Cheltenham’s three-day meeting comes to a close on Sunday afternoon and we have tips for the four races covered on ITV4, along with a selection for the one race shown from Fontwell, the extended 3m 3f Southern National.
“Tip of the Day” - Dads Lad (Each Way) (2.55pm Cheltenham) at 11/2 with Coral (5 places)
Rated 138 over fences, Willie Mullins’ charge is equally effective over the smaller obstacles and Bryan Hayes’ mount can take advantage of a 10lb lower mark over hurdles to provide the Irish with a victory in this valuable contest.
1.45pm Cheltenham, 2m - Edwardstone
This Grade 2 contest run over the minimum trip looks like a straight match between last season’s impressive Arkle scorer EDWARDSTONE and the Dan Skelton-trained Nube Negra, a six length winner of this race 12 months ago.
The latter is a talented two-miler when conditions are right and with decent ground expected on the day, the finishing pace of Harry Skelton’s mount could prove decisive. However, Edwardstone looks a serious candidate for top honours over this trip and the 3lb Alan King’s charge receives from Nube Negra just tips the balance in favour of the Kayf Tara gelding.
2.05pm Fontwell, 3m 3 1/2f - Southfield Harvest
Taken out of last week’s Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton due to the lively ground, Ben Pauling’s Slipaway has been given an entry in this stamina test along with a race over the same distance at Cheltenham 15 minutes later. Connections are clearly awaiting ground conditions at both venues before making a decision on the direction of this promising stayer.
With just one run over fences to his name, the least experienced contender for this Southern National is the Paul Nicholls-trained SOUTHFIELD HARVEST. An easy victory in a five-runner beginners’ chase at Newton Abbot 18 months ago told us little about the chasing ability of Bryony Frost’s mount. But the eight-year-old could well prove much better than a field of mainly exposed rivals off a mark of 135 and with the stable going so well, the son of Kayf Tara gets the vote.
2.20pm Cheltenham, 3m 3 1/2 - Domaine De L’Isle (Each Way) (Longshot)
A wide-open staying handicap chase in which it would be no surprise to see Kim Bailey’s top weight Does He Know run a big race. The seven-year-old has been well found by bookmakers however at around the 4/1 mark. So at a much bigger price, it could be worth chancing the Sean Curran-trained DOMAINE DE L’ISLE (e.w.) and champion jockey Brian Hughes.
An excellent fourth in Aintree’s Becher Chase last December, the nine-year-old was set some pretty stiff tests after that, failing to make an impact in Newcastle’s Eider Chase, Grand National and bet365 Gold Cup.
Domaine De L’Isle won a 3m 2f handicap chase on this course last April off a mark of 144, so off 135 and with a run over hurdles at Worcester under his belt, is more than capable of outrunning his odds of 16/1.
2.55pm Cheltenham, 2m 1/2f - Dads Lad (Each Way) (Nap)
At a huge price I was tempted to go for the Dan Skelton-trained Playful Saint, who looked badly in need of the run behind leading fancy Sonigino at Chepstow on his first run for 233 days and meets Paul Nicholls’ charge on 11lb better terms here.
This valuable handicap hurdle could well be heading the way of Ireland however, courtesy of the strongly-supported pair of Thousand Tears and DADS LAD (e.w.). The former has been laid out for this by Grand National winning trainer Emmet Mullins but I just prefer the chances of the latter from the powerful Willie Mullins stable.
The mount of Bryan Hayes is equally at home over both hurdles and fences, as was in evidence when the seven-year-old won a two mile handicap chase here at the October meeting. The gelding is rated 138 over fences but gets into this Premier Handicap Hurdle worth £56,270 to the winner off a 10lb lower mark and looks sure to run a big race.
3.30pm Cheltenham, 2m 1/2f - Springwell Bay (Next Best)
Both Deere Park and Desert Friend look up against it in this company but it is impossible to rule out any of the other seven runners for this Grade 2 Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle. Iberico Lord and Father Of Jazz are making their debut over hurdles, although both have shown ability on the level. Fennor Cross, Ukantango, Fascinating Shadow and She Is Electric have already won over hurdles but the vote goes to SPRINGWELL BAY from the Jonjo O’Neill stable.
An impressive 14 length winner of a Market Rasen bumper 12 months ago, the Kayf Tara gelding had little trouble in opening his account over hurdles at Carlisle last month and looks an exciting prospect for the master of Jackdaws Castle.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.