The Cheltenham November meeting is one of the key meetings held at Cheltenham outside of the Festival, and it kicks off on Friday with a good-looking card that includes two Grade 2 races.
GG writer Jake Russell is on hand to guide us through his thoughts on each of the six races on the card.
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1.10pm – Lycetts Insurance Brokers Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 3)
Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero’s horses are running very well at present as the yard currently operate at a 40% win strike rate for the last 14 days, with 6 winners in just 15 runners. And their runner here White Rhino has been going very well lately, winning 4 of his last 5 runs over hurdles, with the other one being a 2nd placed effort. Currently holding the record of 4 wins in just 8 hurdle starts, it was last time out where he put in a career best performance. Coming back after a 174 day break, he won at Carlisle by 9 lengths off the career high mark of 109. Now upped 9lb’s, he has to take even more of a step forward, however he does look to still be improving, and Toby Wynne takes a valuable 3lb’s off here, and he gets on so well with this horse, steering him to victory last time.
1.45pm – Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase (Class 2)
A quite difficult contest to decipher, I am going to side with valuable race fitness with the Joe Tizzard trained Triple Trade. The yard are fresh off an excellent Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup win last week, and they could have another nice chasing winner here. Triple Trade has won two times over fences, with another three 2nd placed efforts, and he ended last season with two nice winning efforts at Wincanton and Kempton. He’s already had the seasonal re-appearance, where he came 2nd to Dancing On Our Own at Cheltenham just 20 days ago. He handled the course well, and given he has race fitness on his side unlike a few of these at the top end of the market, it could be worth siding with him, to go one better than last time out over course and distance.
2.20pm – SSS Super Alloys Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
It’s a slight shame there are only four runners heading to post for the Grade 2 Arkle Trial on Friday, however I feel this one could be fairly well cut and dry. It could be a Cheltenham quick fire double for the Tizzard team, as they send their classy looking Novice Chaser JPR One here for this contest. A decent enough hurdler over the last season or two, he looks all a decent chaser in the making, after a very nice chase debut win at Newton Abbot last time. He jumped really well in the main, was held up last for majority of the race before travelling strongly to go clear with 2 to jump, really asserting late on in the contest. Now that was just a handicap chase off the mark of 130, he is now rated 134 and is actually the lowest rated in this contest come Friday, however I just feel conditions will suit, and connections wouldn’t be throwing him in the deep end like this if they didn’t think he was good enough. Another small field which will suit him here, he has to take the step up in class, but I feel he could be the classy type to come out of this contest on Friday.
The Unibet Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on the 19th November is the one of the first real big, competitive Handicaps on the Jumps card. This years renewal looks set to be as competitive as ever, with some nice types potentially heading to post come mid November. GG writer Jake Russell takes an ante-post look at…
2.55pm – Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (Class 2)
There could be a question mark or two on if connections of Delta Work really want to be winning this race, with other bigger targets in mind for the season ahead. However he is so formidable over the X Country course at Cheltenham, and although he takes on his old rival Galvin here (Who could be better off in the weights with Rob James taking 7lb’s off) I just can’t see him getting beat here. The Gordon Elliott charge has won the X Country Chase in back to back years at the festival, beating Tiger Roll on his final swansong the year before last, and last year having that epic tussle with Galvin all the way up the hill to win the race in back to back years. He has already had the run this season, when coming 3rd in the Grade 3 Irish Daily Star – Best For Racing Coverage Chase behind Minella Indo, really looking a run was needed to blow away the cobwebs. With that run now under his belt, at a venue he does so well at, I can’t really seeing him get beat here. Keith Donoghue rides the X Country course so well at Cheltenham, and he could get another big race here under his belt here.
3.30pm – Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
Although quite a decent little contest on paper, with some nice types chancing their arms at this Grade 2 prize, I think this race revolves all around the Paul Nicholls trained Captain Teague.
Ireland are very well represented in this contest, with four of the main runners heading over from there to run in this. With all four of them being trained by different handlers, none of them being Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott or Henry De Bromhead, trainers who do so well at Cheltenham. However UK’s own powerhouse Paul Nicholls sends his recent Grade 2 Persian War winner to try and land another Grade 2 contest in his relatively short career so far. A winner of a point to point in his early days, he won a bumper at Plumpton before going on to come a very good 3rd in the Champion Bumper. Completely outrunning his odds of 40/1, staying on superbly up the hill. With that in mind, he tackles the step up in trip from that effort to 2m4f here (As appose to the 2-mile trip of the Champion Bumper). And what his Persian War Novices Hurdle win shown is this step up in trip more than suits him, as he stayed on brilliant through the line at Chepstow last time. Conditions wont be an issue, he handless the trip and Cheltenham, therefore I think he will be very hard to beat here as he attempt to lend back to back Grade 2 contests.
4.05pm – Valda Energy Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 3)
A tricky and competitive Handicap Hurdle to end the card on Friday, like most of these races there are some nice types heading to post. However most of, if not all of them really do have a good chance of landing this contest. Lucinda Russell’s Caithness heads down South for the first time in his short career (All of his runs have been at either Newcastle or Kelso) so there might be a question mark or two on if he can handle Cheltenham. However that he has shown so far this season is the rating of 110 that he was given for the season is quite lenient. Winning nicely on seasonal debut at Kelso by four and a half lengths, he then backed that up with another 4 and a half length victory at Kelso in a class 4 Handicap Hurdle contest. This new mark of 120 is by far a career high, so he needs to prove his ceiling hasn’t been reached yet, however from what he has shown so far, I would imagine there is much more improvement to come from him.
Cheltenham November Meeting – Day One TTC Tips
1.10 Cheltenham – White Rhino (11/2 William Hill, 5/1 Bet365)
1.45 Cheltenham – Triple Trade (11/2 Bet365, 5/1 Generally)
2.20 Cheltenham – JPR One (7/4 Generally)
2.55 Cheltenham – Delta Work (9/4 Generally)
3.30 Cheltenham – Captain Teague (8/13 Generally)
4.05 Cheltenham – Caithness (7/1 Bet365, 6/1 William Hill)
*Odds Correct At Time Of Publishing – 2.25pm Wednesday 15th November*
Check out this weeks Weekend Watch podcast, where Andrew Mount, Dave Young & Kate Tracey guide us through the six ITV races on Saturday, including four of the key races from the Cheltenham card:
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