Horse Racing: Cheltenham, Preview & Tips – Friday

The Jumps are well and truly back with the three-day meeting at Cheltenham this weekend. Here's Stefan Fellows to mark your card ahead of the action at Prestbury Park.

Stefan Fellows

It’s Day 1 of the Cheltenham November meeting and with Grand National hero Tiger Roll amongst the runners, it should be a thrilling day of jump racing.

The three-day November Meeting at Cheltenham is one of the highlights of the calendar for what promises to be a weekend of magnificent action at Prestbury Park.

So here’s our resident tipster with his look at the big televised races on the opening day.


Cheltenham Horse Racing

13.50 – 2m Handicap Chase (Class 2)

The Paul Nicholls yard continues in fine form and they look to have a good chance here with Magic Saint. The Gelding is best suited by this 2-mile trip with both his victories in the past coming over the trip.

Jockey Brian Carvers 5lb claim in addition to the 2lb drop from his recent pipe opener at Aintree in the Old Roan Chase takes him back down to his last winning mark plus he’s also won this time of last season when successful in a handicap at Newbury, he looks ready to strike once more.

On The Slopes could not adapt his usual front running tactics when a beaten 10 lengths 5th here last month but with less competition likely for the early pace and with that run being his first of the season he should have more of a say this time around.

Beat The Judge (3rd) and Ballywood (6th) were others who ran in that Cheltenham race with the former not having much luck in running that day before staying on to good effect.

Fanion D’Estruval has only had the 4 chase starts to date so lacks the experience of some of these, he may also find this sharp enough and could be one to note for targets further down the line.

Selection: On The Slopes (Next Best)

14.25 – 2m 4f Racing Welfare Novices Chase (Class 2)

This looks likely to concern the top pair in the field of Southfield Stone and Protektorat.

The former has more chase experience than his main opponent with 6 starts over the larger obstacles and was successful here over course and distance last time.

He should run his race once more but is likely to face this a tougher ask having to give weight all round. Protektorat had some good graded form to is name over hurdles last season including success in a listed event at the Prestbury venue on New Year’s Day.

He made a good start to his chase career when jumping efficiently on his chase debut at Carlise. The step up to this trip is more suitable under these conditions and with a tendency to go right at his obstacles on chase debut the switch to this way round will help further.

Selection: Protektorat (NAP)

Cheltenham Horse Racing

15.00 – 3m 6f Cross Country Handicap Chase (Class 2)

Again, a race that has a match feel to it but what a duel we are likely to be in for with 2-time Grand National hero Tiger Roll set to do battle with last season’s cross country winner Easyland.

The Gordon Elliot runner was some 17 lengths behind that day and with him having to give 4lbs to his opponent on this occasion he faces a tough task to reverse that form.

He does have the advantage of a recent spin over hurdles but the French rival is still expected to have his measure.

Selection: Easyland

15.35 – 2m 5f Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)

Does He Know looks to hold obvious claims of following up his recent course and distance success 21 days ago.

A winner in his last 2 starts over hurdles he looks to have more to come but the form of that race last time might not be the strongest in time.

The Nicky Henderson yard are represented with Grand Mogul and he looked to have done well for some time away from the course when returning to a comfortable success at Chepstow recently.

He ran in a couple of tough events last season over hurdles and despite being a bumper winner in Ireland looks to have needed time. He looks an interesting prospect and is expected to take have the measure of the Kim Bailey runner receiving 3lb.

Selection: Grand Mogul

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