The Weekend Wager: Raceolly's tips from Cheltenham on Saturday

Raceolly fancies Spiritofthegames to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Raceolly fancies Spiritofthegames to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup

The Paddy Power Gold Cup headlines Saturday's racing and our columnist Raceolly has picked out three bets for the action at Cheltenham in this week's edition of The Weekend Wager...

2.15 Cheltenham 

Solid regular course performer SPIRITOFTHEGAMES has so much top form here it’s always impossible to ignore him. He returned in this race last season and ran a huge race in 2nd behind Coole Cody and now has a 8lb swing in the handicap this time around with him. Al Dancer would also come in to this on that run as he is weighted to run level with Spiritofthegames now but the prices would hugely favour the latter. Has had a recent pipe opener over hurdles this time around which was also his first run after a wind operation so turns up here spot on for a big performance. Little worrying Harry Skelton jumps off to ride Protektorat but Bridget Andrews has a decent record in handicap chases and this season boasts a 21% win rate in them after 3 winners from 14 rides and in fact a 27% win rate in all her chase rides this season, she’s also fresh from her double at Kempton Monday. 

14:15 Cheltenham (Sat) - Paddy Power Gold Cup
Spiritofthegames silk

Spiritofthegames

lost

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2.50 Cheltenham 

The last time we saw SPORTING JOHN over hurdles was when he went off just 5/1 for the 2020 Ballymore behind Envoi Allen where he finished distressed after not running his race. Was far from a natural over fences last season but still managed to beat Shan Blue in a grade 1 novice at Sandown but a fall at Cheltenham and a lack of confidence there after ended his chase career. A return to hurdles is the right move and a current double figure price here is very appealing especially after a wind operation and on handicap debut. He carries a fairly hefty weight here but is a grade 1 winner running in a handicap and in far more suitable conditions here than when winning said grade 1. 

14:50 Cheltenham (Sat) - PP Games H'cap Hurdle
Sporting John silk

Sporting John

won

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3.25 Cheltenham 

This is a tricky race full of unexposed interesting horses. The one that especially caught my eye was PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL for Brian Ellison on handicap debut. Won at Sedgefield on last start and could have won last 2 after looking the likely winner the time before at Perth when ended up losing a shoe with his only other hurdle run when behind Persian War winner Camprond and 122 rated Percys Word who has finished runner up twice since. Handicap debut off 113 and up in trip makes him interesting especially on the runs at Perth where he lost the shoe and finished 4 lengths off 127 rated Clondaw Hollow and Stratford 6 lengths behind 140 rated Comprond on hurdle debut. 

15:25 Cheltenham (Sat) - PP H'cap Hurdle
Punxsutawney Phil silk

Punxsutawney Phil

lost
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