Day 2 of the excellent November Meeting from Cheltenham dominates the Saturday afternoon racing entertainment, with four cracking contests on offer from the home of the jumping game. Topping the bill is the high-class Paddy Power Gold Cup, which has attracted the usual mix of proven Grade 1 stars and up-and-coming handicappers stacked with potential. Lingfield provides a double bill of Listed class events for fans of the flat in the shape of the Churchill Stakes and the Golden Rose Stakes – two of the biggest events of the season at the all-weather venue.
Six races on offer means six punting opportunities, and here we run through each event and pick out our best bets in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:45 From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase
The novice chasers kick off the action in a race won by Cheltenham Festival heroes Thistlecrack and The Real Whacker in recent years. The Sam Thomas-trained Good Risk At All (2/1) heads the betting this time around, following his impressive 16-length romp on his seasonal return at Carlisle, with the reopposing Alaphilippe (11/2) among those behind. There was a lot to like about that display, but he steps right up in trip from 2m4f here, and two previous outings at 2m5f and above have yielded defeats by 12½ lengths and 20 lengths respectively.
Nicky Henderson’s Mister Coffey (11/4) should stay well enough, having only faded late in the Grand National, but is now zero from nine over fences and looks unreliable for win purposes. We fancy Nigel Twiston-Davies may hold the strongest hand in the shape of Broadway Boy (4/1) and Weveallbeencaught (4/1), who finished second and third to Flooring Porter at this track last time. Broadway Boy was a length and quarter ahead of his stablemate that day and is five pounds better off here.
He should go close but did have the benefit of a run under his belt that day, whilst Weveallbeencaught was making his seasonal return. Having been compared favourably with the yard’s Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander, we will take a chance on Weveallbeencaught taking a step forward from that comeback effort to turn the tables on Broadway Boy and come home in front.
2:20 Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase
Premier Handicap, 2m4f
A sizzling edition of the November Meeting’s major handicap is up next, with a couple of Cheltenham Festival Grade 1 winners sitting atop the market. Turners Novices’ Chase winner Stage Star (5/1) leads the way for Paul Nicholls on what will be his seasonal return. He boasts strong claims to hand his trainer a first win in the race since 2014 but will likely face competition for the lead from Brown Advisory Champ, The Real Whacker (7/1). Patrick Neville’s star is an exceptional jumper around here and may take many of the others out of their comfort zone, but carrying a 12st burden to victory will require a mighty performance.
With eight of the past 10 winners having carried 11st or less, we will look a little lower down the list for our selection. Unexpected Party (7/1) is an obvious contender for Dan Skelton, having mastered Knappers Hill last time out, but a zero from four record at this track is off-putting, whilst Il Ridoto (17/2) looks handicapped right up to his best. Having won impressively at this track on his most recent outing, Torn And Frayed (18/1) is an attractive each-way price. Unfortunately, that latest start was fully 658 days ago. With race fitness on his side, the each-way bet in the race for us is the Gavin Cromwell-trained Final Orders (22/1). A winner of five of his ten starts over fences, he is eight pounds higher than for the most recent of those wins, but the five-pound claim of Danny Gilligan offsets much of that, and he may well find improvement for the application of a first-time tongue tie.
2:36 BetUK Churchill Stakes
A change of pace for the third race as we head to the Lingfield Polytrack. The eight-year-old Regal Reality (5/2) tops the betting for Sir Michael Stoute and, having won five times in Group 3 company, boasts obvious claims. In form, following a narrow second last time out, he shouldn’t be far away but will be conceding weight to a field of dangerous rivals.
Charlie Appleby’s Blue Trail (9/2) is up to winning a race of this nature but can be wildly inconsistent, and is passed over in favour of Andrew Balding’s Foxes Tales (7/2). This one boasts several excellent efforts in the book – including a narrow second to Mostahdaf – has won at up to Group 3 level and finished an unlucky in-running third in the Winter Derby over this course and distance back in February. With only seven going to post, Oisin Murphy should be able to keep out of trouble, and this strong finisher could be tough to repel in the straight.
2:55 Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle
Class 2, 3m
Nicky Henderson’s dual Grade 1 winner, Chantry House (8/1), is comfortably the most intriguing contender in this handicap affair. If anywhere near his best, the nine-year-old rates the one to beat off a mark of 147. However, this will be his first start in almost a year, and form figures of PUF mean a leap of faith is required to back him here.
Side instead with the bang in form Buddy One (6/1), from the Irish yard of Paul John Gilligan. Having steadily improved in his recent outings, it all came together for this one last time out at Galway as he landed a competitive contest in effortless style despite being lumbered with 12st. He gets top weight once again, but this race was nominated as a target in the immediate aftermath of that race, and it would be no surprise were he to prove another well-handicapped Irish contender in a major Saturday event.
3:11 BetUK Golden Rose Stakes
The final flat event of the day sees the sprinters take to the track, with the Charlie Appleby-trained Mischief Magic (13/8) proving all the rage in the betting following his success over this trip at Kempton last time out. He boasts sound claims, but there perhaps shouldn’t be such a discrepancy between his price and that of the James Fanshawe runner, Willem Twee (7/1).
Also a six-furlong winner at Kempton on his most recent outing, there was very little between his time and that of Mischief Magic, and his hold-up style suggests he may be the more likely to have more in the locker. Don’t rule out a big run from defending champion, Summerghand (20/1), who also looks overpriced, but with Oisin Murphy in the saddle, Willem Twee is the one to be on.
3:30 Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle
Class 3, 2m5f
We have a whole host of interesting contenders in the finale. The youngster in the field, Wonderful Eagle, looks like a promising French recruit for Philip Hobbs and Johnson White; Gynemae (6/1) and Resplendent Grey (10/3) have talent and the benefit of a recent run for Joe Tizzard and Olly Murphy, whilst the hat-trick-seeking Londoofficecallin (13/2) provides the Irish challenge.
Overall, we suspect the market has this right in rating the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Springwell Bay (2/1) as the one they all have to beat. Three from five over hurdles, his two defeats came when badly hampered by a faller in a Grade 1 race at Aintree, and when staying on late over an inadequate two miles in a Grade 2 race at this track. Impressing when landing two Novice events last season, a mark of 137 looks perfectly fair on his first start in a handicap, and he looks like the class act in the field for Jonjo O’Neill Snr and Jnr.