Cheltenham has fallen victim to the weather so ITV are instead showing races from Exeter and Musselburgh, and our resident tipster Tony Calvin is on the case...
"He had earlier shaped very well (without his usual tongue-tie) when fourth over an inadequate 2m at Aintree, and he just looks a winner waiting to happen off a mark of 138."
There is no point skirting around the fact that Cheltenham's abandonment has taken the shine off the racing on New Year's Day, but let us hope that Musselburgh and Exeter beat the weather and ITV can keep the show on the road.
It seems frost is the main threat to the racing in Scotland but they seem optimistic - famous last words etc - and the ground is currently good to soft (soft in places).
It is also a very good punting card.
Newtown Boy looks a solid proposition
Even if it does ride a touch deeper than good to soft - some rain is forecast, as well as freezing temperatures - it will be fine for Newtown Boy, who is just at home on good as he is on soft.
He also comes here in really good nick, having won over course and distance, under 12st 2lb, in a good time in early December.
He went up 6lb for that 4 1/2-length success (a race in which Clearance, who re-opposes here, was third) - interestingly they left off his usual tongue-tie off there, and do so again here - but I think that is manageable, especially with highly capable 3lb claimer Danny McMenamin lessening the burden.
He has been rated higher than his revised mark of 128 in the past, too - he finished a fair fourth in a strong handicap over 2m on this card last year off 129 - and that win last time is working out pretty well, too.
The placed horses have not raced since but the fourth won here next time, so he looks a very solid proposition at 6/1 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook at 13:20.
Millie's chances look Rosie
The 1m7f127yd handicap hurdle at 13:55 is a very competitive affair but Rosie And Millie still looks a couple of points too big to me.
I'd be wary of Proschema, but back her at 8.07/1 or bigger. Unfortunately, the Sportsbook's early 9s didn't last.
Her record suggests she could do with Musselburgh getting more rain, but Timeform called the ground good to soft when she chased home Buzz (who many thought should have followed up off an 11lb higher mark next time, and is now 15lb higher) and that was clearly an excellent effort, especially as she was 3 ½ lengths clear of the third (who won next time, albeit thanks to the first-past-the-post weighing in light).
She wasn't raised for that run and it is clear she shaped far, far better than her beaten distance would suggest last time. She traded at 4.1 in the run when taking a clear lead going to two out, only for the Sandown hill in heavy ground to claim her.
She was eased 1lb in the weights for that run and I can see her making a bold bid to make all from the front (it is always a bold bid in these circumstances).
She wasn't able to get the lead at Sandown but there is no habitual front-runner against her here, for all one or two have gone forward in the past.
Romain looks a winner in waiting off this mark
Bigmartre has dropped to a very tempting mark in the 15:05 - he is 16lb lower than he was in October 2019 - and I did toy with putting him up at 25/1+ as a saver even if his two runs this season have left a fair bit to be desired.
But I had a good go on Romain De Senam each-way at 20/1 ante-post in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham last time, and I am not about to desert him now in this weaker handicap.
Sure, he is around a quarter of the price, but I am more than happy to back him at 6.05/1 or bigger here, even if the general 6/1 in the marketplace on Wednesday disappeared.
He was actually very weak in the betting on the day of that Cheltenham race because of the worsening conditions - he went off at a Betfair SP of 39.94 - but he looks set to get the better ground he thrives upon here.
He was brought down early on at Cheltenham, but hopefully he will enjoy better luck in that department.
He had earlier shaped very well (without his usual tongue-tie) when fourth over an inadequate 2m at Aintree, and he just looks a winner waiting to happen off a mark of 138.
Trip and ground should be ideal, and I hear the Dan Skelton yard is not going too badly. The owner Chris Giles will also be very happy to have a winner on his home Scottish patch, too.
I think he remains a bet at 4/1+.
I won't recommend it here but I may just put those three Musselburgh tips in an each-way treble, as they all look pretty solid to me.
Shambra worth chancing at a price
The class race of the day is obviously the return of the Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo in the Savills Chase at Tramore at 14:37.
He won this race at 4/7 last year before going on to Cheltenham - as he did in 2019, too - and he is a 2/7 chance here if you want to try to buy some money. You will never see that betting talk here though, with Epatante's defeat another timely reminder of how expensive that route can be.
Exeter has been drafted in to replace Cheltenham's abandoned meeting on ITV as well, and fingers crossed it passes the 9.30am inspection on Friday morning.
The three televised handicaps have attracted decent-sized fields ranging from seven to nine runners - so they are precarious in numbers for each-way punters - and I have no issues with Pure Bliss heading the market for the nine-strong 2m2f handicap hurdle at 13:40.
However, there are some fairly-handicapped horses ranged against her, and I deliberated long and hard - well, for about five minutes - before deciding to take a stab at Shambra at 21.020/1 or bigger.
Now, there are some obvious negatives surrounding her.
Firstly, the form of the Harry Whittington stable is concerning, with no winners from their last 48 runners.
And Shambra herself took to chasing like a duck to a drought in her two runs this season.
But she returns to hurdles on a very attractive mark, some 2lb lower than her last winning mark over an extended 2m4f at Plumpton in the soft last season (and 4lb lower than when a good third at Ascot afterwards), and I think she is worth chancing at the price.
Her proven stamina over 3m will come in very handy in these grueling conditions and this dual heavy-ground winner will hopefully find that the first-time tongue-tie aids her chances, too.
Good luck, and I hope your home hangover is/was worth it, depending on when you read this. I never got out on New Year's Eve anyway, so it is business as usual for me.
Enjoy it, as much as you can in these grim times.