Tips for Day 1 of Cheltenham: Templegate meets race-by-race selections in November as punters search for clues of the festival


RACING at Cheltenham returns on Friday with the first day of the November meeting.

Here SunSport tipster Steve Mullen – Templegate for you and me – reveals his pick in every race.

My Drogo is the superstar horse on display on day one of the November meetingCredit: PA


APPROVAL OF ARTS well trained when fourth here last time returning from seven months off.

He has traveled well and should improve for this effort. He signed last season with two good wins and has more to offer.

A Tailliur continues to win and deserves this progression in class. He didn’t have much on hand in Exeter last time around, but a 4-pound increase seems fair.

Skatman trained well in the company of novices and was convincing to Newton Abbot on his return. He was not beaten for his debut with a handicap.

Neon Moon should have more to offer if he’s in good shape after an eight-month hiatus. He looked like a good prospect when he scored at Wincanton in March and this longer trip will help him.

Captain Blackpearl had a chance before this debut for Dr. Richard Newland who is doing well with the newcomers to his yard.


MAGIC HOLY won this race 12 months ago and comes back from the same level of handicap.

He signed last season with a good second here when the longer trip didn’t suit.

It was the same story at Wetherby on the comeback when he was doing fine until fading into the finals. He will be fitter for the experience.

Editor Du Gite ran a long way at Ascot 13 days before the absence of a recent race was announced as he got up late. His rider takes off a practical weight of 5 pounds and he’s the best over that distance. He can rely on this fair return.

Kap Auteuil managed to win after returning from a seven-month absence at Stratford last month. A 3 pound increase for this success gives him a chance and he seeks five wins on the spin.

This is a marked increase in the rating, but he is only six years old and should have more to come despite being 32 pounds heavier than his first win in this streak.

Stolen Silver didn’t have much to beat at Market Rasen but he did it by 11 lengths, helped by a bad mistake from his main rival.

This trip suits him but he needs a little more.

Bathiva ran well here last time around as fourth and coach Fergal O’Brien is in good shape. He weighs just 4 pounds over his last win, so he should be in the mix.

Bun Doran won this two years ago but struggled for a while.


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MY DRUG is one of the most exciting hunting rookies of the season and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t win this.

He was the best on the hurdles and signed a cake in the first-year Mersey Novice Hurdle at Aintree.

The only concern is his ability to handle Cheltenham as his only career loss came here on his debut.

He travels like a superstar and should be way too good.

Gin On Lime won’t be a snap considering she won a grade 3 on the fences at Tipperary last month.

Rachael Blackmore takes over and she might try to stretch from the front.

Fancy Foundations fell behind here last time when it performed well, but needs to give weight to the other two.


BALKO DES FLOS was second in the Grand National in his last chase start and blew cobwebs over hurdles last month.

He lost his place on his only descent on this difficult track, but he can learn from it and will appreciate this test of endurance.

Blackmore has made a good start to the season.

Back On The Lash was rusty when he was fifth when he returned here last month.

He improved last season and is training like this hike while traveling is going to be a big help.

Diesel D’Allier won this race two years ago and makes his debut today with a new trainer.

His taste for this trip makes him a danger.

Former Welsh national winner Potters Corner has done a good job of touring this course and will certainly not lack endurance with the rain on top.

He finished third 12 months ago and may well match that.

Talkischeap has been in a bad mood for some time, but it was classy at best and could be revived by this test.

Irish national winner Freewheelin Dylan is sure to be enduring and respected.


GELINO BELLO made a good impression with six lengths on his hurdles debut at Aintree 19 days ago.

He looked like a nice prospect in the bumpers, but left it behind with a few slippery jumps when he was traveling hard.

If he can repeat that while passing on a more hilly track like Cheltenham, the hope of Paul Nicholls will take all the blows.

Gordon Elliott sends Off Your Rocco who entered the listed company in Limerick the last time around for solid success.

The official margin was only two lengths but it seemed more comfortable than that.

He has proven himself on this trip with a few cuts in the ground and has more to offer.

Kayf Hernando had to fight for his victory on his hurdles debut at Carlisle three weeks ago.

It’s more difficult, but he climbed the hill well and should be adapted by the Cheltenham endurance test.

You would expect a lot more on its second wooden outing.

Blazing Khal handled the turmoil of a Galway first hurdle of 17 runners in their mud victory on their hurdles debut.

It was a good effort after ten months of hiatus and this former bumper winner has more to offer.

Current Mood stormed the house by 14 lengths at Ffos Las and proved it was no fluke with a success from Ludlow.

He’s dramatically increased his views here, but seems capable of better.

Glencassley grabbed attention by scoring under decent conditions at Wetherby, but it’s a lot hotter so this son of Yeats needs to raise his playing level.


SAMBA DANCER showed affection for Cheltenham by winning this trip 20 days ago.

He weighs just 3 pounds for this brave success and has every chance of securing four straight wins.

Howdyalikemenow is on the rise after strong wins at Stratford and Fakenham.

He’s making his handicap debut from a good grade and should be in the mix.

Brorson finished tight here last time around in his second hurdle race.

The ground was faster there, but it should handle a few cuts and looks well weighted.

Castel Gandolfo looks like a decent underdog if he can repeat his good summer form at Worcester.

Fergal O’Brien has a strong squad with City Derby in the chase too.

He had a lot in hand at Perth and is another starting handicap compared to what could be a lenient mark.


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