Best Bets for Cheltenham Festival Trials Day


Ginny's Destiny Racehorse


With only around seven weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival, racing fans continue to tick off the days ahead of the greatest show in the National Hunt game. As the anticipation continues to build, this coming Saturday marks an important date in the diary, as Cheltenham Racecourse opens its doors for the final time before the four-day feast of action in March.

A total of eight contests come together to make up the Festival Trials Day card, including key warm-up events for the Triumph Hurdle, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers Hurdle, and Cheltenham Gold Cup - notebooks at the ready for fans making their final ante post plans. Of course, a winner on Trials Day pays just the same as at the big meeting itself, and here we pick out our three best selections on what looks to be a cracking card.

12:40 Timeform Novices Handicap Chase

We kick things off in this excellent handicap affair won by Stage Star in 2023, who then went on to Turners Novices’ Chase glory. Whether there is anything of that quality in this year's field remains to be seen, but we look to have a hugely competitive renewal in store.

Plenty of these arrive at the top of their game, with six of the 12 runners winning last time. We suspect the winner will come from that sextet, and, whilst Persian Time and Blow Your Wad are greatly respected, the one to be on is the Paul Nicholls runner Ginny’s Destiny. In need of the outing first time out, he then scored by 10 lengths off a mark of 133 before toughing it out to see off Grey Dawning over this track and trip. He’s up 6lbs here but considering Grey Dawning previously slammed Gaillard Du Mesnil at Haydock and subsequently landed a Grade 2 by 14 lengths, the form looks excellent. A bold jumping front runner in the mould of Stage Star, he can make it back-to-back successes for the Champion Trainer.

  • Best Bet - Ginny’s Destiny to win @ 7/2 with bet365

1:15 Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase

Nicholls also has strong claims with the current market leader Il Ridoto in this next event. Boasting Cheltenham form figures of 8441632 - almost all of those runs coming in big field handicaps - he looks rock solid to go well. However, he does place more often than he wins around here, is more exposed than many, and looks short enough for our money.

The well fancied Victtorino catches the eye from those towards the head of the market but is taking a big step down in trip from recent wins at Ascot and is yet to race around here. The one we like for an each-way bet is the Jamie Snowden representative Ga Law. In two previous Cheltenham outings, he has landed a handicap event off 142 and finished fifth in last year's Ryanair Chase. He hasn’t been so good since but took a step back in the right direction when seventh in the 3m2f Coral Gold Cup last time out. Back down to his optimum trip, a mark of 150 is no more than fair, but that ability to handle the track counts for plenty and he can at least hit the frame.

  • Best Bet - Ga Law each way @ 11/1 with Coral

4:10 SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Hurdle

One of the leading British challengers for the Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle takes to the track in the finale. Unbeaten in three outings, beautifully bred – by Walk In The Park out of Presenting mare – it’s hard to pick holes in the claims of Harry Fry’s Gidleigh Park. However, he faces a higher standard of opposition here and makes limited betting appeal at around the Even Money mark.

Johnnywho is a tempting alternative, having really caught the eye in a muddling edition of the Challow Novices Hurdle. Granted a stronger pace to aim at, he can go close. Whether he should be less than half the price of the Paul Nicholls representative Isaac Des Obeaux, we aren’t so sure. Spoken of in glowing terms by his trainer, Isaac Des Obeaux arrives seeking a hattrick following back-to-back six-length romps at Chepstow. Far from flashy, he may not have the turn of foot of a Gildleigh Park but appears seriously tough and is just the sort you want on your side coming up the hill.

  • Best Bet - Isaac Des Obeaux each way @ 11/1 with BetUK

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