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To get us ready in the sporting feast on tap for the weekend, we’ve decided to bring you a delicious double to tuck into. The Masters at Augusta is the most thrilling spectacle in golf, and this year’s rearranged tournament means it falls over the same weekend as the November meeting at Cheltenham. The stars have aligned for an ambitious each-way double, which could make it the most wonderful of weekend’s if it lands!
By the time we settle down for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday hopefully Rahm will be a right in contention at Augusta and we can focus on roaring SLATE HOUSE up the hill! Colin Tizzard’s mount looked set to mounting a serious challenge in this race last year before he failed to get the landing gear out in time at the second-last fence.
Robbie Power was cruising round the outside to put down his claim and had Slate House stayed upright he could be coming into this race looking to retain his crown. Slate House made amends winning the next time out at Huntingdon before the highlight of his season as he won the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day.
He was well beaten at the Festival in March, finishing last of the six finishers in the RSA Novices’ Chase, however that race was packed full of quality with Champ, Minella Indo and Allaho battling towards the line. The step back to 2m 4f will suit Slate House more than that 3-mile battle and last season’s experience gives me plenty of confidence his jumping will stand up to the test.
A three-time Cheltenham winner, Slate House has no problem getting up the hill and the little bit of cut in the ground will also suit. He is 5lb higher than when falling last year but Slate House is classy enough to defy that raise and scoop a decent prize for the Tizzard yard.
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JOHN RAHM was plenty of people’s picks for the green jacket before the Masters teed off on Thursday and after (almost!) two rounds the Spaniard has only strengthened that view. Experience is key at Augusta as the course holds many unique challenges to put it up to the pros. Rahm has that in spades, finishing fourth in 2018 and ninth in 2019 after a solid top 30 finish on his debut in 2017.
He has shot 70 or less in seven of his last nine rounds at Augusta and is on course to further that record when he picks up with a birdie opportunity on the 13th hole on Saturday morning, which would take him to the top of the leaderboard at nine-under-par.
In the last 15 years, 93% of Masters winners ranked in the top 20 for Greens in Regulation and 80% ranked in the top 20 for Scrambling – both pieces of good news for Rahm who ranked 18th and 11th respectively last season on Tour. The World Number 2 can also balance bombing it off the tee with being delicate on the dancefloor – ranking 17th for Driving Distance and eight for Putting Average last season. All skills he’s shown off at Augusta over the last couple of days.
Dustin Johnson is the main threat, but most overcome the curse of being World Number One. Just three players have won the green jacket when ranked top in the world, and nobody has done it since Tiger in 2002.
Justin Thomas put on a serious short game performance on Friday and will fancy his chances, as will young Aussie Cameron Smith who doesn’t hold an ounce of fear. But Rahm is the man to side with. Every pre-tournament trend pointed his way and he’s only strengthening those arguments as we move through the weekend.
- Cheltenham tips: Saturday’s best bets on day two of the November meeting
- Cheltenham tips: Paddy’s Cheat Sheet for all 7 races on Saturday’s card
- Cheltenham tips: Paul Jacobs’ best bets for the November meeting
- Watch the Cheltenham November Meeting: How to catch all the action free with Paddy