Weekend Racing Preview: Romain can rule Cheltenham for Nicholls

Adam Baylis expects the Paul Nicholls trained Romain De Senam to go well at Cheltenham
Adam Baylis expects the Paul Nicholls trained Romain De Senam to go well at Cheltenham
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Adam Baylis returns in top tipping form after consecutive weekend winners and it's another Paul Nicholls horse who has caught his eye on Saturday at Cheltenham...

"So impressive in his two wins since coming back this season, he’s run well at Cheltenham previously – second in the Fred Winter – and will enjoy the forecast ground. Nicholls has said that the horse wants a strongly run race but he should get that on Saturday and looks an excellent each-way bet off a very attractive mark."

Cheltenham

The Triumph Hurdle Trial at 12:40 has been kind to Philip Hobbs in recent years, he's claimed victory in two of the last three renewals and has impressive dual-winner Gumball entered on Saturday. Having already beaten the Paul Nicholls trained Malaya by eight lengths in October his main rival in the field looks to be Apple's Shakira.

The full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Apple's Jade put in a very smart performance on debut in France before moving to Nicky Henderson. The Seven Barrows handler has been notably enthusiastic about her arrival, stating that she's "showing plenty of talent" and "when you put a hurdle in front of her she's electric".

I'd be inclined to buy into the hype and side with the J P McManus owned filly on Saturday, and for all that the eventual Triumph Hurdle winner rarely comes from this race, perhaps she can go one better than her sister come March.

The 'younger generation' have held sway in the 3m3½f Grade 3 Chase at 13:50 with seven-year-old's emerging victorious in five of the last six and Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco is easily the most high profile of those. He was third in this race last year but looks to have a lot on his plate this time round carrying top weight.

5/1 market leader Three Faces West has obvious claims based on his facile wins last season but he arrives here off a long break and I wouldn't be in a hurry to take such a short price about him.

Colin Tizzard tasted success in the 2016 renewal and I think he has a good chance of hitting the board with Bally Longford who ran a nice enough race on his return a fortnight ago and looks a much improved horse stepped up in trip. The quicker the ground the better for him and at 16/1 he offers some each-way value.

Kylemore Lough has been all the rage for the Gold Cup Handicap Chase at 14:25 and while he's on an attractive mark and the move to Harry Fry's yard is a positive, he does tend to improve for a run. In addition he hasn't shown his best form around Prestbury Park and would likely prefer more cut underfoot so at 6/1 I'm happy to look elsewhere.

Of the market principals I do like the chances of Alan Fleming's Tully East, who Tony Keenan made an excellent case for in his ante-post preview, he's worth keeping onside at 8/1. But it's a Paul Nicholls entry that really catches the eye in the shape of Romain De Senam at 10/1.


So impressive in his two wins since coming back this season, he's run well at Cheltenham previously - second in the Fred Winter - and will enjoy the forecast ground. Nicholls has said that the horse wants a strongly run race but he should get that on Saturday and looks an excellent each-way bet off a very attractive mark.

Lingfield


Sacred Act aims to make amends for a narrow defeat at this track last time in the mile handicap at 14:10. The step up in trip holds no fears given he won over that distance for his former trainer John Gosden and he goes there with every chance.

However it may be his former handler that has the last laugh with his unexposed three-year-old Utmost. He was a non-runner in a Listed contest at Newmarket last time but he's clearly considered pattern-class. The son of Giant's Causeway ran a nice race on his seasonal re-appearance at Newcastle and is taken to confirm his early promise in this contest.

Boynton and Victory Bond clashed over this trip at Chelmsford last month with the latter getting his head in front; they meet again in the Listed Churchill Stakes at 14:45. The former didn't get a great start that day and if breaking on terms would have a chance of reversing the placings but a draw in nine doesn't help his cause.

That being said, he won the Superlative Stakes as a two-year-old when held up from off the pace so perhaps a change in tactics this time round could spark some further improvement. Ayrad is the only other runner in this field that could threaten the market principals but I'd be a bit wary of the fact that he's only being tried on the surface for the first time as a six-year-old.


9/4 is short enough about Charlie Appleby's colt getting revenge on Saturday but I think he'll come out on top.

It's a strong renewal of the Golden Rose Stakes at 15:15 and for all that 5/2 market leader Magical Memory is the class act in the field, his draw in 11 is far from ideal and it'll take something special from Silvestre De Sousa to guide him to victory.

Hugo Palmer's Gifted Master is another that holds a class edge on the field but he's also been handed a nightmare draw in 12, especially for a horse that needs to be up with the pace and is readily passed over at 9/2.

Mazzini clearly prefers an artificial surface and his encouraging runs at Chelmsford bode well for a strong showing here, the only question mark really is whether the drop back to 6f is in his favour but he's worth shortlisting at 6/1.

The one I like at a bigger price however is Mythmaker at 12/1, second in this race last year, he enjoyed a productive summer before being given a break at the end of August. He's got a nice draw and has only finished out of the front three on one occasion at Lingfield in six visits.

Recommended Bets
Back Bally Longford @ 16/1 Each-Way (Betfair Sportsbook) in the 13:50 Cheltenham
Back Romain De Senam @ 10/1 Each-Way (Betfair Sportsbook) in the 14:25 Cheltenham
Back Mythmaker @ 12/1 Each-Way (Betfair Sportsbook) in the 15:15 Lingfield

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