The forecast rain has failed to materialise at Cheltenham and conditions are likely to be good or just on the soft side of good for todays feature card.
Only four go to post in the 2m 4f Novice Chase and I hope to see My Drogo put his race to bed much earlier than was the case on his chase debut when he fell/slipped at the second last when going best in a match. He is unlikely to be any price but is one of the most exciting horses in training – certainly in Britain.
Cheddleton would have been the selection in the 2m handicap chase on soft ground, but this could be the day that Notre Pari (1.15) finally comes good over fences. The ew selection – 13/2 with 10Bet – jumped very well but finished weakly when runner up at Carlisle on his reappearance. He is entitled to come on for the run, has been dropped 1lb and carries just 10st 3lbs for inform Olly Murphy.
Editeur Du Gite looks sure to ensure a swinging gallop which should suit JP’s 7-y-old. Note the winner of that Carlisle race Emir Sacree was due to run at Doncaster on Friday. A big run from the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding would give the form a boost.
The feature race is the Racing Post Gold Cup and Beakstown (1.50) gets the vote from near the foot of the weights for Dan and Harry Skelton. The gelding ran a terrific race in a good Aintree handicap over this 2m 4f trip on his reappearance following a 600-day break and underfoot conditions look ideal for a horse whose two career wins were gained on good ground.
He is an excellent jumper of a fence yet is rated 7lbs lower over fences than he is over timber. If the ground is no worse than good to soft – good would be ideal – I feel he has outstanding each way claims. The 15/2 with William Hill looks fair although there were much bigger prices available earlier in the week.
The Grade 2 International Hurdle is a poor renewal with the admirable Sceau Royal (2.30) trying to win his first race at Cheltenham over hurdles for over five years. A wonderful servant for connections over both fences and hurdles he looked as good as ever when landing the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on his penultimate start.
He was beaten just over a length in the Newcastle snow in the G1 Fighting Fifth last time and will have the race run to suit with Song For Someone likely to ensure a solid gallop. I am surprised the Alan King 9-y-old does not head the market and the 3/1 available on Friday afternoon looks fair.
I hope it is a good day for the excellent King as his Wynn House (3.35) can reward each way support in the concluding mares’ handicap hurdle. The ew selection – 6s with William Hill 4 places – has always been held in high regard at home and was reported to have done very well over the summer after she scored at Wincanton last month from a 3lbs lower mark.