Happy New Year! Six races to enjoy on ITV on New Year’s Day, with four from Cheltenham and two from Musselburgh (below). Bring it on!
Let’s get straight into the action, and the 1.25pm at Cheltenham is the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase over an extended 2m 4f.
BLACK OP has ground to make up on Defi du Seuil from their Exeter run, but I can’t help but think the Ballymore runner-up will improve a lot for that effort. I’m hoping he will make all for Tom George.
Next at Cheltenham is the 2.00pm, a handicap chase over an extended 2m 4f. Tough race to call, but GIVE ME A COPPER could be a big improver here for the in-form Paul Nicholls.
He’s been lightly raced and lacks match fitness, but he could be much better than some of these and can start to show what he can do now.
The 2.35pm at Cheltenham is a 3m handicap hurdle. Some dubious stayers in here, but one who will love the trip is DE NAME EVADES ME and he’s worth a few quid each-way for Fergal O’Brien. He kept on well over 3m at Newbury last time.
And finally at Cheltenham the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle over an extended 2m 4f at 3.10pm. The ground is not as soft as he likes, but it’s hard to get away from WHOLESTONE who goes well at this track for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
He didn’t run well last time but can bounce back to form.
Meanwhile at Musselburgh, ITV show the 1.40pm, a handicap chase over an extended 2m 4f.
KNOCKGRAFFON has come down the weights a bit and must be hard to beat under Aidan Coleman. Stays well and a small field will suit.
And also on ITV is the 2.15pm, a handicap hurdle over nearly 2m. NIGHT OF GLORY could be well handicapped.
An improver on the Flat, he’s just got 10st 1lb to carry when the conditional jockey is taken into account and could well feel let loose.
Let’s hope so! Have a great 2019 and let’s hope for plenty of Yeeehaaa’s. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices correct at time of publication