Cheltenham Saturday Preview – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

A frustrating Friday after Grey Dawning made a stamina stopping mistake at the second last in the novices’ chase but still managed to rally well to close the gap to less than a length at the line. It’s hard to think that, but for the mistake, it was a winner that got away writes HARRY SKELTON.

Better news later in the day when Gina (Andrews) won for the stable on Latenightpass in the cross country. As I said in the blog yesterday, he’s been in good form at home and with the course experience under his belt we were looking for a big run.

We go again at Cheltenham on Saturday where I have busy day ahead with six rides …



KOUROSH – 12:05pm JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Novices’ Championship Hurdle Series Qualifier) (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 1f

He won impressively at Wetherby and could have only won in the way he did. The ground was very deep that day so we’re not worried about how testing the ground will be for him on the weekend. He’s a big, strong three-year-old who’ll be able to handle the conditions and the track fine at Cheltenham despite going into a deeper race. We think a lot of him, and it’ll take a good horse to beat him on Saturday.

CALICO – 1:15pm Quintessentially Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 1/2f

He did nothing wrong the last day at Cheltenham where he was just beaten. He’s been in great form since then though and sometimes you just have to walk away and accept that you got beaten. He’s going back there with every chance, and while it’s a competitive race, we hope he’ll run very well.

JAY JAY REILLY – 1:50pm Virgin Bet December Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 2m 4 1/2f

He ran well at Newbury last time out despite making a mistake four out which put him on the back foot, and he did finish quite nicely. The December Gold Cup is a very deep race and there’s plenty of prize money on offer, he’s in good form and we will take our chance. He’ll need to step up and improve on his recent runs after being a bit unlucky last time, but whether or not that’ll be good enough to win this race is a different question.

PROTEKTORAT – 2:25pm Favourite From The Sun Now Daily Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m 2f

We’re taking our chance in this race which is worth plenty of money. We were hoping for more from him in the Betfair Chase but he struggled to get into a rhythm that day, and it is what it is. At home, he’s been in good form and seems well. We’re obviously down into a handicap so we’ve got to lump a lot of weight, but he is a class horse. I can’t say that we will go there and win because it is a handicap, and we’ve got a lot of respect for the other runners. We want to get a good solid run into him and put that tame effort at Haydock behind him and get back on track. We’ve got the Winter Millions in mind for him but it’s a long time until then and we noticed he was too fresh in the Betfair and just never got into a rhythm. He’s run well and is comfortable over this course and distance but we’re under no illusion that this will be a huge test carrying that amount of weight.

ILLICO DE COTTE – 3:00pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Bristol Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2) 3m

He just got pipped at the post last time out at Lingfield over two and a half miles but he is a comfortable galloping type of horse so the trip won’t be an issue. He’s been going nicely since then and it’s brought him on a bit as it had to as he’s stepping up in grade here. He’s very straightforward, is a good stayer and is a horse that I really like, so I think he can run well.

NURSE SUSAN – 3:35pm Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 4 1/2f

Back over hurdles after a bit of a laboured run after a long layoff over fences at Exeter, she’s been schooling nicely back over the smaller obstacles, and doing everything we’d want to see. It’ll be a competitive race but off her mark she should hold every chance, the track and ground won’t be a problem for her and we’re hopeful of a good run which will get her back on track. She’s a mare that still holds plenty of ability.


One to watch

SAIL AWAY – 3:15pm bet365 Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) 3m

Keep an eye out for Sail Away at Doncaster, now stepping back up to three miles which will suit him. He had a nice run at Newbury last time out and if he gets into a good rhythm here, he could run really well.

Good Luck




Author: Eugene Morris