* An early inspection will take place at Cheltenham at 7.30am on Saturday morning
Paddy’s Pick 5 Tips:
- 13:50 Cheltenham – Fugitif
- 14:25 Cheltenham – Protektorat
- 15:00 Cheltenham – Paisley Park
- 15:35 Cheltenham – Pembroke
- 16:10 Cheltenham – Pikar
We’ve another £/€25k jackpot up for grabs in our super free to enter racing game Saturday and you could be in with a chance to win it.
You can enter via the widget below but to help you along the road, we’ve drafted in our trader Frank Hickey and top tipster Rory Delargy to share their top picks on the 5 selected races.
Let’s get to the verdicts…
RORY: With extra places, several of the outsiders can be considered to offer a bit of value, but I was absolutely blown away with the manner in which Fugitif disposed of some very useful rivals at Chepstow over Christmas, and while he’s always possessed loads of ability, he now looks to have harnessed that fully, having matters firmly in hand some way from home at the Welsh venue. He chased home Amarillo Sky over 2m here in November, and a 10lb rise is unlikely to stop him here. In fact, I think he’ll be racing in Grade 1 company come the spring.
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RORY: Protektorat is the pick on form, and he ran well enough in the Gold Cup last year to suggest he should have a bit too much class for today’s rivals. His easy win in the Betfair Chase needs to be taken in context, with A Plus Tard clearly amiss, but even his defeat of Eldorado Allen and Frodon reads well here. Noble Yeats impressed when winning the Many Clouds at Aintree, but Protektorat was even more impressive when winning that race by 25 lengths last season, and looks hard to oppose on balance.
FRANK: Paisley Park is the most likely winner as he has been excellent this season and while his price wouldn’t encourage me in, I’m not sure what I can take him on with!
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RORY: I like Pembroke and he was hugely impressive at Ludlow last time in a race which has worked out well already, but I’m not sure whether an extended 2½m is what he needs given the pace he’s shown over shorter trips to date. He was due to run over 2m last weekend, and there’s a possibility that Dan Skelton is being forced to run him here to some degree. Despite those concerns, and in the absence of Blenkinsop, Pembroke still appeals as the likeliest winner, and a horse of considerable potential.
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FRANK: Pikar has to be well treated off 129 and I’m willing to forgive him the run at Newbury on New Year’s Eve over 2m4f on testing ground. He had run Knappers Hill to a length on his hurdles debut last season at Chepstow and he was very impressive on his return in October when winning at Chepstow over 2m. The drop in trip on better ground is sure to help and the yard remain in great form (8-19 42 per cent in the last two weeks).
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