Cheltenham hosts its second meet of the season and its biggest outside of the Festival, with the Paddy Power Gold Cup the highlight on Saturday.
2m½f (2m87y) (Old) JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (3yo)
We’ve done nicely in this race in recent years, winning it on three occasions in the past five years. Paul Nicholls’s Hell Red will be hard to beat as he looked to have a big engine when running away from the field at Chepstow, but he hits the ground hard with a proper mudlark action and looked a bit green and keen throughout, which might catch him out at Cheltenham on decent ground. He’ll probably win but I want to take him on with ADAGIO from the David Pipe yard, a German bred ex-French-trained 87-rated flat horse who traveled powerfully to win on his first start over hurdles. His jumping was a bit sketchy but he’s got every right to improve for experience and I fancy this horse has a big engine. 13/2 is well worth a poke.
1pt win Adagio @13/2, 12:30 Cheltenham, Saturday
2m (1m7f199y) (Old) From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Registered As The November) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
This is a good novice chase and you can make a case for most. We’ll take on Fusil Raffles because of his penalty and price. ELDORADO ALLEN has always threatened to be a really good horse and the Tizzard camp is particularly bullish about his qualities. I’m not sure what happened over hurdles last season but he looked very good on chasing debut beating good horses and now he’s nearly turning seven, he should be close to the finished article. I’ll take the 9/2 that he’s as good as Colin Tizzard thinks he is. Gumball is the other I like at the prices and I’ll be looking for some 10/1 on the exchanges to cover him off too.
1pt win Eldorado Allen @9/2, 13:40 Cheltenham, Saturday
2m4f (2m4f44y) (Old) Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Competitive as ever and I’m throwing two darts at this race. AL DANCER has done most his racing over two miles and doesn’t look to have the speed to be competitive in that division, but he stayed well on his sole start over the intermediate trip, beating a very useful horse in Master Tommytucker, and has proven form round Cheltenham. His trainer has previous with this race and the better ground is in his favour, so he’s got an awful lot in his favour as a 10/1 poke. The other one who looks oh so solid is SLATE HOUSE, a non stayer in the Cotswold Chase and RSA at the Festival but a Grade 1 winner over fences and clearly the best horse in this race last season, where he fell two out. It’s a price thing with Slate House. He has shown more class than most in this race and the 5lb rise since last year seems nominal if he can find his best form. I don’t really care what ground it is for either of them.
1pt win Al Dancer @10/1, 14:15 Cheltenham, Saturday
1pt win Slate House @11/1, 14:15 Cheltenham, Saturday