Cheltenham's Showcase meeting continues on Saturday with a seven-race card. Keith Melrose from the Racing Post picks out his best bets on the card.
The Showcase Meeting is the first of the season at Prestbury Park and one of three to take place this side of Christmas at the Cotswolds venue.
The 3m1f handicap chase(2.05) has the right favourite in The Hollow Ginge, who runs his best races off a break and shaped best in this race last year. Of those at bigger prices, Lord Accord looks to be the one who has been most overlooked in the betting.
A bit like the favourite, Lord Accord did his best work as a novice chaser last season in the early part of his campaign. He won two of his first three starts over fences and on the other occasion finished second by just over a length to a horse (Castle Robin) who would be on 9lb worse terms were they to meet now.
Things did not go so well for Lord Accord afterwards, but the upside is that his mark has eased and he now returns to conditions that ought to suit off a mark 5lb lower than the last one he was able to win from.
It is worth stressing that he may have more improvement to come. He has a stout pedigree and shaped like a stayer in early starts last year. This 3m1f trip at a stiff track away from the mud presents ideal conditions for him and he also has the benefit of a recent run, so he should be fit.
The news angle in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.40) is obvious, as Pied Piper and Knight Salute dead-heated in a Grade 1 at Aintree in the spring, only for interference caused by the former to lead to his demotion to second.
He ought to get his revenge here, as on form it is felt he has more to offer and more to come than Knight Salute. Both won Grade 2s here last winter, but Pied Piper was by far the more impressive not only visually but in terms of the overall form.
He also enhanced his reputation in defeat on the Flat over the summer, when he finished sixth in the Ascot Stakes off a mark of 96. Better course form and greater Flat speed are a hard combination to resist at Cheltenham and Pied Piper deserves to be odds on for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Editeur Du Gite had a hugely successful season in 2021-22 after winning the Red Rum Chase at Aintree the previous spring.
He won twice around 2m at Cheltenham - once on the Old Course, once on the New - and finished a highly creditable fourth in the Grand Annual off this mark at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
That he was not up to it in the Melling Chase next time is no slight on him - as well as probably not having quite the requisite class for Grade 1s, he is a free-going sort who will struggle to see out 2m4f at the best of times.
Here he returns to Cheltenham, evidently a track that suits him, and he will be partnered by Niall Houlihan, the conditional who made his name on this horse last winter. Editeur Du Gite unsurprisingly has the right sort of tactics to succeed at Cheltenham and is a bold jumper. He could prove hard to peg back.Safer Gambling Week (17-23 October) – Let’s talk about safer gambling. Click here for more information on independent resources. Gamble Responsibly.