Saturday’s ITV Racing tips – Three each-way contenders to side with at Cheltenham
Our expert takes a look through all of Saturday’s televised races from Cheltenham and highlights three outsiders who could spring a surprise on Saturday 26th October.
A brilliant blend of National Hunt and flat racing action for ITV Racing fans to enjoy on Saturday, but the weather gods have intervened, forcing Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy card, and Newbury flat meeting to be abandoned.Still, a passionate crowd will gather at Prestbury Park to enjoy the second day of Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting and the ITV Racing team will be in attendance. Our expert has taken a look through the betting for all of Saturday’s televised races at Cheltenham, highlighting three contenders who he feels have been dangerously overlooked in their respective races.
Saturday’s ITV Racing Tips
2:00pm Cheltenham ‘Matchbook Betting Exchange’ Handicap Chase (Class 2) 3m1f
Cogry and The Young Master remain extremely competitive at this level, despite their advancing years. Soft ground form could be vital at Cheltenham as the rain sets in on Saturday and both prefer a sounder surface.
One who could relish the conditions on Saturday is Colin Tizzard’s WEST APPROACH (14/1 888Sport). Thistlecrack’s half-brother finished third in this race 12 months ago, on good ground which was unlikely to suit and Tizzard’s nine-year-old returns to Cheltenham three pounds lower in the ratings.
West Approach was dropped back to hurdling after a fifth-place finish in the Ladbrokes Trophy last season and managed to follow Paisley Park home in both the JLT Hurdle at Ascot, and the Cleeve Hurdle here at Cheltenham. A disappointing spring campaign followed, with West Approach’s final outing coming over fences at Sandown, where he finished a distant sixth in the bet365 Gold Cup.
Tizzard’s nine-year-old has a good record when fresh and both of his wins over fences came on soft ground. He’s a confirmed stayer over this trip and, although he is better over hurdles, he’ll return to action running off a highly workable chasing mark. He’s one to keep on-side.*UPDATE – West Approach has been backed in to 7/1 overnight!*
3:10pm Cheltenham (Old) Randox Health Handicap Chase (Class 2) 2m
Saint Calvados will be making his first start in handicap company, having been campaigned in Grade Ones after upsetting Footpad at Navan last season. Harry Whittington’s front-runner is clearly a class-act, but this is a completely different challenge to anything he’s faced before and he hasn’t jumped that well on either of his previous runs around Cheltenham.
Knocknanuss looks very well treated off a mark of 144 and could be a big player if he can deal with the conditions. For me, though, the best bet in this race could be GINO TRAIL (12/1 888Sport), who’s dropped back to a winnable mark, despite running up to a high level on the few occasions he was seen last season.
Kerry Lee’s eleven-year-old, who had made eight appearances during the previous two seasons, only ran three times last term. Gino Trail finished second twice during February after spending 300 days off the track, losing out to Dolos and Magic Saint when giving plenty of weight to both of those dangerous handicappers. Richard Johnson’s mount was then travelling well in the Grand Annual, until a serious error at the fourth-last halted his progress and he was pulled up soon after.
Gino Trail was awarded an RPR of 157 twice last season and won nicely when last rated in the 140s at Sandown in February 2018. Lee’s stalwart beat Bun Doran over course-and-distance here in 2018 and finished second to Le Prezien in that season’s Grand Annual. Gino Trail loves a bit of extra juice in the ground and Lee has fitted a visor to her teenager for the very first time. He could mount a serious challenge.
3:45pm Cheltenham (Old) Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) (Class 2) 3m
While old-timer Sykes is worth more than a second-look at his double-figure price, I really liked the look of CAPTAIN TOMMY (12/1 888Sport) last season and Harry Whittington’s charge looks to be starting out off a highly workable mark on his first start in a handicap. Under Gavin Sheehan, Captain Tommy bolted up on heavy ground on his first start over hurdles last season, and managed to follow up over two-and-a-half miles at Wincanton in April. Whittington then sent his five-year-old to Perth to contest a Listed race over three miles and Captain Tommy took to the trip nicely, narrowly losing out to dangerous Irish raider, Go Another One. Captain Tommy certainly looks a strong stayer in the making and a bit of extra juice in the ground will only bolster his chances. He could be a big player with just 10-12 on his back.