Simon Holt best bets and tips for day one of the November Meeting at Cheltenham

Midnight Shot in action at Cheltenham
Midnight Shot in action at Cheltenham

Simon Holt has a quartet of quality selections as Cheltenham opens its doors again for day one of the November Meeting on Friday.

Recommended bets: Friday November 16

1pt win Midnight Shot in 3.00 Cheltenham at 10/1

1pt win A Hare Breath in 1.50 Cheltenham at 7/2

1pt win Count Meribel in 2.25 Cheltenham at 11/2

1pt win Double Treasure in 3.35 Cheltenham at 11/2


Grand National winner Tiger Roll is the star attraction on day one of Cheltenham's November meeting on Friday when the three-time Festival winner seeks to defy 11st12lb top weight in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Handicap Chase.

Successful off a 9lb lower mark over the course and distance in March prior to his victory at Aintree, Gordon Elliott's tremendous stable-servant should still take a bit of beating and has tended to run well fresh in the past.

However, owing to the fast ground, it is not the most competitive of renewals despite the presence of course specialists Bless The Wings (third at Aintree and now meeting Tiger Roll on the same terms) and Josies Orders who has won three times from five course visits including when successful in this race back in 2015.

And, given the conditions, it might pay to take a chance on MIDNIGHT SHOT despite his inexperience in this sphere.

Charlie Longsdon's eight-year-old could have a fitness advantage having won two of his last three starts since fitted with cheekpieces and this really good jumper is expected to really enjoy these unusual fences on probably his best surface.

In receipt of weight from the aforementioned, I think Midnight Shot is capable of going extremely well and that it is worth taking a chance on him staying the trip in such a small field. Indeed, jockey Johnny Burke may well attempt to make his own running.

Earlier, A HARE BREATH can continue his good record first-time-out in the BetVictor Handicap Chase.

The ten-year-old hasn't always stood much racing, but won on his reappearance in 2013, 2015 and 12 months ago when landing a decent handicap hurdle at Sandown off just a 1lb lower mark.

A Hare Breath has less experience over fences winning a novice chase at Bangor in December 2016 before proving out of his depth behind Altior in the Arkle, but this looks a decent opportunity.

Last year's winner Doitforthevillage must have every chance returning just 2lb higher in the ratings, though he failed to score subsequently and had run twice last October before that success.

Bun Doran should also go well having chased home Gino Trail on his seasonal debut over the course and distance last December, though he has been a little frustrating.

In the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase, COUNT MERIBEL looks a solid contender.

Reappearing just 12 days after his chasing debut win at Carlisle, this gutsy six-year-old was in excellent form this time last year when rattling up a hat-trick of hurdling victories in October and November, before going under by less than three lengths (giving 3lb) to subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Kilbricken Storm here in December.

But Count Meribel has always looked a chasing type and, having shown his usual resolution to win at Carlisle, could be well placed to follow up.

The Nicky Henderson pair Jenkins, a useful if slightly inconsistent hurdler who beat one rival at Stratford, and chasing debutant Mr Whipped could be the dangers.

Finally, DOUBLE TREASURE can prove the one to beat in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle after an excellent second to Secret Investor in Chepstow's Persian War last month.

Jamie Snowdon's gelding, like Count Meribel, was in similarly good form this time last year winning a novices' chase on this course from Two Taffs and Cross-Country selection Midnight Shot, and the Chepstow effort looks very respectable given that he finished 20 lengths clear of the third and Secret Investor has since made a creditable chase debut behind the very useful Bags Groove at Wincanton.

Coolanly, an early faller at Chepstow having raced keenly, is respected on his fifth to Lalor at Aintree in April while there was much to like about Darlac's Fontwell win.

Meanwhile, Pym, surprisingly beaten at odds-on last time at Ascot, now seeks to make amends.

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