Paul Callaghan’s Cheltenham Racing Tips – Sunday 15th November

Former National Hunt jockey turned-broadcaster Paul Callaghan previews Sunday’s card at Cheltenham, plus the 2.10 at Punchestown.

1:15 – Novices’ Chase over 3 miles

All eyes will be on the Colin Tizzard trained The Big Breakaway, the mount of BoyleSports horse racing ambassador Robbie Power, who was in double form yesterday afternoon.

All reports are that The Big Breakaway has schooled brilliantly (touch wood) ahead of his chasing debut. He’s won a point to point for Donnchadh Doyle. The ground should be fine.

With the ground quite testing and only six runners, I’d imagine the pace will be quite sensible, giving the horses time to get into a rhythm.

It’s not so much of a betting proposition but this experience should definitely stand to The Big Breakaway later on this season, so I would have one eye on those festival ante post markets.

Connections hope that he can one day develop into a Gold Cup contender, and Joe Tizzard (assistant trainer), who rode Cue Card in his younger days and plenty of other good horses, said recently that this horse is “probably the most exciting horse we’ve got going forward and the sky is the limit with him at this stage”.

I hope we see something special.

1:50 – Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over 3 miles 3 furlongs.

This looks fairly competitive but the it’s Cloth Cap who gets my vote. The ground is a slight question mark but he has been placed twice last season on soft ground.

He has a handy weight of 10st 6 lbs but has 14 lengths to find on West Approach on their running here last month but meets that rival on more favourable terms here.

Neither has Frodon to chase this afternoon, so that should make life easier on them both. I just think with a light weight and under a typical patient ride from Richie McLernon, I’d expect him to be in the mix, come the business end of the race.

2:25 – Shloer Chase (Grade 2) over 2 miles.
The overall form of the Philip Hobbs team has to place some doubt over Defi Du Seuil, who is looking to bounce back, having only beat one home in the Champion Chase at the festival last March.

Rouge Vif put in a most improved performance to take a competitive handicap chase here last month in decisive fashion.

But it’s the Henry De Bromhead trained mare, Put The Kettle On, who gets the vote and is partnered by Aidan Coleman, who finished 19-and-a half lengths in front of Rouge Vif when the pair met in the Arkle last March.

Rouge Vif has improved, but has he improved enough to make up that ground and more to get the better of Put The Kettle On? I think the mare will take the beating in this.

3:35 – Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) over 2 miles.

I’m going to side with Fidelio Vallis for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden in this one.

He can race quite freely but with ground quite testing which he handles, I’m anticipating Cobden dictating things from the front. He was twice a winner last season and made a nice seasonal reappearance when finishing second at Kempton last month.

Of the other runners, it’s interesting that Jessica Harrington sends over Jungle Junction who needs to improve in order to land a blow here.

I’m a fan of Courtandbould, who doesn’t seem to know how to run a bad race. But for investment purposes, Courtandbould is by the sire Court Cave who’s prodigy generally want good ground.

Yes, he was second at Stratford in August on soft ground, but soft ground at Cheltenham in November is a lot more testing than running in soft ground at Stratford in August.

4:05 – Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) over 2 miles.

Weseekhimhere won his last two starts very impressively and is of obvious interest for the trainer/jockey combination, Gordon Elliott and Robbie Power.

But I was quite taken by the fashion in which Grandeur D’Ame won on his racecourse debut at Newton Abbot at the end of October.

There were nibbles in the market for him that day but nothing extraordinary, suggesting that he wasn’t burning up the gallops at home. It’s always a nice surprise when a horse shows more at the races than they do at home and those type of horses generally turn out to be quite useful.

On just his second start, there’s surely a lot more to come.


2:10 – Morgiana Hurdle (Grade 1) over 2 miles.

The manner in which Saint Roi won the County hurdle at the festival on just his fourth start over hurdles was incredible. He looked as good as ever when winning at Tipperary on his seasonal reappearance in early October. He’s smart and looks to further his Champion Hurdle credentials here.

Another runner who is looking to jump his way back into the Champion Hurdle picture is Abacadabras for trainer Gordon Elliott and is partnered once again by Jack Kennedy.

He was second at Down Royal last month behind Aspire Tower, who with the benefit of hindsight was probably underrated. Still, Abacadabras was second favourite for the Champion Hurdle next March ahead of that clash.

He was only beaten by a head when finishing second behind Shishkin in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the festival last March. Had Shishkin stayed hurdling, he would be sitting towards the top of the market for the 2021 Champion Hurdle.

At the moment Abacadabras is my fancy for the Champion hurdle next March. If he is to be considered a serious contender, then he needs to be laying down his mark here and I fancy him to get back on track this afternoon.

Besides Does He Know scoring on Friday, it’s been a tough two days on the betting front. But we’ve been treated to some fantastic racing and you would have had a good Saturday if you were following BoyleSports’ horse racing ambassador, Robbie Power.

With a six racecard to look forward to at Cheltenham from 1:15 and graded action to look forward to at Punchestown, we will do it all again this afternoon.

The very best of luck with your bets and as always, enjoy the action!