Jumps racing continues to ramp up and the November Cheltenham meeting is upon us, our man Sam Boswell looks ahead to day one.
Three top days racing gets underway Friday at Cheltenham and whilst we have some clues for the Festival in the spring this meeting is a brilliant event in its own right, I have four suggestions for you to consider backing today.
Neon Moon E/W
The Pipe family association with this meeting has spanned many years, twice in the last seven years David Pipe has claimed victory in this opening conditional jockey’s handicap.
Neon Moon represents a horse in which I don’t think we have yet seen the best of. Flicking back over his form the fourth in a bumper at Southwell looks decent with the fifth winning and those who finished in front looking an above average bunch.
The ground looks fine for him, I expect he will be seen to the best effect when chasing but this point-to-point winner I think can be very competitive off a mark of 120 in this kind of company and is worth an each-way bet.
Paul Nicholls yard has certainly been ticking over nicely with the National Hunt juggernaut picking up plenty of winners in recent weeks.
Magic Saint looks to win this race for the second year running. That win came off a mark of 152 with a jockey taking 5 pounds off, today in Angus Cheleda, he has again the assistance of a jockey able to take 5 pounds off.
He has run some very good races on good ground should the track continue to dry, and I think he has an excellent chance of winning back-to-back renewals of this event.
Gin On Lime
A match race (yawn I know), but in fairness as match races go we get to see Harry Skelton give My Drogo his first spin over fences.
The Skelton team have been flying recently but the gap between his horse and Gin On Lime in the market is too big for me.
Longer-term I wouldn’t be surprised if My Drogo confirms over fences, he is superior to the grade three winner.
Right now, looking at this race I am keen to back Rachael Blackmore’s race fit mount who will relish the surface and I think cause a mini shock.
Skippin Court E/W
We open the card with a tough handicap so why not close the card with one as tricky!
Five places on offer with BetVictor and I think you will need them. My eyes as ever are drawn to the Irish contenders sent to try and plunder yet another race at Cheltenham.
Belfast Banter was a brilliant success story for Peter Fahey with his wins at both Cheltenham and Aintree last season. His handicap debutant is of big interest to me here.
Skippin Court had been consistent without winning in maiden hurdles before scoring at Listowel last time out. The second that day has since won at Wexford and the form of his other runs have a solid enough look.
It is a big ask for a four-year-old but with the going in his favour I am keen to have a small each way bet on Skippin Court.