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2018 Cheltenham November meeting tips - Race-by-race selections for day one of the November highlight

Brian Healy in Tips 16 Nov 2018
A view of the stands at Cheltenham.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for the opening day's racecard at the Cheltenham November meeting as the first of three days’ high class horse racing action gets underway on Friday.

Six races will go to post on the day one racecard, headed by the Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle which anchors the day’s action with a 3.35pm off-time, and the 2m 5f contest also forms part of ITV Racing’s live televised coverage of the day’s proceedings.

12:40 - Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 3m1f
1:15 - Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices' Handicap Hurdle Cl3 (3yo+ 0-125) 2m½f
1:50 - BetVictor Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m
2:25 - Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f
3:00 - Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+) 3m6f
3:35 - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5f

Ed Chamberlain and the team will have four races live on their televised broadcast of Friday’s opening day, getting underway from 1.50pm, and Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for all six races on day one of the November Meeting.

12:40 - Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 3m1f


STATION MASTER (11/2, William Hill) has had just one start over fences in his career, which came at Uttoxeter last month when chasing home Just A Sting who has won again since; Kim Bailey’s charge concedes considerable experience of chasing to these rivals, but the Scorpion gelding could build on that outing to go one better and get off the mark.

Kim Bailey’s charge was a dual winner over hurdles last term prior to contesting in a Grade Two race at Doncaster where he struggled to get competitive; while a previous visit to this venue came behind Monbeg Theatre here in April where he beat only a handful home.

A return to this longer trip is very much in his favour, and the booking of Jamie Codd for this assignment catches the eye. Likely to progress on the back of a highly promising debut over the larger obstacles, he can go well and no surprise to see him competitive in this race despite taking on much more experienced rivals.

1:15 - Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices' Handicap Hurdle Cl3 (3yo+ 0-125) 2m½f


DOSTAL PHIL (6/1, BetVictor) was a winner on the flat in France prior to joining forces with Philip Hobbs having been bought by JP McManus, and the Coastal Path gelding shaped well despite looking in need of the run at Bangor on his stable debut last October.

He finished seven lengths’ fourth to Whatmore on that occasion, after which he underwent wind surgery and was absent until returning at Uttoxeter last month; he found only Tokay Dokey too strong there, and he can improve for that run.

Likely to strip fitter for that run where he was hampered, he had a subsequent winner behind him and a first-time hood could elicit further progress as he steps out on the handicap trail from a potentially lenient mark.

1:50 - BetVictor Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m


A HARE BREATH (7/2, Coral) hasn’t tackled fences since finishing seventh to Altior in the 2017 Arkle Chase, but Ben Pauling’s charge can make a winning return to the larger obstacles.

The Alkaadhem gelding was returned to hurdles following that Grade One outing, but he beat only one home behind Rather Be in a Grade Three contest at Aintree. 

Having won first time up at Sandow on his return last December, he struggled subsequently and disappointed in outings at Cheltenham behind Moyaahed, and at Ayr when finishing in midfield behind Midnight Shadow.

He has shown however that he goes well fresh and his seasonal reappearance may be the best time to catch him; while he is well-treated back over fences based on his previous form. It would be no surprise to see him going well as a result, and he could bounce back to winning form making his first start of the season.  

2:25 - Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f


Nicky Henderson saddles two in this contest, and it could pay to side with the classy MR WHIPPED (11/4, William Hill) of the Seven Barrows pair.

The Beneficial gelding was a smart hurdler last term, winning three times which included the Grade Two at Warwick where he beat Paisley Park; subsequently runner-up at Musselburgh behind Red River, he may have been amiss when pulled up behind Kilbricken Storm in the Albert Bartlett.

A point-to-point winner at Lingstown prior to joining Henderson, he could find improvement switching to fences while he won first time up twelve months ago. 

He rates as an exciting prospect over fences this term, and if he proves as good over the larger obstacles as he was over the smaller ones last term then he can get off the mark in this discipline at the first time of asking.

3:00 - Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+) 3m6f


Tiger Roll could be hard to beat if fully wound up for his return, and the Grand National winner added a third Cheltenham Festival win to his CV when winning the Cross Country prior to his Aintree heroics.

The diminutive Authorized gelding is afforded the utmost respect, but he could struggle under his welter burden to hold off JOSIES ORDERS (11/4, BetVictor) who goes very well in these particuar events, and the Milan gelding can get back to winning ways in receipt of plenty of weight.

Enda Bolger’s charge is a triple-winner over this cross-country course, and having finished sixth to Tiger Roll at the Festival back in March the ten-year old went on to finish runner-up in the La Touche Cup prior to getting back to winning ways two days later over the Punchestown cross-country course.

He has had a pipe-opener over hurdles at Galway last month, and arriving here much sharper in the wake of that effort then he could take advantage of the big weight concession he receives from Gordon Elliott’s star.

3:35 - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5f


Original selection Dinons misses out, so DOUBLE TREASURE (6/1, Coral) could be the one to benefit from the absence of Gordon Elliott’s up-and-coming novice.

Jamie Snowden’s charge was a prolific winner over fences during 2017, winning four times which included at this venue, although he could only finish seventh in the BetVictor Gold Cup last term. He disappointed back here following a five-month absence and wind surgery when beating only home back here in April.

He has won two of his three outings since reverting to hurdles, scoring with authority in minor company at Fontwell and Newton Abbot, and he found only Secret Investor too strong in the Persian War Hurdle when last seen.

The pair had pulled well clear, and he ought to be sharper now given that was his first run in almost four months; while the return to a longer trip is in his favour.

He can go well again back here where he has won before, and he can go close in an open renewal of this contest if avoiding an early battle for the lead with several other potential front-runners in opposition.

2018 CHELTENHAM NOVEMBER MEETING TIPS - DAY ONE SELECTIONS


12:40 - STATION MASTER (11/2, William Hill)

1:15 - DOSTAL PHIL (6/1, BetVictor)

1:50 - A HARE BREATH (7/2, Coral)

2:25 - MR WHIPPED (11/4, William Hill)

3:00 - JOSIES ORDERS (11/4, BetVictor)

3:35 - DOUBLE TREASURE (6/1, Coral)

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2018 Cheltenham November meeting tips - Race-by-race selections for day one of the November highlight

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for the opening day's racecard at the Cheltenham November meeting.

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