Racing at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day is always a brilliant occasion – and I’ve got a couple of tips that will hopefully see you begin 2023 in style.

Starting with Paul Nicholls’ MONMIRAL in the G2 Dipper Novices’ Chase over 2m4½f at 1.20.

The six-year-old has always been held in the highest regard at Ditcheat, but following a brilliant juvenile campaign in the 2020/21 season, he underwhelmed in open company last term.

Chasing was always going to be the game for this strapping son of Saint Des Saints though, and he made what I now consider a promising debut over the bigger obstacles.

He was well beaten by the short-priced Arkle favourite Jonbon that day at Warwick in the middle of November, but it’s what he did from the last fence to the line that caught my eye.

Staying on well, this step up in trip should be perfect for him, which should see him improve big time – and for the run, experience, etc…

This isn’t the strongest Dipper you’ll ever see, and Monmiral might just be a class above his rivals on Sunday.

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For my second and final tip, I’m going for another Nicholls inmate. For the same owners too, in fact.

IL RIDOTO must have a cracking chance of winning the New Year’s Day Handicap Chase – again over 2m4½f – at 1.55.

Nicholls wasted no time with this five-year-old French recruit last season, sending him straight over fences despite being just four at the time.

He didn’t rip up trees by any means, but showed obvious ability on occasion – especially in his last run of the campaign, when a respectable third in Grade Two company despite doing plenty of things wrong.

Il Ridoto reappeared this term in the Gold Cup Handicap Chase over course and distance in November, and I thought ran a blinder to finish fourth, just five lengths behind the winner Ga Law, given he made a race-ending mistake at the last.

He would have gone close that day, so when you consider him improving for the run as he’s more than entitled to, plus the fact he’s been dropped a pound by the handicapper, I’m expecting him to go very close.

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