Tom Stanley's top tips for day one of The November meeting at Cheltenham

By Tom Stanley
Thu 15 Nov 2018

It’s been great to see the Philip Hobbs yard in such good form at the start of this season given what was a pretty trying time for him towards the end of last term.

Hobbs’ runners at The November Meeting too have always been worth monitoring and I want to be with a couple of his on Friday afternoon at Cheltenham, both in the J P McManus colours.

Not among them is For Good Measure – another Hobbs/McManus contender - in the opening race for amateur riders but he should be perfectly suited by the race and he has the right man on top in Derek O’Connor.

Saturday’s feature is the BetVictor Gold Cup and Benatar is a horse I’ve long admired.

He did well to show up for as long as he did, having pulled hard, in the JLT at the Festival in March.

He was disappointing on his reappearance but the tempo of a big field handicap should play to his strengths and help him settle. He’s the overpriced one for me. I'll also be backing Addeybb in the Churchill Stakes at Lingfield. It’s far too soon to be giving up on him.

1.15 Cheltenham: Dostal Phil at 7-2

Twice a beaten favourite in Britain, I thought there were plenty of positives about his run last month back from a break.

He’d had his wind tinkered with, too, and wasn’t beaten far having pulled hard. He looked the type to be of interest in a big-field handicap, plus his first-time hood should see him settle better.

Sunnyhillboy carried these colours to victory in the race a few years back and I dare say the Hobbs camp may have had an eye on this race.

1.50 Cheltenham: A Hare Breath at a general 7-2

Won on this card a few years back and I had him down as a horse to back first up this season.

For all I thought that may be over hurdles I’m taking it as a positive he lines up over fences and this isn’t the most completive race.

Still looking fairly treated, he’s a horse to side with fresh whereas I wonder if those around him in the market will just come on for a run.

2.25 Cheltenham: Jerrysback at 11-2

It’s Hobbs and McManus again. I loved this horse as a hurdler and he was two from two in that sphere.

He’s a point winner who should relish the transition to fences and this looks the ideal starting point.

There was a lot of positivity about this horse after his Wetherby win, rightly so given the nature of it, but it was nearly two years ago. However, this yard can ready them first up and I’m excited to see how he goes.

3.35 Cheltenham: Pym at 9-4

Picking Pym won’t win any awards for originality but he looks a very fair price for me at 9-4.

A bumper winner who has long looked ready for the jumping game, he was probably a little disappointing at Ascot having won on hurdles debut.

He was trying to give weight to a good horse - and probably a quicker one - in Anemoi on that occasion and will be better served off level weights and up in trip.

He has the pedigree of a staying chaser, so expect the distance on Friday to be far more his bag.

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