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Top class jumps racing returned to Cheltenham for the November Meeting, one of the early events on the fixture list at the Home of Jumps racing.
Even though we are still months away from the Cheltenham Festival, we saw some clues about the biggest week of the year in the sport.
Here is a look at who impressed at the November Meeting and what races we may see them feature in at the Festival.
Nube Negra A Big Player in Champion Chase Again
Nube Negra finished less than a length behind Put The Kettle On in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last March but Dan Skelton’s chaser reversed the form with his rival in the Grade Two Shloer Chase. The seven-year-old produced an impressive performance on his seasonal reappearance and, on the back of that outing, is now just 9/1 in the horse racing odds for the Champion Chase in March.
Skelton’s runner is entitled to continue to improve so it would be no surprise if he is popular in the horse racing tips for the leading 2m chase at the meeting next year. There are likely to be tougher challengers in that race, including Shishkin, Energumenche and Chacun Pour Soi, but he is well in the mix based on his latest outing.
Sporting John Back to His Best
Grade One-winning chaser Sporting John just faded at the back end of last season. He fell in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and then was pulled up in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree. Philip Hobbs’ runner had a wind op earlier this summer and that looks to have really helped the horse. He returned to action over hurdles, scoring in a Listed contest on day two of the November Meeting.
Based on how well he performed in that 3m hurdles contest, the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival must now come under serious consideration for the six-year-old. He is currently 20/1 for the feature race on day three of the meeting.
Third Time Lucki an Arkle Contender
Third Time Lucki has now won both of his two starts over fences as he prevailed in a Grade Two contest for novices. Skelton’s runner once again looked impressive over fences and could be set to be one of the leading novice chasers this season.
Just like on his chase debut, the six-year-old jumped with fluidity and always looked in control of the race, eventually scoring by just under five lengths ahead of Sebastopol. This latest win means connections can start planning for some of the biggest novice races run over fences later in the season.
The obvious race for Third Time Lucki at the Festival in the Arkle. He is a 10/1 shot for that 2m contest on day one. The biggest positive around the horse is he runs well over the C&D following two wins at Prestbury Park this season.
All three of the above horses could appear again at Cheltenham for the International Meeting next month, where we should get many more clues with regards to the Festival.
Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there’s a lot more to learn…