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Good year! ITV kicks off with this absolute belt of a Paddy Power Novices level 2 pursuit over a stretch of 2m4f. BANK OF THOUSANDS jumped very well when scoring at Huntingdon two runs back but was poor when knocking down the runner at Newbury last time out. That said, the Alex Hales-trained gelding probably would have won that day had it not been for the accident and he clearly has plenty of ability. I’ll take the risk that Harry Bannister has a good melody.
ITV is also in Musselburgh for this handicap hurdle on 2m4f. KAVANAGHS CROSS lost 1 pound despite winning last time and now Angus Cheleda is taking off 5 pounds so technically 6 pounds better. That said, that’s not a good thing because I’m not absolutely sure he’s a solid stayer. This trail is quite sharp, mind, and gives it a chance to get home, so at least has some place claims.
WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!
This is a level 3 handicap pursuit over an area of 2m4f. Maybe it’s the day ZANZA arriving late even though he is climbing in the handicap ratings for being beaten. The Philip Hobbs rider, ridden by the excellent Tom O’Brien, is on 147 after finishing sixth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on 144 and second in the Racing Post Gold Cup on 145. All he needs is c is that there is a strong rhythm – if it becomes so difficult to keep the frame.
Another handicap hurdle here but this time over almost 2m. FIRST IMPRESSION was 5-4 off that mark at this track last time out, but jumped badly and knocked the rider out early. Obviously he’ll have to jump a lot better here and it’s harder, but he’s taking a lot of weight from the other fancy riders and should be fine for John Quinn and Henry Brooke.
ITV shows a run from Tramore in this 2m6f Tier 3 pursuit. AL BOUM PHOTO is the forgotten horse of the Gold Cup ground and my advice is to get him back to Cheltenham today before he comes here. At 16-1 he’s still a great bet either way and if you have to take 14-1, take it. At the age of 11, he has no bib and has run little. Go Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.
A difficult handicap to cross over 3m. ASK DILLON is a stronger stayer than most and lost 1lb after his third on the track last time out. It might not be enough for him to score here, but he should still run well for Fergal O’Brien and Liam Harrison is now dropping 3lbs. I will therefore accompany him in all directions.
Now a handicap pursuit over a stretch of 2m4f. Henry Brooke might have a good day because NIETZSCHE has claims here although he is probably the outsider of the domain. My hope is well handicapped on his best form for trainer Brian Ellison and the conditions are ideal. He could easily bounce back to his best in a winnable race.
It’s class with the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle over a 2m4f stretch. I’m surprised we haven’t seen MCFABULOUS above the fences, because it is a big beast built like a hunter. I guess he is poorly educated. What we do know is that he is quite a talented hurdler and might just be tough to beat for champion Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.
So good luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. Can you hear me Paddy?
Tips from Matt Chapman
NEW YEAR’S ITV RACE
Chelsea 1:25 p.m. – Millers Bank
Musselburgh 1:40 p.m. – Kavanaghs Cross (one way)
Chelsea 2:00 p.m. – Zanza
Musselburgh 14.10 – First impression
Tramore 14.20 – Al Boom Photo
Chelsea 2:35 p.m. – Ask Dillon
Musselburg 2:50 p.m. – Nietzsche
Chelsea 15.10 – McFabulous
Tips for New Year’s horse racing