Guide To The Cheltenham Open Meeting 2018

Pym and Jeremiah McGrath

As we reach mid-November, the jumps action is really starting to ramp up as we approach the busy Christmas period. The Betfair Chase, Christmas Hurdle and King George V Chase all await in the coming weeks, but we first have the small matter of the Open Meeting. One of Cheltenham’s premier meetings, plenty of horses with Festival aspirations looking to cement themselves as credible threats for the big races. We’ve taken a look at the three-day jumps bonanza, with some key pointers and horses to look out for! All our selections for the first day of action at Prestbury Park can be found now on our daily horse racing tips page.

Pym looking to make a statement

Coming with quite the reputation in bumpers, Pym made a winning hurdling debut at Chepstow in October, landing the race that Altior took two year’s prior and attentions were instantly raised. But he was subsequently beaten at odds on at Ascot in a 1m 7f novices’ race. There were positives to take, however, and today’s step up in trip looks sure to help him take a step forward. He faces plenty of sterner opposition, with the unexposed Darlac and proven Coolanly both vying for second favouritism, so it’ll be interesting to see how he copes.

Tiger ready to Roll in the Cross Country

Tiger Roll became a fan favourite last year, with his campaign ultimately ending with Grand National glory at Aintree in an epic finish. Prior to that, he won the course and distance Glenfarclas Cross Country at the Festival, returning today off nine pounds higher. It’ll certainly be no easy feat off a mammoth weight, especially against both Josies Orders and Bless The Wings, but an intriguing contest looms.

Sceau Royal rematches Brain Power in the Shloer

The feature race of the day on Day 3 is the Shloer Chase, a race made famous in recent years as first step in Sprinter Sacre’s famous 2015/16 resurgence. This year’s renewal looks to be a cracker, as Sceau Royal and Brain Power rematch. They met in Grade 1 company at Sandown in December 2017, with the former running out a hugely impressive winner. The latter unseated his rider when looking held and Henderson’s inmate is on the comeback trail after falling at Aintree when last seen. With both horses yet to reach their peak potential, this should be a cracker.

Big Race Pointers

Day 1: Ballymore Novices Hurdle (G2) – Nicky Henderson won this race twelve months ago with On The Blind Side and runs the exciting Pym this year. He’s bidding for his third win in this Grade 2 contest.

Day 2: JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (G2) – Both Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have won this race four times, with Henderson winning the race twelve months ago with Apple’s Shakira. Seven Barrows runs Never Adapt in the same colours this year and Nicholls’ pins his hopes on Quel Destin.

Day 3: Racing Post Arkle Trial (G2) – Paul Nicholls is looking for a remarkable tenth win in this race and Dynamite Dollars looks to have a great chance for him, though it is certainly a very competitive contest.

We’ll have tips for each day of the Open Meeting and they can all be found on our Cheltenham Tips page!

Please Gamble Responsibly