The final day of the three-day November meeting from Cheltenham comes into focus on Sunday with well-established contests like the extended 3m3f Jewson Premier Handicap Chase taking place.
Racing Post tipster Dave Randall outlines his best bets from the Cheltenham card.
The seven horses are priced up between 7/2 and 9/1 in the Class 3 2m4f Novices' Limited Handicap Chase and our betting portfolio on Sunday begins with a couple of win bets against the field.
First up is the longer priced of the two, ES PERFECTO representing Alan King on his belated debut over regulation fences after a stop-start career under Rules.
He won an Irish point on soft to heavy in December 2019 and has gone 2-7 over hurdles in the last three years. The most notable piece of form in the context of this opening chasing mark of 124 is the 136 Racing Post Rating he achieved in getting within eight lengths of Bravemansgame at Newbury in November 2020.
More recently, he finished third behind Dargiannini in a better-class Uttoxeter handicap hurdle earlier this year. The winner is now rated 13lb higher and Es Perfecto goes chasing from 5lb lower. Given his lightly-raced profile he is likely to have been primed for this excellent opportunity from the foot of the weights under conditions that should be suitable.
GINNY'S DESTINY represents Paul Nicholls on his second start over fences and it is fair to say that he will need to improve on his chasing debut when seventh over this course-and-distance last month to get competitive.
He has about 22 lengths to find with the re-opposing second Railway Hurricane for a start, but the runner-up was race fit and the ground was good. Encouragingly the ground is riding soft, and last season our second selection improved 24lb from his reappearance fourth at Aintree on good to soft in October when winning readily over slightly further on soft at Warwick in November.
He is also bred to improve for this sort of test over fences and gives us a strong second string to our bow from a mark of 133 which seems exploitable.
The record of the seven outright favourites in the extended 3m3f Jewson Premier Handicap Chase is a poor 623P456 since 2013, and the final selection is an attempt to hit one out of the park at decent each-way odds.
When studying this contest at the start of the week the top-weight looked set to be the classy Venetia Williams-trained chaser Royale Pagaille (rated 160), and a horse like DOM OF MARY (rated 118) would have been facing an uphill task in more ways than one from well out of the handicap.
Fortunately for connections, after the overnight stage, the top-weight is now the Venetia Williams-trained Cloudy Glen (rated 142) and Dom Of Mary gets in off a lovely racing weight of 10st 4lb at the foot of the handicap.
The selection is an improving seven-year-old representing David Bridgwater. He is stepping up in class after staying on well into fourth from well off the pace over just shy of this trip on good to soft at Plumpton earlier this month.
Six of his 13 opponents have been off the track for longer than 210 days. A reproduction of that recent effort would likely put him the mix for the placings, but he has the potential to step forward from that first start since May on only his eighth start over regulation fences, on ground that should be suitable.
Handicap chases are Bridgwater's forte, he is 5-19 in such contests at Cheltenham, and jockey Caoilin Quinn, who claims 5lb, is 4-17 when riding for the yard.
At this point in the season, the French-trained three-year-olds are generally much further forward than the British and Irish cohort. In fact, some of the principals from last week's Grade 1 Prix Cambaceres at Auteuil have already been retired to stud.
Milan Tino has form that ties in with those horses. He was third in a Grade 2 at Auteuil last month from which the first, second, fourth and fifth finished first, second, third and fourth in the same order in the Prix Cambaceres.
It is therefore very hard to crab his form and even on a fairly conservative reading of what he did, he is well clear on weight-adjusted Racing Post Ratings for this race. Others might be just as bright medium-term prospects, but Milan Tino is the clear form pick at this stage.
This competitive handicap chase for amateur riders is likely to be informed by two similar races over the same course and distance at the Showcase meeting last month. Much of the focus has been on the one for amateur riders, but the other looks stronger form and third-placed Wayfinder shaped pretty well in that race.
That was something of a corner turned for the talented Wayfinder, who looked a Welsh National prospect at one point but lost his way last season and slipped down the weights. He is surely better than a mark of 124, only 13 months ago he won convincingly off a slightly lower rating.
Wayfinder had a wind operation over the summer, which made since given how he had been shaping. His run last time implied that it has had the desired effect, and now he is fit as well as fixed he can build on the run. Double-figure odds each-way make plenty of appeal.
While the feature handicap on Saturday is one of the hottest races of the autumn, it does not always go to sexy young improvers. The vast majority of recent winners had featured in at least one previous Premier Handicap over Cheltenham's chase courses at around 2m4f.
Fugitif already has that notch on his bedpost- twice over, in fact. He was second on trials day, then finished in the same position at the Cheltenham Festival. Both times he looked the likeliest winner before being outpointed up the Cheltenham hill. For that reason, the fitting of cheekpieces makes sense.
This horse still has the embers of Grade 1 potential, so a mark of 153 does not frighten me, and he clearly can handle the course. Soft ground will be ideal for him, too, as both of his previous course seconds came under similar conditions. With an enhanced five places on offer with bet365, he looks a perfect each-way bet.
Graeme Rodway gives his tips and predictions ahead of the upcoming November meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse.
The first day of Cheltenham’s November meeting takes place on Friday and the Racing Post tipster returns with his best bets on the card.
The Lycetts Insurance Brokers Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (1.10) kicks things off and this could be the first of a double for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who saddles UNCLE BERT.
The James and Jean Potter-owned performer was thought good enough to contest a Grade 1 last season and, although outclassed by Irish Point at Aintree, he has bounced back recently.
Uncle Bert won a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Perth on his reappearance and went off 11/4 favourite for a stronger race than this, judging on BHA ratings, at Chepstow last month.
He finished only fourth behind Pyramid Place in the Silver Trophy on that occasion, but registered a career-best effort on Topspeed ratings and that suggests he is still improving.
James Turner takes over from Sam Twiston-Davies and his 10lb claim should help Uncle Bert. He is racing off a mark that is now 1lb lower than for his last win, with that allowance.
The 2m handicap chase (1.45) looks like a good opportunity for Twiston-Davies to bag another big winner because GUY appears to be progressing and has plenty more to offer.
The eight-year-old won two in a row before going off well-fancied for a hot handicap chase over course and distance last month and, although he finished six lengths behind winner Dancing On My Own in fifth, he ran a solid race in what was a strong event for the grade.
Guy has dropped 1lb in the weights and Dancing On My Own was racing off a mark of 151 in that event over course and distance last time. There is nothing with a BHA figure higher than 140 in this contest and the ease in grade might help my selection to bounce back to form.
The Twiston-Davies team has been in superb form in recent weeks and the trainer can be trusted to get it right with Guy now that he returns to Cheltenham for a fourth occasion.
The Valda Energy Novices' Handicap Hurdle (4.05) brings down the curtain on the first day of the November meeting and the lightly raced IMPOSE TOI can score for Nicky Henderson.
The five-year-old has won four of his six starts and his two defeats came at the hands of subsequent scorers Egbert and Brentford Hope.
Brentford Hope is now rated 133 and Impose Toi finished just three and a half lengths behind him off level weights at Huntingdon in April.
A literal interpretation of that form suggests Impose Toi could be well treated on his handicap debut off a mark of 121 and he comes here after an impressive win at Ludlow in May. He was entitled to win that race easily as he was 1/5, but recorded a solid time for a small-field event.
This is a much stiffer task, but there should be loads more improvement to come from Impose Toi and Henderson’s string are more forward at this time of year than they have been in recent seasons because of the wet autumn. The 187-day absence therefore isn’t a concern.