Cheltenham Showcase Meeting Day One Preview


By Samantha

The jumps are back!

Cheltenham holds their first meeting of the season on Friday 25th and it has attracted a really good card of horses. The ground is good to soft.

14:00 Cheltenham – Ballymore Novices Hurdle

The Irish have a strong hand in this opening contest with Braid Blue and Doctor Duffy. Braid Blue is from the Gordon Elliot yard. This horse is six from nine and has won his last three hurdle races very easily over further than this. Doctor Duffy has been running all through the summer and won his first hurdle in May. He’s won twice in seven races since. He beat Lethal Steps and Black Tears last time but, out of the horses with official ratings, he is rated 1lbs less than No Hidden Charges. Neil Mullholland’s gelding won twice in May and then obliged over this trip at 1/8 in July. Those were only average opposition. Bialco has won twice – a handicap hurdle and a novice hurdle. Last time, he was beaten 33lengths by Borrice so has a bit to find. Megaudais Speed has only ran twice in the UK and been beaten convincingly.
CHAMPAGNE WELL won a NH Flat Race at Sedgefield in soft ground last year and he’s going into his second season as a novice hurdler. He was sixth in the grade one Sefton Novices Hurdle at Aintree and looks to have a big chance getting weight. Guy has ran just once when second in a NH Flat Race at Perth. He’ll be making his hurdles debut but his dam is a listed winning hurdler in France. L’Air Du Vent won easily on rules debut and I was impressed with that run. He fell in his sole Point To Point and makes his first outing over obstacles.

14:35 Cheltenham – Novices Chase

This is a mouth-watering clash. We have top class hurdle winners Getaway Trump and Al Dancer tackling fences for the first time! Al Dancer progress through the levels from about this time last year and one for races. The last of those was in the grade three Betfair Hurdle when Getaway Trump was about 7 lengths back in fourth. Next time the grey was 10th in the supreme novices’ hurdle. He should like fences. The same comment goes for Getaway Trump. He got over his keenness to win at Plumpton and Exeter, before coming second Champ in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle. Then he was fourth to Al Dancer and then Rouge Vif. He had a good confidence boost in a class three at Ayr, which left him perfect for the Novice Hurdle Final on the last day of the season at Sandown when he won by two and three quarter lengths. My selection is GETAWAY TRUMP as I’ve always thought he’d be a chaser and was part of last year’s 20 to watch. Caius Marcius carries extra weights because he is already a three time chase winner. The weight could ruin his chances but he’ll win again soon. Not That Fuisse was second on chase debut to Erick Le Rouge. He was beaten by Al Dancer in December so has quite a bit to find.

15:10 Cheltenham – Two Farmers Crisps Handicap Hurdle

Nineteen horses go to post in this and I’ve picked out a few to talk about. Treasure Dillon and The Big Galloper are only 5. The latter won on heavy at Roscommon recently in a maiden hurdle by neck. He could struggle. Treasure Dillon finished the season with a really easy win and has very little weight. Boreham Bill won eighteen days ago at Stratford on similar ground, however Adam Wedge the winning pilot, rides Treasure Dillon instead. Duke Street has won his last two. He has only ran twice in the past two years and is rising in the weights. Top weight is Golan Fortune, who raced in very good company when last racing but he has a 559 day break to overcome. The mare Printing Dollars won twice earlier in the year over further and was second at Ayr in April when last seen. LIGSDUIN BHEARNA completed a double in late February early March and both were very good rooms. He’s not exposed but is so consistent. I’m expecting a big run as he should stay the trip. Smarty Wild has won his last three and steps up in trip. It comes from Philip Hobbs yard and they’re in decent form so is my second choice. Tedham won at Wincanton in January and then came seventh in a grade three at Aintree. Breaking Waves likes Huntingdon and came fourth at Newbury when last seen in March. Back On The Lash won at Exeter on the 10th October, by a small margin.

15:45 Cheltenham – Matchbook Most Trusted Betting Exchange Novices Chase

My selection in this race is obviously MULCAHYS HILL. I adore this horse and he’s one of my 20 To Watch 2019/20. He ran over fences, after coming second in the Challow Novices Hurdle during the previous season. His best run of the campaign was when second to the subsequent National Hunt Chase third Jerrysback at Bangor. After that, he ran in the Scilly Isles and fell in the National Hunt Chase, which was a horrific race. He’s one of the more exposed and has contested some tough races over fences. Hopefully, this can play to his strengths! Dinons has a brilliant wins-to-runs ratio and began in novice chases in May and is now a three times winner. He’s only six, like Present Ranger and Rockpoint. Present Ranger has won his last three and makes his chase debut in this race. He’s stepping up in trip . I saw Rockpoint when he was fourth at Warwick behind Beakstown at the beginning of 2019 but he’s been well beaten on all starts since. He’s a course and distance winner but tries fences for the first time. Aye Aye Charlie was beaten by Rockpoint so the former has a bit to find. Boyhood and Wholestone both went over fences once already this season. Boyhood did so in May and was a game winner. Wholestone was a good hurdler and won on heavy in September. It wasn’t really a race as his sole opponent pulled up before four out. Minella Warrior won last time over hurdles and it’s quite an exposed type so he could be anything, from the Kim Bailey yard.

16:20 Cheltenham – Foundation Developments LTD Maiden Hurdle

GETARIVER is an interesting mare. Bridget Andrews rode her for her two bumper wins, which were both were very impressive, and her husband Harry Skelton takes over the reins for her hurdles debut. The horse is well-related and was a relatively cheap purchase at £30,000. Fred has been second on his last three starts in France and now runs for Nicky Henderson so is a threat but carries 11st in comparison to her 10st7.

16:55 Cheltenham – Ryman Stationary Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase

Seamus Mullins recruits top point to point rider Gina Andrews for the ride on PLANTAGENET. The horse runs off the same mark as when a good second to Doing Fine at Fontwell three weeks ago. Doing Fine has to carry 4lbs more than my selection so a reverse is on the cards.

17:30 Cheltenham – ‘Matchbook Betting Exchange Podcast’ Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Connor Brace rides Benny’s Bridge, who won a handicap here in January. The form of that has worked out well. Whoshotthesheriff has won his last two starts rather easily and steps into handicap company. OAKLEY gets my vote. Philip Hobbs’ charge won easily in two starts around the turn of the year and hasn’t been seen since. He has a long absence to overcome but should run well.

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