Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com highlights Friday’s best bets
Eighteen will go to post for the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham tomorrow with Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present the notable absentee at the 48-hour declaration stage. Kylemore Lough and Tully East are the 11/2 joint favourites with BetVictor who are also betting five places each way on what looks a cracking renewal of this valuable and prestigious contest.
The three-day November meeting begins with an amateur riders’ event over an extended three miles and Jamie Codd looks a significant booking for Dueling Banjos (12.40) representing Kim Bailey who won this corresponding race back in 2014.
Last year’s winner What A Moment and impressive recent C&D winner What Happens Now are two others to consider in a fascinating curtain-raiser.
I’m not convinced Banditry will get up the hill in the 2m Handicap Hurdle although he represents the shrewd yard of Ian Williams. The vote goes to Dan Skelton’s Or De Vassy (1.15) who was a facile winner at Sedgefield last time and could have been let in lightly from his opening handicap mark. The same sentiment could be applied to Counter Shy and I am convinced there will be a number of winners come out of this intriguing puzzle.
Former Galway Plate winner Shanahan’s Turn has his first start for Colin Tizzard running in the famous colours of the late Alan Potts who sadly passed away earlier in the week. This drop back to 2m is not certain to suit but he looks well treated and it will be interesting to see if the market speaks in his favour.
Exitas (1.50) is ridden by leading conditional James Bowen and is 11/4 favourite with sponsors BetVictor to gain a fourth win from his last five starts. Bowen rode his 20th winner earlier in the week and his claim going forward will be reduced from 7 to 5lbs but he remains excellent value and the selection will love the forecast good ground.
Finian’s Oscar will be all the rage for the 2m 4f Novices’ Chase but I wasn’t particularly impressed with his fencing on his chase debut at Chepstow and the 4/5 favourite with BetVictor is overlooked. Movewiththetimes (2.25) looked ready for a step up in trip when fourth on his chase debut over 2m at the Showcase Meeting last month. The selection will enjoy the ground and BetVictor’s 9/2 might be a shade too big.
Aye Aye Charlie is 40/1 for the finale, which tells you what a hot contest the grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is and preference for Vision Des Flos (3.35) is marginal. The selection travelled like the best horse in the race when third in the Persian War at Chepstow on his British debut and the Colin Tizzard-trained 4-year-old can reverse the form with the winner Poetic Rhythm who reopposes on 5lbs worse terms.
At Newcastle Cracking Find (1.40) can land the four-runner Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase for Sue Smith who could do with a winner although a number of the stable inmates have run well in defeat so far this term. The selection travelled very well at Wetherby over two-and-a-half miles on his reappearance and this return to the minimum trip will suit.
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