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New Year’s Day Cheltenham Tips

Channel 4’s cameras head to Cheltenham this afternoon and despite the heavy ground there are some competitive heats for punters to get stuck into.

There is televised coverage of four races from Prestbury Park, starting at 1.20, 1.55, 2.30 and 3.05, plus two from Musselburgh, at 1.35 and 2.10.

Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle     CH4

The day’s premier contest is the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle, which features World Hurdle winner Cole Harden. He is well in with most of these at the weights and should improve for his re-appearance at Newbury recently. On this ground, the trip should also be fine, but with the dead eight set to go to post there could be some each-way value elsewhere.

CAMPING GROUND is a horse who went into our notebooks after his first run in this country for Robert Walford and we fancied him at a big price for the Peterborough Chase last month. He fell that day and reverts to hurdles here, and he could prove the surprise packet on ground he loves. He clearly has no end of talent and ran well in a big handicap at Sandown over the smaller obstacles last season.

The two outsiders are also interesting.

Aurore D’Estruval has also proved she can plough through the mud and has her first run for Rebecca Curtis here. She’s a strong traveller and so should be able to cope with the step up in class. However, we marginally prefer LIL ROCKERFELLER, who has shown a great attitude in all his races so far. That may enable him to bridge the gap to Graded company here and he is no forlorn hope at a big price.

Camping Ground (ew)3.05 Cheltenham9/1Stan James
Lil Rockerfeller (ew)3.05 Cheltenham22/1Stan James

BetBright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase     CH4

The big handicap chase of the day is the BetBright Chase where all eyes will be on recent course and distance winner, Village Vic. He was a very impressive winner last time out, but at the revised weights, and on even softer ground today, we think TENOR NIVERNAIS can turn the tables.

Venetia Williams’ horses are always first on the shortlist when the going is heavy and this horse really impressed when winning his penultimate start at Ascot.

The ultra-game and hardy Seventh Sky, who must be a pleasure to own given how consistent he is and how often he runs, is feared as he looked better than ever last time out, but the more lightly raced TOP GAMBLE could be ahead of the handicapper and should also relish the give underfoot.

Tenor Nivernais (ew)1.55 Cheltenham7/1Bet365, Stan James
Top Gamble (ew)1.55 Cheltenham8/1Bet365, Stan James

Dipper Novices’ Chase     CH4

Arguably the best race of the day is The Dipper, where seven top class young chasers go to post. Each has a chance and the winner will have to be top notch.

Dan Skelton has never hidden the high regard in which he holds THREE MUSKETEERS, and he looks the one to beat, and of those at the head of the market, he is narrowly preferred to Seeyouatmidnight.

However, don’t rule out the outsider, MINELLA ROCCO. He looked a potential superstar when winning his two novices’ hurdles last campaign, receiving high praise from no less than Sir A P McCoy in doing so, and although things haven’t gone to plan for him over fences yet it is telling that Jonjo O’Neill pitches him in at the deep end again, rather than giving him a confidence booster in a softer race.

Three Musketeers (win)1.20 Cheltenham10/3Betfair
Minella Rocco (ew)1.20 Cheltenham11/1Bet365

BetBright Casino Handicap Hurdle     CH4

Stamina will play a key part in the 3m handicap hurdle at 2.30, where we are going to take a massive chance on the enigmatic SYBARITE. This horse is almost certain to try to tail himself off early, but don’t panic if he does as he tends to finish his races with a flourish. He has dropped to a very low mark and if Sam Twiston-Davises can keep him interested, and if the ground conditions turn the contest into a real slog, he could pull off a shock.

ANTEROS is also interesting if he can re-capture the form that saw him finish second in a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle here almost a year ago.

Sybarite (ew)2.30 Cheltenham25/1Bet365
Anteros (ew)2.30 Cheltenham33/1Bet365

Our tips in the other races are:

West Approach (ew)12.10 Cheltenham7/1Paddy Power, Ladbrokes
Allysson Monterg (ew)12.10 Cheltenham50/1Bet365
Indian Castle (ew)12.45 Cheltenham7/1Stan James
Le Coeur Net (ew)3.40 Cheltenham5/1888sport