Cap New Year’s Day with a winner
Chris Wilson has a selection for every race on Sunday, with Cap Soleil fancied to land the finale at Cheltenham.
Clan Des Obeaux: Second at Cheltenham
CATTERICK: 12.25 Master Of Irony, 1.00 Crakehall Lad, 1.35 Jovial Joey, 2.10 Good Tradition, 2.45 Discoverie, 3.20 Snapping Turtle.
CHELTENHAM: 12.15 Coo Star Sivola, 12.50 Vyta Du Roc, 1.25 CLAN DES OBEAUX (NAP), 2.00 Village Vic, 2.35 Zeroeshadesofgrey, 3.10 Lil Rockerfeller, 3.40 Cap Soleil.
EXETER: 12.40 Neon Wolf, 1.15 Capeland, 1.50 Coeur Blimey, 2.25 Zanstra, 3.00 Charmix, 3.30 Bramble Brook, 4.00 Mr Clarkson.
FAIRYHOUSE: 12.20 C'est Jersey, 12.55 Bargy Lady, 1.30 Top Othe Ra, 2.05 Sutton Manor, 2.40 Fagan, 3.15 Garrai Phaidin, 3.45 Next Destination.
FAKENHAM: 12.45 Rathealy, 1.20 Amber Gambler, 1.55 Djarkalin, 2.30 Sutter's Mill, 3.05 Marquis Of Carabas, 3.35 Arctic Ben.
MUSSELBURGH: 12.30 Nietzsche, 1.05 Misfits, 1.40 Pain Au Chocolat, 2.15 Very First Time, 2.50 Mirsaale, 3.25 Dominada.
SOUTHWELL: 12.05 Private Donald, 12.35 Pulsating, 1.10 Obboorr, 1.45 Highland Acclaim, 2.20 Philba, 2.55 Anton Chigurh, 3.30 Playful Dude.
TRAMORE: 12.00 Adreamstillalive, 12.30 Broughtons Star, 1.05 Thekingofrocknroll, 1.40 Let Her Cry, 2.15 Alelchi Inois, 2.50 Motown Bob, 3.25 Paper Lantern.
DOUBLE: Clan Des Obeaux and Vyta Du Roc.
Clan Des Obeaux can welcome in the new year with a towering performance in the BetBright Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
Paul Nicholls' young chaser dazzled at Newbury in November and is a solid shout to follow up in this nearly-always-informative Grade Two.
Clan Des Obeaux hardly looked a superstar on his chasing debut at Chepstow in October, but he at least served notice of what was to come in a race that has worked out really well.
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The Ditcheat resident then headed to Newbury for a Grade Two novice chase, won in recent times by the likes of Denman, Bobs Worth and Coneygree, over two and a half miles.
Sean Bowen's partner took the lead at the third fence, and the referee may as well have blown the whistle there and then.
Clan Des Obeaux was simply superb in Berkshire, and hardly had to engage anything other than first gear to cosily account for subsequent Grade One runner-up Virgilio by 10 lengths.
Reassuringly, Nicholls was keen to pinpoint the Dipper as the next staging post for a horse who gallops and jumps like an old-hand – rather than one who has had just six starts under Rules.
The Nicky Henderson duo of OO Seven and Whisper are obvious dangers, but Clan Des Obeaux gets 5lb from the Seven Barrows runners and unquestionably has the scope for greater progress at this stage of their respective careers.
Henderson can earlier hit the target with Vyta Du Roc, who takes the plunge in the BetBright-sponsored handicap chase over three miles and two furlongs.
His staying-on sixth in the Hennessy at Newbury tends to suggest he is in decent spirits right now, so should be followed accordingly.
Vyta Du Roc unsurprisingly found Thistlecrack far too good over hurdles during his novice campaign but fences seemed the logical step last term and he was far from disgraced in winning two of his five starts, including the Reynoldstown at Ascot.
Blaklion was too sharp in the RSA Chase at the Festival so it was a good shout from Henderson to pitch him into the Scottish National in April to see just what he could do over a real staying trip, with the experiment resulting in a perfectly respectable fifth-place finish.
Vyta Du Roc was perhaps not streetwise enough to really make his presence felt and he shaped with plenty of promise when third over hurdles on his return at Aintree in November.
He did not quite have the necessary change of pace to trouble the leaders in the Hennessy, but that run should have got his mind back on the job.
Sporting a first-time tongue-tie, this looks a nice race to show exactly what he can do.
Mirsaale is back at a more appealing level in the totepool Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh.
Trainer Keith Dalgleish clearly thinks a heck of a lot of this chestnut, who got to within two and a quarter lengths of Moon Racer in a Supreme trial at Cheltenham in November.
He was then outclassed in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, but the fact he was even running in a race like that speaks volumes.
Even in spite of the presence of Cheltenham Festival winner Superb Story, who has to shoulder a lot of weight, Mirsaale must have every chance.
Coeur Blimey can get off the mark over hurdles by winning a small race at Exeter.
Trainer Sue Gardner adores this gelding, who claimed the scalp of Ballyandy in a Listed bumper in 2015, but he really needs to be winning sooner rather than later in his new vocation.
His jumping must improve, but he does have an engine and everything should come together nicely in the Billy Williams Memorial Maiden Hurdle.
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