Saturday 14th November 2020
The first race on Day 2 of Cheltenham’s November Meeting comes at 12:30 and is the Grade 2 Triumph Trial, a Juvenile Hurdle contested over two miles and half of a furlong. I think this can go to the warm order that is HELL RED for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden at around 10/11. He was mightily impressive on British debut last month at Chepstow, bolting up by the best part of 12 lengths and looks a seriously smart recruit for his powerful connections. His main rival looks to come in the form of Irish raider Duffle Coat for Gordon Elliott, winner of three Juvenile Hurdles including a Listed success last time at Wetherby.
Next up is the 1:05 which is a Handicap Chase for amateur riders over three miles and a furlong. A very competitive affair of which I’ve taken a chance on LAMANVER PIPPIN for Colin Tizzard and Will Biddick at a general 9/2. He was last seen when finishing third in the National Hunt Chase in March at The Festival, the time before that he was an impressive winner at Chepstow this time last year and unlike many in this field, I think there could well be more to come from him.
It’s another Graded contest next at 1:40 in the form of a Grade 2 Novices’ Chase over two miles. I think it’s difficult to see past the Nicky Henderson trained FUSIL RAFFLES at 11/8 here who’s the mount of Daryl Jacob. Winner of both chase starts to date this term with the last success coming here winning impressively by over 9 lengths at the October Meeting. If continuing his progession over the larger obstacles he could prove a tough nut to crack. All of this field carry a considerable threat to him, the most notable look to be Quel Destin and Eldorado Allen.
The big race of the day comes at 2:15 and is the Paddy Power Gold Cup, a Grade 3 Handicap Chase over two miles and four furlongs. This is always a sizeable field and unsurprisingly very competitive, I’ve taken a chance on a horse who’s a bit of a personal favourite of mine and that’s MISTER FISHER for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville at 5/1. He won here at the December Meeting last year when beating Good Boy Bobby in a Novices’ Chase, before following up with a Grade 2 success at Doncaster in January. He signed off his season finishing fourth in the Marsh Chase at The Festival behind the likes of Samcro, Melon and Faugheen which is form that speaks for itself. He’s got to prove himself against more battle hardened handicap chasers but he could prove a class apart. Festival winner Simply The Betts looks to hold a big chance and is an obvious threat.
We move into Listed company next at 2:50 with a Listed Handicap Hurdle over three miles. Another extremely competitive contest of which again I’ve sided with another Nicky Henderson horse this time in ON THE BLIND SIDE at 8/1. Once more ridden by stable jockey Nico de Boinville, he’s far from your most consistent horse, however, he was a smart prospect over hurdles when he was younger winning a Grade 2 as a Novice. If returning to anywhere near that sort of form he could be well treated here.
The penultimate race of the day takes place at 3:25 and is an Intermediate Handicap Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs. A common theme that has continued throughout the day is me backing Nicky Henderson horses and that’s happened once again, on this occasion with SON OF CAMAS, once again ridden by de Boinville and at odds of a general 5/2. He looked a very smart prospect at Newbury back in November last year when beating King Roland, however, things didn’t work out when tried the next twice within Grade 1 company. He returns here after wind surgery and if recapturing some of the promise he showed at Newbury last year there’s every chance he could prove a cut above these.
Concluding the day’s racing is the the Bumper at 3:55 over two miles and half of a furlong. I’m siding with ELLE EST BELLE for the Skelton’s here at the 7/4 mark. She looked mightily impressive at Aintree when last seen back in October when she cruised home after not being asked any questions at all. She looks a serious prospect and if adapting to this track could take all the beating here.