When the International Meeting at Cheltenham rolls around it is a sure sign that Xmas is just around the corner. This is usually a meeting well worth watching but with good ground likely the fields are not as big as usual. Still, there is a very competitive card this Friday and the final four races will be broadcast live on ITV4. Check out Dave Stevos’ Cheltenham Friday Tips for Day 1 of the International Meeting below.
Cheltenham Friday Tips: 1.55-Mares’ Handicap Chase (Class 3)
The first live race of the day on ITV4 is a 20.5f handicap chase for the girls and it looks a trappy enough contest. The current favourite is Synopsis at odds of 5/1 for Messrs Elliott and Johnson but a leap of faith is required to fancy her given her last couple of runs. Her best recent form has come on soft too so the ground is a worry.
At a nice each way price Skewiff could go well for Evan Williams and Leighton Aspell. This 6yo daughter of Doyen won on the only other occasion Aspell was on board. She races off 115 and on her hurdling form she should be competitive off that mark. Aspell has 11 wins and 11 places from 40 rides for Williams. She will have no issues on good ground and the track and trip should suit. At odds of 14/1 Skewiff is the each way selection
CHELTENHAM FRIDAY TIPS: SKEWIFF E/W @ 14/1
Cheltenham Friday Tips: 2.30-Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
A pretty disappointing field of just 9 horses will go to post for this 26f handicap chase. Three previous course winners head the market and all of them look to hold solid claims. If the ground was softer Rolling Dylan would enter calculations, but on good ground at this trip the each way value could lie with Cogry.
Nigel Twiston Davies always targets races at Cheltenham and Cogry has plenty of form around here. He was an excellent neck second here two runs back (25f gd) and the 28f trip found him out last time. He remains 6lb above his last winning mark of 133, but his form figures at Cheltenham at 24f-26f on good ground read FF12. With a clear round he should go close and he is the each way pick at 10/1.
CHELTENHAM FRIDAY TIPS: COGRY E/W @ 10/1 NB
Cheltenham Friday Tips: 3.05-Cross Country Handicap Chase (Class 2)
Josies Orders was a gutsy winner here last time, staying on dourly to score from Fact Of The Matter. The runner up is a pound better off with Josies Orders this time but it is hard to see him turning the form around. Enda Bolger’s son of Milan will enjoy the ground and he loves this course and distance.
Enda Bolger’s other runner, My Hometown, was a very impressive winner at Punchestown last time. He scored by 16L in the Risk Of Thunder Chase and he carries a feather weight here. Niall Madden is a top class pilot and he comes in for the ride. Quick ground will suit and his confidence will be high after last time. He gets a lot of weight from his rivals and at odds of 7/1 he could be the surprise package.
CHELTENHAM FRIDAY TIPS: MY HOMETOWN E/W @ 7/1
Cheltenham Friday Tips: 3.40-Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)
The final live ITV4 race on Friday at Cheltenham is a 24f handicap hurdle. A field of 13 horses have been declared and the unexposed Worthy Farm is the favourite at odds of 9/2. He won by a neck last time over this trip at Taunton off 116. However, he was hiked up 8lb for that victory and this race looks much harder. Great Trango could be the one to be on here for Harry Kelly and Sean Flanagan.
This Irish raider found only Vent De La Cote too good last time on soft ground at Listowel. He has yet to win at 3 miles over timber but he has placed form on the level at 15f and 16f so stamina won’t be a problem. His two hurdle wins came on soft/heavy but his placed flat form came on good to firm so underhoof conditions won’t be an issue. He is ultra-consistent and at odds of 6/1 he is the TXODDS’ NAP of the day.
CHELTENHAM FRIDAY TIPS: GREAT TRANGO E/W @ 6/1 NAP