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Tuesday's expert tips - Nicholls, Henderson, Skelton and Tizzard discuss their runners on New Years' Day

Jonathan Vine 1 Jan 2019
Trainers Paul Nicholls (L) and Nicky Henderson (R) during gallops ahead of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

We've taken a look through various horse racing media publications to bring you which horses the experts are tipping at today's televised meeting at Cheltenham on New Years' Day.

Paul Nicholls (Betfair)


14:00 - Give Me A Copper (6/1 Betfair)

He is a very talented horse who has been held back by niggling injuries and has been beaten only once when he has completed a race. After unseating his jockey first time last season he jumped brilliantly when winning at Kempton before another problem forced him onto the sidelines again.

I was hoping to aim Give Me A Copper at the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury a month ago but he is ready now and hopefully he can start to make up for lost time.

Though I have done as much as I can with him over the last four months and he schooled well on Saturday morning I suspect he will probably improve for the run.

14:35 - Chameron (12/1 Betfair)

Things have not gone to plan with Chameron over fences so far. He fell first time then he blundered and unseated Harry Cobden when he was coming to win his race at Ludlow. It's frustrating because we have been very patient with this horse who has been going much better at home this season.

We have decided to switch Chameron back to hurdles for the rest of the campaign before giving him another crack at fences next autumn. I'd say he looks on a high enough mark in this.

14:35 - The Eaglehaslanded (12/1 Betfair)

He ran all right last time when I felt he was in front plenty soon enough and I still believe he is going to pop up at a nice price one day in a long distance handicap.

Last season was a total write off for him racing on heavy ground but conditions are in his favour at Cheltenham and he has a nice, light racing weight.

The Eaglehaslanded has been dropped 9lbs since the start of the season and the plan is to ride him with plenty of restraint and try to deliver him late. Sporting each way chance.

15:10 - Old Guard (4/1 Betfair)

Two and a half miles round here in goodish ground are probably the ideal conditions for Old Guard who is a course specialist and wasn't suited by stepping back in trip last time. Previously he had run a cracker at Ascot over two and a half miles when serving it up to If The Cap Fits.

While I am conscious that he has had a busy time this season he seems in great form at home and I am expecting another tidy performance from him at a track where the stiff finish plays to his strengths.

 Harry Cobden (R) alongside Paul Nicholls during gallops ahead of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival


Nicky Henderson (Unibet)


12:15 Novices’ Hurdle - I Can’t Explain (Nico de Boinville) (8/11 Unibet)
I was impressed with his win on debut for us at Sandown in December as I don’t think the heavy ground was really in his favour, so he’ll be much happier on this better surface. We’ve always thought a lot of him and I’d be expecting a little more improvement as well. He won a Point to Point so will get further in time, but this looks ideal for now and he should like the track. We had a few entered in this race, including Birchdale, so I hope we decided to run the right one!

12:50 Handicap Chase - Beware The Bear (Jerry McGrath) (6/1 Unibet)
He didn’t travel one iota in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time, yet plugged on well to finish fourth in a race where he was just taken off his feet early on, so don’t expect to see him doing anything too soon! The Handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds (although he’s still got top weight) and the wind op he had in the summer seems to have helped. This galloping, undulating course will suit, as his fourth place at the Festival will testify, and he must have a great chance.

1:25 G2 Novices’ Chase - On The Blind Side (Nico de Boinville) (10/3 Unibet)
It’s been quite a long road back as he had a few niggly problems around this time last year which meant we missed the Challow Hurdle and we probably rushed him back a little bit for Aintree, but he’s turned a corner now and is showing plenty of sparkle at home. Obviously, it’s a tough ask to win around Cheltenham on his first start over fences, and this looks a good race, but his schooling has been excellent and he’ll love the good to soft ground. Whatever he does here I think he’ll improve upon but it’s good to get him out and we’ll have a much better idea about where his future lies after this.

2:00 Handicap Chase - Divine Spear (Nico de Boinville) (9/2 Unibet)
He had a curtailed season after we had to pull him out of the Close Brothers Chase at the Festival, but he was a smart novice and could be potentially well handicapped here off 141. Obviously, he’s against race fit horses but he’s as straight as I can get him at home and he’s been ready to go for a while now. 2m4f on good ground is what he wants, and he’s got it here so I’m quite hopeful of a bold show.

3:10 Relkeel Hurdle - Thomas Campbell (James Bowen) (17/2 Unibet)
He’s been Novice Chasing and we can always go back over fences if we want to but this is a valuable prize and worth switching back for. He loves the ground and this trip won’t be a problem so he should run a good race. Wholestone and Clyne have good form but Thomas schooled well last week and is in great form at home.

Dan Skelton poses at Huntingdon.


Dan Skelton (Ladbrokes)


We have five runners at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day beginning with Supremely Lucky (12.15) (33/1 Ladbrokes). He’s been running over three miles but I think the drop back in trip looks like it will suit him.

Though it’s hard to say he will be winning, I think he has an outside each way chance.

I have put blinkers on Sir Mangan (12.50) (10/1 Ladbrokes). I’ve used headgear on him in the past and I think this is the time to go for it again. He stays the trip well, he is in form and I think he has a little chance.

The Dipper looks a very good novice chase but I was very impressed by Crucial Role (1.25) (10/1 Ladbrokes) when he won at Uttoxeter.

I don’t know if he goes uphill and down dale, but I would rather find out on January 1 than leave it to the spring. We will see here, but that was a very good run at Uttoxeter. I am very happy with him.

Born Survivor (2.00) (7/1 Ladbrokes) wants a bit of nice ground and it has stayed that way for him. He has been in training all winter but we have been picking and choosing our ground for him.

He is in the middle of the weights here and that looks perfect. How competitive he can be off his handicap mark is up to him but he is in good form at home.

I was really happy with the comeback run of Aux Ptits Soins (2.35) (11/2 Ladbrokes) at Newbury where he just blew up two out. He has come on for that and hopefully he has a big chance in this.

Joe Tizzard with Native River during the national hunt trainer Colin Tizzard stable visit at Spurles Farm.


Joe Tizzard (Coral)


12.15 Cheltenham – Darlac (10/1 Coral)

It’s a graded race and ultra-competitive as you’d expect but Darlac has certainly not shown himself up in his last couple of runs in Grade 2s. He’s a good, strong horse. This race will take some winning but we are expecting him to run his race

12.50 Cheltenham – Robinsfirth (8/1 Coral)

He’s been off since he won at Cheltenham last year, so he missed the second half of that season. He’s been back in training for a long time and been aiming at this for a while. He’s a very capable horse on his day. He’s a big horse so he’s entitled to improve a fraction but he’s ready and hopefully he should have a good chance.

1.25 Cheltenham – Lostintranslation (3/1 Coral)

His form is looking really good now but he can’t afford to make a mistake like he made at Newbury last time. He has schooled lovely since then a couple of times. This is a good looking race but we think he’s up to this class and we want to get some Cheltenham experience into him. 

At Newbury he made that big mistake but he found a leg, which is important, and he then jumped the next two carefully. I don’t think he’s the sort of horse that would necessarily do it twice. He’s been immaculate jumping since at home. I think it was just a novicey mistake at the point they started to get racing. He’s in good form, and whilst it’s a wide-open race he deserves to be in it.

3.10 Cheltenham – Cyrus Darius (14/1 Coral)

He disappointed at Ascot just before Christmas. Nothing came to light at all after that so we just wanted to get another run into him, stick a tongue strap on him, and see how well he can run. We may well go chasing soon with him.


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Tuesday's expert tips - Nicholls, Henderson, Skelton and Tizzard discuss their runners on New Years' Day

Using their respective bookmaker blogs, Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton and Joe Tizzard discuss their runners on New Years' Day on Tuesday 1st January.

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