Simon Holt bids to get 2019 off to the best possible start with a trio of tempting wagers on the quality card at Cheltenham.
Recommended bets: Tuesday, January 1
SOME CHAOS, an improving horse with a light weight, is fancied to gain his third success of the season in the Join The Betbright Racing Club Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.
Already a winner at Bangor and Market Rasen this season, the lightly-raced eight-year-old was then a creditable second at Wincanton behind Reikers Island, arguably an unlucky loser under top weight in Saturday's Mandarin at Newbury.
But for jumping right at various fences and then blundering at the last, Some Chaos's conqueror would have almost certainly defied a sharp hike in the weights.
Much improved since joining Michael Scudamore this term, the selection's victories at Bangor and Market Rasen were both boosted by the second-placed horses next time, and there should be more to come here in the hands of Ben Poste.
Later on, in the Download The Betbright App Handicap Chase, HAPPY DIVA can provide a welcome change of fortune for her trainer Kerry Lee.
Lee's horses have been out of form for much of the season but this mare is probably the most consistent horse in the yard and was travelling well until being brought down in the BetVictor Gold Cup here (Old Course) in November.
A creditable second to Mister Whitaker on her previous start, Happy Diva's scalps last season included last week's Kempton winner Adrien De Pont and Ron's Dream, who ran well in the Welsh Grand National, and she is a rock-solid jumper who doesn't know how to run a bad race.
Aso will be a danger to all under top weight if reproducing the fluency of his reappearance Newbury win, and he boasts good form at Cheltenham.
However, a rise of 8lb takes him up to a mark of 158 which probably requires a career-best performance.
Finally, AUX PTITS SOINS is taken to show the benefit of his recent course comeback behind Vive Le Roi in the Simplify Horse Racing Selections with Betfinder at Brightbet Handicap Hurdle.
Fifth that day, his first run for Dan Skelton having been off the track since April, 2017, the eight-year-old ran as if slightly needing the race and now gets a 9lb pull with the winner.
On his best form, Aux Ptits Soins is extremely well handicapped having split Zarkandar and Agrapart in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock just under two years ago when rated 150 (now 141) and, earlier in his career, he made an immediate impression on his British debut when taking the Coral Cup at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.
Posted at 1555 GMT on 31/12/19.