Ed Quigley: Expect Fireworks at Cheltenham

I want to see the rain continue to arrive at Prestbury Park for ALNADAM, who would be my best bet on the card in the Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase at 2.00. He is an individual who comes alive with the mud flying, so the likely Soft underfoot conditions will help his cause. He was being aimed at the December Gold Cup at this venue three weeks ago, but the required rain did not materialise so as a consequence he missed the gig. Habitually, he is a horse that improves significantly for his seasonal reappearance (has won second time out each of the last three seasons) and was given a sighter at Haydock when last of four behind Bravemansgame in November. That run would have removed the ring-rust and a bold show can be expected here over his ideal trip

Advice: Alnadam, 2pts win 11/2 (bet365)

Maximum Faith in Maximus

I AM MAXIMUS can take the step up in class and trip in his stride by landing the opening Listed contest, The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 12.15. Soft ground should be fine for the six-year-old, and he looked smart when staying on well up the Cheltenham Hill in a bumper to win on his debut last year, seeing off subsequent Grade 1 winner My Drogo. After finishing third on his hurdling debut at Exeter in November, he produced a much more polished performance to land the odds in good style at Newbury last time out, doing all his best work in the closing stages. He can notch back to back wins here and put himself in the mix for some of the big spring prizes on the back of doing so.

Advice: I Am Maximus, 1pt win 6/4 (Hills)

An Elite Longshot in the Dipper?

OSCAR ELITE has been a little underwhelming over fences to date, but this looks a realistic opportunity to strike in the Paddy Power Dipper Novices’ Chase at 1.25. Underfoot conditions were on the quick side at Huntingdon last time out where he faded up the home straight into third, but he will be much happier with juice in the ground here. He was in the process of running a big race on his chase debut here in November before falling three out and is still unexposed. The gelding had some very smart novice hurdle form last year when coming runner up in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, and then coming third behind Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame at Aintree. He looks an each-way player.

Advice: Oscar Elite, 0.5pts e/w 12/1 (Coral)

Edward Quigley

Edward Quigley

Ed Quigley joins us weekly to provide his weekend watch tips and his long-term antepost armchair Monday column.