Cheltenham Through the Card Tips – Selections for All SEVEN Races on New Year’s Day!
Cheltenham Bets Through the Card on New Year’s Day
2021 may now be over but the New Year begins with a bang as Cheltenham host their traditional New Year’s Day fixture. The meeting features competitive Grade 2’s over both hurdles and fences, combined with some fascinating handicaps. In anticipation of what promises to be a fascinating day’s racing, our racing expert has provided tips through the card. As well as this, we have best bets for all of the meetings on New Year’s Day.
Doctor Ken (12:15pm, Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle)
I Am Maximus has been unsurprisingly well punted for this extended 2m4f Listed hurdle, but at the prices, preference is instead for the Diana Whateley owned DOCTOR KEN.
This 5yo has shown clear ability in five starts for connections, getting off the mark over hurdles at Ascot in November when finishing half a length ahead of the reopposing Pull Again Green.
On a formline through Philip Hobbs’ Luttrell Lad, Doctor Ken appears to have the beating of I Am Maximus, and connections think highly of this gelding, so at the prices he rates a better betting proposition.
Eclair Surf (12:50pm, New Four Eighty Restaurant At Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase)
An open staying handicap chase here and the each-way value appears to come courtesy of ECLAIR SURF, who was twice a chase winner last season.
Emma Lavelle’s charge still looked well in contention before falling on seasonal reappearance at Bangor in November and that form has worked out exceptionally well since.
Eclair Surf was once again right in the thick of the action at Chepstow last time before making a race ending mistake five from home. He looked the only horse set to give Iwilldoit a race that day, and Sam Thomas’s charge franked the form in fantastic style when landing the Welsh Grand National on Monday.
If managing to cut out the errors Eclair Surf looks well handicapped off a mark of 133, which is just 2lb higher than when scoring at Sandown in February.
Millers Bank (1:25pm, Paddy Power Novices’ Chase)
Some fine horses have landed this Grade 2 down the years, and MILLERS BANK can join that illustrious list.
This Passing Glance gelding was incredibly progressive over hurdles last season, culminating in a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle back in April.
He ran out a facile winner on chase debut at Huntingdon in October and surely would have added to that but for unseating his rider two-out in a Newbury Grade 2 last time. He comes out a clear best on the figures here, receiving 3lb from race favourite L’Homme Presse, who is officially rated a pound lower.
The Glancing Queen could give the selection most to think about, albeit it remains a slight concern that her wins to date have all come in mares’ only company.
Galahad Quest (2:00pm, Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase)
An ultra-competitive renewal of this extended 2m4f Grade 3 handicap chase, but GALAHAD QUEST has caught the eye on multiple occasions in his career and can get his head back in-front this afternoon.
Still only a 6yo, Galahad Quest finished an excellent third on seasonal reappearance at Wetherby in October, and that form has received a number of boosts since.
He subsequently finished with a wet sail for fifth in the Paddy Power here at the November meeting, and that race is another that has got the anoraks purring. A faller when sent off the joint-favourite at Aintree last time, if that hasn’t left it’s mark mentally it’s difficult not to see Galahad Quest right in the thick of the action, particularly with ground to suit.
No shortage of dangers in a fascinating race, with course specialist Simply The Betts taken to pose the selection most problems.
Spiritofthegames (2:35pm, Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle)
This 3m handicap hurdle sees a number of young horses towards the head of the betting, but it could pay instead to side with the experienced SPIRITOFTHEGAMES.
It may be over three years since this gelding last got his head in front, but the Skelton’s charge has finally been given a chance by the handicapper having found himself rated as high as 150 at his peak.
Spiritofthegames now finds himself on a mark of 135, his lowest since chasing home the high-class William Henry in the 2018 Lanzarote Hurdle. Lightly raced over hurdles in recent years, this could be the day that Spiritofthegames breaks his long winless run.
Guard Your Dreams (3:10pm, Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle)
Brewin’upastorm is expected to be a warm order in this year’s renewal of the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle, but at a bigger price, GUARD YOUR DREAMS is taken to complete the International-Relkeel Cheltenham double.
Most progressive over hurdles this season, Guard Your Dreams stayed on gamely to score here last time out, a run which strongly suggested that stepping back up to this distance would suit.
He is still only 6, so remains open to improvement compared with most in this line-up, and his yard have previous in this contest having sent out Wholestone to land the 2018 renewal.
Last year’s winner McFabulous could pose the biggest danger, albeit he bombed out on his only previous course run.
Chic Avenue (3:50pm, Pony Club “Junior” National Hunt Flat Race)
A number of fascinating runners in this concluding Listed junior bumper, but perhaps none more so than CHIC AVENUE, who represents the same Pam Sly yard that produced last season’s smart bumper performer Eileendover.
This daughter of Champs Elysees made a highly promising debut when third at Wetherby last month, a run that can be upgraded as she ran green when under pressure.
Chic Avenue is entitled to have learnt plenty for that initial experience, and being from a smart jumps pedigree stepping up to this distance is expected to suit.