3.40pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 13/11/2016

Ballyandy won this race last year before going on to win the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper in March, and there are a number of exciting horses who will be facing the famous Cheltenham hill for the first time.

Paul Nicholls has an extremely impressive 22% strike rate over the last five seasons in NHF races, and he is represented by Brahms De Clermont here. A five year old gelding, he has a 100% winning record following so far following his first two starts. He’s the only Course & Distance winner in the field, having taken the Class 3 bumper here three weeks ago, and Stan Sheppard keeps the ride. He kept on well up the hill that day, taking over the lead nicely despite giving weight to second, and they pulled well clear, A half brother to Dalko Moriviere, a French Grade 2 runner up at 3 years old, this €68,000 purchase could be a very nice bumper horse indeed.

One of those is Sumkindofking for trainer Tom George, who has had four winners from just 13 runners in NHF races this season so far. An impressive Point to Point winner on his second start over three miles, he was purchased at the Aintree Goffs sale for £70,000 a month later. Sent off odds on for his Rules debut, he hacked up by 12 lengths at Chepstow, although it’s questionable how much that form amounts to. He did show an eye catching turn of foot that day but will be short in the market for what is be a very competitive race.

Nigel Twiston-Davies took this race last year and is represented this year by Woodfort, who has more experience than many of these. Three bumper runs include a win, a second, and a fourth, but he was comfortably beaten last time out here at Cheltenham. Tactics may have prevented him finishing closer to the winner that day, who he reopposes off level weights. This is a far tougher race (that was just a Class 3) and he’ll be find it tough going here against better horses.

On the other end of the experience scale is the only horse making it’s debut here – La Cavsa Nostra for Rebecca Curtis. Purchased last summer for €68,000, this Flemensfirth gelding is out of an Irish dam who was placed in a bumper. He’s a half brother to Changing Times, who was rated 152 and finished third in the JLT Novices’ Chase, but this is a tough race ot make a first appearance in.

Bags Groove has some of the more notable form in the field, with a second place in the valuable DBS Spring Sales Bumper at Newbury on his last start. That was back in March, making this his first run in 8 months, but if he had had the benefit of the Cheltenham hill last time out he may well have prevailed. He’s been installed towards the head of the market for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily, but while the benefit of extra experience may help him his lengthy break makes him vulnerable.

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