Cheltenham preview: Timeform’s 3 to note at the October meeting

Timeform's Tony McFadden previews the two-day October meeting that marks the new jumps season at Prestbury Park to take us all the way through to the Festival in March.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Aucunrisque a novice chaser to follow

Aucunrisque proved prolific during his novice hurdle campaign last season, winning on four occasions, including in Grade 2 company in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.

One of the most impressive attributes Aucunrisque displayed last season was a teak-tough attitude and he proved notably game when digging very deep to win the Sussex Champion Hurdle Handicap Hurdle only nine days after running in Grade 1 company at Aintree.

Aucunrisque – who was included among Timeform’s 50 to follow for the jumps season – made a pleasing start to his chasing career when making a successful start at Uttoxeter earlier this month, beating Jetoile by three-quarters of a length.

Aucunrisque was awkward at the second fence, but he jumped well on other occasions, boding well for his prospects as a chaser. His excellent attitude will stand him in good stead in this discipline and he will be high on the shortlist if taking his chance in the two-mile novice on Friday 2.10pm.


John McConnell bidding for novice hurdle hat-trick

Irish trainer John McConnell has landed the last two runnings of the three-mile novice hurdle – which this year is scheduled as the opening race on Saturday’s card at 1.30pm. He has entered Rexem this time around and McConnell’s last two winners of this contest, Streets of Doyen and Bardenstown Lad, both went on to finish placed in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

This is clearly a race that the trainer likes to target with a horse held in high regard. Rexem, a winner on his sole start in points and of one of his three outings in bumpers, has taken well to hurdling. He shaped better than the bare result would suggest when third on his hurdling debut over an extended two miles at Galway in July, and he has shown improved form since stepping up in trip, winning with something to spare at Downpatrick and Killarney.  

He created an especially good impression over 2m 7f at Killarney last time, readily beating a subsequent winner, and he will have no problem staying this slightly longer trip.

Safer Gambling 2022

Fergal O’Brien runners worth noting in the bumper

Local trainer Fergal O’Brien has won Saturday’s concluding bumper (5pm) three times in the last five seasons, while he saddled the runner-up one of the years he failed to win. O’Brien has three runners entered at the five-day stage, including a couple of unbeaten five-year-olds in Dreaming Diamond and School Days Over. Dreaming Diamond won a Worcester bumper by six lengths on debut, while School Days Over was only a narrow winner at Market Rasen but did well to overcome unfavourable circumstances.

School Days Over was held up in a race run at a crawl and still had plenty to do entering the straight, but, despite running green and hanging right entering the final furlong, he was able to quicken and lead close home. He could be capable of significantly better.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change


The latest Horse Racing odds are on now

The Paddy Power Guide To Safer Gambling – Everything You Need To Know

What do you think?