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Horse Racing Tips: Graeme Rodway's Saturday Cheltenham tips

The feature Saturday of Cheltenham’s November meeting is always one of the season’s highlights. Here Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway shares his best bets for the afternoon.

1.10 Cheltenham

Valsheda @ 3/1

1pt win

2.20 Cheltenham

Simply The Betts @ 20/1 

1pt each-way

2.55 Cheltenham

Shearer @ 10/3

1pt win

Valsheda a step ahead of the handicapper

The Celotex Thermaclass Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (1.10) looks like a good opportunity for the improving Valsheda to give in-form Nicky Henderson another win.

Valsheda has had just five starts at the age of seven and improved significantly on his second at Kempton in February when running out a comfortable winner at Ffos Las on his last run.

Valsheda made virtually all the running that day and overcame a bad mistake at the fourth-last fence to hold off the challengers and defy a 3lb rise for his previous run.

He has gone up only 4lb for that latest success and remains open to plenty of further improvement over fences on just his fourth chase start. He could prove a class apart.

Leading amateur Will Biddick is an eyecatching booking and Henderson has been flying this week, saddling winners at Kempton on Monday, Huntingdon on Tuesday and Market Rasen on Thursday. He will probably have had this race in mind for Valsheda for quite some time.

Betts simply must be backed

The 2m4f feature Gold Cup Handicap Chase (2.20) is a typically competitive running, but Simply The Betts loves Cheltenham and might be capable of recording another win here.

The nine-year-old won the Plate at this track at The Festival in 2020 and is only 3lb higher now. He ran well enough times last season to suggest he can cash in on his current mark.

Simply The Betts was second behind Vienna Court in a hot handicap here on New Year’s Day and ran another good race when last seen here. He was 11 lengths second to the reopposing Stolen Silver, but was conceding 11lb and is 9lb better off at the revised weights on Saturday.

Simply The Betts has finished sixth in the last two runnings of this race, both times off higher marks, but should be fully wound up for this return as Nicholls will be desperate to land a big race with him before he goes off to hunter chasing. This might just be the time to catch him.

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Prolific Shearer can score a hat-trick

Nicholls looks the man to follow again in the 3m Handicap Hurdle (2.55) with Shearer, who has won three of his last four starts and might be improving too quickly for these rivals.

The six-year-old reportedly suffered from sore shins last season and that curtailed his progress. However, he is making up for lost time now following back-to-back victories.

Shearer was impressive when scoring at Worcester on his reappearance last month and he followed up when landing a course-and-distance novice hurdle here three weeks ago.

He has been put up 8lb for this handicap debut, but a mark of 139 could seriously underestimate him and it would be no surprise were he to make a Graded performer.

There should be a lot more to come from Shearer and he is fancied for the hat-trick.

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