Sunday’s tips at Cheltenham – Through the card tips on Greatwood Hurdle day
Jon Vine takes a look through Sunday’s card at Cheltenham in full and picks out his best bets in each race with meeting sponsors Unibet.
After all the fun and festivities of BetVictor Gold Cup day, the action at Cheltenham rolls into Sunday, where the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle headlines proceedings. Along with that feature handicap, viewers will be treated to important Trials races for the Supreme and the Arkle, while also enjoying an intriguing renewal of the Grade Two Shloer Chase.
Decent day yesterday. A few disappointing runs, but my NB in the race, Happy Diva won the BetVictor Gold Cup and my NAP of the day, Jatiluwih powered home. Three placers at 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 too!
I’ve taken a look at each of the seven races on day two of Cheltenham November Meeting and picked out the horses I’ll be backing.
2019 November Meeting Day Two Tips
12:45pm Cheltenham Club Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Stayers’ Hurdle Series Qualifier) 2m5f RTV
This is very much a flip-of-a-coin race, with practically all of the bookmakers going 7/1 the field. A case can be made for many, but I’m going to side with the father and daughter combination of Evan and Isabel Williams and back VOODOO DOLL (20/1 Unibet) at a big price.
This six-year-old has dropped ten-pounds in the handicap during the course of the last year, but run a really nice race off this mark at Aintree when last seen, coming home just a couple of lengths behind the promising Stoney Mountain in third. Under a great ride by Isabel, Voodoo Doll placed third in a two-mile handicap during last year’s November Meeting and the pair can challenge again off a workable weight of 11-1.
1:15pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (Class 2) 3m6f ITV4
Urgent De Grigaine boasts the best form on the Cross Country course here at Cheltenham and Emmanuel Clayeaux’s eleven-year-old will be more comfortable than some running on bottomless ground. At the weight, however, the one who makes the most appealing case for selection is TEA FOR TWO (9/1 Unibet).
18 months ago, Jane Williams’ flag-bearer was finishing seventh in a Gold Cup rated 164. Since then, Tea For Two has slipped right down to a career-low mark of 138 over fences and was beaten out of sight on his reappearance. Yet, the former two-time Grade One winner has won on heavy ground in the past and was still travelling well in the Cross Country race at this year’s Festival before unseating Lizzie Kelly at the 21st obstacle. He offers plenty of each-way value at 9/1.
1:50pm Racing Post #responsiblegambling Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m ITV4
Viewers will be treated to another epic battle between Al Dancer and GETAWAY TRUMP (NAP) (6/4 Unibet) on Sunday. On their first starts over fences during Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting, it was Al Dancer who came out on top. However, I think there’s a strong chance Getaway Trump will turn the tables on his rival and land this Grade Two.
Turning for home, it looked like Getaway Trump had Al Dancer covered. Paul Nicholls’ chaser then put in a dodgy leap at the second-last and the tank emptied pretty quickly, allowing his rival to stretch clear and claim an impressive victory.
Like many of Nicholls’ runners so far this season, Getaway Trump was clearly in need of the run and should have come on significantly. He dealt with the challenges posed by Cheltenham well enough before getting tired that day and boasts winning form on heavy ground, having hacked up in fine style at Exeter last season.
2:25pm Shloer Chase (Registered As The Cheltenham Chase) (Grade 2) 2m ITV4
A fascinating four-horse renewal of this Grade Two, where Saint Calvados and market backmarker, Simply Ned cannot be ruled out too lightly. Politologue didn’t take to longer trips last season, but proved with an excellent effort in the Champion Chase that he’s a top-quality two-miler and he’s won on all three of his reappearances over fences.
That being said, I don’t think Paul Nicholls’ grey has the class of a DEFI DU SEUIL (6/4 Unibet) and I fancy Philip Hobbs’ stable star will be too strong on Sunday.
The former all-conquering juvenile progressed wonderfully over fences last term, winning back-to-back Grade Ones in the Scilly Isles Chase and the JLT at the Festival. Defi Du Seuil came up a little short at Punchestown, where he was simply beaten for speed on fast ground by the classy Chacun Pour Soi. Heavy ground will bring Defi Du Seuil’s confirmed stamina into play and he could be very hard to pass once he hits the front.
3:00pm Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m½f ITV4
A fiendishly difficult puzzle to unravel, as usual, and there are a couple of runners who hold appeal. Although he hasn’t managed to win, Quoi De Neuf has run well on soft ground to place second behind useful sorts on his last three starts and should be competitive off a nice low weight. Quel Destin proved he had guts and quality as a juvenile and those horses who ran in either the Supreme or the Triumph have a good record in this handicap, so he’s greatly respected.
The one who I will tentatively side with though, is BENNY’S BRIDGE (6/1 Unibet), out of the in-form Fergal O’Brien stable. Course form is vital in any handicap around Cheltenham and Benny Bridge boasts a perfect two-from-two record at Prestbury Park, claiming victory in a handicap on Festival Trial’s day, before powering home to score again on his reappearance.
That impressive eight-length triumph earned Benny’s Bridge a huge hike in rating and he’ll be running off a career-high mark of 137 on Sunday. However, I see no reason to suggest that rating is beyond this likable handicapper, he’s proven his ability over course, distance and on soft ground and, in Paddy Brennan, he has a jockey who knows this place like the back of his hand.
3:30pm Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Sharp Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2) 2m½f ITV4
Scardura impressed on his first start over hurdles, comfortably beating a future winner in Bathsheba Bay by 16 lengths. Eden De Houx and Pacify are in here too and should make it a really watchable race. I just feel that ECCO (2/1 Unibet) could establish himself as the class-act.
Formerly trained on the flat in Germany, Paul Nicholls threw is recruit straight into Graded company last season. Ecco was fancied in the Adonis Hurdle on debut, but could only finish sixth at Kempton, a result he matched when shouldering a 100/1 price-tag in the Triumph Hurdle on his second start for the yard.
Ecco got off the mark at the first time of asking on his reappearance at Wincanton, comfortably seeing off a talented youngster in Fitzroy. Nicholls’ charge then made it two-in-a-row in excellent style at Ascot the last day, hacking up to win by six lengths, with Bryony Frost basically unmoved in the saddle. I expect the market leader will be very hard to beat.
4:00pm High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire And Racing Remember Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed) 2m½f
I thought Everglow ran a cracking race on his first bumper start, losing out by just a neck on soft ground at Chepstow. I’d be keen to side with Philip Hobbs’ youngster if TIME FLIES BY (11/8 Unibet) wasn’t in the field, but Nicky Henderson’s four-year-old will return to Cheltenham and he should take all the beating.
Henderson’s charge came to Cheltenham on debut in October and won a Class Two flat race on heavy ground. Barry Geraghty pushed his mount to the front three from home and the pair stretched clear, claiming a cosy two-length success. Course and ground form is on his side and if he’s come on as expected between runs, Time Flies By could be the jolly of the day.