Cheltenham day one tips: Templegate November Meeting race-by-race selections as punters look for Festival clues

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

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

1.10

ART APPROVAL shaped well when fourth here last time coming back from seven months off.

He travelled well and should improve for that effort. He signed off last season with two good wins and has more to offer.

An Tailliur just keeps winning and deserves this step up in class. He didn’t have much in hand at Exeter last time but a 4lb rise looks fair.

Skatman has shaped well in novice company and was convincing at Newton Abbot on comeback. He hasn’t been clobbered for this handicap debut.

Neon Moon should have more to offer if fit after eight months off. He looked a nice prospect when scoring at Wincanton in March and this longer trip will help.

Captain Blackpearl has had a wind op ahead of this debut for Dr Richard Newland who does well with newcomers to his yard.

1.45

MAGIC SAINT won this race 12 months ago and returns from the same handicap mark.

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

It was the same story at Wetherby on return when he went well until fading in the closing stages. He’ll be fitter for the experience.

Editeur Du Gite ran well for a long way at Ascot 13 days before the lack of a recent run told as he unseated late on. His rider takes off a handy 5lb and he’s best over this distance. He can build on that fair comeback.

Kap Auteuil managed to win returning from seven months off at Stratford last month. A 3lb rise for that success gives him a chance and he’s looking for five wins on the spin.

This is a clear hike in grade but he’s only six and should have more to come despite being 32lb higher than his first victory in this sequence.

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

This trip suits but he needs a little bit more.

Bathiva ran well here last time when fourth and trainer Fergal O’Brien is in good form. He’s only 4lb above his last win so should be in the mix.

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

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2.20

MY DROGO is one of the most exciting chase recruits of the season and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t win this.

He was top-drawer over hurdles and signed off with a cakewalk in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

The one worry is his ability to handle Cheltenham as his sole career defeat came in a bumper here on debut.

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

Gin On Lime will be no pushover given she won a Grade 3 over fences at Tipperary last month.

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

Fancy Foundations fell behind here last time when going well but has to give weight away to the other two.

2.55

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

He unseated on his only run on this tricky track but can learn from that and will relish this stamina test.

Blackmore has made a good start to the season.

Back On The Lash was rusty when fifth on comeback here last month.

He improved last season and shapes as though this hike in trip will be a big help.

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

His liking for this trip makes him a danger.

Former Welsh National winner Potters Corner has gone well around this course and certainly won’t lack stamina with any rain a plus.

He was third in this 12 months ago and could well match that.

Talkischeap has been out of sorts for a while but he was high-class at best and could be revived by this test.

Irish National winner Freewheelin Dylan won’t lack for stamina and is respected.

3.30

GELINO BELLO created a good impression when scooting in by six lengths on his hurdles debut at Aintree 19 days ago.

He looked a nice prospect in bumpers but left that behind with some slick jumping when travelling strongly.

If he can repeat that switched to a more undulating track like Cheltenham, Paul Nicholls’ hope will take all the beating.

Gordon Elliott sends over Off Your Rocco who stepped into Listed company at Limerick last time to land a solid success.

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

He’s proven over this trip with some cut in the ground and has more to offer.

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

This is tougher but he bounded up the hill well and should be suited by Cheltenham’s stamina test.

You would expect a lot more on just his second timber outing.

Blazing Khal handled the hustle and bustle of a 17-runner Galway maiden hurdle when winning in the mud on his hurdles debut.

That was a good effort after ten months off and this former bumper winner has more to offer.

Current Mood stormed home by 14 lengths at Ffos Las and proved that was no fluke with a Ludlow success.

He has his sights raised considerably here but looks capable of better.

Glencassley caught the eye when scoring in decent conditions at Wetherby but this is a lot hotter so this son of Yeats needs to raise his game.

4.00

SAMBA DANCER showed a liking for Cheltenham when winning over this trip 20 days ago.

He’s up just 3lb for that gutsy success and has every chance of making it four victories in a row.

Howdyalikemenow has his sights raised after good wins at Stratford and Fakenham.

He makes his handicap debut from a fair mark and should be in the mix.

Brorson went down in a tight finish here last time on just his second hurdles run.

The ground was quicker there but he should handle some cut and looks well weighted.

Castel Gandolfo looks a decent outsider if he can repeat his good summer Worcester form.

Fergal O’Brien has a strong team with City Derby in the hunt too.

He had lots in hand at Perth and is another starting handicapping from what could be a lenient mark.

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