1.50pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 18/11/2017

1.50pm Cheltenham tips for Saturday’s Grade 3 race. A field of nine go to post for an exciting start to the ITV4 action on Saturday, a Grade 3 Handicap Chase. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.

IN SUMMARY: With so many horses arriving here looking handicapped to their best, it is surely going to pay to go with the potential of PREMIER BOND. Nicky Henderson’s seven year old relished the test when third in the Kim Muir at the Festival and although he found it too much in the Scottish Grand National, he remains with huge amounts of potential. This trip should prove to be around his best and he goes well fresh, so there should be no stopping this potential improver.

1 MINELLA ROCCO – Won the four miler at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2016 before a close second in the Gold Cup back in March. He returned with a poor run at Punchestown but he was entitled to need that and despite being lumbered with a huge weight, he’s sure to go close.

2 SIZING CODELCO – Completed a double with authority when winning a Grade B Chase at Punchestown in April, pulled up on seasonal debut at Chepstow last month. He was entitled to need that but he’s lumbered with a monster weight now and that leaves him vulnerable in this company.

3 PERFECT CANDIDATE – Game front-runner for Fergal O’Brien who didn’t like being taken on at front over 3m 1f here last month, running well for a long way considering. His current mark isn’t harsh at his best and he has a much better chance for a soft lead here. Conditions are to suit and a big run is on the cards.

4 VICENTE – Last seen gamely winning the Scottish Grand National for Paul Nicholls, now four pounds higher due to that victory. In years past he’s needed his seasonal debut but he has run well off comparable marks in the past and couldn’t be discounted for a place.

5 FREE FACES WEST – Highly progressive sort towards the end of 2016, completing a double when making all at Newbury in December. On both occasions, he was allowed a soft lead which he won’t get here and the absence is a niggling concern. Can be taken on here.

6 PREMIER BOND – Two wins from four starts in 2017 for this lightly raced seven year old who was a good third in the Kim Muir at the Festival in March. He found it all too much in the Scottish Grand National but he remains with potential and goes well fresh, so shouldn’t be for catching off a basement weight.

7 DOING FINE – Lightly raced nine year old for Neil Mulholland who wasn’t disgraced to finish second over the 3m 1f trip here last month, keeping on well but never really travelling early on. He remains with potential but his current mark demands more and he looks vulnerable upped into Group 3 company.

8 BENBENS – Likeable twelve year old who proved towards the end of last season that there is still fight left in the old horse, finishing fourth in the Sandown Gold Cup back in April. He was well held on his return though and this looks a tricky race for him against two potential improvers, so others are preferred.

9 SHOTGUN PADDY – Another who is into the veteran stage of his career, finishing third in the Eider Chase back in February off two pounds higher. He was pulled up in the Scottish Grand National though and this should prove an inadequate test on seasonal debut.

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