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Horse Racing

Cheltenham – Saturday 1st January 2022

Saturday 1st January 15:10

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides his second EW selection for New Year's Day, this time in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Guard Your Dreams 13/2 Cheltenham 15.10
each-way (3 places)
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 31/12/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (09:39 31/12/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Somewhat surprisingly, in my lifetime and on the records that I can find, the International Hurdle/Relkeel Hurdle double has not been accomplished. Apologies if somewhere back in the deep and distant the big mid-winter Cheltenham Grade 2 double was landed, but my point remains that it seems tricky to do so.

Given the personal instant recollection of many horses who were equally adaptable between 2m and 2m4f, I found this something of a revelation.

Nigel Twiston-Davies doesn’t deal in revelations, he just deals in tough and hardy horses it seems – in particular some very classy ones like Khyber Kim, The New One, Ballyandy and Wholestone. All of these durable and doughty hurdlers have won either the International Hurdle or the Relkeel Hurdle for the master of Naunton.

Guard Your Dreams surprised a few with the pace he showed to win the International Hurdle at Cheltenham three weeks ago, not least his jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, who readily admitted he thought his father was mad for running him in it, rather than wait for what he thought was the more suitable Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day.

Guard Your Dreams, it seems, is surprising even those close to the horse, and has perhaps also hoodwinked the bookies into generous early quotes to win the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at 3.10 at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

At 13/2 each-way with Betfred, for a crucial 3 places each-way in this 7-runner affair, Guard Your Dreams is quite markedly overpriced in my estimation.

Classy, improving, durable, an ability to stay very well but with an inherently fast cruising speed, and the capability of handling all types of ground – all ingredients sprinkled liberally over Guard Your Dreams it seems, and which will combine to produce another improved effort in the Relkeel Hurdle I believe.

The tempting nature of the 13/2 price is as much about the very obvious chinks in the armour of others in the race. Brewinupastorm was very good at Aintree on his reappearance, but has never looked at home around Cheltenham. McFabulous is very good, no doubt, but it wouldn’t be Paul Nicholls’ style to have him at fever pitch, when more suitable targets on better ground in the spring lie ahead.

Indefatigable is solid if unspectacular, while Stormy Ireland will give them something to aim at, but much like Brewinupastorm, I’m not sure Cheltenham suits her.

So, it could be left to the strong stayer On The Blind Side to perhaps be the chief danger to Guard Your Dreams, particularly if the pace set up drags the field into the long grass, where the grinding On The Blind Side will be right at home. At 14/1 each-way with Betfred, On The Blind Side wouldn’t be the worst saver to have.

But, for the second bet on this New Year’s Day, after yesterday’s Musselburgh recommendation, make sure it is the 13/2 each-way with Betfred about Guard Your Dreams to win the Relkeel Hurdle, and notch up a previously unprecedented Cheltenham mid-winter double.

Maybe given both New Year’s Day bets are with Betfred, you could combine them in an each-way double for an extra boost to the beginning of 2022!

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