Cheltenham tips: Timeform’s 7 best bets for Friday’s card

Our clever racing specialists fancy Midnight Maestro in the Cross Country Handicap Chase at 15:00.

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12:05 Washington

This looks a cracking novices’ hurdle where you can make a strong case for all six runners, but the one that stands out is the Olly Murphy-trained WASHINGTON. He was a winner of both of his starts in bumpers, and looked potentially useful when making a winning start over hurdles at Bangor in October.

He failed to improve when second to a promising type in a Grade 2 here last time, but he still didn’t look the finished article on that occasion, and should have plenty more to offer. Hartur D’Oudairies and Jpr One both created a positive impression on their respective hurdle debuts too, and also look very promising.

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12:40 Corach Rambler

CORACH RAMBLER has a highly progressive profile, and an excellent strike rate to boot, so he gets the narrow vote to defy a rise in the weights for his facile success at Aintree in October – where he showed useful form on just his second start over hurdles.

Coeur Serein was about to score when falling at Lingfield on chasing debut, so he’s regarded as the main danger ahead of Barbados Buck’s – who looks the type to benefit from first-time blinkers.

13:15 Broomfield Burg

BROOMFIELD BURG is an unexposed type representing top connections and is fancied to make light of an opening handicap mark of 130. He made a positive impression when making a winning start over hurdles and may have bumped into an above-average sort at Newbury last time, so it is far too early to give up on him.

This is much deeper than the Fontwell race Quinta Do Mar won last time, but a 6lbs rise for that wide-margin success doesn’t look excessive. He is put forward as the chief threat ahead of Robinshill.

13:50 Fontaine Collonges

FONTAINE COLLONGES is developing a very positive profile for Venetia Williams, confirming the abundant promise of her chase debut when scoring in good style from Precious Eleanor at Warwick last month.

A 7lbs higher mark looks more than fair given she gave the runner-up every chance when making a mistake three out, and she should have even more to offer. Progressive-hurdler Rose of Arcadia has all the hallmarks of one who will do better over fences and looks the obvious danger for all her jumping will have to be up to scratch to trouble the selection.

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14:25 Enrilo

ENRILO was in the process of shaping well before coming down in the Ladbrokes Trophy on his return at Newbury and remains on a competitive mark having finished first past the post in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April.

Commodore has a good record fresh and went well in this last year, so looks an obvious danger for an in-form yard. Meanwhile, Santini is a fascinating runner switched to a handicap for the first time now starting out for a new yard.

15:00 Midnight Maestro

Plenty are in with a shout here, but Enda Bolger has a good record in this event, so MIDNIGHT MAESTRO may be the way to go having made a promising start in the cross-country scene when second at Punchestown last month.

There should be improvement in him now representing a yard that do so well in this sphere, and he is preferred to Plan of Attack and Singing Banjo, who both acquitted themselves really well over course and distance last time. Elsewhere, Back On The Lash and Balko des Flos are on the shortlist too.

15:35 Sporting John

SPORTING JOHN never fully convinced with his jumping over fences last season, but got firmly back on track when making a winning return/handicap debut back over hurdles here last month – proving his effectiveness at 3min the process.

There should be even more to come from him, and he is fully expected to defy a 5lbs rise in the weights before having his sights raised. First-time cheekpieces should help Botox Has, so Gary Moore’s charge is feared most, ahead of Ask Dillon.

Timeform tips summary:

12:05 Washington
12:40 Corach Rambler
13:15 Broomfield Burg
13:50 Fontaine Collonges
14:25 Enrilo
15:00 Midnight Maestro
15:35 Sporting John

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