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The Mandarin’s New Year’s Day Selections for 1st January 2024

The Mandarin’s New Year’s Day Selections from Cheltenham, Fairyhouse & Tramore


Favourite From The Sun Now Daily Maiden Hurdle 12.20
Irish raider Innatendue could be the answer to the opener on Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day card. She showed plenty of grit to stay on here at the Autumn meeting to finish a neck runner-up to Cannock Park, with the pair well clear of the field going through the line, and this step up in trip should suit on that evidence. The obvious danger is Nicky Henderson’s Peaky Boy on his hurdles bow, but race experience and the excellent Rachael Blackmore on the reins tip the scales in Innatendue’s favour

Close Brothers Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase 12.55
Petit Tonnerre
Jonjo O’Neill’s Petit Tonnerre was runner-up to the useful Homme Public in the Arkle Trial on this track back in November, and can go one better here. His next run was in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park, where he was not pushed out on tiring ground. This move into handicap company looks a logical move, and with just the four rivals, every chance of taking this. Top-weight Matata needs to prove he acts on ground this deep, and this is his first run on this particular track, so Petit Tonnerre is easily preferred

Paddy Power Handicap Chase 1.30
Cloudy Glen
Considering the conditions, this race could well be set up for Venetia Williams’s Cloudy Glen. With a couple of decent runs around Prestbury Park in the book, including a Premier Handicap Chase here at the November meeting, he backed that up with a solid fifth in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury Park at the start of December. The younger legs of Jonjo O’Neill’s Inch House will surely attract plenty of support, but with course experience and conditions to suit, Cloudy Glen is the one to follow

Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 2.05
Stage Star (nap)
The Turners Chase winner from March’s Cheltenham Festival rose to the top of the Novice Chasing ranks last season, and proved his quality when landing the Gold Cup Handicap Chase here at the Autumn Festival. It was an impressive performance, having put in a brilliant round of jumping, until staging a sit-down protest at the last!, but still too good to let the field reel him in. The progressive Richmond Lake rates the main danger, and gets plenty of weight from the selection, but it’s horses for courses, so Stage Star should deliver the top lines

Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle 2.40
Olly Murphy is enjoying a great season, and can add to the winners’ board with Butch. This Kayf Tara gelding lines up here on a hat-trick after wins at Southwell and here at Prestbury Park, and can serve it up to the progressive pair of Springwell Bay and Ed Keeper. These are the three to keep on side for this Class 2 Handicap, but Butch should be the one to cope with these conditions best, so gets the vote

Dorman Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2) 3.15
Bob Olinger (nb)
Bob Olinger is unbeaten at Cheltenham, and has to be the one to follow for this Grade 2 contest. That said, subsequent Gold Cup winner, Galopin Des Champs was 11 lengths clear of Bob Olinger in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the 2022 Festival, before unshipping a hapless Paul Townend at the last, so the selection was a fortunate winner there, but returned to timber, Bob Olinger is the one to beat. Marie’s Rock is sure to attract plenty of support, and does get the 7lb sex allowance, but on this ground Bob Olinger gets the nudge

Family Fun ‘Junior’ National Hunt Flat Race (Listed)
Le Marquise
It may pay to side with Jamie Snowden’s Le Marquise for the closer. She made all on her debut under rules at Stratford last November, showing a liking for deeper ground, so conditions should suit here, and being French bred, there’ll be no surprises to the going here round Cheltenham. The excellent Gavin Sheehan has every chance to pick up another winner in his fine Christmas spell


John & Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase (Grade 3) 2.25
Allegorie De Vassy
It’s very hard to ignore the appeal of Willie Mullins’s Allegorie De Vassy for this Grade 3 contest. She returned to action this season with a win over the re-opposing stablemate, Instit at Clonmel, coming off over 2 lengths to the good, so with conditions much the same, there’s no reason to expect a reversal of those placings. Gordon Elliott’s Riviere D’etel was a 7 length runner-up to Captain Guinness in the Fortria at Navan, so is expected to be on the premises, but Allegorie De Vassy is a class act, and the one to follow

Savills New Year’s Day Chase (Grade 3) 2.15
Champion Trainer Willie Mullins is triple-handed for this Group 3 contest, but the ready preference is for Monkfish. After landing the Brown Advisory at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, there was plenty of buzz about this Stowaway gelding, but he then spent 2 years on the sidelines before returning over timber last April. A classy chaser in his day, the chance is taken that he’s been lined up for this race. Interesting

The Mandarin

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