Lots of racing action ahead on Saturday, including the second day of Cheltenham’s November Meeting alongside jumps fare from Uttoxeter, Wetherby and Naas.
There’s also all-weather racing from Lingfield and Wolverhampton to bookend the day.
Amongst our Saturday fancies is a progressive chaser for Charlie Longsdon looking to follow up last month’s facile Uttoxeter win back at the scene of the crime.
- Uttoxeter 14:12 – Tea For Free @ 7/4
- Cheltenham 12.35 – Scriptwriter 7/2
- Cheltenham 15.30 – Forever William @ 14/1
- Lingfield 15:45 – Manyana @ 4/1
There’s no such thing as a free lunch but TEA FOR FREE (7/4) could pay some of punters way this afternoon at Uttoxeter in Hobgoblin Handicap Chase (14:12) for Charlie Longsdon.
This horse didn’t show a lot in five starts over hurdles but he raised his game significantly for meeting a fence at Huntingdon in May to open his account. He went away for the summer and returned over C&D last month when cruising home with 15-lengths to spare, both wins under today’s rider Lily Pinchin.
That form has already been given a couple of boosts, the fourth and fifth home winning their next starts, and while the assessor has taken a cut at the 7YO with a 13lb ratings-rise for today, Tea For Free appears to be well ahead of the game and can continue his serene progress over fences.
The Paul Nicholls team are flying and, as such, no surprise to find that French import Blueking D’oroux is heading the betting for this Triumph Trial Hurdle (12.35) that opens the card at Cheltenham.
He could be up to the job but there are plenty dangers – Medyaf, Tuddenham Green and Mr Freedom amongst them.
Milton Harris won this last year with Knight Salute, who went on to be one of the smartest juveniles of the season, and he came here on the back of a win at Sedgefield. So, too, does SCRIPTWRITER (7/2) this time around.
The ex-Ballydoyle inmate looked a bit green when getting to the front but ultimately beat a rival with experience and beat him well. He should have learned plenty from that win and he looks a key player for Harris and Paddy Brennan team now upped in class.
There’s some very competitive racing at Cheltenham on Saturday and the 2m5f handicap hurdle (15:30) fits that bill for sure.
The likes of Nicky Henderson’s Wiseguy and Tony Martin’s Unanswered are big contenders from low weights but Alan King’s FOREVER WILLIAM (14/1) might be one that is underestimated in the market.
Last month’s comeback run saw him beaten 13-lengths in second by Sonigino over two-miles at Chepstow, with that rival amongst the main contenders for Sunday’s Greatwood Hurdle here.
Forever William should be sharper for that run and will be suited upped in distance once more now. He has previous experience at his track, finishing third behind Pied Piper in a Triumph Hurdle Trial back in January and the handicapper might just have taken a chance in dropping him 2lb for that comeback run.
Jonathan Portman’s MANYANA (4/1) may be good enough to land Lingfield’s finale (15:45) over two-miles this afternoon having gone close at Chelmsford 16 days ago on handicap bow.
The Postponed filly had started at no less than 80/1 in novice-maiden company in three qualifying runs but was well-fancied as 7/2fav for that handicap bow over 1m6f and she looked set to justify the support when coming from rear to hit the front inside the final furlong, only to be pipped on the nod by Bird For Life in a close three-way finish.
The winner was notching a double after a Wolverhampton success and is a danger again here on that form, but she’s a veteran of some 75 races, whereas Manyana is unexposed and surely capable of better things. Hector Crouch replaces a claimer in the plate this afternoon and his mount is amongst today’s Most Napped runners on the Betfred Betfinder. They can oblige.