After being forced to cancel due to poor weather last year, the traditional New Year’s Day Meeting at Cheltenham is back on Saturday afternoon.
They race from 12.15pm-3.50pm in the Cotswolds and our tipster has a race-by-race preview of the card.
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12.15 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Listed, 2m4f)
This Listed opener features some promising hurdlers with more to give. Hillcrest, Doctor Ken and Pull Again Green fit that billing but the mare Get A Tonic and I AM MAXIMUS might be the pair to focus on. Dan Skelton’s charge has landed wins at Leicester and Uttoxeter and gets a 7lb allowance but preference is for the Nicky Henderson inmate.
He beat My Drogo to win his bumper here and November’s hurdles bow at Exeter (third) is working out well while he readily opened his account at Newbury in December. More to come from him and that Cheltenham form is good stock to invest in.
Selection: I Am Maximus @ SP
12.50 – New Four Eighty Restaurant At Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase (3m2f)
Very open stuff this. Destinee Royale is respected on return for the in-form Venetia Williams team, while The Wolf and Full Back are notables. UNDERSUPERVISION is having his fourth start over the Cheltenham fences this season and while he’s yet to win, there have been positives from him. The Twiston-Davies team will be hoping he can progress in this sphere and he might benefit from this increased field size.
Selection: Undersupervision @ SP
1.25 – Paddy Power Novices’ Chase (Grade 2, 2m4½f)
It’s certainly nice to see a field of nine line up in The Dipper after only three ran last year. Alan King won that with Messire Des Obeaux and will hope progressive mare The Glancing Queen can do the trick here. She’s won two Listed races against her own sex and merits a crack but L’HOMME PRESSE may be too good for her. Venetia Williams’ charge has two quick wins since going chasing and looked a smart prospect winning at Ascot a fortnight ago.
Selection: L’homme Presse @ 13/8
2.00 – Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase (Grade 3, 2m4½f)
Coole Cody and Zanza were first and second in last month’s Racing Post Gold Cup and return to C&D with their chances again. Magic Saint and Simply The Betts represent champion trainer Paul Nicholls and could go well, while Vienna Court was very good in a Mares’ Handicap Chase over C&D last month too for Nigel Twiston-Davies. One of his former inmates is preferred, RIDERS ONTHE STORM.
He won his first three for the Naunton handler in 2019/20 after arriving from Ireland before losing his way in graded company. Last month’s Aintree second was a first run for Richard Hobson and he could build on that.
Selection: Rider Onthe Storm @ 11/1
2.35 – Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle (3m)
Tamar Bridge and Art Approval are last-time-out winners that could go well again despite their respective ratings hikes, while Kansas City Chief won over C&D three weeks ago from the front under a clever ride from Victoria Malzard. BOTOX HAS stayed on well to be clear second in that contest, a first try at this staying trip for Gary Moore’s charge. The first-time cheekpieces worked well and are retained and this dual Cheltenham winner can be ridden with confidence now to get the trip.
Selection: Botox Has @ 13/2
3.10 – Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m4f)
McFabulous won this race at Kempton last year but he was put in his place afterwards at Fontwell in the National Spirit by BREWIN’UPASTORM and again finished behind Olly Murphy’s charge in an Aintree Grade 1 afterwards. The Milan gelding is proving most reliable since reverting to hurdles and, after a wind op in the summer, he easily won at Aintree (2m4f, good to soft) in November. The yard have found winners hard to come by over Christmas but this one could provide some relief.
Selection: Brewin’upastorm @ 5/4
3.50 – Pony Club ‘Junior’ NH Flat Race (Listed, 1m6f)
Poetic Music has won both starts and could do better still for Fergal O’Brien, while newcomer Beyond Boundaries makes appeal on paper and is a rare runner in this sphere for Andrew Balding and King Power. ILIADE ALLEN however won at Warwick in November and probably had more in hand than the margin suggested having pulled clear before idling. Nick Williams’ filly should improve from that.
Selection: Iliade Allen @ SP
*All odds correct at time of writing.