Cheltenham betting tips: Ballyhill and I Can’t Explain among New Year’s Day punts

Horsebetting.com experts give their Cheltenham betting tips for January 1. I Can’t Explain  scored in terrific style last time out, so rates the NAP follow-up in the Listed 2m 4f Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Trial that gets proceedings underway on a cracking seven-race card. Ballyhill is our next best bet to land back-to-back runnings of the Grade 3 2m 4f handicap chase. De Name Evades Me, meanwhile, looks to hold solid each-way claims in the 3m handicap hurdle For full details on these horses, read our in-depth preview and Cheltenham betting tips for New Year’s Day below.

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Odds
8/11
NAP
I Can't Explain
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Odds
5/1
NB
Ballyhill
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Odds
8/1
E/W
De Name Evades Me
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I Can’t Explain a strong fancy in Ballymore Trial

I Can’t Explain scored in terrific style on debut under rules for trainer Nicky Henderson and looks a worthy favourite to follow-up in the Listed 2m 4f Ballymore Trial that gets proceedings underway on a super seven-race New Year’s Day card at Cheltenham (12:15).

This six-year-old was impressive when landing his sole start in an Irish point by 12 lengths and never gave his supporters an anxious moment when sent off a heavily-backed 11/8 favourite when landing a 10-runner contest at Sandown last month.

After racing prominently on the heels of the leaders under a confident Nico De Boinville, the son of getaway was produced to take up the running two from home. When his rider then let out an inch of rein, he quickly drew clear before the last to easily beat Phoenix Way by five lengths.

Value for more than the winning margin

I Can’t Explain won with any amount in hand, and it was a most taking display which suggested he had a huge future and needed keeping firmly onside. The third home Hold The Note, who was beaten a further 3 1/4 lengths, has also come out and won since to give the form a boost.

There was simply nothing not to like about the way in which I Can’t Explain got the job done, and he is currently a top-price 25/1 for the actual Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. This obviously demands more and will confirm if he is a leading contender for that contest.

He certainly has the potential to take high rank among this season’s novice hurdlers and hails from a yard that continues to bang in the winners. So, taking everything into account, I Can’t Explain looks the one to be on and is fully expected to prove up to the challenge and take this en route to better things. Hence he features as the main punt in our Cheltenham betting tips for January 1.

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Ballyhill worth a bet to retain crown

Ballyhill scored in fine style last time out, so looks worth a wager to defy a rise in the weights and follow-up in the the Grade 3 2m 4f handicap chase (14:00). This Nigel Twiston-Davies trained eight-year-old has won two of his 10 starts over fences and has a 50 per cent strike rate over the trip.

The first of those successes came in this 12 months ago where the son of Al Namix beat Shanout Flyer by 1 3/4 lengths off a mark of 133. After being held-up, Ballyhill made stealthy headway to take up the running three form home and only had to be driven out on the run-in to score a shade cosily.

Although now 11lb higher in the weights, he comes into the contest having returned to form in no uncertain fashion when landing a competitive 10-runner affair at Aintree by 3 1/4 lengths from Caltex. That was a most taking display, but the handicapper was similarly impressed and has whacked him up 10lb.

However, Ballyhill scored with real authority and it it may well not be enough to stop him going in again despite now having to race off a career-high rating of 144. Connections are also sure to have had this as a target for Ballyhill and he comes into this year’s renewal in much better form than 12 months ago.

He is also versatile as regards ground, so everything looks in place for him to make a bold bid to retain his crown. Ballyhill therefore rates our next best bet among our Cheltenham betting tips for January 1 during a terrific seven-race New Year’s Day card.

De Name Evades Me appeals each-way

De Name Evades Me is a promising and unexposed sort who looks decent each-way value in the 3m handicap hurdle (14:35). The six-year-old is an Irish point winner who has improved with every outing in five starts over the obstacles since joining trainer Fergal O’Brien.

Although no match of easy 13-length winner Dinons in a six-runner affair here on seasonal reappearance, the son of Vinnie Roe stuck to the task well against a progressive rival now rated 145. It was an effort full of promise and De Name Evades Me then a good attitude to open his account under rules at Warwick when responding well for pressure after the last to beat Captain Cargo by 1 1/2 lengths off an official rating of 125.

De Name Evades Me was well on top at the finish and has since run well on handicap debut at Newbury when a staying on 10 1/2 lengths third to Vive Le Roi off an opening mark of 125. That effort suggested his current rating was not beyond him and he now meets the winner on 9lb better terms.

So, given that he still looks a work in progress and appeals as the type to go on progressing, De Name Evades Me looks weighted to go well in this of a lowly weight of just 10st 2lb. That’s why at the odds on offer he had to be the each-way punt in our Cheltenham betting tips for January 1.

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