Daryl Carter Tips

Daryl Carter's Tips: Superstar Sir Gino expected to shine bright at Cheltenham

Daryl Carter.
Daryl Carter heads to Cheltenham and Doncaster on Saturday.

Daryl Carter heads into Saturday with five selections and says his NAP is a star in the making for Nicky Henderson...

Gamble Responsibly

It's Cheltenham trials day, and we covered most races in this week's Racing Only Bettor, but with the amount of racing on, it's tempting to get involved in everything, and I would advise you to be cautious and bet responsibly. Below are a few races I decided to skip and why - mainly indecision.

The 13:15 at Cheltenham, I do like the claims of Victtorino, but I also could easily make a solid case for Hitman, who will win one of these at some point and Excello, who clocked a good time at Ascot, while Il Ridotto is very solid. It was for that reason I left the race alone.

At 14:25 at Cheltenham, Jonbon should take all the beating, but I feel it may not be as easy as his 1/41.25 odds suggest. Still, I had nothing concrete to take him on with.

Lossiemouth could go one of two ways in the 15:00 International Hurdle at Cheltenham. She looks the part, but what the Juvenile form is worth will perhaps be validated at Doncaster at 14:05.

Still, I expect her to be here to win this and be fully revved up before going onto the Champion Hurdle 33/134.00 so the angle here may be to look at the Mares Hurdle ante-post market. Love Envoi is a grand horse, but she won't be able to dictate with Rubaud in here and could be run off her feet. I couldn't find a solid bet with the Nicholls horse being the correct price. No doubt, Lossiemouth needs to improve, but she effectively has the world at her feet if good enough.

The 15:35 Cleeve Hurdle had me pulled in all directions. Paisley Park has had tough races the last two, and his age will catch up with him at some point, but a repeat of his latest will see him hard to beat. However, it's hard to forget how easily he was swept aside last year and 5/23.50 is short enough. Similar comments apply to Dashel Drasher, while it's no surprise to see money for Noble Yeats, who could have any amount to offer over hurdles but could easily prove nowhere near his 165 chase level.

Still, he could run to the mid-150's over the smaller obstacles, which might be enough. Again, though, 7/24.50 is plenty short enough. Champ looked like he was having a prep run at Ascot on seasonal return. He is not the horse he once was but is another capable of running into the mid-150s while Strong Leader will appreciate the better ground and the move up in distance, but the cheek-pieces might be an unnecessary added extra. Still, he reminds me of Itchy Feet. All of this for another no-bet race.

At 16:10, it would be disappointing if Gidleigh Park 10/111.91 did not get the job done. His biggest and main rival is Johnnywho, who had reportedly missed time before the Challow with a small injury, so we could easily see a far better performance today. However, this is a quick enough turnaround after that slog in the mud at Newbury in the Challow, and that tempers my enthusiasm for each way theft.

Gidleigh Park is a shorter price here than he was when winning a weak Novice for us at Newbury, so he is left off.

Lastly, the 14:05 at Doncaster will be interesting. I am very tempted to tip Under Control for this race despite her coming with risks after stopping quickly at Newbury. I wanted 6/17.00 on her as I know Ashroe Diamond is the right market leader and the correct bet if I am honest, and perhaps my ante-post 50/151.00 on Under Control is swaying my favour towards her. Either way, it will be a fascinating watch.

11.55 Doncaster - Back Funambule Sivola @ BSP 2pt

Funambule Sivola is taken to land the race he won in 2022, with Ned Fox claiming five pounds off his back, effectively seeing him race off a nine-pound lower rating and his lowest since 2021.

The nine-year-old shaped well at Cheltenham on his latest outing and traded at a low of 2.186/5 as he looked to come there to win his race, but he failed to quicken over the last two in deep ground. Today's return to a sounder surface and a left-handed track has seen that combination previously result in two victories, including the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

He is a horse I keep on my side each year after the New Year with form figures of 111112 outside of Grade 1 company from January onwards over fences.

Rated 156 before his three runs this season, the handicapper has been quick to relent, and Ned Fox's claim means he is effectively 13 lbs lower and having finished ahead of Calico at Cheltenham and Malystic at Newbury last term, the others are indeed not on his level. He gets a confident vote to return to winning ways under optimal conditions, and 3/14.00 or bigger is acceptable.

However, he has always had a better BSP price than his industry SP, and it's been a long time since he was shorter than the 3/14.00 odds I made him, so I expect the SP around 9/25.50 at best.

11:50 Doncaster - Back Funambule Sivola @ BSP

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12:05 Cheltenahm - Back Sir Gino @ 11/82.38 2.5pt

A big Juvenile clash between Burdett Road and Sir Gino - 11/82.38 on the Betfair Sportsbook - and I am firmly in favour of the latter, who I expect to be raved about after today's performance and is arguably the better long-term prospect of the two.

There's little to get stuck into in terms of form for both horses; in fact, Burdett Road edges that if aspect through collateral form, but Sir Gino travelled like a handy horse at Kempton on his British debut and, despite some hairy leaps quickened up in the manner of a potential superstar. The post-race comments from Nico de Boinville were highly complimentary, and with some intense schooling sessions since that run, I expect an improvement now he is race fit.

It helps that the Kempton runner-up to Sir Gino bolted up by 14 lengths next time out and the third by 26 lengths, but in reality, the selection was in a league of his own, as was Burdett Road. Sir Gino won a prestigious race in a fair time at Auteuil, beating the now Willie Mullins-trained Salvator Mundi. They pulled miles clear of their field, and the third boosted the form with a victory next time, but Sir Gino tanked through the race and won cosily at the line, and his form looked to be working out at every turn.

I am punting a little on visuals and my gut feeling, but I firmly expect him to be a very smart prospect, and I genuinely think he could prove to be a different breed from these. Burdett Road is worthy of maximum respect for what he did at this venue last time, and the figures have him clear, but the form is a little dubious. However, he did kick down nearly every hurdle on the way around and was worth an upgrade, but he won't be able to give the sort of lead he did to An Brandan Feasa - fell in next time in a terrible slowly run race - to Sir Gino.

I hope we are about to see a star in the making. Sir Gino will have a race position on him throughout, and I expect the Nicky Henderson horse to prove impossible to catch

I understand that I am in the minority, but I really think Sir Gino could be a top, top-class horse, and if I fancy him in March, I have to fancy him strongly today.

I'd certainly have the pair closer together in the market. Any 11/102.11 or bigger seems fair.

12:05 Cheltenham - Back Sir Gino @ 11/82.38

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13:50 Cheltenham - Back Ahoy Senor @ BSP 1pt

The bet at the prices here must be last year's winner Ahoy Senor - Currently 11/26.50 on the Betfair Sportsbook - who can be forgiven for his seasonal return run and had an impossible task in the Newbury Gold Cup Handicap off of a rating of 169.

He needs his seasonal return each year, and he had no chance in a competitive handicap carrying such a weight, but the positives are that he has never finished outside of the first two after the new year, and he boasts the strongest form in the race.

He scored in good style in this contest last term and bounced out of a heavy defeat in the King George to post a figure close to 170. Nothing in this field, bar Royal Paigille, has made such an effort, and that one doesn't have the ideal conditions to replicate that today. The selection boasts a good record at this venue with form figures of 21F. The first was a good second to L'Homme Presse in the Brown Advisory, and the latter was a fall when he was still going well in the Gold Cup.

He comes with risks attached, obviously, but on a going day, he is the best of these on the evidence thus far. In the hope that he has heard the New Year theme tune, Auld Lang Syne, history suggests a much better performance is inbound. He makes the most appeal ahead of Datsalrightgino, a progressive youngster who could have any amount to offer, is feared most, and may be worth a small saver.

I can't see Ahoy Senor going off any shorter than his current 11/26.50 so I am happy to take the BSP price.

13:50 Cheltenham - Back Ahoy Senor @ BSP

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14:40 Doncaster - Back Destroytheevidence @ 10/34.33 1pt

Destroytheevidence - 10/34.33 on the Betfair Sportsbook - looks the way to go here, having bumped into a potentially very useful one at Cheltenham last time but showed an excellent attitude to battle on gamely at the finish.

He has done little wrong in his short career to date. That Grade 2 second sets a good standard for some of these to aim at having clocked a faster final circuit time than the 2m Juvenile winner (Burdett Road's victim An Bradan Feasa) and Handicap subsequent winner Nurse Susan. He is well worth every inch of his 130 rating and probably a little more, having been on the sharp end of a good gallop at Cheltenham.

The return to a flatter track and a sounder surface are both positives. He is well clear of these rivals on my figures. His game and hard-to-pass attitude will hold him in excellent stead at this track, which sees a long battling home straight. He makes plenty of appeal.

I think the market has the wrong favourite here in Welcom To Cartries, who steps up in the trip, looking visually very impressive at Ascot but clocking a slower circuit time than the handicap over the same distance and very slow final closing splits.

The Kim Bailey horse is effectively a Cheltenham Grade 2 winner without the penalty in my eyes, and he will take some stopping. I'd make him more of a 9/43.25 chance.

14:40 Doncaster - Back Destroytheevidence @ 10/34.33

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15:15 Doncaster - Back Cooper's Cross @ 14/115.00 1pt e/w (6 places)

This is a deep race, but it's worth chancing last year's winner Cooper's Cross - 14/115.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - who arrives just three pounds higher and returns to his favoured good ground for the first time in three runs this season.

The Stuart Coltherd runner wore first-time cheek-pieces to win this race last year and now has a switch of headgear to the first-time blinkers. The combination of the new headgear and the return to a sounder surface for the first time since his excellent second in the Scottish National are reasons to expect an improved performance.

He shaped well at Aintree over the National fences before getting stuck in the mud and heavy ground at Haydock, and Musselburgh would not have been to his liking.

He is certainly a well-handicapped horse if putting it all together today, and with the headgear applied, one suspects this may have been his target all along, and he is hard to ignore at a big price, with the Sportsbook paying five places and any 10/111.00 or bigger is acceptable.

15:15 Doncaster - Back Cooper's Cross @ 14/115.00

Bet now

Read Cheltenham Festival Focus Week 11 Here.

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2024 P/L = Updated monthly Feb 1st


2021 P/L = +187pts 12% ROI

2022 P/L = + 137.1pts ROI 8.72% +22.7pts BSP 1.44% ROI

2023 P/L = +112.63pts ROI 8.86% +99.4pts BSP 7.84% ROI

2023 P/L (Incl ante) Total = +146.63 ROI 11.5%


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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.