The first highlight of the Winter months, the November meeting at Cheltenham is always a great watch. Three days of unrivalled action on the toughest testing ground. The first day sees some intriguing novice action to keep an eye on for the season ahead, plus the Cross-Country track is in action for the first time this season. Here’s a Friday Four To Follow.
Talk of the Trade
1:45 – Mucking Brilliant H’cap Chase – Triple Trade @ 9/2 (General)
The ground is always key to betting, and Cheltenham, as of writing, has changed its ground from soft to good-to-soft after being forecast rain but no sign of any. This makes it an, almost, level playing field for everyone involved.
And Triple Trade stands out. An incredibly progressive horse, he hasn’t finished outside the top two since the 2022 EBF Final, although unseated at Kempton last year. The consistency this horse has is brilliant and has only been raised a pound for finishing second at the October meeting last time out. Joe Tizzard has hit some good form, and his horses are well worth backing.
Despite only having one winner at this meeting last season, Dan Skelton loves this meeting and is often a litmus test for his season ahead. Walk In Clover is also rather progressive and has the ability to compete at this level.
She fell when at the rear of four last time out at Cheltenham, although she wouldn’t have been beaten too far. Her mark is attractive, particularly with a five-pound claim and can produce a clean run today. 11/1 (General) is worth a small poke.
The Obvious One
2:20 – Arkle Trial Novices’ Chase (Grade Two) – JPR One @ 6/4 (General)
This race shows how weak this division is in the UK. Safe to say none of these will win the Arkle. A disappointing turnout makes the appeal for JPR One all the more enticing. A good winner of three on heavy ground at Newton Abbot, he’s acted of better ground and is capable of further improvement.
Diesel Downing Delta
2:55 – Glenfarclas Cross County H’cap Chase – Diesel D’Allier @ 8/1 (General)
Despite the appeal of the two Gordon Elliott horses, Diesel D’Allier will have been aimed at this race too. His mark is appealing, two pounds under his last win in December 2021. His best performances have come on better ground and he has every right to cause a mini upset.
Francky Du Berlais ran a cracker race barring the last fence at the Festival. His form looks inconsistent, but he’s back down to a mark close to his last winning one. His mark of 135 produced a good fourth in a Topham chase and this can be the cup final for the 10-year-old. 16/1 (General) is worth having against the two favourites.
Captain My Captain
3:30 – Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle (Grade Two) – Captain Teague @ 4/6 (William Hill, Unibet)
Paul Nicholls is extremely excited about this novice. And why shouldn’t he be? We were all excited about Hermes Allen last season at this time last season too and could go down the well-trodden path with Captain Teague. First time out in a novice hurdle was also a Grade Two, which shows the talent he possesses at such a young level.
Minella Missile also excites me at a big price for Evan Williams. Another Chepstow graduate, he beat fellow Nicholls’ favourite Don’t Tell Su. He’s a half-brother to Monbeg Genius who has turned out to be a really useful chaser and is up for improvement against the top-class Captain Teague. At 12/1 (General) he’s worth an eachway shot, or on the place and w/o fav markets.
The very best of luck!