Through The Card: Cheltenham, Saturday November 18
Timeform take you through the card at Cheltenham on Friday and advise a Placepot permutation...
"He is unexposed as a chaser, and the way he stayed on in the closing stages of the Kim Muir last season suggests he will be well suited by this extra furlong..."
12:40 - This race was won by last year's Triumph Hurdle winner Defi du Seuil and GUMBALL (4) has been installed as the early favourite for this year's renewal following a couple of all-the-way wins. He ran to a useful level when shrugging off a penalty at Chepstow last month and, though he should prove hard to beat here up in grade, he won't stay at the top of this division for long unless his jumping doesn't improve. Apple's Shakira, who is a sister to the very smart Apple's Jade, looks an interesting recruit for top connections, and she commands maximum respect on her British debut.
13:15 - Only three runners go to post here but they are all well matched on what they have achieved over fences so far. Ballyoptic was the best of these over hurdles, and made a promising debut over fences at Exeter this month, winning by 13 lengths. WEST APPROACH (3) equally made a good impression when winning on his chase debut at Ffos Las last month, though, and preference is for Colin Tizzard's runner. The runner-up has since franked the form of that win and West Approach jumped superbly from four out, and he seems sure to progress and win more races in this sphere.
13:50 - Nearly half of the field have to race from out of the weights here due to Minella Rocco's presence, and he is the class act in the field having finished runner-up in the Gold Cup last season. However, PREMIER BOND (6) makes a fair bit of appeal here. He is unexposed as a chaser, and the way he stayed on in the closing stages of the Kim Muir last season suggests he will be well suited by this extra furlong.
14:25 - This looks a good renewal of the BetVictor Gold Cup and it's probably best to keep a couple of these on side. TULLY EAST (6) won the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase from a 10 lb lower mark at last season's festival and he should go well with conditions in his favour. He proved his well-being when having a pipe-opener over hurdles at Punchestown last month and should remain competitive from this mark. A more speculative selection is BALLYALTON (11), who won at the Festival in 2016 and is potentially well treated back over fences having also shaped well over hurdles on his belated return at Aintree last month. Provided he goes the right way from that, he should give a good account for a yard in top form.
15:00 - It's hard to get away from the claims of THOMAS CAMPBELL (2) here, who looked better than ever on his first try at three miles on his return last time. The manner of that victory suggests he can rate higher in this sphere and is fancied to follow up here on his way to even better things.
15:30 - A competitive handicap where several can be mentioned, but preference is for DIABLE DE SIVOLA (6) who again shaped better than the bare result on his return at Fontwell last month. He had also caught the eye on his previous start in the Fred Winter, and should get the strong gallop he needs in this field. Red Indian looks a live danger off this mark, while Stamp Your Feet and Coup de Pinceau also need considering.
16:00 - A hot renewal of a usually informative bumper and OUTOFTHISWORLD (7) could be the way to go having lived up to her name when destroying her rivals on debut at Market Rasen in March. Old rivals Grageelagh Girl and Posh Trish do battle again, Fergal O'Brien's charge 4 lb better off now having been first past the post at Aintree.
Win back DIABLE DE SIVOLA (6) in the 15:30 at Cheltenham
12:40 - 4
13:15 - 3
13:50 - 6
14:25 - 6, 11
15:00 - 2
15:30 - 6