Cheltenham tips: Timeform’s three best novices to note at the November meeting

Timeform pick out three novices to look out for this weekend.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Weveallbeencaught looks a classy sort

Bought for £210,000 after winning an Irish point in December, Weveallbeencaught is bred more for stamina than speed and has a big, powerful, physique so it was really encouraging that he could making a winning debut in a bumper at Newbury in March given the way things developed. In a race run at just an ordinary gallop, he took a keen hold in rear in the early stages and needed to be ridden entering the straight.

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It took him a while to find his stride, but there was plenty to like about the way he stayed on to assert close home, ultimately winning by half a length, with the pair of previous winners in third and fourth giving substance to the form.

It was certainly an encouraging start to Weveallbeencaught’s career under Rules and, likely to prove best when the emphasis is more on stamina, he must be considered an exciting prospect for novice hurdles over two and a half miles and beyond this season, starting with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (15:30) on the opening day of the November Meeting.

Incidentally, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies seemingly has grander plans than that Grade Two, long-term, likening Weveallbeencaught to Imperial Commander and saying he was bought as a Gold Cup horse. If his trainer is right, then this horse will be very much one to follow.

Tommy’s Oscar could go right to the top

The success of the Ann Hamilton yard was one of the most heartwarming stories of last season. Based in Northumberland and with only six horses in her career, Hamilton sent out 13 winners from 39 runners in 2021/22, yielding an impressive 33% strike rate.

Tommy’s Oscar was one of the star performers, winning four of his seven starts over hurdles and improving his Timeform rating from 143 to 153. He produced his best effort when defying a BHA mark of 150 in a handicap at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day and a repeat of that form was good enough to see him complete his four-timer in the Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock in February.

The Champion Hurdle itself proved a step too far for Tommy’s Oscar on his final start of last season, but it’s not out of the question that he could make an impact at the top level as a novice chaser this term. He certainly made a promising start to his career over fences at Carlisle last month, looking an assured jumper and just doing enough late on to get the verdict by a head.

One of the best British-trained two-mile hurdlers of last season, Tommy’s Oscar is every bit a chaser in demeanor and victory in Saturday’s Paddy Power Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase (13:45) could tee him up for another productive campaign.

Ballygrifincottage has a bright future

Dan Skelton has a strong team of novice chasers to go to war with this season and few of them are as promising as Ballygrifincottage, who won all three of his completed starts in Irish points and will be one to look out for in the mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase (13:10) which kicks off Sunday’s card.

Ballygrifincottage was essentially marking time over hurdles last term, but he still managed to achieve a useful level of form in just three starts. He opened his account at the second attempt at Lingfield in January before being pitched in at the deep end on his final outing in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Ballygrifincottage proved to be the best of the British in that Grade 1 as he finished fourth behind The Nice Guy. The emphasis on stamina seemed to suit as he made good progress to chase the leaders before the last having seemingly been labouring and in trouble three out, ultimately passing the post 13 lengths behind the winner.

A big, raw-boned type, Ballygrifincottage is more of a chaser than a hurdler on looks and is entitled to improve for a switch to fences this season. He’s clearly in very good hands and, having already shown a useful level of form over hurdles – while being lightly raced – it will be interesting to see how far he can go this season.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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