Timeform Shortlist: Cheltenham, Monday January 1

Will Nicky Henderson kick off 2018 with a winner?
Will Nicky Henderson kick off 2018 with a winner?

Timeform's free Shortlist comes from Cheltenham on New Year's Day...

"...has done little but progress over hurdles and is taken to confirm her superiority over Wholestone and notch a second Grade 2 success of the campaign..."

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12.15 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Listed) (1) 2½m56y

Analyst's Verdict:
Springtown Lake chased home the highly promising On The Blind Side at Sandown last month, and a reproduction of that form can see him go one better. Ainchea looks a surefire improver moving up in trip, while Onefortheroadtom remains unexposed and is worth another chance to progress.

Timeform Top Rated:
157 6. SPRINGTOWN LAKE Philip Hobbs Tom O'Brien
153p 7. TIKKANBAR Neil Mulholland Noel Fehily
146 8. WHATMORE Henry Daly Andrew Tinkler

12.50 Watch Live Racing On BetBright.Com Handicap Chase (2) 3¼m70y

Analyst's Verdict:
Russe Blanc would almost certainly have been placed but for departing last time, and with conditions holding no fears, he gets the nod. Vyta du Roc can make his presence felt having had his sights lowered and he rates the main threat ahead of Southfield Theatre.

Timeform Top Rated:
155 4. RUSSE BLANC Kerry Lee Harry Skelton
154 2. VYTA DU ROC Nicky Henderson Daryl Jacob
153 3. BALLYMALIN Nigel Twiston-Davies Tom Bellamy

1.25 BetBright Dipper Novices' Chase (Grade 2) (1) 2½m166y

Analyst's Verdict:
Another hot renewal of this Grade 2 with Willoughby Court taken to successfully carry a penalty from Yanworth. His old Newbury rival is entitled to get closer with a smoother round, but last year's Neptune winner could be a chaser out of the top drawer and can make it 3 from 3 in this sphere. The returning Ballyandy and Ami Desbois are both open to improvement and shouldn't be underestimated.

Timeform Top Rated:
170+ 5. YANWORTH Alan King Barry Geraghty
168p 1. WILLOUGHBY COURT Ben Pauling Nico de Boinville
163p 3. AMI DESBOIS Graeme McPherson Paddy Brennan

2.00 BetBright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (1) 2½m166y

Analyst's Verdict:
Burtons Well undoubtedly possesses untapped potential and shaped very well indeed when narrowly outpointed by a well-treated, race-fit rival on return at Stratford in October. A 3 lb rise for that effort is fair and Venetia Williams' charge earns the vote. Sametegal has resumed with a couple of solid efforts this season and looks a live danger, while Top Gamble and Ballyhill both merit respect.

Timeform Top Rated:
169 1. TOP GAMBLE Kerry Lee James Bowen (5)
167 6. THEINVAL Nicky Henderson Jeremiah McGrath
167 9. BALLYHILL Nigel Twiston-Davies Jamie Bargary (3)

2.35 BetBright Casino Handicap Hurdle (2) 2m7f213y

Analyst's Verdict:
Red Rising progressed as expected with a run behind him when scoring convincingly at Southwell early last month. That understandably hasn't gone unnoticed by the handicapper but he's open to further progress and gets the nod to take another step forward. Arthur's Gift and Lovenormoney are similarly on an upward curve and rate next best.

Timeform Top Rated:
153 4. SKIPTHECUDDLES Graeme McPherson Daryl Jacob
152 2. LOVENORMONEY Warren Greatrex Aidan Coleman
151 7. BUCKLE STREET Martin Keighley Harry Stock (7)

3.10 Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2) (1) 2½m56y

Analyst's Verdict:
Colin's Sister has done little but progress over hurdles and is taken to confirm her superiority over Wholestone and notch a second Grade 2 success of the campaign. Old Guard is likely to be suited by the return to 2½m and could be the one to give Fergal O' Brien's mare most to do.

Timeform Top Rated:
171 8. COLIN'S SISTER Fergal O'Brien Paddy Brennan
170 4. WHOLESTONE Nigel Twiston-Davies Daryl Jacob
169 1. AGRAPART Nick Williams Lizzie Kelly

3.45 EBF Stallions & Cheltenham Pony Club (Standard Open National Hunt Flat) (Listed) (1) 1m5f209y

Analyst's Verdict:
Volcano had subsequent easy Wincanton winner Acey Milan behind in second when successful on his Exeter debut in October and can confirm those placings with improvement on the cards. Ena Baie won a French Grade 3 in the summer and is a fascinating contender on her first run for Harry Fry, particularly if the betting speaks in her favour.

Timeform Top Rated:
126p 11. VOLCANO Christian Williams Barry Geraghty
125 1. ACEY MILAN Anthony Honeyball Aidan Coleman
119+ 8. NORMAL NORMAN John Ryan Paddy Brennan

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