Cheltenham betting tips: Diakali and Mr Antolini can Showcase talent on Friday at Presbury Park

Horsebetting.com experts give their Cheltenham betting tips for 26 October and day one of The Showcase meeting. Diakali is unbeaten in two starts over fences and looks a cut-above his rivals in the 2m novices’ chase, so rates the NAP on this seven-race card. Mr Antolini has a progressive profile and looks ahead of his mark, so is therefore our next best punt in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle. Sam Red, meanwhile, has been given a real chance by the assessor and makes plenty of each-way in the 3m 1f amateur riders’ handicap chase. For full details on these horses, read our in-depth preview and Cheltenham betting tips October 26.

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Odds
13/8
NAP
Diakali
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Odds
15/2
NB
Mr Antolini
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Odds
16/1
E/W
Sam Red
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Diakali a worthy favourite to land novice chase hat-trick

One-time very smart hurdler Diakali has taken to fences like a duck to water, so is strongly fancied to land the 2m Squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Friday (14:35). The former Willie Mullins trained nine-year-old, who was rated as high as 158 over the smaller obstacles when finishing a neck third in a Grade 1 at Aintree, has won both his starts over fences for current handler Gary Moore in runaway style.

In the first of those, Diakali raced freely at the head of affairs and put in a foot perfect round to cruise home by 29 lengths from Our Three Sons. It was a most taking display and he has since followed-up in similar fashion at Newton Abbot back in June.

The son of Sinndar once again put in a superb round of jumping to make all and win easing down by 23 lengths from Miss Night Owl. Diakali barely had to break sweat and it was a performance which suggested he needed keeping onside this season, as there were plenty more races to be won with him.

Moore has clearly found the key to Diakali, and an official chase rating of 153 gives him 8lb and upwards in hand on his six rivals. It makes him look in a different league to the opposition and he is seven from nine over the 2m trip of this.

Diakali also has proven form on the ground, so looks impossible to oppose. Granted a clear round, this looks his for the taking and he thus features as the NAP in our Cheltenham betting tips for October 26.

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Mr Antolini makes plenty of appeal in Brandon Hill

In the 2m 5f Brandon Hill Capital Handicap Hurdle (15:10), Mr Antolini looks to have plenty going for him. This eight-year-old has progressed at a rate of knots since joining trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies at the beginning of the year, winning twice and posted two solid efforts in defeat.

in the last of those successes, the gelding held on gamely to beat Call Me Lord by a neck in the ultra-competitive 20-runner Grade 2 Imperial Cup over 2m at Sandown. He had to survive a lengthy stewards’ inquiry as he bumped the runner-up close home, resulting in his jockey Jamie Bargary having to stop riding in the final few strides.

It was a really gutsy display and the pair pulled nine lengths clear of the third home. Call Me Lord, from whom Mr Antolini was receiving 22lb, went on to beat very smart staying hurdler Lil Rockerfeller by 16 lengths in a Grade 2 at the same venue next time up. The sixth home Silver Streak, who was rated just 3lb higher than the selection going into the race, has since landed the valuable Swinton Handicap at Haydock and the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las off a mark of 139.

That gives the form a rock solid look in relation to this class 3 contest and Mr Antolini is one from one in the grade. He also lost little in defeat when last seen in action in the Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton back in April when beaten just half-a-length by Valdo Forte. Although raised 2lb after that, a revised rating of 138 still looks exploitable given his aforementioned win in the Imperial Cup.

The step up in trip also promises to suit and Mr Antolini hails from a yard in fine form that has a good record with its inmates first time up following a break. There’s simply nothing not to like about the profile of Mr Antolini, so he’s another of our Cheltenham betting tips for October 26.

Well-treated Sam Red worth siding with each-way

Sam Red has become dangerously well-treated, so looks worth an each-way wager in the 3m 1f Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (16:55). Trained by Dan Skelton, this seven-year-old landed back-to-back contests at Stratford and Fakenham 12 months ago, with the last of those coming off an official rating of 137.

He has failed to get his head in front since, but has posted some solid efforts in defeat. They include when a seven-length runner-up to Mount Mews in a novices’ chase at Doncaster off 135 and a 16 lengths second to Step Back in a similar affair at Fakenham off 134.

Although no match for the easy winner in the latter, Sam Red was attempting to give 12lb to Step Back who went on to land the Grade 3 bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the jumps season at Sandown off a mark of 135 – a win which saw him start this campaign on a rating of 149.

In hindsight, Sam Red faced an impossible task and he is now able to race in this off a reduced mark of just 118. That is a career-low over hurdles and fences, so it gives him major claims from a handicapping perspective on the pick of his form.

Team Skelton also continues to be amongst the winners; so, if bouncing back to anything like his best, Sam Red looks weighted to run a big race. Therefore, at the odds on offer at the time of writing, he features as the each-way punt in our Cheltenham betting tips for October 26.

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