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Horse Racing

Cheltenham/Doncaster – Saturday 23rd October

Saturday 23rd October 14:10

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview of a busy Saturday of action at Cheltenham and Doncaster, and suggests five each-way bets.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Domaine De L'Isle 9/1 each-way
Cheltenham 14.10
Place Bet
Cool Mix 10/1 each-way
Cheltenham 14.10
Place Bet
Push The Tempo 14/1 each-way
Cheltenham 16.05
Place Bet
Makanah 12/1 each-way
Doncaster 16.20
Place Bet
Be Proud 25/1 each-way
Doncaster 16.20
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 23/10/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:58 23/10/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

The analysing of early season jumps form can be a tricky business, as the two pillars of fit, summer types and those returning clash – and looking at the winners at Cheltenham yesterday, it very much paid to be coming into the meeting with a race-fit horse, unless you were trained by those notable bastions of the ‘getting them fit at home’ brigade, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Dan Skelton.

So, with this conundrum firmly in the forefront of my mind, it’s to Cheltenham’s Saturday card that I turn, again with a small degree of caution.

The 888Sport What’s Your Thinking Handicap Chase at 2.20, has a lovely looking betting shape to it, as it is chock full of horses who are making their seasonal debuts and are perennial front-runners – step forward Storm Control, Cloth Cap, Jersey Bean, Minella Bobo and Didero Vallis to name but a few.

It could be ideal for something to be ridden slightly colder in midfield, (not too far back though, as the Old course at Cheltenham on decent ground wouldn’t lend itself to that,) and many will like the recent form of the two Irish raiders Go Another One and Definite Plan, from yards who both struck on Friday’s card.

But there are two horses also returning from absences that could have the race run perfectly to suit, and are still suggestive of having progression in them.

Firstly, Sean Curran’s Domaine De L’Isle, who signed off last season with two mightily impressive wins at Kempton over 2m4f and then here at Cheltenham, on the New course over 3m2f.

The common theme was the ease with which he went through both contests, having has his wind issues rectified, and at 9/1 with William Hill or Sky Bet, who both offer 5 places each-way, he can pick up where he left off.

Also, Cool Mix, trained by one of the very best dual-purpose trainers around in Iain Jardine, is worth an each-way bet with William Hill at 10/1. Again, a horse who had been plagued by wind issues, once that was sorted before last season, he put together an impressive run of form in some big handicaps.

A massive run in the Scottish National in April when fresh from a three-month break gives hope to the notion that Cool Mix can run well off the back of a long break, and given Domaine De L’Isle ran very well in a novice hurdle at this Showcase meeting last season, it is hoped that both selections can be fit enough to take advantage of a lovely race set-up for them.

The other bet on the Cheltenham card comes in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Series Qualifier at 4.05. Historically the domain of plenty of skullduggery as connections attempt to qualify their charges for the Pertemps Final at the Festival, and the top 5 or 6 in the handicap here would get into a normal edition of that race with their current handicap marks.

These include the pair who come out of a Navan race in which yesterday’s winner Bardenstown Lad featured, and so it was inevitable that Tullybeg and Born Patriot would be popular, but this is a deeper race than the novice hurdle that Bardenstown Lad won, and perhaps the Irish wave of superiority has been over-egged slightly here.

Instead, it is with last time out winner Push The Tempo that I am siding, at the attractive each-way price of 14/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook, who both offer 5 places.

Crucially, Push The Tempo would need a good run to inflate his mark above the current 129 to get anywhere near the Final in March, and anyhow this is a decent prize in it’s own right.

A cosy winner on seasonal reappearance at Worcester when stepping up to nearly 3m for the first time on the back of a wind operation, he can add further scope to the notion that second time out after a wind operation is usually an even better performance.

Push The Tempo’s hurdling was mighty slick at Worcester and he will love the good ground – at 14/1 he is simply too big.

I haven’t left much room for Doncaster I’m afraid, and of course the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy will occupy many thoughts, but the later Virgin Bet Handicap at 4.20 over 5f has a much more appealing look to it.

Many front runners face off here, and much like the staying handicap chase at Cheltenham, it could pay to side with horses who are ridden slightly more conservatively from midfield.

Makanah at 12/1 with William Hill and Sky Bet and Be Proud at 25/1 with Betfred are two each-way bets, who come into the race in great form and could have things pan out perfectly for them in conditions they will appreciate.

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