Cheltenham Open Meeting
Friday, November 12th to Sunday November 14th
Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire, UK
Live on ITV1
Cheltenham Open Meeting Preview
This weekend marks the proper start of the 2021/22 National Hunt season in the UK and this has always been a competitive meeting to whet the appetite of all those punters who love to see horse racing over the jumps.
Cheltenham is definitely the home of National Hunt racing, with the Cheltenham Festival taking place in March, and this meeting is usually an ultra-competitive affair as the top stables send out some of their best horses early on in the campaign.
The undoubted highlights of this three-day spectacle is the Gold Cup Handicap Chase on the Saturday and the Greatwood Hurdle on the Sunday. Both races have top-class equines lining up to battle up the famous Cheltenham hill and some of these horses could be in line for a big prize at the Festival in the spring.
Let us take a further look at these two big events and see if we can pick a winner for you over the course of the weekend.
Saturday 2.15pm – Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 2m4f
This race is always one of the big prizes that the UK and Irish trainers like to target early on in the season. Quality horses over the past 25 years have won this fantastic contest, which takes place on the Old Course at Prestbury Park.
Last year’s victor, Coole Cody, is in the line-up once again and looks sure to run a big race. He is proven over course and distance and his current odds of 12/1 look generous. He ran a good race on his seasonal comeback at Cheltenham three weeks ago and clearly relishes a test round this track.
However, the two horses we think have great chances are Protektorat and Midnight Shadow. Protektorat is a completely unexposed type and is only six-years-old. He won on his last start at Aintree at the Grand National meeting in April and is clearly a horse on the upgrade.
Midnight Shadow has had the advantage of a run this season when third at Aintree in October and is a lightly-raced horse. He could also been open to improvement and can give Protektorat most to think about.
Danger: Midnight Shadow
Sunday 2.55pm – Greatwood Hurdle (Grade 3) – 2m
Another competitive affair takes place on Sunday when 20 horses line-up for the 2021 renewal of the Greatwood Hurdle. This is the shortest distance that hurdlers and chasers run over in the National Hunt game and you need a horse blessed with speed and staying power to go well in this contest.
Horses who run well round this unique track generally are ones to side with and we really like top weight Adagio. This four-year-old came second in the Triumph Hurdle in March and also won the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow last December. He has run three times around Cheltenham, winning once and narrowly losing twice so certainly acts around the twists and turns of Prestbury Park. He is expected to rank highly amongst the best hurdlers this term so can get off to a great start.
We think the main danger could be the favourite No Ordinary Joe. He has just had four runs in his career but has won three of them and has been on the upgrade every time. Can he improve enough to beat our selection? We think he will give Adagio a good race but may fall just short.
Danger: No Ordinary Joe
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