New Year’s Day Racing | Belle with a Lion’s heart

Cheltenham Festival 2024

What better way to kick off 2024 than some New Year’s Day Racing across the likes of Cheltenham, Fairyhouse, and Tramore?

As many will know, Cheltenham is a local track of mine and as such, I’ll be attending Monday’s meeting, but horses are running in both the UK and Ireland that I’m keen to keep onside.

So, for the first column in 2024, here are my full fancies.


Win Bets

12:30 Tramore – Belle The Lioness @ 4/1

Embed from Getty Images

Anyone who took note of my pre-Cheltenham Festival chat around the Grade 2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle will know my love for Belle The Lioness.

She didn’t live up to my hype when it came to March, but with a summer on her back and race fitness on her side, I’m backing her to return to the winners’ enclosure on her handicap debut.

The seven-year-old first came onto my radar after her staying-on second to Liberty Dance, a 131-rated mare, at Thurles in December. The Model Kingdom was back in third, who is also rated in the 130s, and she managed to get relatively near Impaire Et Passe on her next start at Punchestown.

Although she was disappointing at Wexford in November, her run suggests that she either badly needed it or hated the ground. With form on soft to heavy from her bumper victory in April 2022, one would suggest that it was her lack of race fitness that contributed to her defeat.

Hopefully, Henry de Bromhead has her back because off a mark of 119, I think she could be well-handicapped.


2:10 Exeter – Geezer Rockstar @ 7/4

Over at Exeter, another horse who I’ve been excited to see this season is Geezer Rockstar and he is set to make his second start over hurdles.

Harry Fry’s five-year-old was slightly disappointing on hurdles debut at Taunton last-time-out, but I’m not willing to give up on him based on what he showed at Taunton in a bumper in April.

Furthermore, the opposition at Exeter doesn’t look the strongest; Pentire Head is probably his best rival based on his second to Johnnywho at Taunton in March, but he is still a work in progress and will likely be better next season.

With this in mind, Geezer Rockstar deserves respect and has plenty of scope to return to the winners’ enclosure.



3:50 Cheltenham – La Marquise @ 5/2

Embed from Getty Images

In the last at Cheltenham, La Marquise impressed immensely on her first start at Stratford in early November.

Having spoken to Jamie Snowden prior to her first run, he was hoping for a good run though she was always going to come on for her debut outing.

She certainly did produce a “good run” as the four-year-old by Beaumec De Houelle, a first-season sire who beat Pic D’Orhy in the Grade 1 Prix Cambaceres in 2018, quickened away nicely on soft ground to win by two lengths. Gavin Sheehan only required one use of the whip at Stratford, so there should be more to come.

Both the second, Love Tree, and the fifth, Dameofthecotswolds, have won since, so hopefully La Marquise can oblige in receipt of weight from the boys.


Each-way Bets

1:20 Catterick – Chase A Fortune @ 12/1

Small fields have made each-way options difficult at Cheltenham, though there’s a chance that Chase A Fortune could be well-handicapped over at Catterick.

The Chris Grant-trained six-year-old has underperformed in handicap company this season which has been slightly surprising based on his 15-length maiden hurdle success over course and distance in February.

Looking at his previous form in novice hurdles, the Cannock Chase gelding was racing against eventual 120-rated horses like Chapel Green, Don Hollow, and Astromachia.

Since then, the handicapper has dropped him to a mark of 105 and with his previous form on soft ground, today could see him return to his best.


2:40 Cheltenham – My Bobby Dazzler @ 12/1

Embed from Getty Images

In a race full of questions – namely, if a few improving horses can handle a rise in the weights – it looks as if My Boby Dazzler could do some damage off a handy mark of 119.

Mel Rowley’s nine-year-old has a fair record around Prestbury Park based on his two fourth-place efforts in the 2021-22 season.

Although he has promising form on good ground, namely when behind The Changing Man and Young Butler in a valuable handicap at Haydock in April, he bolted up on deplorable ground in December 2021 off a mark of 118.

Connections tried their hand at fences with My Bobby Dazzler and he did well to win at Worcester in June before a good fourth at Ludlow on his last start, though the Malinas gelding is back over hurdles which should suit him.

His last few runs have suggested the old spark is still there and if that is the case, today could be a good day to keep the faith.

Live Horse Racing Odds

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.