A very happy new year to you and it's great to have Cheltenham racing to get us going on the first day of the new year!
There are 16 runners in the Paddy Power New Year's Day Handicap Chase at Cheltenham but it is those with proven course form that I am concentrating on.
The three horses I narrowed this handicap chase down to are Coole Cody, Zanza & Alnadam. The handicapper was rather lenient on the 11yo Coole Cody who is up just 4lbs for winning the valuable Racing Post Gold Cup (formerly Caspian Caviar Gold Cup) here in December. Zanza finished two lengths behind Coole Cody that day and was raised 2lbs for finishing second, but I think he can win today on more testing ground.
Zanza has been a work in progress over fences but has put in two good efforts now around Cheltenham placing behind Midnight Shadow and Coole Cody. He is a hold up horse and that tactic has helped him to settle nicely. I thought he stayed on powerfully up the hill here in December with the horse not needing much encouragement from jockey Tom O’Brien. The application of first-time pieces should help him focus on his jumping better and today the door might finally open for Zanza to win a big pot.
1 Point Each Way Zanza 7/1 William Hill 6 places else 13/2 Paddy Power & Skybet, both paying 6 places.
Compare Odds at https://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing/cheltenham/14:00/winner