Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase tips & runner-by-runner guide

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A field of 11 are declared to go to post for the Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase – and top dog Paddy is giving you money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second, third or fourth!

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Paul Nicholls’ Magic Saint is joined at the top of the weights by Cheltenham specialist Coole Cody – and you can read all about the runners and riders below.

Magic Saint

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Tom Buckley Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Course winner who took a step back in right direction fitted in headgear when fourth in similar event here on New Year’s Day, though again shaping as if this trip stretches him. Becoming well treated.

Coole Cody

Trainer: Evan Williams Jockey: Adam Wedge Age: 11 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Tough front runner who has bagged a couple of similar events around here, including Racing Post Gold Cup last month. Not in same form here on New Year’s Day but type to bounce back.

Whatmore

Trainer: Henry Daly Jockey: Richard Patrick Age: 10 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Proved a useful and consistent novice chaser last season and took his form to a new level when runner-up in 2 good quality handicaps at Ascot and Newcastle this term. Another bold showing expected.

Gaelik Coast

Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: Brian Hughes Age: 8 Weight: 11st 3lbs

Good record at Musselburgh but has struggled when tackling more competitive handicaps. Others preferred.

Spiritofthegames

Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Jack Andrews Age: 10 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Regular in competitive handicaps and finished with running left when mid-field in the Paddy Power here. Easy enough to excuse next 2 starts and went close in this 2 years ago off 149. No easy ride.

Farinet

Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Miss Lucy Turner Age: 7 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Ex-French chaser who lost a shoe when pulled up in similar event here on return. Resumed progress when ready winner at Sandown 3 weeks ago and likely to progress again. Big shout.

She’sasupermack

Trainer: Iain Jardine Jockey: Conor O’Farrell Age: 9 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Useful chaser who showed no ill effect from her fall when resuming winning ways in 5-runner handicap at Ayr (3m). Shorter trip no issue but career-high mark may well be.

Jacamar

Trainer: Milton Harris Jockey: Paddy Brennan Age: 7 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Useful hurdler and even better form over fences, going down only narrowly at Wincanton before going one better fitted with this headgear at Kempton, overcoming a mixed round of jumping. This tougher.

Galahad Quest

Trainer: Nick Williams Jockey: David Noonan Age: 6 Weight: 10st 11lbs

Opened his account over fences at Haydock (20f) on final start last season and has returned in good nick, finishing fifth and sixth in similar events. No forlorn hope.

Torn And Frayed

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 8 Weight: 10st 10lbs

Dual hurdles winner last term who has made a promising start over fences, beaten only by My Drogo in C&D novice in November. Seemed unsuited by heavy ground at Haydock since.

Eden Du Houx

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Tom Scudamore Age: 8 Weight: 10st 9lbs

Useful hurdler who opened his account over fences on the back of a wind op in 2m Ffos Las handicap in November. Good second of 4 at Chepstow 10 weeks later and not taken lightly.

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Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase tips

Matt Chapman: This is the big chance for SPIRITOFTHEGAMES to bounce back to form for trainer Dan Skelton and jockey Jack Andrews who takes off a crucial 5lb. That effectively takes my hope’s mark down to 132 and remember he was a fair ninth of 19 behind Midnight Shadow in the fabulous Paddy Power Gold Cup off 144. He was an eye catcher that day as well. He might just be a corking eachway bet.

Mick Fitzgerald: Lots of familiar faces line up and I like MAGIC SAINT. He has run plenty of times at this course and has strong form on decent ground, which it will be on Saturday. He looks a good option in a tricky contest.

Frank Hickey: WHATMORE hasn’t been seen on the track for 15 months and hasn’t won a race since May 2019. But last season, he started with an excellent (well backed) second in the Sodexco Gold Cup at Ascot over 3m, only being beaten a little over a length by course specialist Regal Encore (off a mark of 138). He went off at 9/4 for the Rehearsal Chase and again was only beaten less than 2l in second that day behind Yorkhill. That was off a mark of 142. He was fourth in the Novice Handicap Chase at the 2020 festival off a mark of 138 and that was a very strong renewal of the race with Imperial Aura winning off 143 and Galvin second off 142. He returns off a fair mark and the decent ground is definitely in his favour. Henry Daly was quiet enough last season but he has had 14 winners since the beginning of November.

Timeform: FARINET had excuses when pulled up in the Racing Post Gold Cup here on return and looked one to keep on the right side of when resuming winning ways at Sandown. He gets the vote in a race lacking in progressive types. Spiritofthegames is no doubt hard to win with but he went close in this 2 years ago and is lurking on a dangerous mark, while Coole Cody has a good record in similar events here.

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