New Year’s Day and we kick off at Cheltenham With the Dipper Novices’ Chase. Champ is short but should be winning if he is to win at the festival and it’s hard to see past him but Midnight Shadow will be dangerous if they go slow as this horse is quick.
A very competitive Handicap Chase here where the weights are headed by Kalashnikov, whose been unlucky to have gone up in the weights for a game second at Newbury last time. I just feel carrying top weight in this race will make life very difficult for him and I can’t help but be drawn to Mister Whitaker.
When you look through at his win at Carlisle and see he beat Happy Diva and Cyrname, that form looks strong. He never reproduced that level last season but fresh might be the time to catch him and I think at the prices he is the one for me here.
Lots of trainers were scrambling around looking for lightweight jockeys when they saw Might Bite entered here as he is keeping some of these horses out of the handicap. I am playing a waiting game with him as he didn’t look in love with it last time.
Constantine Bay is one that catches the eye for a shrewd operator in Brian Ellison. He wanted to know earlier in the week if the weights were going to go up and when he knew they weren’t he wanted to book Jack Tudor who is the young jockey of the moment. That will do for me at an each-way price.
I am very loathe to desert Janika as he has run some great races but from speaking with Harry Skelton after he had ridden a double at Doncaster, he was very quick to blame himself for Roksana running below par at Ascot. She is a smart mare and I am going to give her a chance to get back on track here.
I’m eyeing up As You like for Jonjo and JP here. This lad ran well in a hot race at Newbury, finishing third and that race will throw up plenty of winners.
Normal Norman is the one for me in this. Jon Ryan is a shrewd operator and the owner loves a winner here. This horse, in fact, won this race last year. He recently won on the flat and comes here fit and flying.
*All prices correct at time of posting