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19th January 2022

2022 New Year’s Day Free Tips and Trends: Cheltenham

The ITV cameras are doing overtime at the moment with the latest fixture being the New Year's Day card at Cheltenham. Plenty to get excited about with four more LIVE races on ITV to take in including the Dipper Novices' Chase and Relkeel Hurdle as we welcome 2022 in with a bang.

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here at TQ with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races - we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get going!

Cheltenham Horse Racing Trends (RacingTV/ITV)

1.25 – Paddy Power Novices’ Chase (Reg as the Dipper Novices’ Chase) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4 ½f

18/18 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
18/18 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
17/18 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
16/18 – Went onto run in a Cheltenham Festival race (1 winner)
15/18 – Came from the top three in the betting
14/18 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
14/18 – Aged between 6-8 years-old
13/18 – Won between 1-2 times over fences before
13/18 – Had won over fences at 2m3f or further before
10/18 – Placed favourites
10/18 – Irish bred
9/18 – Won last time out
9/18 – Had won over hurdles at Cheltenham before
8/18 – Aged 7 years-old
7/18 – Returned 5/4 or shorter in the betting
7/18 – Ran at either Sandown or Cheltenham last time out
7/18 – Winning favourites
3/18 - Trained by Alan King (2 of the last 4)
2/18 - Trained by Colin Tizzard (2 of the last 10)
2/18 - Trained by Nicky Henderson (2 of the last 8)
1/18 – Went onto win the Arkle Chase (My Way De Solzen, 2007)

TQ VERDICT: It’s been hard to not be impressed with the Alan King-trained THE GLANCING QUEEN in winning her opening two starts over fences. Those successes came at Bangor and Warwick - she jumped really well and having been stepped up in trip last time (2m4f) looked even better. The King yard also won this race 12 months ago and in 2018, which is another positive, while she’s also a course winner at the track (NH Flat). This will, however, be her stiffest test to date over fences and is taking on several other in-form rivals - including L’Homme Presse, who has also impressed in winning his last two at Exeter and Ascot. This Venetia Williams runner is up another 12lbs here though from his last run and is 20lbs higher than when winning at Exeter in December so has more on his plate. Come On Teddy is another to note after winning well at Uttoxeter last time and the second - Fern Hill - ran well at Newbury last midweek. The other that’s worth an interest though is the Alex Hales runner - MILLERS BANK - who was 3 ½ lengths up when unseating his jockey in a good race at Newbury last time. Yes, he’ll need to brush up his jumping but was impressive on his fencing debut at Huntingdon at the end of October and has been given a month off to get over that last run. Of the rest, Fantastikas, Gladiateur Allen and Oscar Elite are others to respect, while with the Henderson yard having won this race twice in the last eight years, their Gallyhill has to be respected despite falling when looking beaten last time at Exeter.

 

2.00 – Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 2m4f166y ITV

18/18 – Had run over fences at Cheltenham before
17/18 – Raced within the last 2 months
16/18 – Had won at least twice over fences before
15/18 – Either French (6) or Irish (9) bred
15/18 – Had won over 2m4f or further (fences) before
15/18 – Raced within the last 5 weeks
14/18 – Priced 9/1 or shorter in the betting
14/18 – Rated 138 or higher
13/18 – Aged 8 or older
12/18 – Carried 11-0 or less
12/18 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
11/18 – Unplaced last time out
11/18 – Had won over fences at Cheltenham before
10/18 – Unplaced favourites
9/18 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
9/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
5/18 – Winning favourites
3/18 – Won by the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard (3 of the last 7)
1/18 – Went onto win the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival
Oldgrangewood (12/1) won the race in 2020
Aso (3/1 fav) won the race in 2019

TQ VERDICT: Plenty of familiar faces on show here, including the recent Racing Post Gold Cup winner here - Coole Cody. This 11 year-old is having a cracking time of it during his later years and despite being up another 4lbs here for that win, loves it here at the track and has to be considered again. Zanza was 2 lengths behind him that day and is 2lbs better off this time so there shouldn’t be a lot between them again. The Dan Skelton yard won this race 12 months ago and have another fair chance this year with Alnadam, who will be better for a recent fourth at Haydock behind the classy Bravemansgame. Paul Nicholls has Magic Saint, who was 7th in this race last year, plus former Festival winner - Simply The Betts - who was also a fine 6th in the Paddy Power Gold Cup here in November. He didn’t stay the 3m1f trip last time in soft ground, so back in trip and at a track he likes has to be considered despite having a lot of weight (11-10). Others with big weights are Janika (11-10) and the topweight is the Venetia Williams runner - Funambule Sivola - who returned last month to be a fine second in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. The yard won this in 2019 with Aso and he also carried a big weight (11-12). However, I’m happy to side with two horses with a lot less to carry - VIENNA COURT (e/w) and GALAHAD QUEST (e/w). The former comes from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard that have won this prize three times since 2014. This 6 year-old was an easy 11 length winner here last time out and despite being raised 12lbs for that carried 11-12 that day and gets into this better race with just 10-6 to shoulder. Galahad Quest fell last time at Aintree when sent off joint-favourite, but prior to that was a decent fifth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup here. He’s a pound lower this time and with only 10-5 to carry this former course winner could be dangerous off this featherweight.

 

2.35 – Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle Cl2 3m ITV

15/17 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
14/17 – Aged between 5-7 years-old
13/17 – Had raced at Cheltenham before
13/17 – Had won a hurdles race over at least 2m4f before
12/17 – Had won at least twice over hurdles in the UK before
12/17 – Rated 130 or higher
11/17 – Unplaced last time out
10/17 – Carried 10-9 or more
10/17 – Went onto run in a race at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
9/17 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
8/17 – Unplaced favourites
8/17 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
7/17 – Had won over at least 3m (hurdles) before
7/17 – French bred
5/17 – Had won over hurdles at Cheltenham before
4/17 – Won last time out
4/17 – Winning favourites
2/17 – Won by the Pipe stable
1/17 – Won by a mare
1/17 – Went onto win the Stayers’ Hurdle later that season (Big Buck’s, 2009)

TQ VERDICT: The Gary Moore yard continue to be in good order, and it was great to see their BOTOX HAS (e/w) return to form last time here when stepping up to this 3m trip. He only found the in-form Kansas City Chief, who also runs here, too good that day, but clearly stayed the longer trip and having won twice here over hurdles we know he likes the track. He’s up 3lbs for that run, but looks the sort to have more to come over this trip and still doesn’t look too badly treated having been rated in the 140’s not so long ago. Dolphin Square won at Newbury last time out and has now finished in the top two in 9 of his 12 starts over hurdles. But is up another 5lbs here at did seem to have a tough race that last day. Ask Dillon, The Mighty Don, the already mentioned Kansas City Chief and ART APPROVAL (e/w) are other proven course winners in the field to respect and it’s the last-named of that bunch that is interesting too. This Fergal O’Brien runner won here in November but has been put away since to likely protect his mark. He’s up 8lbs for that win, but still gets in here with just 10-9 to carry and has now won three of his last four starts over hurdles. The ground will be softer here too, but he’s won on heavy in the past, while the longer trip (first time up to 3m) cold easily bring out more improvement. Of the others, Whatsupwithyou, Tamar Bridge, who represents last year’s winning yard (Olly Murphy), Stoney Mountain and recent Sandown scorer - Pileon - are others to note in the betting.


3.10 – Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle Cl2 2m4f110y ITV

15/17 – Won by either a French (5) or Irish (10) bred
15/17 – Had raced within the last 6 weeks
14/17 – Went on run in a race at the Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
13/17 – Had raced at Cheltenham before (note, 2021 running was at Kempton)
11/17 – Priced 11/2 or shorter in the betting
11/17 – Had won at least 4 times over hurdles before
11/17 – Had won over at least 2m4f (hurdles) before
10/17 – Had won at Cheltenham before
10/17 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
9/17 – Went onto run in the Stayers’ Hurdle later that season
7/17 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
7/17 – Winning favourites
6/17 – Won last time out
4/17 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/17 – Trained by the Pipe stable
McFabulous (10/11 fav) won the race in 2021
Summerville Boy (10/1) won this race in 2020
Agrapart (16/1) won the race in 2017

Note: The 2021 running was staged at Kempton

TQ VERDICT: The Paul Nicholls-trained McFabulous will be trying to follow in the hoofprints of Oscar Whisky, who was the last horse to win this race in back-to-back seasons (2011-12). But he’s rather lost his way of late and heads here now having had a wind op over the summer and off a 268-day break. If back on song would be dangerous, but I’d prefer to see that on the track first. Mares Stormy Ireland and Indefatigable get a handy 5lbs and 7lbs from the others so that will help and on their best form are certainly not out of this. Guard Your Dreams is a big player too - having won 5 of his 10 starts over hurdles - including last time out here in the International Hurdle. He’s versatile in terms of trip so the step up here to 2m4 1/2f is fine and handles softer ground as well - the Twiston-Davies yard won this in 2018. Dans Le Vent won over 3m last time at Haydock so we can expect connections to make full use of his stamina here and can go well, but regular jockey - Isabel Williams - can’t claim 5lbs this time in this Grade Two. That leaves BREWIN’UPASTORM and ON THE BLIND SIDE (e/w). The former will be a popular pick here having won well at Aintree on his return in November. That was his first run since a wind op and having travelled well through the race could not have been more impressive in winning by 9 lengths at the line - if in that form again here will be hard to beat. On The Blind Side is now a 10 year-old and back into a Grade Two and back in trip can run better than last time too. He got tired in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot a few weeks ago over 3m, but prior to that ran a decent second in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. The softer ground over this shorter trip will suit and the Henderson yard are no strangers to winning this prize - having taken it in 2011 and 2012.

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