Ray Flanagan with Cheltenham New Years Day selections
Happy New Year to all readers and here’s hoping for good health and profitability.
An interesting card to kick off the new year at Cheltenham this New Years Day.
Cheltenham 12.50- Robinsfirth and Thomas Crapper
Robinsfirth is a lightly raced type for a ten-year old and appeals as a progressive chaser with more to offer. He recorded two good efforts at this track last season finishing fourth to Cogry before comfortably accounting for Shanroe Santos next time in a decent 6 runner contest. Tizzard should have him primed for this reappearance and could be good enough to go in again.
Thomas Crapper carries stamina doubts , however against that ground conditions are not too testing and he has only a low weight of 10-4 on his back, two factors which could help the horse to see out the distance. A patient ride would appear to be the key and he certainly looks pretty well handicapped receiving weight from most of his main rivals.
Cheltenham 2.35- Aux Ptits Soins
Aux Ptits Soins has always been a classy sort who was good enough to win a Coral Cup on his British racecourse debut back in 2015. He went on to run respectably in the 2016 World Hurdle before displaying early promise as a novice chaser defeating good novices such as Western Warrior and The Dutchman. Campaigned very sparingly throughout his career ( the horse evidently has had training problems) he returned after another prolonged absence with an eye-catching run at Newbury last time been held up off the pace travelling well but racing very wide throughout.
There is no guarantee he will improve for that or that he will even reverse the form with his conqueror Viva Le Roi, but on the balance of his profile he looks worth chancing to do so.
Cheltenham 3.10- Old Guard
Might find this trip his optimum having been found out over both 2 miles and 3 miles this season. His Greatwood Hurdle third was a decent effort all the same and with a few chinks perhaps in Wholestone’s armour, it might be Old Guard’s time to record a tenth career success.
1 pt win-Robinsfirth-12.50 Cheltenham-6-1 General
1 pt win-Thomas Crapper-12.50 Cheltenham-9-1 General
2 pts ew- Aux Ptits Soins-2.35 Cheltenham-11-2 William Hill- 6 places
1 pt win-Old Guard-3.10 Cheltenham-4-1 General