Two even-money winners and a 16/1 place ensured it was a good day for us at Newbury on Saturday. Now attention turns to Cheltenham and Musselburgh on New Year’s Day.
All eyes will be on Black Op and Defi Du Seuil in the Dipper Novices’ Hurdle, while Wholestone and Clyne are among six going to post in the Rekeel Hurdle at Cheltenham.
We’ve tipped up all of the televised action from Gloucestershire and East Lothian in our ITV Racing Tips.
The first race of the day is arguably the most intriguing, with Defi Du Seuil aiming to defy a penalty in order to land a quality renewal of the Dipper Hurdle.
Philip Hobbs’ star bounced back after trailing home last round Cheltenham in November to take a smart looking renewal down at Exeter at the start of December.
That run looked much more like his usual self. Write off an out-of-character performance on his chasing debut, and the five-year-old has an unblemished record round Prestbury Park, too.
With that in mind, we reckon the five-year-old can confirm the form with Black Op and lay down a serious market for the Arkle in March.
Some horses just love it around certain tracks. And for Wholestone, that track is Cheltenham.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ gelding is three from five round the Gloucestershire circuit, including when taking this contest in impressive fashion 12 months ago.
Add in that he’s unbeaten in three over 2m 4f and 2m 4½f, and we reckon the seven-year-old can do the business with Daryl Jacob on board.
After landing an each-way gamble with Knight In Dubai at the weekend, we’re hoping it’s a similar story for Nautical Nitwit in this wide open handicap contest.
The veteran is a quality performer, so it’s no surprise the handicapper has seen fit to raise him 6lb to a career-high mark of 149, following his impressive Grade 2 win at Wetherby last time out.
Philip Kirby has held fire off entering the 10-year-old after he sustained a cut in that race.
But with that injury now fully healed, we reckon he has a decent chance on each-way terms here before putting his best hoof forward for the Pertemps at the Festival.
ITV Racing tips:
1:25 Cheltenham – Defi Du Seuil (NAP)
1:40 Musselburgh – Copain De Classe
2:00 Cheltenham – Born Survivor
2:15 Musselburgh – Chica Buena
2:35 Cheltenham – Nautical Nitwit (Lively Longshot, each-way)
3:10 Cheltenham – Wholestone (NB)
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication