Saturday's Racing & Betting Tips

A closer look into this weekends racing with the stand out meeting at Cheltenham, which includes some festival hopefuls.

Saturday’s racing comes from Doncaster, Cheltennham, Uttoxeter, Newcastle, Kempton as well as the sole meet from Ireland at Fairyhouse. We take a look at the views from around the racing world. Once again our very own Barry Hill to give us his insights into his best racing bets of the day!

With the Cheltenham Festival looming, Saturdays meeting at Cheltenham is considered a trials day where several major players in this years festival will make there penultimate appearance before they rest up in preparation for March.

Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase

So, the Timeform Novices’ Chase is kinda like a crystal ball for spotting future stars at the Cheltenham Festival. Remember Mister Whitaker in 2018? He nailed the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase, which is sadly not around anymore. Then there's Simply The Betts who rocked the Plate in 2020 and Stage Star who grabbed that Grade 1 win in the Golden Miller last season. Don’t forget Imperial Aura, who was right behind Simply The Betts and also scored big at the Festival.

This race is definitely one to watch, and this year’s lineup looks pretty exciting. Ginny’s Destiny is the hot favorite since he beat Grey Dawning last December, and he's probably still underrated with a mark of 147.

But hey, at 4/1 odds, I'm looking at other options. My pick? THEATRE MAN, trained by Richard Bandey. He seems perfect for the shorter two and a half mile distance. His last couple of races at Newbury, just under three miles, were pretty impressive, especially with his bold front-running style and some slick jumping, even though he got a bit scrappy at one fence. He was leading until the last few fences but got outpaced by a really strong rival.

Theatre Man was the fave in his last race too. He was neck and neck with the winner for most of it and still had a shot at the last jump. He just got outpaced in the end, but the winner, Brave Kingdom, is a big deal for trainer Paul Nicholls, so no shame there. I'm betting Theatre Man is going to show his true colors when the conditions are just right.

The track is currently good to soft, with a bit of rain expected, so the ground should be perfect for jumping. Theatre Man loves to lead and even though there are other front-runners, that style works well at Cheltenham, especially on this course. With his bold jumps and unexposed talent, I think he's a great bet at 10/1, especially for this middle distance. And his trainer knows his stuff – he’s made some serious profit at Cheltenham.

The only worry is that Theatre Man might run in a smaller race at Hereford on Monday, but the prize at Cheltenham is way bigger, so fingers crossed they go for it on Saturday.

Theatre Man is 7/1 to take the 2M4F Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase this Saturday.
Theatre Man is 7/1 to take the 2M4F Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase this Saturday.

Latest Contender Odds - Cheltenham 12.40 - Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase

Blow Your Wad Tom LaceyStan Shepard4/1
Ginny's DestinyPaul NichollsHarry Cobden4/1
Es PerfectoAlan KingGavin Sheehan6/1
TightenourbeltsEmma LavelleTom Bellamy13/2
Theatre ManRichard J Bandey Harry Bannister 7/1

This a tough race to call and pundits are split across the board. Graham Cunningham prefers the Paul Nicholls trained GINNY'S DESTINY. With Paul Nichols being a master a Cheltenham he could have a point with his preference.

If he runs, and it’s in the lap of the gods at the moment, Impaire Et Passe is going to be very hard to beat if he travels over. If he doesn’t, I’ll go with Ginny’s Destiny in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase. He’s thriving and even with top weight I’d expect a big run.

In the next race at Cheltenham, the Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase we have another cracker on our hands. We're seeing some familiar names on the list. Remember Fugitif? The guy who pulled off a last-second win for us in December? Definitely worth keeping an eye on him and his rivals again.

But here's some inside scoop – Richard Hobson, Fugitif's trainer, spilled to Sporting Life’s "Get Stuck In" show that there's a big chance Fugitif's going to aim higher and join the Clarence House Chase on Saturday. If that happens, it’s gonna shake up the whole scene, especially the betting odds.

Il Ridoto's a steady player at Cheltenham, always thereabouts, but the weights aren't in his favour this time (up 5lb without a win). He's now carrying 10lb more than when he last won, which was this very race a year ago, with Fugitif right behind him. I also dig Victtorino, but he might race at Doncaster, so let's wait and see.

Now, the one I'm really excited about? EXCELLO, trained by Nicky Henderson. He's kinda like Victtorino, a French horse with a good bit of experience, but he really stepped up his game in his first UK race, winning at Ascot. That race was small, just three runners, but Excello nailed it. He took the lead smoothly and just zoomed ahead, never looking back. His jumping was a bit green, but hey, it was his first go on British turf. Plus, he tends to jump left, so the left-handed track here should work in his favor.

The race is gonna be tight, but a fast pace suits Excello, and if some of the others opt for different races, the field might not be too crowded. His opening mark of 146 doesn't seem like a freebie, but he showed some serious skill at Ascot. Timeform ratings back him up, and his time figure adds more weight to his performance. So, with the race still up in the air, I'm liking Excello's chances at 7/1. He's got the makings of a top-tier racer.

Looking at the 1.50 at Cheltenham Barry Hill has his NAP off of the day in the form of ROYALE PAGAILLE. The Venetia Williams trained gets the nod in a a small field of 6 with Stay Away looking the most danger.

Venetia Williams Royale Pagaille, far from being a mere one-hit wonder at Haydock, has the potential to showcase his prowess by clinching victory in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

After being sidelined from the King George due to a foot issue, this standout horse owned by Ricci was geared up for the Peter Marsh Chase, only to be thwarted by inclement weather leading to the event's cancellation.

Williams is eager to seize the opportunity this weekend, confident in Royale Pagaille's ability to progress towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup and, perhaps, make a significant impact in the Grand National ante post odds.

ROYALE PAGAILLE - 10/3 - bet365 


For all Saturdays NAPS from around the racing scene click here. Members can also see 'GOLD' selections in the members area or they will appear on Saturdays Tip Cards when you are logged in.

Barry Hills Saturday Stand Out Bets

3.35 Cheltenham 

The seasoned hurdler PAISLEY PARK, a familiar name in the Cleeve Hurdle, is poised to secure another victory for Team Lavelle in a thrilling Cheltenham lineup.

Aiming for an extraordinary fourth win in this event, Paisley Park has already delivered two impressive performances this season, narrowly missing out on victories at Newbury and Ascot, with his latest effort in the Long Walk.

At twelve years old, Paisley Park has a special affinity for Cheltenham, ensuring that bettors can anticipate a fantastic effort in any betting scenario. 

Keep your eyes on Paisley Park at Cheltenham. This veteran hurdler, with a love for the track and a knack for thrilling finishes, is a smart bet for a spectacular show. Expect a heart-pounding performance in the Cleeve Hurdle

PAISLEY PARK - 13/2  - Interbet

Cheltenham regular and fan favourite Paisley Park gets the nod in the Cleeve Hurdle.
Cheltenham regular and fan favourite Paisley Park gets the nod in the Cleeve Hurdle.

3.15 Doncaster

TWOSHOTSOFTEQUILA has already won at Doncaster, so he's got a decent shot at winning again in the big Great Yorkshire Chase.

Rebecca Menzies’ seven-year-old has been really close to winning in his three races this season. Plus, he's got a good weight advantage being at the lower end of the handicap, if he gets to race (he's also up for a run in Newcastle on Tuesday, 30th Jan at 3:35 PM).

This race could be the perfect chance for Menzies to break her losing streak.

Keep a sharp eye on Twoshotsoftequila in the upcoming Great Yorkshire Chase. He's already proven himself at Doncaster, and that experience might just give him the edge. Rebecca Menzies' seven-year-old is showing consistent form this season, always close to victory. With his advantageous position in the handicap, especially if he runs (he's got a potential run in Newcastle too), he's a serious contender. This could be a pivotal moment for Menzies to turn things around. Twoshotsoftequila isn't just a dark horse; he's a real threat in this race


Cheltenham - What the Pundits think...

Coming Soon...

Over In Ireland

With once again Fairyhouse hosting the only meeting In Ireland for the second consecutive Saturday we have another decent card.

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