There’s four races live on ITV4 on Friday as the home of jump racing kicks off the three-day Cheltenham November Festival.
Magic Saint is at the top of the market and jockey Brian Carver claims 5lb off his welter burden of 12 stone. He’ll be much happier back at this two mile trip as he doesn’t look to stay two and a half miles.
On The Slopes, Beat the Judge and Bollywood all ran behind Rouge Vif here last month at this track where Beat the Judge was the best of this trio, that day. He’s lightly-raced over fences and could be open to the most improvement, especially as he finished his race off really well last time. Before that he had always looked like a weak finisher.
Trainer Chris Gordon has his team in good form and his On The Slopes looked like he might have needed the race that day when fifth. Richard Johnson is booked to ride and he’ll do for me.
There’s only four runners declared for this 2m 4f Novice Chase, but it’s a case of quality not quantity. Southfield Stone won very nicely at the track last time and ground conditions are not that different.
The wind operation he had in the summer seemed to have worked a treat. He is a very good jumper, can be ridden positively and will be very hard to pass.
Dan Skelton’s Protektorat was very well backed when winning a handicap hurdle at Sandown and made a good start over fences at Carlisle. Mossy Fen jumped very right-handed last time at this venue and did too much, too early over the three-mile trip. He will be happier dropping back in distance, but if he keeps jumping right on this left-handed track, he’ll give lots of ground away and that will be a concern.
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French raider Easysland is on a real roll and he has won his last seven starts including two wins at this course. One of those was his win in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival teasing the mighty, dual Aintree National winner, Tiger Roll in the process at level weights. Friday’s race is a handicap though and Tiger Roll now has to give the French raider 4lbs, which will not help his cause on bit.
The 2019 Welsh Grand National winner Potters Corner is a really interesting contender and trainer Christian Williams brought him to the track to school him over These obstacles last week.
He seemed to really enjoy himself and with jockey Jack Tudor claiming 5lbs, he is only carrying 10 stone 1 lb. He’s a very lively each-way player at the prices.
Wild Romance is part-owned by Paddy Power so that has to be respected. The Grand Visir will be fascinating as he is so highly-rated on the Flat. Grand Mogul found His mojo last time and if he can continue the upward curve can’t be discounted. However, Does He Know put up a fast time on the clock when winning at the last meeting here and and can account for these rivals.
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