Friday, 16 November 2018

November Meeting Day Two: Rock The Kasbah To Take Handicap Clash

Day two at Cheltenham in the November meeting and more great action is on the cards.  A good Grade 2 Juvenile race and a Listed Bumper bookend what is sure to be a terrific day featuring the BetVictor Gold Cup for which we have a cracking value bet!

Here are our selection for all seven races on the card, starting with a fine bunch of youngsters aiming for the Triumph Hurdle back at this track in March.

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12.40 (Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle – Grade 2 – 2m ½f) – NEVER ADAPT

We’re hoping this one isn’t particularly well named given that we’re in hope that he can adjust from France, where he won so easily on heavy ground, to Cheltenham on a better surface but if he does he could be a level above these rivals in all truth.

It goes without saying that owner JP McManus and top trainer Nicky Henderson have the Triumph Hurdle itself at the front of their minds for this horse and while he doesn’t need to win this, it would certainly help his cause.  Look out for Montestrel for place money.

1.15 (3m ½f Novices’ Chase) – THE WORLDS END

An unoriginal selection perhaps and things are probably closer between this one and Minella Awards than many believe, but the level our boy reached over hurdles and the way he won on his chase debut suggest he may just have too much on this occasion for the opposition assembled.

Minella Awards did win well also at Aintree but only had one rival to beat that day while best of the rest, though some way back in fact, could be Ibis Du Rheu for the Paul Nicholls yard with Harry Cobden on board.

1.50 (3m 3½f Handicap Chase) – ROCK THE KASBAH

Philip Hobbs’ runner didn’t really hit the expected heights on his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow when a well beaten favourite, though his career doesn’t exactly stop there and a much better performance is on the cards this time now that he has that run under his belt.

His best run was his sign-off effort last season when running second to the well-handicapped Step Back in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and he looks ready now to take a step forward and furthermore would be doing so off a 2lb lower mark.

The likes of Vicente and Singlefarmpayment are likely to be vying for places and are expected to be prominent in what will be a lively betting market.

2.25 (BetVictor Gold Cup – 2m4f Handicap Chase) – BARON ALCO

Gary Moore may take the feature race with his French bred Baron Alco who ran extremely well when coming back from a long break at Chepstow only to run out of steam in the closing stages to be a close second to Charbel.

He’s expected to be much fitter today and as such he can carry on his climb up the chasing ranks having previously run into Top Notch and Road To Respect in good races at Cheltenham and Sandown including at Grade 1 level.  His form figures over the larger obstacles in fact are 3121222.

Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be and Kalondra of Neil Mulholland’s yard are next on the list for places, the latter named especially looking likely to fight all the way against our selection.

3.00 (3m Listed Handicap Hurdle) – BOYHOOD

All eyes will be on First Assignment of the Ian Williams here and at first glance he’s the rightful favourite however there’s a lot to like about the second-top weight Boyhood of Tom George’s and he may be the value choice in this line-up.

The seven-year-old hasn’t run since New Year’s Day when taking a three-mile hurdle here at Cheltenham on heavy ground but if anything he may appreciate the better surface this time and may simply make his staying power count under jockey Paddy Brennan when the going gets tough up the hill at the finish.

Olly Murphy and Richard Johnson team up with Weebill who may be challenging for places when the race gets going in earnest but unless something happens to the leading two he looks a little way off for win purposes.

3.30 (2m5f Handicap Hurdle) – SPEEDO BOY

Ian Williams’ 4yo may have been underestimated off a mark of just 118 as he is sure to improve over hurdles this season.  He has been in cracking form on the Flat this year too having run fifth in the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster before going sixth in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket marking him out as a potentially decent hurdler for this term.

The key to this one could be the step up in trip from two miles to 2m5f and he is taken to score this time under Tom O’Brien at the probable expense of the likes of Lygon Rock and Westend Story.

4.00 (Listed Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) – ROYAL ILLUSION

Willie Mullins is not really in the habit of sending mugs to Cheltenham and he could be set to land another good prize in the form of this Listed event with his Royal Illusion, ridden by Danny Mullins.

A winner two weeks ago at Cork, he had any amount in hand that day and if anything can improve further quite quickly making him a fair bet to score in the lucky last.  Mrs Hyde and Paul Nicholls’ Danse Idol are sure to go well and will make plenty of appeal in the ring though you feel Royal Illusion will have to under-perform for either of them to grab the win.

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