ITV Racing Tips: Finian’s Oscar to romp to victory at Cheltenham

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The second Cheltenham meeting of the season kicks-off on Friday with a six-race card from the famous old course.

You can enjoy four of those races live on ITV4, including the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 15:35.

There’s plenty to get stuck into before that, though, with Finian’s Oscar looking to continue his perfect start over fences at 14:25.

As always, we’ve got you covered with our ITV Racing Tips

NAP – Finian’s Oscar – 14:25, Cheltenham

He may be the heavy favourite, but Finian’s Oscar is hard to ignore in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase.

Colin Tizzard’s mount only lost once in a six-race hurdling career and his transition to fences has been seamless thus far.

The Irish raider warmed to the task when landing a Listed race on his chasing debut at Chepstow last time out.

Up against impressive pair Movewiththetimes and William Henry here, the five-year-old will have to be more fluid early on if he’s to make it two from two.

He’ll be more streetwise after that run at Chepstow and is taken to claim this contest at Cheltenham.

NB – Exitas – 13:50, Cheltenham

After back-to-back wins, including in a Class 1 at Ascot, we like the look of Exitas in ITV’s opener.

The Phil Middleton trained runner is back in Class 2 company here and looks a good price to defy a 10lb rise in the weights over a slightly shorter distance than normal.

He’s in career-best form at the moment and should have enough to land a hat-trick over fences for the first time.

Lively Longshot – Urgent De Gregaine – 15:00, Cheltenham

With no clear favourite for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase, we think we’ve found the answer in Urgent De Gregaine.

The French-trained nine-year-old won this contest last season when priced as a 50/1 outsider, beating Cantlow into second.

Emmanuel Clayeux’s mount is considerably shorter this time around but does have the advantage of being one of only four runners in the field to have handled this trip and won.

A rise in the weights doesn’t help his cause, but a second in the Pardubice last month does.

All of those factors combined make him Friday’s lively longshot at Cheltenham.

ITV Racing Tips

13:50 Cheltenham – Exitas (NB)

14:25 Cheltenham – Finian’s Oscar (NAP)

15:00 Cheltenham – Urgent De Gregaine (Lively longshot)

15:35 Cheltenham – Calett Mad

Click here for the latest Horse Racing odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.