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Selections for Cheltenham on Saturday with Paddy Power

Cheltenham’s Trials Day takes place on Saturday and Paddy Power want to ensure punters are getting the most out of the action. They are offering £60 in Free Bets when new customers place £10 on the 12:45 at Cheltenham this weekend. These come in the form of a £10 Free Bet for EVERY race at Cheltenham for the rest of the day.

To go alongside the link for this offer,  our expert editor has compiled his selections for the key race, the 12:45, as well as the six following races on which you can place your Free Bets with Paddy Power.

Pied Piper – 12:45 Cheltenham

It is worth siding with the Irish contestant in PIED PIPER for Gordon Elliott. Countryman Joseph O’Brien won this in 2019 and his charge looks to be in a terrific position to take yet another prize at Cheltenham away from the Brits.

He beat the highly-regarded Vauban at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve and they pulled well clear of the remainder of the field. Having been a useful flat performer, he is in receipt of 3lb from his two closest rivals in the betting.

Paul Nicholls’ Iceo won very cosily on his stable debut and he is usually reluctant to send his juveniles to Cheltenham. As such, there must be confidence behind him. Interne De Sivola is already a course and distance winner meanwhile. He did so impressively and could make a bold bid from the front.

Your Darling – 1:20 Cheltenham

The last time this novices’ handicap was won, the first two, Simply The Betts and Imperial Alcazar, went on to win at the Festival.

No favourite has won this race in the last ten years either, but the eight runners are very closely bunched in the market, to the extent where any of them could head the betting by Saturday.

Slight preference is for YOUR DARLING who was third in a similar, but strong event at Kempton on Boxing Day, travelling like the winner, before being swamped late on. Had he been ridden with a tiny bit more restraint, he might have had enough to win given how far back the winner came from.

He remains on the same mark of 126 and is one of only four in the field to have already won over fences.

Galahad Quest – 1:55 Cheltenham

Another of Cheltenham’s Graded handicaps over 2m4f and GALAHAD QUEST, who has contested two such races already this season, looks on the verge of winning one.

Despite two very good performances off a mark of 135, one such being on the old course in the Paddy Power Gold Cup where he flew home for fifth, he is now down to a mark of just 132.

That has mainly arisen due to a poor performance over course and distance on New Year’s Day, but that was on soft ground which may not be his optimum conditions.

Ultimately, a repeat of his effort in the Paddy Power Gold Cup will see him go very close off this mark. Two of the novices, Jacamar and Torn And Frayed are also respected with improvement still likelier for them than others.

Chantry House – 2:30 Cheltenham

There is hesitation in selecting CHANTRY HOUSE at odds on after his awful effort in the King George.

However, the field assembled against him here is nowhere near as strong and is of a level that he has to be beating if he is to prove a Gold Cup contender. First time cheekpieces could help him settle into the race more, although there is surely not going to be as strong a pace here as at Kempton.

Although even his best efforts as a novice can be questioned, he now looks to be a thorough stayer. Similarly, although Espoir De Romay may have challenged him at Aintree last season, the distance Chantry House put between himself and Shan Blue, as well as Ladbrokes Trophy second Fiddlerontheroof, was very impressive.

Simply The Betts and Aye Right are solid enough opposition, but a victory for either of those would mean another disappointment for Chantry House. For Britain’s hopes in the Gold Cup let’s hope that is not forthcoming.

McFabulous – 3:05 Cheltenham

It is true that Champ has only been beaten twice over hurdles, but he is such a troublesome horse to trust. At odds on and with MCFABULOUS now looking like a horse who wants three miles, he is worth taking on.

Nicky Henderson’s ten-year-old met with one of his two defeats at this track and while he was impressive in the Long Walk Hurdle, we have seen Ireland’s big Satyers’ Hurdle hope, Klassical Dream, blow out on his second start after a layoff recently.

Champ did the same thing last season when pulled up early in the Gold Cup, whereas McFabulous looks set to improve upon his return.

He was second to Stormy Ireland in the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day, but he stayed on stronger than ever. There does not look to be a great deal of pace in this line up and that could ensure that Champ’s strong travelling cannot be utilised.

Hillcrest – 3:40 Cheltenham

Henry Daly’s giant seven-year-old made a significant impression when landing Listed honours on New Year’s Day.

They arrived over course and distance, where HILLCREST beat I Am Maximus, one of numerous useful novice hurdlers for Nicky Henderson this season. He takes on another in Balco Coastal here and will have to concede 5lb.

However, Balco Coastal was not nearly as impressive on his second start as a 1/4 shot should be and Hillcrest now has superior enough form in the book to be trusted to go in again under his penalty.

Donald McCain, who is having a terrific season in terms of winners, boasts another dangerous opponent in A Different Kind who will be chasing a sixth straight win.

Mullenbeg – 4:15 Cheltenham

Milton Harris is having a remarkable season, operating at a 22% strike rate across all formats.

That improves to 24% with his bumper horses, of whom you would be over 10 points in profit had you backed all 25 with a level stake. One of his six winners in the code was MULLENBEG, who won very well at Ludlow under Mitchell Bastyan.

This will take a step forward, but with little known about any of these mares at this stage of their careers, she has the most alluring profile. Willie Mullins’ Nos Na Gaoithe is an obvious danger, as is the year older Flirtatious Girl, who was a useful operator last season for Kim Bailey.

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