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Coverage on ITV begins with a Grade 2 novice chase over 2m. There’s no doubt in my mind the most talented of these is FUSIL RAFFLES and he’s done little wrong in two chase wins at Uttoxeter and here at Cheltenham.
He now has to give 3lbs and more away, but his experience will help and he’s always promised to be a serious animal after looking a very good juvenile hurdler as a youngster for Nicky Henderson. Daryl Jacob takes the ride.
Now the feature, the fantastically sponsored Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase over 2m 4f. I would so like to find the winner here! SLATE HOUSE is the one for me each-way. He was 5lbs lower in this last year when clouting the first and unseating two out.
However, prior to the unseat he was coming there strongly and might well have played a part in the finish. I’m not so worried about the 5lb as his jumping. If that stands the test, then he might have a very strong chance under Robbie Power for Colin Tizzard.
A Listed handicap hurdle now over 3m, again sponsored by Paddy. TOBEFAIR was third in this last year off a mark of 154 and can go off 3lb lower this time. When he’s right he’s a very classy handicapper at this distance and while he’s not getting any younger, he still has a great chance under Tom Bellamy for Debra Hamer. I’ll have a few quid on each-way.
A Listed race here on the Flat over 1m 2f. Hard to get away from DUBAI WARRIOR here who with a rating of 114 just looks miles better than all the rest. John Gosden has booked Robert Havlin for a horse was super impressive when winning at Lingfield in February, but who didn’t do much in July when fifth at Sandown. He should bounce back here.
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A handicap hurdle again here over 2m 5f. CAPTAIN TOM CAT absolutely destroyed his field at this track last time for Deva Racing. While he’s up 6lbs, if in the same sort of form he’s going to be hard to stop again for Dr Richard Newland and Cillin Leonard who takes off 7lbs. The five-year-old is on a four-timer and has done really well for his excellent syndicate.
Another Listed contest here on the Flat over 6 furlongs. I wanted to take on GOOD EFFORT in this as he bids for a five-timer for trainer Ismail Mohammed. However, Ray Dawson’s mount has easily done best with the draw of the leading contenders and that suggests to me he will be very hard to stop.
I was at Lingfield when he won last time and he was very good that day although this is miles harder. A horse in very good form and still improving.
Finally at Cheltenham, a Listed bumper for mares over an extended 2m. A lot of guesswork here, ELLE EST BELLE has already looked very good for Dan and Harry Skelton, the trainer-jockey combination. This will be a very different test to the one she hacked up in at Aintree first time, but she oozed class that day and stayed well.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
13:40 Cheltenham – Fusil Raffles
14:15 Cheltenham – Slate House
14:50 Cheltenham – Tobefair
15:05 Lingfield – Dubai Warrior
15:25 Cheltenham – Captain Tom Cat
15:40 Lingfield – Good Effort
15:55 Cheltenham – Elle Est Belle
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