Daily Punt Home - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Good morning all,

Well, what a lovely way to finish the year off, an 18-1 winner at Warwick! Thanks for all the kind messages. Let's hope we can kick the New Year off with a winner at Cheltenham to go with it!

Tough card, but my views on three of the bigger races of the day are on the main piece.

1.25 Cheltenham – 2m4½f Dipper Novice Chase

A really cracking Dipper, and it’s pleasing to see the numbers have held up as well. It’s rare each-way punters are able to get involved in these events, but with nine runners, surely more than they could have hoped for, it makes it all the more interesting.


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L’Homme Presse is going to be favourite after his Ascot romp where he jumped well, and the further he went, the better he looked. This will probably be the softest ground he’s encountered so far and whilst I don’t see it being a problem, there are others fully proven on it, and it is a small question.

I’m a big fan of Millers Bank too, but I have him more an Aintree type come the spring, with much of his best form on flat tracks. He looked like taking advantage of Pic D’Orhy’s fall at Newbury until unseating himself, and it’s a watching brief for me today.

Oscar Elite looked like taking a hand in the finish when falling here in November but disappointed next time out, and the Tizzard revival has well and truly hit the buffers anyway. I’m with The Glancing Queen here, so impressive when stepped up in trip at Warwick last time and she gets a useful 7lb mares allowance here. Fully proven on soft and heavy, she came up the hill well in the Dawn Run at the Festival, and I think she can come out on top here.

2.00 Cheltenham – 2m4½f Handicap Chase

This is ultra tough. You could have three or four goes and get nowhere near here. Cases can be made for so many. I’ll try and keep it brief…

Connections have been waiting for soft ground for Alnadam, and they finally get it here. He didn’t get home in the Ultima after looking a threat, and this trip might be ideal. Short enough, though.

Coole Cody will run his usual game race here and looks solid each-way material again. You can argue a similar case for Zanza, second in the Caspian Caviar, and inevitably held up. The cheekpieces might wake his ideas up early and help him travel/jump better, and if that’s the case, he’s a big player.

Kauto Riko also wears cheekpieces for the first time, and has enough good efforts around here to be considered, particularly after a good comeback effort at Doncaster. He looks well handicapped and likes soft ground. Galahad Quest, fifth in the Paddy Power, doing some good late work, Deyrann De Carjac, fifth in the Caspian Caviar, the improving Funambule Sivola, who has a bit of quality….see what I mean? It’s tough.

My fiver is going on Vienna Court, who was starting to look a bit exposed but was so impressive when stepped up in trip here last time out, having travelled very strongly throughout. That was only a 0-125 Mares Handicap, so this is clearly a lot tougher, but she humped 11-12 that day without turning a hair, and will only have 10-6 here. There was some good money around for her in the ring too, despite her going off 12s, and I suspect she’s now just on an upward curve.

2.35 Cheltenham – 3m Handicap Hurdle

This card gets no easier.

Although we could just back Kansas City Chief each-way again, as he doesn’t know how to run a bad one at the track and landed us a few quid when scoring again here last time. It’s his 13th birthday today, but you’ll struggle to find one with more enthusiasm for the job, and the way he skips over the hurdles here is a joy to watch. If it dries out a bit, all the better his chance, and the handicapper is hardly being harsh in raising him just 4lb for that win.

Art Approval landed some good bets when winning here last time, for which he’s gone up 8lb, but of more concern is whether he’ll stay this trip. He won’t mind the ground though, the softer the better, but looks short enough. The yard's Ask Dillon looks a bigger threat and I think he'll be given a more positive ride today.

Similar will-he-stay comments apply to Whatsupwithyou, who has two good runs around here to his name, including a fourth in the Martin Pipe. He’ll be a big price but they yard are firing again, and he might be worth a small each-way bet in the hope the stamina lasts out.

And the 20-1 for The Mighty Don is something of a big price too. The bottom line with him is that he finds fences a struggle, and the return to hurdles is a massive plus. He’s got plenty of good form around here, and at his peak finished midfield in Paisley Park’s 2019 Stayers Hurdle, once again finishing with a bit of gusto up the hill. If the switch back to the smaller obstacles works, he’s well enough handicapped to take a hand.

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Today's selection – The Mighty Don (e/w) 2.35 Cheltenham

Good luck with all your bets today,

David.

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