CHELTENHAM TRIALS DAY

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR HORSE RACING PREVIEW: Cheltenham Trials Day 2023

“The clue’s in the name” as the old saying goes, but this year’s Festival Trials day should live right up to expectations.

Cheltenham Trials Day 2023 
First Race: 11.40am
Last Race: 4.10pm
Live on Racing TV and ITV 1 HD / ITV X

A first class card in itself – boosted by the addition of the Clarence House Chase – features two Grand National winners, the reigning Champion Chase and Arkle winners, a Ryanair winner and a past winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle to boot, not to mention the current Cross Country Champion.

Our brand ambassador Davy Russell will his blog Is sure to be essential reading, so don’t miss out and click below to get his thoughts on his three rides and the biggest races from Cheltenham!

DAVY RUSSELL blog: Fairyhouse / Cheltenham Saturday

We should know a whole lot more about the festival after today, and Noble Yeats can lay down a massive marker in the Cotswold Chase (2.25) by following up on his victory. His historic Grand National success – he was only the second novice to win since 1958 and the first 7yo to win since Bogskar back in 1940 – has been followed up by two very impressive wins, especially his stunning success in the Many Clouds Chase when he turned on the after burners to leave Dashel Drasher, Ahoy Senor and Sounds Russian in his wake between the final two fences.

That performance put him into the Gold Cup picture on a line through the reopposing Ahoy Senor, and even if Lucinda Russell’s charge has disappointed elsewhere this season Sounds Russian was beaten just half a length in an extremely strong Rowland Meyrick giving a stone to the runner up (who was second to L’Homme Presse in the Rehearsal Chase last time out.

The way he strode out to the line suggested that the hill – especially over this course – should be right up his street and if he repeats that performance or even improves, it will take a fine effort to stop him. His big threat is Protektorat, who was visually striking when taking the Betfair Chase but who may not have beaten all that much given the dire run of A Plus Tard (Eldorado Allen second, Frodon third). He is obviously a high-class chaser but at the prices Noble Yeats is the more appealing pick – who could have more to offer still.

The Clarence House Chase (1.20) sees a mouth-watering clash between Champion Chaser Energumene and Tingle Creek winner Edwardstone. This is a contest to enjoy – with respect given to Editeur du Gite, who took advantage of Edwardstone’s jumping error to take the Desert Orchid Chase – although at the prices Edwardstone looks too big based on his Tingle Creek win. He’s 6lbs behind Energumene on official ratings but he slammed the 171 rated Greaneteen by nine lengths at Sandown and should give the favourite a mighty race at least.

In the Cleeve Hurdle Paisley Park is very much the right favourite after his game win in the Long Walk Hurdle, even if 5/4 doesn’t make huge appeal. He’s 11 now but is staying as well as ever as evidenced by his close second to Champ in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and his defeat of Goshen and Champ at Kempton.

Dashel Drasher is the most admirable horse who should stay – and is an interesting runner getting weight – whilst Gelino Bello, an impressive winner of the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last season, is an interesting runner returned to hurdles after falling at Kempton last time and may make the most betting appeal.

There’s no doubt that the best Cross-Country horse in training is Delta Work – last year’s Festival Champion – but a mark of 160 will take some carrying in the Cross Country Chase (12.40pm) and the call is surely to back a horse each/way against him.

Singing Banjo ran Delta Work to within a neck at Punchestown on their reappearance, and the veteran cross-country chaser looks as likely as anyone to take advantage of his welter weight and 15/2 is a fair price.

Other Races:

The Triumph Trial (11.40) kicks off the action and there shouldn’t be very much between Comfort Zone and Dixon Cove, who were separated by a neck in the Finale at Chepstow. Dixon Cove is weighted to reverse that form here but Jupiter Du Gite and Scriptwriter also look like prime prospects and it’s a trappy race, even if very informative.

The Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (12.10) has a fine record of recent winners so it’s definitely one for the replays. Stage Star’s mark of 142 is a fair one based on his impressive Warwick win (chasing debut) but he cut out quickly at Newbury and had nothing to do at Punchestown. Unexpected Party’s been disappointing over fences and doesn’t make much appeal off his current mark, so Fire Dancer would be of the most interest – if he avoids bouncing after landing the odds on his UK debut (first run in three years).

Il Ridoto made most appeal in the 2m4f Premier Handicap (1.50) but he may be a bigger force in these races with age as he’s just turned six. Your Darling, back down in trip, could be the one for placepot purposes there.

Britain’s best Ballymore hope – Hermes Allen – doesn’t run in the Ballymore Trial (3.35) where a number of promising horses take each other on. The most appealing on paper is Henri The Second, an impressive winner of the Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown, but it may be best used as a watching brief.

The closing handicap hurdle (4.10) has a number of likely types. There’s a good case for suggesting Might I is the best handicapped horse in the field whilst Punctuation is the perhaps the most progressive, and the two are currently 4/1 joint favourites. The suggestion for placepot purposes is Might I.

WILLIAM KEDJANYI


RECOMMENDED BETS

BACK Singing Banjo 1pt each/way in 12.40 Cheltenham at 15/2 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Edwardstone 2pts win in 1.20 Cheltenham at 2/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Noble Yeats 2pts win in 2.25 Cheltenham at 9/4 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (JAN 2023): LOSS -3.70 points


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