12.40pm Cheltenham Tips & Betting Preview 12/11/2016

Cheltenham’s Saturday card begins with the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. Run by three-year-olds over two miles, all of the last five winners had won on their previous start.

In Summary – It wouldn’t be right to call this a two-horse race by any stretch, but I’d be surprised if the cheque didn’t go to either of them. Defi Du Seuil has won well in his last two and that raises the standard very high, Wealth Des Mottes has to find some more after a long absence, but I think he has the potential to be a very classy hurdler this year. One of the best trainers in the country Paul Nicholls, thinks very high of him and if he lives up to expectations he will prove very hard to beat.

1 Wealth Des Mottes – If you read Monday’s Racing Post you’ll have certainly put this name in your notebook. He’s held in high regard by both Paul Nicholls and Nick Scholfield, giving him a glowing review. It’s his first race in the UK since his arrival at the Ditcheat stables, but he ran once in native France when he won convincingly. Handling the ground and the tricky Cheltenham track is the challenge, but watching his run at Clairefontaine he does look show some signs that he has a special quality.

2 Diable De Sivola – Nick Williams and Lizzy Kelly haven’t seen their three-year-old reproduce the quality that landed them a win on debut. He won encouragingly that day, defeating a well backed favourite by a decent margin. Since then he’s finished second and third, that form is well below average in this field so he’ll have to improve to return to winning ways.

3 East Indies – A former flat winner at Kempton over 1m2f, Gary Moore’s colt found his way into the winners’ enclosure on debut. He didn’t make the run look too easy, but after a few poor jumps he showed great character to go and take the prize at Plumpton. Any overnight rain won’t be welcomed, even if the going remains good he needs to improve a lot more to be in contention.

4 Nucky Thompson – Flat handler Richard Spencer has a 33% (2 wins from 6) record when running hurdle races in the last five seasons with today’s runner accounting for one of those wins. But a reproduction of his narrow victory at Warwick may not be good in this testing Grade Two affair. This two-time winner will like the conditions and won over this trip last time out.

5 Defi Du Seuil – There’s no doubt Phillip Hobbs has one of the leading players in this contest. JP McManus’ three-year-old has won twice this season by a combined distance of just over 12 lengths. His duo of wins have both been very impressive and this French import looks to be one of the key players in Cheltenham’s opener.

6 Dino Velvet – Another former French purchase, Alan King is giving this one time winner a difficult first run over hurdles. Without a run over hurdles is a difficult task, and his flat form is standard. Alan King has won this race twice in the last ten years, but for him to win on his jumping bow is a very difficult assignment.

7 Hazamar – Local trainer Sophie Leech saddles this three-year-old who is seen as the rank outsider by the bookmakers. She was heavily defeated to Cliffs Of Dover on debut, before finishing second and third in lower class races at Ludlow. This maiden will have to do a lot more to win, and it’s unlikely he will improve that much so quickly.

8 Lambeau Field – Charlie Longsdon’s new addition failed to win under former handler Charles O’Brien. On his hurdling debut he finished 51 lengths away from the leader, before a more encouraging run at Punchestown last time out. He’s going the right way, but this is a huge step up in class and I’d imagine it’s a bit too much for him.

9 Red Hot Chilly – Dai Burchell’s takes over from the colt who was in touching distance of breaking his maiden tag last time out. Formally with Ann Duffield, he thought he had done enough to stretch to a length lead going into the final few yards, before Colm McCormack fell off his mount to throw away what would’ve been a solid victory. Prior to that he finished seventh. With good ground in his favour he looks a good outside bet in this contest.

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