The wait is over and racing returns to Cheltenham with the November meeting starting tomorrow with plenty of high-quality action expected over the three days.
A number of high-profile horses are on show and many will expect to pick up some Cheltenham Festival clues at the meeting which is Cheltenham’s second biggest outside the March spectacle.
Here our horse racing expert runs through some of the big races and picks out the best bets
Will Tiger be on form?
The racing action kick starts tomorrow and the highlight on the card is the reappearance of Grand National winner Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3.15pm).
He has three wins at the Cheltenham Festival to his name, but can start the season slowly so he may well be best watched on his reappearance.
Another race to keep an eye on is the closing Grade 2 Novices Hurdle and my selection for this is Nicky Henderson’s PYM.
He’s a brother to stablemate champion chase Altior and he also won nicely last time out and at 2/1 he can come out on top.
BetVictor Gold Cup
The feature race of the meeting takes place on Saturday and there are a number of leading contenders with chances in the BetVictor Gold Cup (2.25pm) .
Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be heads the market at 9/2. He was beaten a head by 6/1 second favourite MISTER WHITAKER in the Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at The Festival on his most recent start, though he is set to meet that rival on 9lb better terms.
Mick Channon’s runner produced a strong run at Carlisle last weekend, beating some of last year’s top novices and will come on for that run well.
On top of all that, he loves it around Cheltenham having won back in January in preparation for The Festival and he will be hard to beat.
Another danger could be Neil Mulholland’s Kalondra if improving to deft his current mark.
Trip of top-quality races on Sunday
The action continues to come thick and fast and first up on Sunday’s card is the Arkle trial (1.50pm) and it will be interesting to see how DEFI DU SEUILL goes.
He was the winner of the Triumph Hurdle and last year’s Festival and at 7/2 he looks like the one to beat over his first start over hurdles.
Next up is the Shloer Chase (2.25pm), won by Sprinter Sacre three years ago. BRAIN POWER, second in last season’s Arkle, is Nicky Henderson’s well-fancied representative this year.
The Greatwood Hurdle (3.00pm) is the big betting race of the day, with a typically competitive field going to post.
A quick reappearance from Verdana Blue would see her favourite for the race after last weekend’s win over If The Cap Fits, who could also line up and is likely to come on for his season reappearance.
WESTERN RYDER, sixth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival, also has claims and is one I am prepared to back each way at 7/1.
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