Saturday horse racing tips: Dave Nevison’s Cheltenham fancies

By Dave Nevison@nevisondave
Fri 22 Oct 2021

Our pundit Dave Nevison selected Guard Your Dreams (16/5F) in Friday's profitable column and shares his top tips for the exciting jumps card from Cheltenham on Saturday. Enjoy further action from Galway, Leopardstown, Kelso, Newbury and Chelmsford with dedicated coverage on Racing TV Extra.

1.45 Cheltenham: Samba Dancer

I suspect this race has been the autumn target for Samba Dancer.

He’s on a hat-trick and a second place followed by two wins has only seen his handicap mark go up by 7lb. That reflects good placing by Fergal O’Brien and the trainer won this race two years ago with a well-backed favourite – and this could be another well-supported runner as his win at Stratford last time quite impressive.

Liam Harrison won aboard both stable representatives last time and it seems likely he had the pick in this race for conditional riders.

2.20 Cheltenham: Definite Plan

I’m certain Gordon Elliott will want to show he’s back at Cheltenham as quickly as possible and Definite Plan has a real chance here off bottom weight, reduced even further by his excellent claimer who already knows how to win here.

It’s true that Definite Plan can’t be said to have progressed from his very promising first effort over fences and might need to jump better. However, it’s safe to assume his jumping will have been worked on to come over here and run in a handicap.

Although the British handicapper seems to be taking a much sterner view of the Irish handicap marks this season and widening the disparity between English and Irish runners, Definite Plan certainly seems to have been handed a workable mark. I suspect he won’t be running off bottom weight in too many handicaps this season.

3.30 Cheltenham: Before Midnight

Before Midnight won after a two-month break last time and I’m confident of a big run after a longer absence this time.

Top-weight Sky Pirate will be attempting to properly bridge the gap between handicaps and Graded races this season but he keeps the weights down here and Before Midnight gets in off an attractive 10st 3lb.

He was clearly felt to be more of a stayer but showed on his latest start that two miles over fences suits him well and he can make further improvement here.

He has struck up a good relationship with Sam Twiston-Davies, while trainer Sam Thomas had his first runners for a month last weekend and all three seasonal debutants ran well - including a winner at Market Rasen.

4.05 Cheltenham: Push The Tempo

He’s no doubt a tricky customer and on the evidence of his latest win needs to be produced at the very last second. Tom O’Brien will know that now and, given the certain pace here, this race will ideally suit such tactics.

Push The Tempo has often looked as though he might be capable of much better than his mark, and maybe a wind operation might help him finally fulfil his potential. It worked first time for sure and, because of the narrow margin of that win last time, he only has a 2lb rise to overcome here.

A five-week break since his last run will hopefully have kept him fresh.

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