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For me the real start to the National Hunt comes when the 3 Day November Cheltenham meeting gets under way that includes the BetVictor Gold Cup.

The BetVictor Gold Cup is the feature race on the 2nd day (Saturday) of the 3 day meeting and can give some early Cheltenham Festival pointers, although caution is also to be exercised at this early stage unless there are any standout bets over the 3 day meeting.

The International Meeting in December and both the New Years Day meeting and the Festival Trials day mid Jan can give better Cheltenham pointers. Not forgetting the excellent meetings hosted in Ireland at Punchestown and Leopardstown In December and January.

Then we have Kempton with the King George on Boxing day, so plenty to look forward to and hence why I say exercise caution with your wagers at this early stage as no trainer wants his string to peak too early before the festival.

That’s not to say they won’t be trying of course, but some horses are trained to peak closer to the festival itself for obvious reasons.

Out of all the above top National Hunt meetings I pay particular attention to the Cheltenham ones simply because Cheltenham is a track that can catch many a potential star out, even though they may have excelled elsewhere. Hence why a good performance at Cheltenham is a MUST for me before any are considered for my festival shortlist.

Going back to the BetViktor gold cup this coming Saturday. It looks a very tricky one this year with no stand out performers with half a dozen in with a shout as you would expect from a handicap.

On the stats side it’s important to note that all 15 past winners have jumped around Cheltenham with 11(73%) having won there. Maybe the saying horses for courses was invented for runners at Cheltenham?

The BetVictor race is dominated by UK based trainers among them  Nicholls, Twiston-Davies, O’Neil and David Pipe trained horses. Irish-trained horses have won the BetVictor Gold Cup five times, most recently thanks to Tranquil Sea in 2009. So maybe a race that does not spark the interest of the big guns across the Irish Sea, although this year they may be taking it a little more seriously with Tully East and the Willie Mullins-trained Ballycasey and Gordon Elliott’s pair of A Toi Phil and Ball D’Arc also in contention.

Nicky Henderson has an interesting runner in Gold Present although for me I find backing Henderson horses early on in the Jumps season can be tricky. However in view of his potential and 2nd to Tully East (a leader contender for this years running) I will be including Gold Present in my handful of selections below.

Ideally I would be looking for young chasers (5 – 7 year olds) that have won at Cheltenham at the distance of 2 mile 4 furlongs and priced below 10/1, although this year I have stepped outside that price range due to the open nature of this years running. Then maybe Dutch a few in the race considering this years favourite is Kylemore Lough at around the 8/1 mark.

On the day if the weather turns up soft then give stronger bias to those runners weighted at 10st 13 or less, and if it’s good or better (which is doubtful) then you can shortlist horses up to 11st 11lb.

Anyway here are my small each-way nibbles for the Betvictor Gold Cup;

Tully East (8/1) – Won At Cheltenham over 2.4 miles and a 7 year old

Foxtail Hill  (12/1)– Won at Cheltenham over 2.5miles and is a 5 year old

Gold Present (12/1) – Ran well at Cheltenham against Tully East over 2.4 miles at least years festival on good to soft.

Ballyalton (14/1) – Although a10 year old he has won at Cheltenham over the distance on Good/soft and worth a chance

So I’m only going in small for the reasons given earlier with the primary mission of enjoying the race.

Testing Pod Update:

Both Teams To Score (BTTS) – This Is looking Good!….

Three losing days in the last week for both systems but still in profit by over 15pts. If the system can handle these drawdowns and come out the other end with a nice profit then we’re in business for a nice long term steady bankbuilder.

Check in daily to see the selections from this link below: