Cheltenham November Meeting 2020: 7 Questions
Questions That Need Answering From The Cheltenham November Meeting
Several leading trainers were celebrating after saddling winners at the Cheltenham November Meeting over the weekend. These are the key questions that need answering after three days of drama:
Can Tiger Roll Bounce Back After Listless Display?
The future racing career of Tiger Roll has been plunged into jeopardy after he delivered a surprisingly lethargic performance in the Cross Country Handicap Chase. The 2018 and 2019 Grand National winner was denied a chance at seizing an Aintree hat-trick in April after Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the big race. Fans hoped he would return in 2021, but that now looks in doubt after he was pulled up with more than a mile to run. “He was never travelling,” said rider Robbie Power. “He never had a cut at his fences. I pulled him up because he was never in a rhythm.” Age may finally be catching up with the legendary Tiger Roll, which would be sad news for the sport.
Can Put The Kettle On Brew Up More Magic in March?
Put The Kettle On delivered a terrific performance to land the Grade 2 Shloer Chase ahead of the highly-rated Duc De Genievres on Sunday. She found great reserves of strength to chase Duc De Genievres down on the home straight and then got her nose in front as they crossed the line. Put The Kettle On clearly hated the ground, but she soldiered on anyway, and her efforts were rewarded with a famous victory. She was instantly named the third favourite for the Champion Chase in March, behind only Chacun Pour Soi and Altior, but she could alternatively go for the Ryanair Chase or the Mares’ Chase.
Could Magic Saint Win the Champion Chase?
The antepost odds on Put The Kettle On and Duc De Genievres winning the Champion Chase will naturally drop following that thrilling Shloer Chase. However, another contender emerged in a separate race, as Magic Saint roared back to form with a big win in the Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase over 1m 7f 199y. Paul Nicholls has not been able to turn Magic Saint into a stayer, but he remains very dangerous over this shorter distance and he could be in contention for Champion Chase glory next year.
What Does the Future Hold for Does He Know?
The promising Does He Know continued his flying start to the season by landing the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Friday. He finished three lengths clear of Wild Romance in a dominant performance, suggesting he has the potential to hand trainer Kim Bailey his first Grade 1 victory in 25 years. He was the favourite in the horse racing spread betting, and he fully justified that status. His next run could come in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury in December. Bailey’s last top-level winner was Master Oats in the 1995 Gold Cup.
Can Coole Cody’s Jumping Improve?
Coole Cody put in a resilient performance to win the first big handicap of the National Hunt season on Sunday. The nine-year-old opened up a healthy lead after a strong start to the race, and he held on for a three-and-a-quarter-length win. It was a big win for trainer Evan Williams and jockey Tom O’Brien, but it will certainly lead to questions about Coole Cody’s jumping ability. He jumped very low over the fences and he looked far from fluent at times. Ultimately his pace and determination was enough to see off his rivals, but he will need to jump with greater confidence if he is to build on that win during the remainder of the season.
Will Eldorado Allen Shake Up the Arkle?
Eldorado Allen seized on a dramatic late mistake from Gumball to clinch victory in the Grade 2 ‘From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase’ on Saturday. Pace-setter Gumball appeared to be cruising to victory when he suffered a crashing fall at the penultimate fence. That allowed Eldorado Allen to take the win, a full 19 lengths clear of Quel Destin. Trainer Colin Tizzard said that Eldorado Allen is the best two-miler his stable has produced on hurdle form going into fences. “We shall campaign with Cheltenham in mind, that’s for sure,” he told reporters after the race. The odds on Eldorado Allen winning the Arkle at Cheltenham shortened following the win.
What Did The Shunter’s Victory Teach Us?
Power secured his fourth victory of the meeting when he steered The Shunter to first place in the Grade 3 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle on Sunday. He flourished in really testing conditions at Cheltenham, and did well to finish ahead of top weight Ballyandy and Tegerek, the favourite in the horse racing odds. It was a confident ride from Power, but it is worth noting that The Shunter was racing from the bottom of the handicap. He only had a maiden hurdle win to his name previously, but he will carry a weight penalty in future after that big win. The performance of Ballyandy was perhaps more impressive, as he looked very strong despite his welter burden. Yet both horses could prove popular among punters in testing conditions over the next few months.