Ed Quigley: Tips for Cheltenham on New Year's Day

Ed Quigley: Check out Longshot Ted's best bets for the Cheltenham on New Year
Ed Quigley: Check out Longshot Ted's best bets for the Cheltenham on New Year

The action comes thick and fast this time of year, and Ed Quigley returns to pick out his best bets at Cheltenham on New Year's Day...

Christmas is done and dusted for another year, but Cheltenham is back for the New Year's meeting, with a cracking day of action lying in await. 

It all kicks at 12.15 with the Listed Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, where I AM MAXIMUS looks to be a horse growing in confidence and steps up in trip for the first time. I would like to have seen him have another crack at a strongly run two miles, but connections clearly feel that they have plenty of ammunition in that division, and given the way he powered clear in the closing stages to win his maiden hurdle at Newbury, they clearly feel this extra distance is the way forward. Cut in the ground appears no issue (also the opinion of Nico De Boinville), and he looked smart when staying on well up the Cheltenham Hill in a bumper to win on his debut last year, beating My Drogo in the process. It was noticeable on his hurdling debut at Exeter last month that he looked raw and shifted left-handed at a few of his obstacles, so it was no surprise at all to see him put in a much more polished performance last time out. With a strong showing here, he can state his claim for some of the major prizes in the spring, and by being successful over this trip it will open up further avenues. 

Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Listed)
I Am Maximus silk

I Am Maximus

placed

ALNADAM didn't make the December Gold Cup with the ground deemed too quick, but with plenty of rain around at present, it looks like there is a fair chance conditions will be on the soft side by race day. In truth, he can't have it soft enough, as this horse comes alive in bottomless ground. If conditions end up a swamp, I expect he will start a strong favourite for this, so keep your eyes on the weather. Tradionally, the horse improves significantly for his seasonal reappearance (has won second time out each of the last three seasons) and two and a half miles is his trip (didn't stay in 3m+ in the Ultima). Off 143 he will take a lot of beating, providing the words Soft or even Heavy are somewhere in the going description.

Paddy Power New Year's Day Handicap Chase
Alnadam silk

Alnadam

placed

The combination of sticking to hurdles and a recent wind operation appear to have got all the pieces of the jigsaw to fit together nicely for the Olly Murphy trained BREWIN'UPASTORM, and he should take a lot beating in the Relkeel Hurdle. It was a very smart performance when pulversing the field at Aintree last time out, and looks to be thriving. The only downside to his claims would be that he doesn't have a winning form to brag about at Prestbury Park, but he looks better than ever and on official ratings has a fair bit in hand over his rivals other than McFabulous, who he comfortably saw off at Fontwell in February.

Advice:

  • Cheltenham, 12.15 Saturday January 1st, I Am Maximus, 1pt win
  • Cheltenham, 2.00 Saturday January 1st, Alnadam, 1pt win (7/1 generally)
  • Cheltenham, 3.10 Saturday January 1st, Brewin'upastorm, 1pt win 6/4 (generally)
Relkeel Hurdle
Brewin'upastorm silk

Brewin'upastorm

Fell
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