Cheltenham betting tips: Bun Doran, Normal Norman and Sky Pirate the Friday punts at Prestbury Park

Horsebetting.com experts give their Cheltenham betting tips for 16 November and day one of the November Meeting. Bun Doran has a good record fresh and lurks on a handy mark at present, so rates the NAP im the 2m BetVictor Handicap Chase. Sky Pirate has a progressive profile and looks potentially well-treated in the 3m 1f amateur riders’ handicap chase that gets proceedings underway, so is our next best bet on the six-race card. Normal Norman, meanwhile, hails from a yard in form and makes plenty of each-way appeal in the 2m novices’ handicap hurdle. For full details on these horses, read our in-depth preview and Cheltenham betting tips November 16.

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Odds
3/1
NAP
Bun Doran
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Odds
6/1
NB
Sky Pirate
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Odds
25/1
E/W
Normal Norman
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Bun Doran the one to be on in BetVictor Handicap Chase

Bun Doran is nicely treated on the pick of his form, so looks worth a punt to land the spoils in the 2m BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday (13:50). This Tom George trained seven-year-old came good at the second time of asking over fences when scoring by five lengths at Newcastle and has since posted some really solid efforts in defeat.

They include a cracking sixth of 20 to Tully East in the Listed 2m 4f Close Brothers Novices’ Chase at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival here off a mark of 139. Bun Doran held every chance at the last until being unable to find any extra on the run-in and weakening to be beaten just over eight lengths.

The son of Shantou went on to round off the campaign with a fine 4 3/4 lengths third of 14 to Double W’s in the Grade 3 Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree off the same rating. Bun Doran also ran very well on return to action last season when a 1 1/2 lengths runner-up to Gino Trail over this course and distance off 139.

He was then far from disgraced in three subsequent outings, including when fifth of 16 to Bentelimar in this year’s renewal of the Red Rum at Aintree ,and now returns to the fray off a 1lb lower mark of 138. It makes him a major player at the weights in this class 2 affair, while another plus is that Bun Doran has a fine record fresh.

His stable had also been among the winners of late and he is versatile as regards underfoot conditions. So, taking everything into account, Bun Doran has plenty going for him in this. Thus he features as the main selection in our Cheltenham betting tips for November 16.

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Sky Pirate taken to plunder the spoils in opener

In the 3m 1f Markel Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase that gets proceedings underway on a cracking six-raced card (12:40), Sky Pirate looks to have plenty going for him. The Jonjo O’Neill trained five-year-old is a consistent and progressive sort who has won twice and been placed five times in eight starts.

This son of Midnight Legend has had just two starts over fences and shaped with stacks of promise in both. In the first of those, Sky Pirate kept on nicely to finish a 4 1/2 lengths runner-up to Drinks Interval at Uttoxeter when sent off the 5/4 favourite.

Drinks Interval, to whom he was conceding 2lb, went on to bolt up next time up at Chepstow by 11 lengths and was still in the lead going well in her hat-trick bid in a Listed contest at Market Rasen last week when coming to grief three from home. She raced off an official rating of 147 in the latter.

That gives the form a strong look and suggests that the assessor could have taken a real chance in allotting Sky Pirate and opening chase mark of just 134. There was also lot to like about his latest effort at Carlisle when a length second of 10 to Looksnowtlikebrian where he raced keenly in the early stages, but still looked the likely winner when leading at the last before being headed close home.

Sky Pirate is clearly going the right way and, given his age and lightly-raced profile, remains open to plenty more improvement. Connections have also secured the services of crack Irish rider Patrick Mullins to do the steering and his experience is a huge plus in a race of this nature. With underfoot conditions also ideal everything points to a big run, so we had no hesitation in making Sky Pirate our next best bet in these Cheltenham betting tips for November 16.

Normal Norman worth siding with each-way

Normal Norman is another that looks potentially well-treated and makes plenty of each-way appeal in the 2m Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (13:15). This John Ryan trained four-year-old won twice in bumpers and has offered plenty in three starts over the smaller obstacles.

In first of those at Huntingdon, the son of Shamardal kept on nicely from off the pace to finish a 12-length runner-up to Totterdown. His cause wasn’t helped by a mistake two from home, but jockey Paddy Brennan didn’t give him a hard time and it was a nice tender introduction.

The winner gone on to land a competitive 20-runner class 3 affair at Sandown off a rating of 129, and Normal Norman duly showed the benefit of that experience next time up at Market Rasen when only having to be shaken-up after the final flight to readily beat William Hunter by 2 1/4 lengths.

It was a most taking display and he has since run well at Musselburgh to finish a five-length runner-up to a useful prospect in the shape of Return Flight. The handicapper has allotted him an opening mark of 120 on the back of that and that looks workable, judged on his run behind Totterdown.

Normal Norman also appeals as the type to come into his own now going down the handicapping route and has the services in the saddle of Alain Cawley who has a 33 per cent strike rate when teaming up with the yard in the past 12 months (one winner and a place from just three rides).

His handler is also in fine form at present and operating at a strike rate of 28.5 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing. So, at the odds on offer, Normal Norman looks to have plenty going for him and therefore features as the each-way punt in our Cheltenham betting tips for November 16.

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