Top tipster and leading commentator Simon Holt has already had an 13/2 winner at Cheltenham - don't miss his Relkeel pick.
1pt win Rapper in 12.45 Cheltenham at 13/2 (William Hill)
1pt win Pay The Piper in 1.35 Musselburgh at 6/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair)
1pt win First Street in 2.30 Cheltenham at 5/1 (General)
Shropshire trainer Henry Daly has his string in good form and RAPPER looks ready to strike too in the AIS Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Years Day.
The nine-year-old seems to run his best races in mid-winter; he won his first race over hurdles in January 2019, finished second to Skandiburg on this card in 2020 and won at Catterick over fences on New Years Day 12 months ago.
History could well repeat itself as Rapper looks to be returning to form and any improvement from his third behind Fontaine Collonges and The Big Breakaway at Haydock in November will surely see him go close.
That form is respectable enough given that the winner finished fourth behind Remastered on a track that might not have suited her at Kempton two days after Christmas while The Big Breakaway ran a fine second to The Two Amigos in the Welsh Grand National on the same afternoon.
As such, Rapper, fitted with cheek pieces for the first time, is well enough handicapped dropped 2lb for Haydock and 6lb lower than his winning mark at Wincanton last February.
Later on, FIRST STREET is fancied to add to his Newbury victory first time out in the email@example.com Relkeel Hurdle in which Nicky Henderson's charge steps up to two-and-a-half miles.
James Bowen's mount does not look the stable's first string with Nico De Boinville taking the mount on stable companion Marie's Rock but this progressive six-year-old is very consistent, progressive and has won at this sort of distance on two occasions in the past
First Street's form reads increasingly well; he defied 12stone and was giving lumps of weight away at Newbury where proving too classy for Grivetana, Teddy Blue and subsequent winner Yorksea while his second to Champion Hurdle second favourite State Man in last season's County Hurdle at the Festival was probably an even better effort, finishing powerfully at the end of a strongly-run two miles.
At Musselburgh, PAY THE PIPER could be ready to strike in the Fitzdares "Auld Reekie' Handicap Chase over the course and distance at which he was narrowly beaten by Kiltealy Briggs off a 5lb higher mark last February.
Ann Hamilton's chaser ran several other good races in defeat last season over fences behind Fiddlerontheroof, Bravemansgame and Midnight River and was not seen again after finishing a well beaten fourth at Kelso in February.
As such, Pay The Piper may have badly needed his first run back at Ayr in October, but he then took a step forward when a staying-on third over just two-miles-and-a-furlong at Kelso again last month and there should be no fitness concerns now with Sean Quinlan taking over from Danny McMenamin and providing a change of hands.
Published at 1420 GMT on 31/12/22
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