Racing Daily with BetVictor – New Year’s Eve

Nicky Henderson’s Champ looks the likely star turn at Cheltenham for their New Year’s Day meeting on Wednesday with the novice chaser 4/7 at BetVictor to give 5lbs to his rivals in the Dipper Chase. Last season’s Neptune Novice Hurdle runner up is currently one of the shortest price antepost favourites – 3/1 at BetVictor – for the RSA Chase back at Cheltenham in March.

The JP McManus-owned gelding is not yet the most fluent of jumpers, but he has some engine. Note the Boxing Day Grade 1 Feltham Novice Chase winner Slate House is 14s at BetVictor.

The ground was described as heavy at noon on Monday for Uttoxeter’s card this afternoon. Keep Wondering (1.50) looked a non-stayer over a trip just shy of three miles at Haydock last time and it is no surprise to see Philip Hobbs drop his novice down in trip for his handicap debut despite winning a point in his native Ireland over three miles. Do note a market move for top-weight Any Drama with the Harry Fry yard in such good form.

The mare Evidence De Thaix looked well ahead of the handicapper when winning a mares’ only event at Warwick on her chase debut and she may yet confirm the promise she showed in Bumpers back in France.

It may appear foolish to recommend a horse who was beaten last time out and is 6lbs higher but there is no question that Charlie Deutsch – the jockey of Storm Wizard (2.25) – was caught napping here over 3m just before Christmas when he wanted to give his charge as easy a time as possible on desperate ground. The way the seven-year-old travelled suggested his mount would not be inconvenienced by today’s drop back in trip and there should be plenty of pace in the race.

Mr Washington (3.00) gave the impression he would improve for the step up in trip when finishing best of all at Warwick over 2m 4f returning from a lengthy lay-off last time. He is taken to reverse the form with Jimmy Bell over today’s additional furlong and with that run under his belt.

In the Veterans’ Chase at Warwick Uhlan Bute (2.00) is taken to bounce back for Venetia Williams with Jonjo O’Neill taking the mount for the first time. The selection has been dropping in the weights like a stone, but it was only two starts ago that he ran a good race at Ludlow from a 3lbs higher mark and he gets the each way vote.

There is a decent card at Lingfield and Another Touch (1.05) can take the valuable mile handicap for Richard Fahey. The selection scored at Chelmsford last time over today’s trip and a 3lbs rise looks fair given he has won from higher marks in the past. Michele Strogoff should ensure there is plenty of pace in the race and I hope to see Barry McHugh swoop fast and late.

Callum Shepherd rode New Arrival (2.10) on her racecourse debut but he rides Kalimotxo this afternoon. A market move would be worth noting but I prefer the chance of James Tate’s filly who was poorly drawn but finished well over 6f at Kempton on her racecourse debut. The filly is half-sister to a number of winners and today’s additional furlong will suit.

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