Cheltenham Saturday horse racing betting tips: Expert says who to back – including a 5-1 runner



All eyes will be on Emma Lavelle’s top staying hurdler Paisley Park (8/13), as he takes the next step on route to defending his Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle crown in Saturday’s Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham (3.35pm).

But it will take a punter with deep pockets to support him as at time of writing he is a 4-7 favourite -or a brave backer to oppose him – as he’s unbeaten in six starts since leaving the novice ranks back in 2018.

Not everyone was impressed with ‘Paisley’ last time when he mastered 11-year-old Thistlecrack by a length in Newbury’s Long Distance Hurdle in November, but he was giving the runner-up 6lb and third-placed The Worlds End, a further six lengths adrift, has since prevailed at the highest level.

If The Cap Fits (7/2) will give the champion something to think about, but he will need a career best by some way to topple Paisley who is fully expected to continue winning ways as he prepares for The Festival.

Local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies had been considering the King George for Bristol De Mai (9/4) if he landed the Betfair Chase at Haydock, but a second there has meant connections waiting for this weekend’s Paddy Power Cotswold Chase (2.25pm).

The duffel coat-wearing handler was bullish before that last run, but it was no disgrace to lose to young pretender Lostintranslation despite the winner’s disappointing effort in the King George which may have been due to a wind problem.

The selection is probably best known for his previous wins in the Betfair Chase so Haydock would have to be labelled his favourite track, but his form at Prestbury Park is pretty decent with three places from four starts.

Those placings include a third in last season’s Gold Cup and a repeat of that brilliant effort should see him entering the hallowed winner’s enclosure.

Bristol De Mai would then probably have to have another tilt at chasing’s Blue Riband, although he was runner-up in the JLT Novices’ Chase a few years’ ago over 2m 4f so a crack at the Ryanair Chase mightn’t be ruled out completely.

The catchily-named Paddy Power 45 Sleeps To Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase (1.50pm) can go the way of South Molton magician Kayley Woollacott’s Lalor (5/1) who just missed out on scooping some of Paddy’s dough at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

On that occasion the stable star looked like he was beaten approaching the last, but rallied gamely and was staying on like a train before being cruelly denied in a three-way go by two noses.

That fine effort was much like the Lalor of old who triumphed in the Arkle Trophy Trial at Cheltenham a couple of years’ ago, looking like a very legitimate contender for the championship event before disappointing when never travelling in the big one last March.

It may well be that the additional three furlongs last time was right up Lalor’s alley and a win here will see his odds tumble for the Ryanair Chase at The Festival.





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