Cheltenham Friday Preview - 21/10/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 12:35
Jack Hogan

Elham Valley

J: Jack Hogan
T: Fergal O'Brien
Age: 5
Weight: 10-7
OR: 119
Days: 24

The first selection of the new season from jumps racing HQ is Elham Valley in the Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle with the Fergal O'Brien trained five year old doing some of his best work round Chelteham.

As a juvenile his stand out performance came when third at the 2021 Cheltenham festival in the Grade Three Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle behind the likes of Jeff Kidder and Saint Sam.

Given a few runs on the flat looking to exploit his mark it didn't work out and when sent back over hurdles he seemed to have lost his way slightly, dropping down to as low as 109.

In May this year at Warwick he got back to winning ways over two miles on good ground but in his three runs after that went back to his inconsistent self.

Two starts ago at Newton Abbot he bounced back to form when winning at 2m1f Handicap Hurdle on good ground and then last time out off 117 was a close second behind Hurricane Ali at Southwell.

Only up 2lb for that run off a mark of 119, he is still 8lb below his third in the Boodles and running to that form makes him a big player.

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 13:10
Davy Russell

Ash Tree Meadow

J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 145
Days: 19

Next up is the 2m Novices' Chase and we think this will go the way of the Irish raider Ash Tree Meadow for Gordon Elliott.

A fair hurdler last term finishing Behind Adamantly Chosen and then next time out third again behind Grade One winner Sir Gerhard, he finally got off the mark at the third time of asking at Navan.

Seen twice more over hurdles when slightly disappointing, he was sent over fences in May at Wexford and looked to need his first experience, but next time out the penny had dropped and he was an impressive winner at Perth.

He made it back to back wins next time out at the Scottish track up in trip to 2m4f, but being a versatile character he landed a hat-trick when dropped to 2m1f at Killarney.

Ash Tree Meadow has been seen twice more in better events, finishing a superb fourth of 21 in the Galway Plate behind the superstar Hewick, Darasso and El Barra and then last time out in a Grade Three over 2m 3 1/2f he was second to a smart looking type for Willie Mullins.

Back to two miles should be no problem for this consistent character and holding some classy form dropping back into a novice chase, he should go well.

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 13:45
Luca Morgan


J: Luca Morgan
T: Michael Scudamore
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
Days: 19

One of the trickiest events on the card to call is the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle over 2m4f and we are taking a swing at the Michael Scudamore trained Mofasa who was highly impressive on debut.

Seen twice to date the six year old made his rules debut at Ffos Las in a bumper in October 2021 and was a fair fourth, showing enough ability to get excited about.

Saved for this seasons campaign he stepped up to 2m4f on hurdles debut at Uttoxeter and went on to trounce the favourite on the day by seven lengths, never coming off the bridle.

He should only improve for that first run over flights and looking very progressive he should have more in the tank to mix it at this level.

Exciting prospect.

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 14:20
Tom Bellamy

Hang In There

J: Tom Bellamy
T: Emma Lavelle
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 143
Days: 25

Another nice event on the afternoon is the Limited Handicap Chase over 2m4f and serial winner Hang In There looks very tough to stop at the moment.

During the summer this season the Emma Lavelle trained gelding ran over 2m1/f at Newton Abbot and the trip was too short for him and he could only manage second behind Wild Max.

Since then he has gone unbeaten on his last four events, winning over 2m4f and 2m5f at Uttoxeter, Worcester, Market Rasen and Newton Abbot by a combined distance of 108 lengths all on good ground.

Looking to make it five in a row he goes into handicap company for the first time and off a mark of 143 should go well again.

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 14:55
Adam Wedge

Coole Cody

J: Adam Wedge
T: Evan Williams
Age: 11
Weight: 12-1
OR: 141
Days: 191

We are siding with the top weight again in this event with the Cheltenham specialist Coole Cody, although now 11 years old should just buck out and make all.

A highly consistent gelding for Evan Williams that loves it round Prestbury Park winning at the track four times, with his latest victory being his most special when taking out the Grade Three Plate Handicap Chase at the 2022 festival.

Up to a mark of 152 over fences the handicapper looks to have him in his grasp, but dropped back over hurdles and running off a mark of 141, he could be seriously well in.

He does carry top weight and he needs to adapt to the switch back to hurdles, but he goes well fresh and if in the same form as his last two runs he will go close.

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
Miss Alice Stevens

Jimmy The Digger

J: Miss Alice Stevens
T: Henry Daly
Age: 9
Weight: 11-5
OR: 115
Days: 191

The penultimate selection of the afternoon at Cheltenham comes in the Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase over 3m1f and Jimmy The Digger for trainer Henry Daly could out run his odds.

A horse that has always looked to want a trip and of late his handler has stepped him up and trip and given him just that.

Seen in February last year when tackling three miles for the second time in his career, he finished a good second to battler Bobhopeornohope at Ludlow and then next time out over the same trip at Kempton on good ground he was a close second again, this time behind the talented Twenty Twenty for Gary Moore.

Off a mark of 115 he should have more in the tank and being a horse that goes well fresh, this might be the time to catch him.

Cheltenham - October 20 2022
Cheltenham 16:05
Mitchell Bastyan


J: Mitchell Bastyan
T: Milton Harris
Age: 5
Weight: 11-4
Days: 167

The final event of the afternoon is the Maiden Hurdle over 2m 1/2f and we are taking a chance on Twinjets for Milton Harris.

A point to point winner back in December 2020 at Dromahane over three miles, he was then bought and sent into bumpers with Harris and last term he went unbeaten in both of his runs.

Making his rules debut at Hereford over two miles he went on to bolt up by 12 lengths and then next time out made it 2/2at Haydock, again winning easily.

If taking to hurdles he seems to have a very big engine and could be underestimated in this market.