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Cheltenham Tips – The Christmas Meeting – Friday 15/12 – Saturday 16/12

Cheltenham 1.15 – Go Dante e/w

The Olly Murphy Murphy team have been fine fettle recently, and the 7-year-old GO DANTE looks to be an each-way play in a wide-open-looking encounter. The son of Kayf Tara ran a cracker on his comeback after a 219-day absence and wind surgery when finishing sixth in a red-hot renewal of the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. The form of that race is working out well, and Murphy’s representative is entitled to strip a lot fitter for the outing. Naturally, if coming on for the run, then he has to get in the mix here in a race which on paper looks a more feasible opportunity to strike gold. All Go Dante’s best performances have come with substantial cuts in the ground, so all the recent rain that has been falling in Gloucestershire will be music to the ears of connections. Sean Bowen is riding out of his skin at the moment and with him in the saddle, this combination represents good each-way value.

Cheltenham 2.25 – Cepage e/w

It could well be the case that ‘father time’ has got the better of the 11-year-old CEPAGE, but he has tumbled down the weights and has been dropping in class, so can’t be dismissed in this veteran’s event over an extended 2m4f. Cepage has plenty of good form at Cheltenham to shout about, including a course and distance win, and with the ground on the soft side, it will be playing to his strengths. He will have needed the run at Warwick last time out after over a year off the track and should be much sharper for this outing. The Venetia Williams runner was rated 158 at his peak, so he could feel like he is running loose off a BHA mark of 137 for this race. Charlie Deutsch is in the saddle, and I wouldn’t rule out a revival with cheekpieces going on for the first time. With 9 runners due to go to post, Cepage can get in the mix at the business end of proceedings for each-way backers.

Cheltenham 3.35 – Tiger Jet e/w

TIGER JET has been a little frustrating in recent times, but stepping back up in trip he looks the each-way shout in a competitive looking Handicap Hurdle over 3m. The 7-year-old ran a stormer last time out when third behind Springwell Bay over 2m5f on the Old Course, and he should be much happier stepping back up in trip in a race that will naturally demand much more from a stamina point of view – a factor that will be playing to the strengths of of the Brian Ellison trained individual. I can see Tiger Jet getting involved once again, with the excellent Harry Cobden in the saddle. Cut in the ground will suit, and off a mark of 117 and only 10st 3lb, the combination are right in this.

Cheltenham: The Christmas meeting Saturday the 16th of December

Cheltenham 12.40 – Weveallbeencaught

Nigel Twiston-Davies trains the 6-year-old WEVEALLBEENCAUGHT who has made a satisfactory start to life over fences, and now has a much more feasible opportunity to gain his first success over the larger obstacles. The combination of 3m1f and the New Course look perfect for him, as this relentless galloper forays into Handicap company for the first time. Off a mark of 135, he has the potential to progress, and this looks a much calmer race on paper than his two previous starts at this track. Third behind Flooring Porter and Broadway Boy on his Chase debut, he then followed home the latter once again at Prestbury Park last time out. I can see him running a big race here with Cheltenham Festival winning jockey Michael O’Sullivan in the saddle – an eye-catching jockey booking to say the least with him claiming 3lb. This encounter should really play to his strengths and I like his chances in what should be a proper test of stamina.

Cheltenham 1.50 – Do Your Job e/w & Monmiral e/w

The Lucinda Russell trained DO YOUR JOB could be capable of causing an upset at Prestbury Park. The 9-year-old was a class act as a Novice Chaser in the 2021/2022 season, winning at Grade 2 level. Things haven’t quite gone to plan since, with a loss of form after a setback, but the flipside is that the gelding is starting to look well handicapped. Rated 146 at his peak, he has now slipped 10lb below that rating, and got 4lb back from the handicapper for his below-par run at Cheltenham’s October meeting, where the 2m experiment failed abysmally. Back up in trip here, he would have to be taken seriously as to my mind he is arguably the best treated horse in the race, and it has to be factored in that he didn’t have a hard race last time out which can’t be said for some of the market protagonists. I could see him going well on the New Course at Cheltenham with only 10st 2lb on his back. I will also be having a saver on the Paul Nicholls trained MOMIRAL, who is thoroughly exposed, will love conditions and is the choice mount of the excellent Harry Cobden.

Cheltenham 2.25 – Easy As That e/w

This is a fascinating encounter where the weights are skewered by the presence of Grade 1 winning Chaser Protektorat at the top of the racecard. However, it is further down where I will be concentrating, and whilst I respect Broadway Boy, I think the each-way play is the Venetia Williams trained EASY AS THAT who will relish underfoot conditions and can easily make a splash under a feather weight. The most important factor is the step up in trip to 3m2f, as I think the 8-year-old has been crying out for a big step up in distance. He has winning form at around 2m4f, but has shaped more and more like a thorough stayer in recent events, and I thought we saw evidence of that in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, where although ultimately well-beaten behind Stage Star in a red-hot renewal, he did pick off some stragglers late-doors to finish sixth. I think he will be in his element here and get competitive with the excellent Charlie Deutsch in the saddle.

 

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Cheltenham Tips – The November Meeting – Friday 17/11

In addition to his weekly horse racing tips Ed Quigley also highlights the top Cheltenham tips and runners, the November Meeting runs from the 17th of December until the 19th

Cheltenham 1.10 – High Stakes e/w

Lambourn trainer Warren Greatrex trains the talented but equally fragile 9-year-old HIGH STAKES, who has been given a chance by the Handicapper and could go well at a price for each-way backers. High Stakes returns after a 291-day absence, and reverts back to Hurdles after an unsuccessful spell Chasing. Returning to the smaller obstacles with Lily Pinchin in the saddle, trip and ground should be spot on for this individual who doesn’t look out of this in what is shaping up to be a wide-open encounter on paper. According to Greatrex, he has been hard to keep sound, but the accessor has been fairly lenient and has dropped him down to a BHA mark of 117 – a mark which makes him look very well treated on last year’s Hurdle form where he was rated almost a stone higher. This is a wide-open encounter, and cut in the ground will pose no issue. It would be far from a shock if he showed some of his old spark here, given that he has a decent record when fresh.

Cheltenham 1.45 – Do Your Job

Scottish raider DO YOUR JOB steps back in trip, and eased to a mark of 140, I can see this classy sort running a big race for the Lucinda Russell outfit. A Grade 2 winner as a Novice Chaser last year, he hasn’t quite been seeing out his races over trips around 2m4f since coming back after injury, and had recent wind surgery again before his comeback run in at Aintree. He should find life easier eased in class here, and the drop down in distance could prove a vital move. The 9-year-old has a lot of ability and I expect Derek Fox to employ positive tactics and utilise his bold jumping, which on song is his major asset – I don’t think he will be hanging around. He looks the value bet here.

Cheltenham 2.20 – JPR One

JPR ONE did the job nicely to win at the first time of asking over fences, as he jumped and travelled well to come home and win in taking fashion at Newton Abbot last month. The Joe Tizzard team are in fine fettle at present, and the 6-year-old can make it two wins on the bounce and enhance the recent hot-streak of the yard. He is a thoroughly unexposed sort, and should have a lot more to offer over fences, which is often the way with horses from the Venn Farm set-up. JPR One enjoys Soft ground, so connections will be delighted with the amount of rain around in the Cheltenham area at present, so ground conditions will be in his favour. JPR one has also performed well at Cheltenham in the past, when losing by just a neck to the classy Datsalrightgino at Prestbury Park, so the test of Prestbury Park should hold no fears. Brendan Powell takes the ride, and the combination look to have the right credentials to climb up the Chasing ladder.


Cheltenham Tips – October Showcase Meeting – Friday 27/10

Cheltenham 3.20 – Passing Well e/w

PASSING WELL heads over fences for the first time, and makes plenty of each-way appeal in the Novice Handicap Chase over an extended 2m3f. Jamie Snowden has his Lambourn string in fine fettle at present, and the 6-year-old can kick on now embarking on a Chasing career. The gelding showed some good form over Hurdles last season, winning twice, but should now improve upon tackling the larger obstacles. There should be sufficient give underfoot for this individual to be seen at his best, and in my view, a BHA mark of 122 massively underestimates him. It is worth noting that he looked very good when bolting up first-time out last season, so he can clearly go well fresh, and it would be far from a surprise were he to take to fences and be revved-up at the first time of asking. I think this 6-year-old is potentially a very well-treated sort and is the each-way play in what looks a very competitive heat.

Cheltenham 3.55 – Act Of Authority

ACT OF AUTHORITY may not have been involved in a particularly competitive race when he won on Hurdling debut last time out, but he really looked the part as he got the job done by 14 lengths at Bangor. Connections are wasting no time in raising the bar, as he heads to this Grade 2 encounter at Prestbury Park. The Olly Murphy trained 5-year-old showed some useful form in bumpers without winning, but can kick on now and should be set for an exciting season over obstacles. His jumping on debut wasn’t always foot-perfect, but he should be sharper in that department, and it was clear that he jumped a little left at a few of his obstacles, so running at Cheltenham shouldn’t pose any problems. With that run under his belt, he can take this step up in class in his stride, and with the top-class Sean Bowen is in the plate, connections could easily have a smart prospect on their hands.

Cheltenham 4.30 – Strictlyadancer e/w

Gina Andrews and Christian Williams team up with STRICTLYADANCER, who can go well for each-way backers in the Handicap Chase for Amateur jockeys over 3m1f. The winner of this race in 2021, it has been a little bit of a stop-start career in recent times, but ran better than the bare result suggests on his comeback after injury at Chepstow a fortnight ago. He finished sixth of seven runners, but he travelled well for a long way, before tiring in the closing stages, which was understandable given that he had been off the track for 637 days. That run should have brought him on leaps and bounds, and returning to this scene can only be a positive. The 9-year-old boasts an unblemished record of two wins from two starts over course and distance, so the ‘been there and done it factor’ shouldn’t be overlooked in a race of this nature. If Strictlyadancer can roll back the years here, I wouldn’t be shocked.

Cheltenham Tips – October Showcase Meeting – Saturday 28/10

Cheltenham 1.15 – Prince Escalus e/w

PRINCE ESCALUS carries a small each-way bet in what looks a very wide-open encounter. The 8-year-old blows a little hot and cold, but is more than capable of landing a blow when putting his best foot forwards. Jonjo O’Neill senior and junior team up with the gelding who most probably needed the run on his seasonal reappearance at Market Rasen last month, where also, he shaped like a total non-stayer when stepping up to 2m5f for the first time. Coming back to 2m and a left-handed track are both positives for this individual, and from a handicapping point of view he is on a mark he could easily get involved off if on a going-day. His last win came off a mark of 134, so off just 1lb higher for this race it wouldn’t be a shock if he got in the mix. At an each-way price I like his claims of hitting the frame.

Cheltenham 2.25 – The Wolf e/w

Olly Murphy trains THE WOLF who looks one of the best-handicapped horses in the lineup up in my view. The yard have been in good form over the last couple of months, and The Wolf has to be taken seriously first time up for the season. There has been a lot of rain around at the moment, and that will be music to the ears of connections given that all of this individual’s best form has come with cut in the ground. Catching him fresh should be fine, and you would imagine he has been targeted at this assignment seeing as he ran in the corresponding assignment 12 months ago on his seasonal reappearance, and came second, staying on nicely up the hill. That was on the ground that would have been quicker than ideal for him, and it is worth noting that he grabbed the silver medal on that occasion off a BHA mark of 138. This time around, the 9-year-old gets in here off 3lb lower, and looking at the weather forecast, he will likely have underfoot conditions more in his favour. I like his claims of going one better this time around and so gets the nod from me.

Cheltenham 3.00 – Rock My Way e/w

ROCK MY WAY is a bit of an enigma, but in my view looks worth an each-way bet, as he has the talent in the locker to be playing a part in a race like this. Syd Hosie has put it on record that many of his yard were off-colour at the back end of last season, and as a consequence so many of them misfired. Rock My Way would fall very much into that category. After winning a Grade 2 over 2m4f at Cheltenham in January, he looked as though he had everything in his favour heading into the Albert Bartlett and ran deplorably. The same happened at Cheltenham’s April meeting when failing to beat a rival home. His string are in better form now, and as a consequence, you have an individual who could well-treated off a mark of 135 heading into Handicap company. Michael Nolan is in the saddle, and if the rain arrives Friday night connections will become more bullish.

Cheltenham 3.35 – Antrim Coast

There aren’t many trainers as shrewd as Irish handler Gavin Cromwell, and he is represented by the 5-year-old ANTRIM COAST in a cracking 3m Novice Hurdle. The lightly-raced sort has improved with each run, and got off the mark at Punchestown last time out to stay on strongly over 2m4f to power clear at the finish by nearly 5 lengths from Mister Pink. In my view, the further he went the better he looked, so it is no surprise at all that connections are stepping this son of Presenting up to 3m for this assignment, and in doing so, it will be a fact-finding mission to see if he is a candidate for something like the Albert Bartlett in March. Cromwell has gone on record to say that he will avoid deep winter ground with this lightly-raced sort and he looks an exciting prospect for the season. Keith Donoghue takes the ride and this Irish raider has to be respected in what looks like a hot little contest. 

*Odds correct at time of publishing. Available to UK residents (excluding Northern Ireland) aged 18+ only. T&Cs apply. www.begambleaware.org