Longshot Ted: My views on the November Meeting at Cheltenham

Racing tips for the November Meeting at Cheltenham.
Racing tips for the November Meeting at Cheltenham.

In a bumper edition of his weekly column, Ed Quigley takes a look at this weekend's November Meeting at Cheltenham, and picks out some runners to note...

I will mainly be keeping my powder dry on Friday, but PANIC ATTACK is the one that jumps off the page in the Novices' Handicap Hurdle at 4.05. The filly got off the mark over hurdles at the second time of asking when landing a maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter, looking much happier dropping back down to the minimum trip. Into handicap company off a mark of 119 she has the scope to progress. The David Pipe team are in scintillating form at the moment, operating at around a 35% strike-rate for the last fortnight, and Panic Attack looks one to keep a close eye on.

It is the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, and my eyes will be on SLATE HOUSE, who was originally pencilled in for the Ladbrokes Trophy, but the Tizzard team have decided to reroute the eight-year-old to this contest, and if fully revved up first time out will have major claims. He was tanking in this race 12 months ago, only to slip and fall two flights from home. Subsequently a Grade 1 winner, his season fizzled out a bit in the spring, but goes well fresh, and is only 5lb higher than when capsizing in last year's renewal. Normally a strong traveller, with a clear round I expect him to be in the thick of things once again.

Mister Fisher is a horse who I have mentioned before I think, despite being in the minority, would be better served over 2 miles. However, he carries a touch of class and is still unexposed, so cannot be overlooked in this contest providing ground conditions don't get too soft. Simply The Betts falls into a similar category, and brings winning course and Festival form to the table. Last seen winning the Brown Advisory Plate back in March, he has more on his plate off a 8lb higher mark, but clearly enjoys the demands of Cheltenham and should give it a good go in trying to defy a mark of 157. At the opposite end of the weights, Sky Pirate has to make the shortlist off bottom eight and a mark of 134. A horse that often flatters to deceive, he does at least travel strongly throughout his races, and the end to end gallop this race often provides should see him to best effect. He shouldn't be far away. 

Elsewhere on the card, it will be exciting to see the Paul Nicholls trained HELL RED back in action. The French import created a fantastic impression when pulverising the opposition at Chepstow last month, and with another strong performance here he can put himself towards the top of the pecking order for this season's Juveniles. He appeared to bounce off the sound surface at the Welsh venue, and with conditions looking decent over the next few days in the Cheltenham area, he should give a good account of himself. 

The concluding Mares' bumper is always a very informative contest, and it will be exciting to see the Dan Skelton ELLE EST BELLE tackle some other promising sorts. You will struggle to see an easier bumper winner all season than the performance she displayed when sauntering clear of her five rivals at Aintree. The yard continue in good form and she could prove a tough nut to crack. 

On Sunday, the Shloer Chase has the propensity to the race of the meeting. Defi Du Seuil, Sceau Royal, Put The Kettle On and ROUGE VIF are all set to lock horns. My preference being for the Harry Whittington trained gelding who made his rivals look like also-rans when spread-eagling the field in what beforehand looked an ultra-competitive contest on paper. He defied a mark of 156, and this unexposed chaser is going from strength to strength. The going is crucial to his chances, so the less rain the better as far as he is concerned. On a sound surface he is mustard and can serve it up to Defi Du Seuil, who has questions to answer on the comeback trail after a disappointing performance when last seen in the Champion Chase at this year's Festival. Sceau Royal is in rude health over hurdles at present and the better the ground the better his chances. 2020 Arkle winner Put The Kettle On has to be taken seriously as does the 2019 winner of the same race Duc Des Genievres on his first start for Paul Nicholls.

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The ground could play a big role in the outcome of the Greatwood Hurdle, and the Tom Lacey trained SEBASTOPOL would be a lively contender on a sound surface. He enjoys good ground, the hurly burly of a big field despite being lightly raced over hurdles, and is a strong stayer at the trip. Providing we don't have a prolonged period of wet weather he has to enter the equation; an end to end gallop would suit, he wouldn't want it to turn into a messy tactical affair. The yard are coming back into some form after a spell in the doldrums and he rates a solid each-way play at 14/1.

Over in Ireland, we have a feast of top-class action, with Punchestown hosting the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle. County Hurdle winner Saint Roi looked imperious on his comeback win in a Grade 3 at Tipperary, and this rapidly improving sort could take all the beating. However, at around the 11/2 mark, the fragile, but hugely talented SALDIER looks fair value. A convincing winner of this race 12 months ago, the Willie Mullins trained six-year-old has since been on the side lines, but is reportedly back firing on a cylinders, and given that he has proven in the past he can operate at the top level after an absence, going there fresh looks a good move.

Selections

Paddy Power Gold Cup, Cheltenham, Saturday 14th November - back Slate House at 10/1

Morgiana Hurdle, Punchestown, Sunday 15th November - back Saldier at 11/2

Greatwood Hurdle, Cheltenham, Sunday 15th November - back Sebastopol each-way at 14/1

Paddy Power Gold Cup
Slate House silk

Slate House

Morgiana Hurdle
Saldier silk

Saldier

Non-Runner
Greatwood Hurdle
Sebastopol silk

Sebastopol (EW)

Non-Runner
2021 Cheltenham Festival

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