Four Friday races live on ITV coming from the home of jump racing at Cheltenham that has not raced since the Festival. The track looks to be in terrific shape and with the rain that we had during the week making it perfect jumping ground. With the ground riding good, good to soft in places we should have decent fields and some really informative contests.
We kick off with the Ballymore Novices Hurdle and some top trainers are represented. Ask for Glory represents Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden and this son of Fame and Glory had a canter around Wincanton when making most of the running and coming home in splendid isolation to win.
He is a big horse who should be better for the time off and has also had a wind operation. But this is not a walkover.
Global Flame bolted up at Wetherby when odds-on and he ran a nice race at Chepstow prior to that. Trainer Fergal O’Brien likes him. Midnight River won very nicely at Uttoxeter, beating a horse of Kim Bailey’s who has bolted up since, so the form looks good.
Domaine De L’Isle is the highest rated and is better known as a chaser who we saw winning at Ascot last year. He is unpenalised for this contest, so gets weight from some of the others. While he would prefer softer ground, he will definitely out-run his likely odds.
This novice chase looks a cracker. Irish raider Galvin has won his last three races at Tipperary and Killarney and rounded off last season when second in the novices handicap chase to Imperial Aura at the Festival. That is strong form and his experience will be put to good use.
Doctor Duffy has run in some good races having and was third in the Kerry National at Listowel last month before falling in the Munster National at Limerick, Ask Dillon finished down the field in the Stayers’ Hurdle last March. Previously he had run a really good race in a competitive handicap at Sandown Park.
Soldier of Love has rattled up a four timer, winning three races at Newton Abbot and one at Bangor. Mossy Fen has won a point-to-point and won a graded race at Warwick. He has always looked like a chaser in the making and gets 8lb from Galvin so rates a huge player.
Mossy Fen gets the nod.
There’s a huge field for this 2m 5f handicap hurdle and quite a few of these come into this in good form. Captain Tom Cat IS the least exposed of these and with trainer Dr Richard Newland having been successful in this race in the past, it’s no surprise to see him target a novice at this.
He’s won his last two novice hurdles but this big field is a tough test for a novice. Hijack was not beaten far at Fontwell with another of today’s rivals Up The Straight finishing behind him.
Our Power went up 6lbs in the ratings for a win at Kempton last season and Weather Front comes down from the Scottish Borders and is respected.
Up The Straight is my each-way selection in a tough race.
Saint Calvados won last year’s race and went on to finish runner-up in the Ryanair Chase – so this can be a quality contest. Rouge Vif runs in the same colours as Saint Calvados was third in the Arkle Chase and has a very good chance, even carrying 11st 7lbs. On The Slopes has won his last two races at Kempton and before that was third at this venue beaten 12 lengths behind Simply the Betts and Imperial Aura on Cheltenham Trials day last January. He is 14lbs higher now though than 10 months ago and that will make life harder.
The top-weight Dolos was second in the Haldon Gold Cup last season on his seasonal bow behind Janika but is 4lb higher now. Scardura gets so much weight from these that he has to be of interest. Trainer Neil Mulholland is flying and he’s a fair price.
- Sprint over to all the top tips and racing previews now
- Ruby Walsh’s 10 to follow from Willie Mullins’ yard for the 2020/21 jumps season
- Paul Jacobs’ 10 to follow for the 2020/21 jumps season
- Mick Fitzgerald’s 10 to pay their way for the new jumps season
- The latest racing results are just a click away on PP News
- Horse Racing: How to watch racing for free with Paddy Power