I’m on Racing TV duty for a high-quality card at Cheltenham on Sunday afternoon so unsurprisingly the focus of the tips are at jump racing headquarters.
The two most competitive races are the big-field handicap hurdles and I’ve gone for one in each of those races plus the Shloer Chase and Southern National at Fontwell on a day when I’m hoping the green and gold colours of J P McManus are frequenting the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure.
12.45 Cheltenham: Duc De Beauchene at a general 7-2
David Pipe has built up a good record with horses having their first start of the season in recent weeks and, in a race he has often targeted to good effect, Duc De Beauchene looks an interesting contender.
He was below form when last seen at Punchestown in May but he had previously been going the right way and those pieces of form look solid enough.
He still appeals as being on a fair mark and the wind surgery he’s undergone during the summer break may also help.
Testing conditions are ideal and the booking of Jonjo O’Neill Jr is a positive in a conditional riders event.
2.25 Cheltenham: Defi Du Seuil at a general 13-8
Phillip Hobbs enjoyed another good day at this meeting with a double on Saturday and the good form of his stable gives confidence that Defi Du Seuil will be ready to show the level of form he achieved during an impressive novice campaign over fences last season.
A reproduction of the form he showed when beating the smart Lostintranslation to take the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival in March, or indeed his second in the Ryanair Novices’ Chase at Punchestown in May, would likely be enough to secure a winning return in receipt of weight from his rivals here.
Also, as a six-year-old who was still getting better when last seen there’s every chance he improves again.
2.40 Fontwell: Captain Cattistock at a general 3-1
Captain Cattistock should be all the better for his recent reappearance run at Wincanton and his progressive form last season suggests he’s still well-treated.
The form of his third-place finish at Uttoxeter, which was sandwiched between a pair of victories, looks particularly strong and this previous course winner looks a thorough stayer who should appreciate this stamina test.
3.00 Cheltenham: Dame De Compagnie at a general 8-1
Dame De Compagnie has not had much racing but has often struck as the type who may be suited by the strong tempo of a competitive well-run handicap.
She should get that set-up for the first time here and some of her form, including a close second to Point Of Principle at Ascot on soft ground in February 2018, suggests she could be attractively treated.
She has a lengthy absence of 577 days to overcome but she has won on the back of significant time off in the past and Nicky Henderson has no issues in being able to ready one following a lay-off so that should not be a concern.
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