Simon Holt best bets and tips for Cheltenham International Meeting

Rock The Kasbah in action
Rock The Kasbah in action

Simon Holt has been in sizzling form with his big-race tips and has two more selections for Friday's action at Cheltenham.

Recommended bets

2pts win Ecu De La Noverie in 1.20 Cheltenham at 15/2

2pts win Rock The Kasbah in 2.30 Cheltenham at 9/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


After the magnificent Tingle Creek Chase success of Defi Du Seuil last Saturday, trainer Philip Hobbs could again be on the mark at Cheltenham on Friday with ROCK THE KASBAH in the BetVictor Handicap Chase.

A fine stable servant over the years, the nine-year-old has a reputation for going well fresh but it took him a run to win last season before landing a competitive handicap chase over three miles and three furlongs on the Old Course at the November meeting here.

Off just a 1lb higher mark now, Rock The Kasbah goes to post having performed as if needing the outing again in the Badger Beers Chase at Wincanton last month when he showed plenty of dash, leading for much of the journey before weakening after jumping two out.

With that run under his belt, and handicapped to go close for a team enjoying a good season, Richard Johnson's mount may prove too resolute for the likes of West Approach and Singlefarmpayment.

Last year's winner Cogry, himself a little unpredictable at times, could be the danger running off the same rating even though not weighted to confirm the placings with the rather flakey runner-up Singlefarmpayment. However, he is well weighted with West Approach on their running behind The Conditional here in October.

Earlier, it could be Hobbs again as ECU DE LA NOVERIE is just preferred to stable-companion Oakley in the two-mile Catesby Handicap Hurdle.

Although set to carry top weight, less his owner-rider David Maxwell's 3lb allowance, this promising five-year-old is well handicapped compared to his chase form having earned a 5lb higher rating when winning over fences at Wetherby last time.

And looking back to his 33/1 defeat of Mister Fisher (now rated 144) and Bold Plan (now 140) in a novice hurdle at Newbury just over a year ago, he certainly appears well treated off 135 here.

Occasionally, Ecu De La Noverie has looked a bit weak in the closing stages over longer distances whereas I am convinced he wants this sort of trip and not much more.

Oakley is less obviously well-in after two thirds this season on the Old Course here and at Ascot but, on the latter occasion, he was caught out along with other rivals when the front-running Not So Sleepy was given too much rope.

Posted at 1605 GMT on 12/12/19


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