Cheltenham November Meeting Day One Tips: Turn to Shanahan in the opener

Cheltenham racecourse
It's day one of the Cheltenham November meeting at Tony is here with his best bets

It's day one of the November meeting at Cheltenham on Friday and, with the action on ITV4, our big price tipster Tony Calvin is here to scour the card for value...

"He ran well when third at Chepstow on his reappearance - that looked a strong handicap, too - and a subsequent 1lb drop now brings his mark to just 136, some 5lb lower than when blowing out in this race last season (after which he had a wind op, and went on to finish in the Topham off just a 2lb higher mark than this)."

Taking a chance on Shanahan's Turn

There is no guaranteed front-runner in the 2m handicap chase at 13:50, so I just wonder whether they will take the bull by the horns on Shanahan's Turn.

I was actually teeing up to tip him for the 2m4f handicap chase won by War Sound at Aintree last Saturday, but he wasn't confirmed at the overnight stage, and the decision to come for this 1m7f199yd contest does look a bit odd considering all his best form has come over 2m4f and beyond, and he hardly shone in this race last year.

They must be considering riding him far more prominently here, and he does have some previous in this area, as he was ridden to the fore when an easy winner of the Galway Plate on good ground in 2015 off 142.

He ran well when third at Chepstow on his reappearance - that looked a strong handicap, too - and a subsequent 1lb drop now brings his mark to just 136, some 5lb lower than when blowing out in this race last season (after which he had a wind op, and went on to finish in the Topham off just a 2lb higher mark than this).

I am willing to take the chance on him at 7.06/1 or bigger, or 13/2 on the Betfair Sportsbook, especially given the form of the yard.

Doitforthevillage won this race well last season but he invariably needs a run or two to put him straight, and Dun Boran looks the right favourite.

In no rush to roll on the Tiger

I don't have any opinion in the novices' chase at 14:25 so I won't waste any of your time there, and that is certainly true of the Cross Country race at 15:00 as well.

It's a race that always leaves me cold, as a betting medium as well as a spectacle. But, given that some of Gordon Elliott's horses have been needing their reappearances more than usual, I wouldn't be in a mad rush to back the Grand National winner Tiger Roll giving plenty of weight away, at cramped odds, on his comeback.

Pym should win but Captain Peacock could outrun odds

The Grade 2 novices' hurdle finishes off the card, and the ITV races, at 15:35 and I fully expect Pym to relish the step up to 2m5f and prove the one to beat.

He got on top late on when beating the well-regarded Greatwood Hurdle entry Deyrann De Carjac over 2m at Chepstow on his return and he again looked far more of a stayer when second under a 6lb penalty over a sub-2m at Ascot last time.

He predictably hasn't been missed in the market at around the 9/4 mark on the Exchange though, especially as he has little in hand, if anything, on a few of his rivals going into the race. The potential for marked improvement is certainly there, going up in trip.

It wouldn't be the greatest shock if Captain Peacock outran his odds - he is an industry-best 25/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook - as he was stopped in his tracks by a bad blunder at Worcester last time and he has each-way chances on his earlier second at that track under a penalty.

That would be my bet in the race, if forced, but no play is probably the best option here.

Young Master looks good but price reflects that

The RUK-only races are decent, too, with The Young Master still looking on an attractive mark in the opener at 12:40.

The course-and-distance winner was rated 150 after winning the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2016 but he had dropped down to a mark of 130 after a spell in the doldrums prior to his comeback at Chepstow.

However, despite looking a little bit awkward and quirky in the closing stages, he returned to something approaching his best when beating Traffic Fluide by over two lengths, with the in-form and progressive Brave Eagle in third.

Given his back-form and the fact that the runner-up went one better at Ascot last time, The Young Master still looks very fairly-weighted off just a 5lb higher mark here.

He could take a fair bit of stopping if backing up that performance - looking at his profile, that is certainly not a given - but his price of around 5/1 pretty much reflects that and Bally Longford and For Good Measure look dangerous rivals, to name just two in a race that has a bit of depth to it.

An eye-catcher in the novices' handicap hurdle

The 20-runner novices' handicap hurdle at 13:15 looks an absolute minefield.

Dostal Phil looks the obvious starting point after his promising Uttoxeter second - he may well have won if his rider had stoked him up earlier when going well - with a first-time hood applied, and an opening mark of 120 looks workable for a horse that cost a punchy 295,000 euros in November 2016.

Jacbequick, Antunes (has had a wind op since last seen), My Brother and Dream Du Grand Val (first start for Nicky Henderson) are other likely sorts, but an outsider that caught my eye was Vocaliser.

He won first-time-out last season and returns to hurdling - he last ran over the smaller obstacles in April 2017 - on a 5lb lower mark than that over fences, his most recent win in that sphere at Kempton in March coming after a tweak to his breathing.

But this is a race that I can leave alone, all things considered, on a quiet punting day for me.

Good luck.

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