his Auteuil form in the summer of 2019.
Selection: Fanion D’Estruval @
2.25 – Unibet Handicap Chase (Grade 3, 3m2f)
A shade disappointing that only seven line up but Tom Mullins won’t be thinking that and his raider COURT MAID is fancied to add to an impressive 3m5f Fairyhouse success 12 days ago. She’s got no problems dropping in trip and has tasted defeat only once in four starts over fences thus far behind the smart Pencilfulloflead (fourth) earlier in November. Her trainer thinks there’s plenty more to come and this looks to be a very nice opportunity for further progress.
Top-weight Black Corton is reliable but maybe short of the class that saw stablemate Frodon pull off a big handicap win here in October, while the remainder are fairly exposed in comparison to the Irish mare.
Selection: Court Maid @
3.00 – Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3m6f)
Last month’s C&D winner Kingswell Theatre will have designs on more Cross Country success, while Jessica Harrington remains keen to try Neverushacon here despite seemingly being unable to replicate impressive Punchestown ‘Banks’ form in the Cotswolds countryside. Both are respected but maybe Enda Bolger can add to his plethora of successes in this discipline with MY HOMETOWN.
He was second in this two years ago before a long absence and returns from the same mark of 126 having blown off the cobwebs with a hurdles run at Tipperary.
Selection: My Hometown @
3.35 – Citipost Handicap Hurdle (3m)
Veteran Unowhatimeanharry turned back the clock at Aintree last time out and is respected but he’s soon to be a teenager and not noted for consistency these days, so runner-up Mohaayed may be a better angle from that race.
Grade 2 course and distance winner Agrapart returns to handicapping and would benefit from any rain but COME ON TEDDY impressed at Market Rasen in the spring on his first try at close to this trip with a fine win. He may have needed the return at Uttoxeter and still appeals as one with more to come from this rating.
Selection: Come On Teddy @
*All odds correct at time of writing