Cheltenham Festival Watch 19th November

Defi Du Seuil and Barry Geraghty overcoming Politologue and Harry Cobden in the Shloer Chase Cheltenham 17/11/19

With less than four months to go until the Cheltenham Festival and with the recent passing of the November Meeting from Prestbury Park, it appears more pertinent than ever to take a closer look at some of the possible contenders come March time.

We were treated to a feast of action over the past seven days with numerous live contenders emerging from Cheltenham and Punchestown. The action this week is no less high class, with a mouthwatering clash between Altior and Cyrname the highlight from a Saturday that also includes Haydock’s Betfair Chase.

Here’s a look at those who caught the eye in recent days. Be sure to make use of all our tips and analysis over the next coming days, including our NAP Of The Day which has landed six times in a row!

Honeysuckle

Whilst Henry De Bromhead’s mare missed her engagement in 2019, she ranks a likely Festival winner this season. A Novice Grade One winner at Fairyhouse in April, she ran out a bloodless victor on her return on Wednesday.

A versatile mare who will go on any ground, she could well turn up in the Hatton’s Grace next month or at Leopardstown over Christmas before her sights are set on the Mares’ Hurdle (5/1) at Cheltenham.

Douvan

One of two returning stars for the Mullins’ yard this week. The eight-time Grade One winner looked some way back to his best when winning the Clonmel Oil Chase on Thursday.

That was on his first run since April 2018 and he looks sure to improve for it. Mullins said he’s unlikely to be seen over further, so another tilt at the Champion Chase (14/1) looks a definite possibility.

Thyme Hill

Philip Hobbs has a potential star in his hands with Thyme Hill. Only beaten two-lengths in the Champion Bumper in March, he’s landed back-to-back Grade Twos since being sent over hurdles.

The form of those contests leaves a little to be desired. He’s won both in good style however, the latest under a penalty and with Richard Johnson losing an iron late on. The Challow Hurdle looks the next logical target. Success there will further boost his claims in either the Ballymore (14/1) or Albert Bartlett (16/1).

Faugheen

The machine wasn’t quite back to his best, but he made a very encouraging start to life over fences. More recent form has been intermittent but he’s still a class act on his day. He made light work of a big field on Saturday on his first run since being pulled up at Aintree.

Sending a horse novice chasing when he’s eleven is a curious move but it’s probably best not to question Willie Mullins. Whether he still has enough of an engine to challenge those half his age in either the JLT (20/1) or the RSA (33/1) remains to be seen. Those questions could well be answered at Limerick over Christmas.

Notebook

One novice chaser who looks likely to go close in March is Henry De Bromhead’s Notebook. He wasn’t the best hurdler but he’s taken to chasing with aplomb.

A cosy win of a beginners’ chase at Punchestown was followed by a more clearcut success in a Grade Two on Saturday in which he jumped with real enthusiasm. A speed test like the Arkle (25/1) certainly wouldn’t trouble him and the current price could be huge on the day.

Saldier

Barely sighted in the market against stablemate Klassical Dream, Saldier displayed an impressive turn of foot to land the Morgiana. There was plenty of substance to his form as a four-year-old, including when upsides of Espoir D’Allen before falling in a Grade Three last November.

He’s been pushed into joint favouritism for the Champion Hurdle (6/1). That might seem a slight overreaction but it’s far from the strongest division and there was plenty to like about the way he put the race to bed on his first run for a year.

Don’t give up on Klassical Dream just yet, who looked a superstar when winning the Supreme. He was only beaten two-lengths despite racing rather freely in the early stages. He kept improving last year so we might not see the best of him until later on in the season.

Defi Du Seuil

The Shloer Chase has produced six winners at the Festival and has another star in its roll of honour with Defi Du Seuil. Philip Hobbs’ gelding landed the JLT last year and looks a live contender for the Champion Chase (10/1) this season.

He displayed a very impressive turn of foot to overcome the very useful Politologue. The market has him as favourite for the Ryanair (6/1) but connections may well be tempted to leave him at two-miles.

Yanworth

Another star of yesteryear who showed there is still life in the old boy with a gutsy win over Cross-Country fences. Twice a Grade One winner over hurdles for Alan King, he has evidently rediscovered his form since switching to Edna Bolger.

The Irish trainer has landed the Cross-Country (7/1) at Cheltenham five times and stated after the race that that would be his target with Yanworth. Retaining his form and overcoming Tiger Roll is a tough ask, but there was plenty to like about this display.

Battleoverdoyen

Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old has quickly atoned for his blow out in the Ballymore with two wins over fences this season. An easy winner at Galway, he was a little more workmanlike when landing a Grade Two at Punchestown on Sunday.

He beat a solid yardstick in Any Second Now though and will relish a step up to three-miles. Domestic dominance over staying trips looks a likelihood before a tilt at the RSA (12/1), for which the current price looks generous.

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