New Years Day targets

Minella Indo won at Tramore beating Stattler and is arguably no longer the ‘forgotten horse’ of the Gold Cup. Form at the Cheltenham Festival read 1212 and he was a whopping 40/1 for the Gold Cup before yesterday. I highlighted that a 50/1 double winning at Tramore and the Gold Cup was a good bet and we now have 50/1 about a 20/1 shot who is likely to go straight for the Gold Cup.

From the last email we sent

Minella Indo Forgotten Horse

How we’ve go 50/1 about a 20/1 shot in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

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It sounds like they are going straight to the Gold Cup now at Cheltenham

Langer Dan was held up out the back in the Grade 2 Hurdle and never got involved. Having been well beaten in a handicap at Aintree over 2m4f, he arguably had no chance in this Grade 2 particularly being ridden to not get involved. I’m sure he will be dropped another few pound after that run and he should be rated around 139. That 139 would be just 2lb higher than when he was sent off 7/2 for a Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle. Just 2lb higher than when being touted as the best handicapped horse of the Cheltenham Festival. Having failed to win the last 2 renewals of the Martin Pipe, I don’t think he’ll be aimed at it again and instead will be entered in the Coral Cup where Harry Skelton would be able to ride. They continue to be in great form with a winner yesterday with Midnight River and I fully expect this form to continue all spring! You can get 18/1 for him for the Coral Cup or 14/1 NRNB.

Langer Dan Relkeel

Cap Du Nord ran at Cheltenham in a race worth £13k to the winner over 3m2f at Cheltenham on New Years day and I tweeted the day before that he was not going to win or be given any sort of ride. Last year in February off a 1lb lower mark he went to Kempton and won over 3m in a race worth 85k to the winner. Why would he be trying a month before in a race worth just 13k. He finished last of 11 which actually isn’t ideal as he’s likely to be dropped 3 or 4 for that and be rated 124 ish. That could see him actually miss out on the race which would be a terrible bit of placement from his trainer. You have to think both Cap Du Nord (likely 1 or 2lb lower) and Kitty’s Light (likely 5lb lower) have either been perfectly laid out for races or have been poorly campaigned and put their participation in feature races in doubt. If Cap Du Nord does get in at Kempton then he surely goes very close again. Others in the race last year that would be interesting would include Enrilo (4th last year and would run off a 3lb lower mark) and Phoenix Way (fell last year and 2lb lower mark this year) would be 2 others that look well handicapped. I do however hope Phoenix Way goes to Ascot in late January first.

Cap Du Nord Tweet

Toothless won on debut for Paul Nicholls and won very impressively. I would suggest that he was above average for Paul as he also had Irish Hill on the card who won nicely in the feature. If a trainer won 2 races on the card then they picked up a bonus £1,000 and I would be thinking that Paul was very confident both of these would win. Toothless is the type I think that could be a target for a Imperial Cup at Sandown on the Saturday before the Cheltenham Festival and he’ll likely need to win another race before hand at some small track. Keep an eye on his entries and whether they try and win low key races with him with the plan being a handicap later this season.

Toothless Wins

Monmiral and Thunder Rock finished 2nd and 3rd behind The Real Whacker at Cheltenham in a Grade 2 Novice Chase over 2 ½ mile and I think they have both performed with great credit. It’s very possible The Real Whacker is a top class chaser and he had the proven stamina to outstay these whilst he jumped for fun at the front and won in good style. Monmiral isn’t convincing me he gets the trip however they could look at sticking to this trip but dropping him into handicap company with the Plate Handicap Chase in mind could be a possibility with him off a mark of 148. His last 3 races he has finished 2nd to Epatante (over hurdles), Jonbon and The Real Whacker (over fences) all of whom are probably Grade 1 horses. Thunder Rock looked outpaced early on at Cheltenham over the 2 ½ mile trip before running on strongly to finish a never nearer 3rd beaten just 3 lengths by The Real Whacker and just behind Monmiral. He was rated 150 coming into this race and I think his connections should be looking at running him in the Ultima Handicap over 3m at the Cheltenham Festival. He’s owned by Ian Dale and the McNeill family and the latter family sponsor the race so it would be a good race for them to win and he looks like he’s been carefully campaigned with this race in mind. Thunder Rock is available at 20/1 for the Ultima Handicap Chase (14/1 NRNB at WH)

The Real Whacker

Indigo Breeze was last seen finishing a close 2nd (beaten just ½ length) by The Real Whacker at Cheltenham in November when he actually headed The Real Whacker at the 2nd last before being outstayed after the last. If The Real Whacker is a Grade 1 horse that he looks to be then the handicap mark for Indigo Breeze which was just 136 looks a very workable mark. His previous 2nd to Banbridge over 2 ½ mile at Gowran Park also reads well with that horse going on to finish 3rd in a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse having won a Grade 2 at Cheltenham. Indigo Breeze looks very well handicapped on these 2 bits of form and his effort last year in the Coral Cup wasn’t bad as he was just starting to get closer when making a mess of the 3rd last and in a race where nothing picked up from behind on heavy going, his 8th place finish was probably a good effort. Indigo Breeze is available at 12/1 for the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Il Ridoto finished 4th in the New Years Day Handicap Chase over 2m4f after trading 1.7 in the run and has now finished 3rd, 4th and 4th over this 2 ½ mile trip and all 3 times has looked like this trip has stretched him. I think he would be better if he was dropped back to the Grand Annual in which he ran last year and finished 8th  when trading 5.1 in the run from his starting price of 32.18 XSP. I think he’s being campaigned very similar to Le Prezien who won the Grand Annual for Paul Nicholls in 2018 having finished 8th the year before. After finishing 8th, 3 of his next 4 runs came over 2 ½ mile before being dropped back to 2m for the Grand Annual. I think this will be the plan for Il Ridoto as well.

Fiercely Proud and Meatloaf finished 1st and 2nd in a Bumper at Cheltenham over just shy of 1m6f and I think the form will work out well. The only negative would be Fiercely Proud may not go on over hurdles as Iffraaj progeny don’t have a great record over hurdles and fences. Before the race I felt Meatloaf would win it and he’s arguably been beaten by a smart flat horse. Doctor Dino progeny however are very good over hurdles with the likes of Sceau Royal, State Man and La Bague Au Roi all being very good over hurdles. I think he’ll be the one from this bumper that will be worth following next season!


It’s great to see our National Hunt Horse To Follow for 2023 entered in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. Fingers crossed he goes very close/wins it!

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