The Jumps season gets into full swing this weekend with the first major fixture of the season: The Cheltenham November Meeting. Plenty of Cheltenham Festival stars line up including the slightly ageing but ever popular Tiger Roll as he attempts to reverse the tables against his cross country chase nemesis, Easysland on the opening day.
Defi Du Seuil also hoping to banish his disastrous Champion Chase run from last March as he takes on some tough rivals in The Shloer Chase on Sunday.
However our main concern is the feature race on Saturday, The Paddy Power Gold Cup. We’ll check out the prospects of the leading fancies of this ultra competitive mid distance handicap chase and cast an eye on some of the graded events which features some interesting Cheltenham Festival 2021 hopefuls.
So to the feature race. Paul Nicholls has been in scintillating form in recent weeks, has the Ditcheat maestro got this one sewn up as well?
THE PADDY POWER GOLD CUP, SATURDAY 14TH NOVEMBER
BEST EACH WAY OFFERS
The race normally attracts around 16 runners or more. Each way place offers will no doubt improve by race day, however, at the time of writing only two firms are offering more than the standard 4 places.
THE LEADING FANCIES
Came over to the Paul Nicholls stable last year from France with a lofty reputation. Just had the two runs since joining the Ditcheat operation, which included a fairly respectable 13 lengths 7th to Samcro in the Marsh Novices Chase at The Cheltenham Festival this year.
Almost certain to improve from that run and with the Paul Nicholls team absolutely firing on all cylinders, he is definitely one for the shortlist.
Current favourite at 4/1 (William Hill, Bet Victor, Coral)
SIMPLY THE BETTS
This Harry Whittington trained 7 year old fell in love with this course and distance last season, registering 2 gutsy wins in the big handicap on Trials Day and the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at The Cheltenham Festival.
Festival winning form is always a major plus but the handicapper has surely got a firm grip on him now.
9/2 (bet365, Unibet, Betfred).
This Nicky Henderson trained entry ran an absolute blinder behind Samcro in the Marsh Novices Chase at The Cheltenham Festival. He had previously won a decent listed novices event at the same track, so he certainly knows his way around Prestbury Park.
Again however, he has plenty of weight to carry but should find things easier than Simply The Betts.
6/1 (bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power)
AL DANCER (SELECTION)
Nigel Twiston-Davies has a good record in this race having saddled three winners since 2008. He is represented by Al Dancer who has the benefit of a recent run this season which was significant as he beat the highly regarded Master Tommytucker from the Paul Nicholls yard.
That horse went on to win at Huntingdon on Tuesday, beating Precious Cargo who is equally well regarded at Seven Barrows, so the form has held up very well.
He is well handicapped against Mister Fisher and has some Cheltenham form having got within 3 lengths of Arkle winner Put The Kettle On last year.
My selection and still available at 9/1 (William Hill)
Last year’s winner Happy Diva clearly loves this track and should be there or thereabouts this year. She’s had the one run at Wetherby recently and represents great each way value at 10/1 (William Hill, Betfred, Coral) but this year’s renewal is much tougher.
OTHER KEY RACES
TIGER ROLL VS EASYSLAND: THE REMATCH!
Tiger Roll is back to take on the exciting French raider Easysland again in The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase on Friday. However, I don’t see those placings being reversed. The JP McManus horse was simply too quick, too young and too good for the dual Grand National winner last March.
JCB TRIUMPH TRIAL JUVENILE HURDLE, SATURDAY 14TH NOVEMBER, 1230 CHELTENHAM
This race holds particular interest for those who noticed the brilliant performance by Hell Red trained by Paul Nicholls at Chepstow last month.
Currently a 20/1 (William Hill, Betfair, Paddy Power) shot for the Triumph Hurdle next March, that price wont hang around if he improves further this weekend.
THE SHLOER CHASE, SUNDAY 15TH NOVEMBER
A fascinating clash in store as Defi Du Seuil hopes to regain the faith after his collapse when a short priced favourite for The Champion Chase last March.
But he is up against it as Rouge Vif, who absolutely bolted up over course and distance last month and Arkle winner Put The Kettle On are very dangerous propositions.
However, I still think Defi is still a class above these and the 9/4 (Coral) available might prove to be very generous. Vouge Vif is 11/4 (Coral), Put The Kettle On 4/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair)
Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (10pm 10th November 2020) and are subject to change.