With Sharjah winning his fourth Matheson Hurdle earlier in the week, it’s now the turn of Al Boum Photo to win his fourth New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore (14:20).
It’s a tried-and-tested route for him, which works out perfectly as his season gets underway, with a bid to winning a third Gold Cup undoubtedly the season plan for him.
He’s not a working man’s price tomorrow, but he should get the job done and that’s all that matters. He’s up against five others from Willie’s yard and one from Gordon’s, but they’ve all got to go some to beat him.
The feature on the card at Fairyhouse is the Grade 3 Mares Chase over 2m4f (14:40).
With the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase looking super-hot this year, it’s no surprise to see Put The Kettle On trying her hand at this longer trip. If she stays, the Mares Chase at the Festival could be a lot more winnable.
She faces a tough task giving 7lb to Elimay , who is a very good mare herself. It’ll be a good race to see who comes out on top.
I like the fact that the mare Get A Tonic is getting 7lb, which could be the difference in winning and losing (12:15). She’s in good form having won her last two races and, while the top two in the betting are going to be very good horses, are they 7lb better than her at this stage? We’ll find out!
The Glancing Queen must have come out of her recent Warwick win bouncing. She’s been grand in two starts over fences this season and that follows on from a good time of it over hurdles. She’s a good horse and getting weight from the boys is a huge help, too (13:25).
Alnadam looks to have been campaigned for this race (14:00). We all know how good to Skelton’s are at plotting and planning a horse to get to a specific race and this may have been the plan since he crossed the line in the Ultima last season, where he ran a blinder. His run last time out will have put him spot on.
The Handicap Hurdle looks very wide open but don’t write off Cracking Smart running a big race for the Leech yard – they do very well with the horses they buy. Although he’s not run well in two starts for the yard, he’s run very well in much better races than this at Cheltenham before and is a Grade 2 winner, beating Penhill when he was trained in Ireland. He could outrun his odds.
Guard Your Dreams was good in the International Hurdle last month and was a good winner over this trip in a handicap at the start of the season. He seems to love Cheltenham, which is always a big plus, and he’s definitely improved this season. We know all about his rivals, but he’s the one in the race who could still have a little more to give.
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