Paul Nicholls has runners across two meetings on New Year's Day, and the Betfair Ambassador is expecting Magic Saint to be his best chance of a winner at Cheltenham...
"Best chance. 14:00 Cheltenham - Magic Saint. A slick jumper whose win at Newbury looks even better now."
Form of last win makes Saint my best chance of a winner
14:00 - Magic Saint
He was raised 7lbs by the handicapper after beating Bun Doran narrowly in a competitive handicap at Newbury just over a month ago. That form looks even better now following the success of the runner up in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton and the handicapper has now reacted by raising Magic Saint another pound. The more it dries at Cheltenham the better it will suit our horse as he is stepping up four and a half furlongs and while I've always felt he would stay two and a half miles he has to prove it.
Step up in trip expected to suit
15:10 - Quel Destin
I've felt for a while that this super tough horse has been crying out for a step up in trip and he gets the chance here in the Relkeel Hurdle. I've put a line through his last run at this track when he found the task of carrying top weight in the Greatwood in deep ground just too much. A good run here should set him up nicely for a tilt at the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.
Decent show expected down in trip
13:15 - Darling Maltaix
He is a free going type who found three miles a bit beyond him last time at Ascot in his second start over fences. He will be much happier dropping back five furlongs in this and his handicap mark has also eased 5lbs in two runs this season. So I am hopeful of a decent show now he is getting the hang of chasing.
Nice weight and stiffer track should suit Sir Psycho
15:00 - Oscars Moonshine & Sir Psycho
Oscars Moonshine is a big backward type who is having his first run since joining us from Colin Tizzard. We are still learning about him and he is still a bit of a baby, needs time to mature and looks one for the future.
Sir Psycho won nicely at Wincanton before running very well in his first handicap at Taunton seven weeks ago when he was beaten less than two lengths in fourth place. While he is taking on some smart novices here in the shape of Bullionaire and War Lord they have to give him a fair bit of weight as he only had to carry 10st 4lbs with Bryan Carver claiming a valuable 7lbs. I think this stiffer track will suit Sir Psycho much better than Taunton as he stays well.
Needs to show more
15:35 - Grey Getaway
I was astonished when the handicapper gave him a mark of 117 because he has beaten only a handful of horses in three runs over hurdles. He comes here for another novice hurdle over further and hopefully he can show a bit more.
We like him but he'll improve
16:05 - Atholl Street
He's a nice prospect by Jeremy who cost a fair bit at the Goffs Landrover sale in Ireland in the summer of 2018. We like what he has done at home so far but as with all our bumper horses on their debuts he will improve for the experience.