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Cheltenham Tips - Showcase Meeting day one selections

  • We take a look through the full card on Friday at Cheltenham
  • The first four races on day one of the Showcase Meeting will be shown live on ITV Racing
  • Viewers have two important handicap chases, a maiden hurdle and a wide-open handicap hurdle top enjoy
  • Get our best bet in each of the seven races at Cheltenham here
Cheltenham races in October
Cheltenham races in October/ (Getty)

We look through the card on day one of the Showcase Meeting and provide readers with our Cheltenham tips.

Cheltenham opens the curtain on another National Hunt season in fitting style on Friday, with a number of high-quality horses taking part on day one of the Showcase Meeting. Without further ado, let's get stuck straight into our tips at Cheltenham!

2020 Showcase Meeting Day One Card

1:50pm Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Class 2) 2m5f
2:25pm Matchbook Better Way To Bet Novices' Chase (Class 2) 3m½f 
3:00pm Two Farmers Crisps Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) 2m5f 
3:35pm October Handicap Chase (Class 2) 2m
4:10pm Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle (Class 2) 2m½f
4:45pm Novices' Chase (Class 2) 2m
5:15pm Back And Lay At Matchbook Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) 2m½f

Cheltenham Tips - Showcase Meeting Day One Tips

Race 1 - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Tips

Does He Know1:50pm Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Class 2) 2m5fGET 11/2 HERE
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Ask For Glory clearly looks a talent, and I can't wait to see him jump a fence in the near future. On this occasion, though, I'd rather side with DOES HE KNOW

Kim Bailey's charge finished second on both his starts last season, losing out to two horses who're now rated around the 140 mark. On his reappearance at Ludlow, David Bass' mount got off the mark in good style, surging clear of 126-rated Zarrar to score by seven lengths. Does He Know looks a strong stayer, and good ground is clearly to his liking.

Race 2 - Novices' Chase Tips

I'm really excited to see both Mossy Fen and Ask Dillon make their chasing debuts here. While I think both could be worth following this season, they face three more experienced chasers who have race-fitness on their side.

Following this run, Galvin will be put away for the National Hunt Chase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Gordon Elliott must have no doubts around his staying ability and he boasts some useful form at Cheltenham. 

One who's proven at a high level over this trip is DOCTOR DUFFY. Charles Byrne's seven-year-old has been on the go all summer, winning two three mile races before finishing a narrow third behind Cabaret Queen in the Kerry National. Doctor Duffy was in with much more experienced chasers that day, and made a telling mistakes at the first, but stayed on gamely right through the line to lose out by just four lengths. 

Things didn't go to plan last time out, as Byrne's charge fell at the first in the Munster National, following interference from a rival. Clearly there were no ill-effects after that tumble, and he could be hard to beat here.

Race 3 - Two Farmers Crisps Handicap Hurdle Tips

This wide-open handicap is very tricky to call, so I'm going to take a punt on YOUNG LIEUTENANT at a lengthy price. Warren Greatrex's charge struggled on soft ground last season. He showed flashes of ability at times during 2019, and relished better ground conditions when beating an odds-on favourite by three lengths on his reappearance. 

Jack Tudor takes five pounds off his back again, and I think Young Lieutenant can progress beyond his current mark of 122.

on the slopes chase
On The Slopes winning at Kempton in March.

Race 4 - October Handicap Chase Tips

On The Slopes3:35pm October Handicap Chase (Class 2) 2mGET 9/2 HERE
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I'm a big fan of Rouge Vif, and I think he could be a sneaky contender for something like the Champions Chase later in the season. That being said, even Grade One-quality horses can get beaten when they carry big weights into competitive handicaps, and it could pay to side with the well-handicapped ON THE SLOPES.

Chris Gordon's six-year-old finished behind two Cheltenham Festival winners here in January, where he looked a little one-paced over two-and-a-half miles. Adam Wedge's mount then beat the capable Not That Fuisse by five lengths at Kempton, before dropping right back to two miles to win a second handicap in March.

Those wins have thrust On The Slopes up the handicap by 14 pounds, but I still think there's so room for progression of that mark. Gordon's star will love the ground, and 10-8 look an extremely workable weight.

Race 5 - Maiden Hurdle Tips

Pipesmoker4:10pm Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle (Class 2) 2m½fGET 4/5 HERE
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I picked out Faivoir as a horse to follow with the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in mind at the start of the season, so I was disappointed to see Dan Skelton's charge get beaten first time out by Cormier. 

The winner has since gone on to win again, and in even more impressive fashion, so I don't want to give up on Faivoir, but I think he could have his hands full dealing with PIPESMOKER.

Nicky Henderson's charge ran a blinder here at Cheltenham first time out last season, finishing a close third behind stablemate Chantry House. Pipesmoker was then beaten by another talented sort in Sporting John, but I'm not sure the trip or track really suited him that day. Nico De Boinville's mount now returns to two miles around a track he enjoyed last season. I fancy he will be too hard to beat on Friday.

Race 6 - Novices' Chase Tips

Getaway Trump4:45pm Novices' Chase (Class 2) 2mGET 5/2 HERE
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Nicky Henderson plays a strong hand here too, and Fusil Raffles may only get shorter in the betting. I, however, am not sure the track here at Cheltenham will suit a speedy sort like him, so I'll take him on with GETAWAY TRUMP.

Paul Nicholls' charge lost out to Al Dancer in this race 12 months ago, before placing third behind Put The Kettle On in the Arkle Trophy Trial here in November. On both occasions, Paul Nicholls' charge looked the most likely winner turning for home, only to make a telling mistake at the second-last obstacle and run out of steam thereafter.

On his fourth attempt over fences, Getaway Trump finally got his nose over the line first, beating future-winner Zoffee by a length at Warwick. I'm hoping that win will provide Harry Cobden's mount with a much-needed confidence boost, and if he can avoid making a mess of the second-last again, I think Getaway Trump could have the favourite's number.

put the kettle on november
Getaway Trump (right) finishing behind future Arkle winner Put The Kettle On at Cheltenham's Open Meeting. (Getty)

Race 7 - Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle Tips

I'm really keen on the chances of MAGIC DANCER in Friday's final race. Kerry Lee's eight-year-old loves it here at Cheltenham, winning twice and placing twice in five starts over course-and-distance. 

Magic Dancer hasn't won since April 2018, but he's now dropped back to just a pound above his last winning mark. Richard Patrick is one of the most dependable conditional jockeys around, and he will really fancy his mount's chances.


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