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I wouldn’t oppose L’HOMME PRESSE. It was a Graduation Chase he won last time out, with Messire Des Obeaux back in third. I actually think he’ll be a better horse going left handed as he jumped out to his left all the way at Ascot. I think going left at Cheltenham will suit him and I couldn’t oppose.
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I was hoping Venetia Williams would go back in trip with FUNAMBULE SIVOLA. I thought he ran a cracker in the Peterborough Chase and he got dropped a pound for that. He was 156 going into it and got dropped for finishing second and I think this race will suit him. Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch are having a great season and I think Funambule Sivola is better than 155. There’s a race in him off that mark.
I tipped up Tommy’s Oscar on one occasion but the handicapper might have him now. I know Tom Midgley takes off 7lb to counteract the weight but I thought Brian Hughes gave him a brilliant ride to win at Doncaster so I don’t think there’s much left in him at 150. John McConnell’s horses are in good form so it’s ANNA BUNINA for me. The run in the Scottish Champion Hurdle behind Milkwood was really good so we’re taking it on trust that she’s ready enough.
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Now they know BOTOX HAS stays after fishing second over 3m last time out, they’ll be a bit more positive with him and not be thinking about the trip. I think he’s the most likely improver in the field.
STORMY IRELAND has a great chance here. The opposition’s style of running will suit as she likes to go along at the front. She never got going at Fairyhouse, she also had Honeysuckle and Ronald Pump close enough and they were attacking her a long way from home. I think with that run under her belt she’ll be able to dictate things here. Indefatigable has looked reluctant to line up the last couple of times, Guard Your Dreams was well placed to win the International and that was a fabulous run, Brewin’upastorm beat If The Cap Fits at Aintree the last time but Stormy Ireland could get her own in front here and she’s good value.
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Ruby Walsh’s Tips
New Year’s Day horse racing tips
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