Paul Callaghan’s Cheltenham Racing Tips – Saturday 14th November
Former National Hunt jockey turned-broadcaster Paul Callaghan previews Saturday’s card at Cheltenham.
12:30 Cheltenham – Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) over 2 miles.
This looks quite tricky despite the small field. Duffle Coat is unbeaten in three starts and has the assistance of BoyleSports horse racing ambassador, Robbie Power. At the weights, it will take something special, I think, to keep that 100% record in tact.
For me it’s Hell Red for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden.
He was second on his only start in France, at Auteuil for trainer Guillaume Macaire before joining team Ditcheat. Hell Red made all to win on his UK debut at Chepstow, on a weekend that the Nicholls’ yard dominated. He ran out a bloodless 12 length winner, in a very respectable time, quickening up and extending, in impressive fashion in the last 3 furlongs. He looks an exciting prospect.
1.40 Cheltenham – Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) over 2 miles.
I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see something special from Fusil Raffles. There was nothing flashy about his chasing debut success at Uttoxeter in September, where he had Gumball 17 lengths behind in third – I don’t see a case for that form being reversed. But he was impressive when scoring over course and distance last month. Representing top connections, he’s difficult to oppose.
Of the other runners, Eldorado Allen won on chasing debut at Newton Abbot in early October, holding Stormy Ireland in second. The strength of that form is questionable, as Stormy Ireland didn’t look entirely straightforward, finishing second once again at Bangor – on – Dee on Wednesday.
Quel Destin is interesting but I think a bigger threat to the selection may come from Zarkareva. She’s won her last two over fences, which include a Grade 3 Novice Chase at Punchestown.
2:15 Cheltenham – Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over 2 miles 4 furlongs.
This is always a cracker and this year is set to be no different.
They start in the middle of the course and things will be rough and ready over the first two or three fences, so the start is going to be crucial.
Slate House was unlucky in this race last year. He looked like he was going to mount a serious challenge, until getting a typical second last fence fall. He’s a Grade 1 winner, so deserves serious consideration.
Last year’s winner Happy Diva also lines up. Happy Diva won last year’s renewal off a handicap mark of 143. She’s now rated 151, but was a decent fifth on seasonal reappearance in a Listed chase at Wetherby which should see her competitive once again.
There’s very little separating Simply The Betts and and Mister Fisher on paper, but it is the former who gets the nod.
He was a good winner at the festival in March, which took his tally to four wins from five starts over fences.
He’s one that jockey Gavin Sheehan was rushing to get back from injury for and he’s pretty uncomplicated as far as tactics are concerned.
He likes to race prominently but doesn’t have to make the running. I’d imagine Gavin will line up to make it, but end up sitting fourth or fifth. That combined with his 2 victories from 2 visits to Cheltenham, ticks the boxes for me.
3:55 Cheltenham – Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) (GBB Race) over 2 miles.
While the Dan Skelton trained Elle Est Belle won very impressively on debut at Aintree in October. I’m going to take her on with Uncanaver, trained by Anthony Honeyball and ridden by Harry Cobden.
She finished second on racecourse debut at Huntingdon when trained by Adam West. That race was won by another Anthony Honeyball trained runner, Coquelicot – who then won a listed bumper at Kempton on her next start.
Uncanaver was very impressive when making all to win on stable debut at Fontwell under Aidan Coleman, who is has to ride for his boss Olly Murphy here.
I think it’s significant that connections snapped up Uncanaver for £35,000 at the Cheltenham sales in February, following her debut and I also think it significant that the trainer has opted not to claim off 11 stone and instead use Harry Cobden, given that he has one of the most talented claimers attached to his yard in Rex Dingle. That indicates their confidence in the filly’s ability.
Once again it’s an action packed Saturday, so pace yourself, get those bets on early, get that horse tracker at the ready, sit back and enjoy the action!