Horse Racing tips: Paul Jacobs’ 4 value plays for Cheltenham’s November Meeting

A 25/1 shot chinned at Aintree and a 50/1 poke placed in the November Handicap at Doncaster was all in a day's work last weekend for our top tipster.

Paul Jacobs

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Friday 13:10 – Skatman

It shows the esteem in which Paul Nicholls holds this young and lightly raced hurdler in that SKATMAN had an original entry in the considerably tougher Paddy Power Intermediate Hurdle on Saturday. This opening race of the meeting represents an easier task and I have no doubt that this six-year-old will, in time, race much higher than his current mark of 122.

He cruised to victory in a novice hurdle at Newton Abbot last month, and the second and third have franked the form in no uncertain terms since. With the reliable Lorcan Williams taking a further 3lbs off his back and the step up to a more testing trip definitely in his favour, I shall be wholly surprised if the partnership are not in the mix at the sharp end of this Conditional jockeys handicap.

Of his rivals, I have the most respect for the light weight Asserted, who was never going well at Aintree last week and will be better served by this distance. He went off at 10/1 that day and may have needed that first run for Christian Williams.

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Friday 14:55 – Plan Of Attack

Still going strongly in the festival Cross Country Chase when he got rid of Rachael Blackmore at the 21st obstacle, Balko Des Flos then ran the race of his life behind stable mate Minella Times in the Grand National. Of course the handicapper has taken retribution since, but he still looks sure to go well off top weight – up 9lbs for that fabulous Liverpool run.

However, trying to concede 23lbs to his stablemate PLAN OF ATTACK may just prove beyond him. The fairly lightly raced eight-year-old, only 22 races under rules and 11 over fences, has always promised to win a nice prize but his jumping at times has held him back. These less severe obstacles taken at a slacker pace may well suit his style of running.

It is worth remembering that off a mark of 138 he looked sure to play a part in the finish of the Kim Muir in March before he stumbled on landing after the third last. His subsequent seventh in the Gold Cup at Sandown suggests he is still well treated, and reports are that he has schooled nicely over similar fences to the ones he will encounter here.

Saturday 14:15 – Nietzsche

This looks a typically tough renewal of the Paddy Power Gold Cup on ground that is almost certain to be a deal faster than 12 months ago. On that occasion, Coole Cody dominated the race from the start and, after turning into the straight for the first time, simply galloped and jumped his rivals into submission on the soft surface.

The conditions will be very different this time around and although his 4lbs higher mark is not insurmountable, the turnaround in the weights with Spiritofthegames may well be. Both will go to post fancied, but I reckon right at the foot of the entry Brian Ellison’s raider NIETZSCHE has an outstanding chance at a double digit price.

Although on and off the bridle midway through the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he was travelling like the proverbial good thing coming down the hill before lack of stamina took its toll turning for hole. This trip on a sounder surface should be much more up his street, and if young Danny McMenamin can get him into a really good rhythm early on, then he could be a potent threat to last year’s first and second along with Irish raiders Funky Dady and Manofthemountain.

I shall also be having a saver on the latter who was taken out of last week’s Grand Sefton after the ground deteriorated. But, on this turf, he has a solid each-way chance alongside the selection.

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Sunday 13:45 – Forza Milan

There is little doubt that Empire De Maulde will start a fairly warm favourite for this staying handicap chase after his Kelso  victory last month over the veteran and reliably good course yardstick, Big River. There should be a lot more to come in the locker from this youngster following that sure-footed display.

The other key point to recognise from the make-up of this field is that there will be no shortage of pace on, so despite the relatively fast surface this will turn into a thorough test of stamina. It’s a wide open affair, but I am drawn to those at the bottom of the weights here and the James Nash trained FORZA MILAN looks as though he has been laid out for this contest.

His chase record of one win from 16 hardly inspires confidence, but all the way through his career in this sphere the nine-year-old has been set some stiff tasks having run in two graded contests last season, with his only success coming off a mark of 135.

He was set up for a shot at this prize by running in a 2m handicap hurdle at Galway last month when he had every chance at the back end of the far stretch before not surprisingly being outpaced. That run should have blown away the cobwebs and on this better ground the selection should get a lovely tow through the race before his guaranteed stamina comes into play.

Paul Jacobs tips summary:

Friday 13:10 – Skatman
Friday 14:55 – Plan Of Attack
Saturday 14:15 – Nietzsche
Sunday 13:45 – Forza Milan

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