There are 2 important days of racing taking place, at Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday. We have a fantastic special-offer for you! Bet £10 on the Friday’s opening Cheltenham race (National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle, 12:10pm) and you’ll receive two free £10 bets to use on any of Saturday’s Cheltenham races! (T&C’s apply)
Here are the big races, to watch out for at Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday…
Grade 3 Unicorn Group Handicap Chase (Friday, 2:30pm)
Theatre Guide won this encounter in 2016 and another King’s Theatre-sired horse will be making a play for the money, this time around. Southfield Theatre also appeared in the 2016 renewal, but fell out of contention after a poor jump at the 9th. Paul Nicholls’ inmate then spent almost a year off the track, but now has runs at both Sandown and Wincanton behind him and should receive market-support. Robinsfirth looks the one to beat, though. Colin Tizzard’s gelding was at first hampered and later made a bad mistake, in a valuable handicap at Haydock last time out, but much better is expected of him on Friday.
Grade 3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Saturday 1:55pm)
This should be a real thriller, with many big names taking part in what looks an extremely competitive renewal. Clan Des Obeaux, Starchitect, Le Prezien and King’s Odyssey can all go close, but don’t rule out Splash Of Ginge whose connections could be painting the town red again on Saturday night. Nigel Twiston-Davies charge won the Gold Cup Handicap Chase here at a big price, only last month and most of the main opponents he will face competed in that contest. Ryan Day will be trying to get a tune out of Guitar Pete, who could appeal to each-way bettors.
Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Saturday, 2:30pm)
Cracking Smart goes for Gordon Elliott in this one and impressive victories at Fairyhouse, Punchestown and Cork indicate he will be a major player in this 3-mile encounter. Stablemates Delta Work and Monkshood should also feature. Count Meribel is among the British hopefuls and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 5-year-old has enjoyed a terrific start to the campaign – winning twice at Carlisle and then in a much stronger race at Ascot 3 weeks ago. Equus Secretus certainly looks a hot-prospect, but this is a big step-up.
Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle (Saturday, 3:05pm)
This is another race to relish, with wily old-schoolers The New One and My Tent Or Yours taking on the Young Turks. Willie Mullins’ Melon might well have won the Supreme, had he not hit a bit of traffic 2 flights from home, but he was beaten fair and square by Cilaos Emery at Punchestown in April and has plenty to prove despite winning in G2 company at Down Royal last month. Ch’tibello‘s narrow defeat at the hands of Yanworth, in the G2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, boosts his claims massively – particularly as Dan Skelton’s horse finished over a length ahead of Sceau Royal.