Cheltenham Saturday preview

Cheltenham Races

With three Graded races and two Listed races on Saturday’s Cheltenham card, the day promises to be a feast of racing for National Hunt fans. Tom Wilson, in collaboration with GIVEMEBET, bring you a preview of the card.

Trainers in Focus

We’ll start by highlighting trainers that typically perform well at this Cheltenham November meeting.

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The following trainers all have positive Wins Above Expectation (WAX) and it could pay to side with their runners at the fixture:

  • David Pipe (+7.35)
  • Phillip Hobbs (+4.19)
  • Fergal O’Brien (+3.26)
  • Neil Mullholland (+2.99)

*Wins Above Expectation (WAX) is a metric that compares the actual wins vs. the expected wins based on market price.

12:05 Cheltenham 2m5f (Old) Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Traditionally known as The Hyde Novices Hurdle, this race nets £18,000 to the winner.

Let’s start by looking at some statistics for how the trainers of horses’ entered here perform. The table shows trainer performance, judged by wins against market expectation.

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The Cheltenham records of both Philip Hobbs +5.2 and Fergal O’Brien +10.43 would jump out here, along with their respective +4.49 and +3.26 records at this November meeting. It also helps that both are in good form currently, running at +3.21 and +2.21 wins above expectation with their runners in the last 14 days.

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If we bank the statistics then we can see a number of significant positives on the side of Champagne Well and Thyme Hill. Happygolucky for Kim Bailey would be a negative.

In terms of a selection, I’ll side with THYME HILL for Phillip Hobbs. He comes here from a Grade 2 success at Chepstow in October and can continue his progression here.

TO WIN: THYME HILL @ 2/1 with GIVEMEBET

12:40 Cheltenham 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (3yo)

Paul Nicholls is 4/7 57.14% +7.71pts in this race. Winning it in 2018 with Quel Destin, 2012 with Far West, 2011 with Hinterland and 2010 with Sam Winner. Three of the years that he didn’t win this – 2017, 2016, 2014 – the race was won by Phillip Hobbs and he doesn’t send a runner this year.

Nicholls sends MICK PASTOR this year, for a first run in the UK, after two runs in France. All of his previous winners have been French bred horses, so it’s clearly an angle that he likes. Two of them in Hinterland and Sam Winner were having their first run for Nicholls as a trainer, so he’s not afraid to pitch them straight in.

TO WIN: MICK PASTOR with GIVEMEBET

1:15 Cheltenham 3m½f (3m80y) (Old) mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)

For the 3m Novices’ Chase, let’s again look at some trainer statistics, combined with sire statistics.

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David Pipe has won this race twice in the past, which would be a positive for Poker Play.

The one that catches my attention here is Aye Aye Charlie for Fergal O’Brien.

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There are banks of positive indication for Aye Aye Charlie, from his trainers’s record at the track (+10.43), O’Briens’ record at the meeting (+3.26) and the performance of his Sires’ progeny on Heavy ground (+8.4). He looks a solid selection here.

EACH WAY: AYE AYE CHARLIE with GIVEMEBET

1:50 Cheltenham 3m3½f (3m3f71y) (Old) BetVictor Smartcards Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

RAMSES DE TEILLEE is the selection here for David Pipe’s yard. We’ve already seen that he has a positive performance record when sending his runners to the meeting. He’s 1/3 at the Track and will absolutely relish conditions, being 4/8 (2places) on Heavy Ground.

TO WIN: RAMSES DE TEILLEE with GIVEMEBET

2:25 Cheltenham 2m4f (2m4f44y) (Old) BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

SIRUH DU LAC was incredibly impressive when winning here at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.

He’s the type of horse that can continue his progression and defy the rise in his handicap mark. His record is now 2/3 at the track so it makes sense that the yard continue to target the big meetings here.

The form from that Cheltenham Festival run has been franked by the strong performance of Janika in the Coral Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.

TO WIN: SIRUH DU LAC with GIVEMEBET

3:00 Cheltenham 3m (2m7f208y) (Old) Spinal Injuries Association Big Buck's Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

ANTEROS is a horse that targets this race each year. He fell last year when well supported in the market, finished 2nd here in 2017 and won the race in 2016. It would not surprise to see him bang there again this year.

EACH WAY: ANTEROS with GIVEMEBET

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