Horse Racing Tips

Paddy Power New Year's Day Chase: Timeform's expert verdict

Horse racing at Cheltenham
Cheltenham stages a good-quality card on New Year's Day

Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide and 1-2-3 verdict for the Paddy Power New Year's Day Chase at Cheltenham on Monday.

Paddy Power New Year's Day Chase
14:05 Cheltenham, Monday
Live on ITV

1. Stage Star (Paul Nicholls/ Harry Cobden)

Excelled over fences last season, landing the Grade 1 Turners Novices' Chase at the Festival here, and took his form up another level when bagging the Paddy Power Gold Cup here on his return, jumping superbly apart from a bad error at the last. The one to beat.

2. Al Dancer (Sam Thomas/ Dylan Johnston (7))

Course winner who made a winning reappearance in a Chepstow handicap in October. Backed it up with a good third in the Old Roan at Aintree so he shouldn't be ruled out off an unchanged mark.

3. Richmond Lake (Donald McCain/ Brian Hughes)

Quickly got his act together over fences earlier this year and he progressed again to complete a four-timer at Aintree 23 days ago, again underlining his effectiveness on testing ground. Up another 8 lb but he's still not taken lightly.

4. Shakem Up'Arry (Ben Pauling/ Ben Jones)

Made a winning return at Exeter last winter and has largely held his form well since. Finished an encouraging sixth in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury 30 days ago, going with enthusiasm before the trip appeared to stretch his stamina, and he is considered now back down in distance.

5. Frero Banbou (Venetia Williams/ Charlie Deutsch)

Arrives on a lengthy losing run but he's got firmly back on track this season and has finished placed on all three outings, including over course and distance in the December Gold Cup 16 days ago. Another solid showing is expected despite being 4 lb wrong at the weights.

6. Torn And Frayed (Nigel Twiston-Davies/ Sam Twiston-Davies)

Course-and-distance winner who showed he retains a good deal of ability when a respectable sixth in the December Gold Cup 16 days ago. Not easy to make a case for from 8 lb out of the handicap, however.

Timeform Analyst Verdict:

STAGE STAR has to concede lumps of weight all round but advertised his Ryanair claims when a decisive winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup here on his return and can now defy an official mark of 166. Richmond Lake also arrives on an upward curve and is feared most in his bid to complete a remarkable five-timer, although a solid case can also be made for in-form duo Frero Banbou and Shakem Up' Arry.

Timeform's 1-2-3:

1. Stage Star
2. Richmond Lake
3. Frero Banbou

Back Stage Star @ 2.111/10 on the Betfair Exchange

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