Horse Racing Tips: Paul Jacobs’ New Year’s Day Value Bets

PJ fancies Wilde About Oscar as a good value punt for the 3:05 at Cheltenham.

Paul Jacobs Cheltenham 991x 624 byline

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Paul Jacobs’ New Year’s Day Racing Tips

12.45 – Cheltenham – SPIRITOFTHEGAMES 
13.40 – Tramore – KILKENNY STAR
13.55 – Cheltenham – NASSALAM/JACAMAR
15.05 – Cheltenham – WILDE ABOUT OSCAR

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

12.45: Cheltenham – SPIRITOFTHEGAMES

With rain expected all day on Saturday, the ground should at least have some give in it for this big staying handicap chase and certainly not inconvenience the real mudlarks. I was impressed with both the jumping and attitude of Farinet at Chepstow, stepped up to three miles which he saw out well.

He should go well again, but there are negatives to consider. Firstly, he has gone up 10lbs in the weights, but with Charlie Deutsch taking over in the saddle that is increased to 15lbs, and it is worth noting he was able to dominate in that race without too much pressure put on him up top AND his one run here was very moderate to say the least.

I was devastated that Secret Reprieve was taken out of the Welsh National, I thought it was a great chance to bounce back to from a mark of 134 and that venue suits him so much better than here; maybe connections didn’t take into account the weather forecast that day!

The forgotten horse, Easysland, showed a lot more at Haydock last time out, but I need to see more despite his plummeting mark so the each-way call has to be the veteran Skelton charge who has form figures around here of 49932 and is still on a viable mark of 137.

He may not have the best win record, but I can’t see him being out of the frame and he is preferred to Rapper who is a player if the ground doesn’t deteriorate too much.

13.40: Tramore – KILKENNY STAR

Many of you will feel that this race stands out like a sort thumb amongst the high profile handicaps at Cheltenham, but this game and moreover this column is all about finding the value in competitive events and for this level this is certainly tough, but therefore offers an intriguing opening for us punters. 

A two and three quarter mile handicap hurdle for horses rated up to 102 there is a plethora of entries that love to race prominently so there should be no problem in getting a well run race here. The mare Ardera Ru ran a cracking race at Galway last time out on deep ground following a short break and makes my short list along with the consistent Fons Vivus and Gordon Elliott’s What An Ocean (looked in need of the run last time out).

But in the end I have decided to run with the six-year-old selection who has not filled himself with glory over the past year, but have bits and pieces of form to make him hugely interesting. He unseated at the third over C&D last time out, but it was his run first time out at Fairyhouse that made his name go into my black book when he was given a very quiet ride behind Carrig Carol at Fairyhouse.

He is the type of horse that could have been lined up for a big gamble and I just wonder whether today is the day off a 3lbs lower mark. He is very, very interesting.

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13.55: Cheltenham – NASSALAM/JACAMAR

As much as I wanted to avoid playing in this race as it is as seriously competitive as the Paddy Power Chase and December Cup, it is just my punting cup of tea and could offer two outstanding each-way plays at big prices with the enhanced placed terms on our side as well.

Most of these have run against each other in one or both of those famous contests and solid claims can be given to the likes of Midnight River, Stolen Silver, War Lord and Fantastic Lady. Of that quartet the third named  is preferred in a race that will be run to suit his hold up style.

But if I am going to invest in such a big field I want VFM (value for money) and the two selections fit the bill. 

Nassalam looked out with the washing coming down the hill in the Paddy Power but nothing fired up the final climb as strongly as he did and off a 2lbs lower mark he could take another step forward granted a clear round. The second selection is even more left field as he is sure to go off at a mammoth price.

The best part of three miles and then an extended two and three quarter last time out at Newbury behind Zanza have been a shade too far and this trip suits better. Very lightly raced of late, the seven-year-old is having only his 13th chase start and on his form at this trip last year he is no forlorn hope.

The key to his chance is getting into a rhythm early on and not making the odd mistake, if he does he could be a huge surprise package in an ultra competitive event.

15.05: Cheltenham – WILDE ABOUT OSCAR 

Another massive field handicap with a lovely mix of front runners, pressers and hold up horses, but on only his second start over three miles I am really keen on the selection even though he will be nowhere the prices of the other picks in this piece.

This son of Oscar obviously had some problems towards the back end of 2021 when he put in two very poor efforts at Aintree and Cheltenham, the last named on the International Hurdle.

But that shows how highly he was rated by Dan Skelton at the time and I think they have now found the key to him namely, held up in a big field in a fast run race over three miles as his breeding would strongly suggest.

He was a massive eye catcher when  staying on stoutly over three miles at Sandown Park last time out and a reproduction of that form here should see him go close and reverse that form with Dolphin Square. Of his other rivals, the top weights Thomas Darby (back into handicap company) and Call Me Lord are respected.

Paul Jacobs Racing Tips

12.45 – Cheltenham – SPIRITOFTHEGAMES 
13.40 – Tramore – KILKENNY STAR
13.55 – Cheltenham – NASSALAM/JACAMAR
15.05 – Cheltenham – WILDE ABOUT OSCAR

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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