The “new year, new me” phrase has well and truly make its annual comeback and I am no stranger to throwing the mantra around. However, the “new me” in 2015 bore a striking resemblance to the 2014 version from a punting perspective. I still managed to scupper myself at every turn. Much like the Irish millionaire aristocrat, whom upon filing for bankruptcy was asked by the judge, “you were born into riches, you had everything going for you. Where did it all go wrong?” to which the now penniless man replied, “2m 6f novice chases”.

I won’t go into what I find is a rather vulgar run down of all the big priced winners I uncovered through 2015. I feel those who do should be made to tally the losers as well. Suffice to say I managed to keep the wolf from the door, but the hound is still circling the property.

Automation was my crippling factor in 2015, but I maintain there are legs in system betting and I will continue my work into the New Year. In a world of efficient markets, thus accurate prices, I’m of the thought that the modern punter should be taking advantage of the small price discrepancies of which a computer can find easier than this sausage-fingered punter. The very heart of my punting, which has been my saving grace will remain the rigorous form study and race watching that’s served me well over the years, and despite a drop off toward the latter half of the year I hope has brought a few shekles your way too. The final tally of P&L from this column looked healthy for 2015, so please stop with the hate mail mum.
Onto today’s racing…

Heading north of the boarder to Musselburgh for their 13:35 Premier chase handicap I’m hoping that DOCTOR PHOENIX can continue to improve from his most recent win at Haydock being dropped in class for today’s race, which looks to be littered with exposed horses. Will have to carry top-weight in ground with cut in, but being out of Dr Massini should suit him fine. There’s been money for SAINTS AND SINNERS, which being out of the Easterby stable can be telling, but makes the price of our selection all the more attractive. A general 7/1 chance across the board.

The first race that I’ve delved into at today's cracking Chetltenham meeting is the 14:30, because why not start the New Year off attempting to decipher a 16-runner handicap hurdle? However, there’s one in the field that despite being harshly raised 13lb from his last win looks to have come down (2lb) to a weight that he can overcome and that runner is BATAVIR out of the David Pipe yard, who aren’t in the best of form with just 15 runners from their last 122 runners. Having just his seventh start today he’s been dropped in class and gets in off 10.12 for today’s contest and can take full advantage of that. Is a general 9/1 chance.

The staying hurdling division isn’t the most enthralling this season and many of the world hurdle protagonists line-up in today’s 15:05 Relkeel hurdle at Cheltenham. TOP NOTCH quite rightly heads the market looking for his sixth straight win and there’s likely to be good support for COLE HARDEN as he plots to retain his world hurdle crown. However, looking to spoil the party is WHISPER who disappointed last time out on his seasonal renewal, but with that tune up run behind him can get back to winning ways and start to chart his course toward the Cheltenham festival. Is a general 13/2 chance, but can be had at 7/1 on the machine.


The very best of luck to all parting with cash today, and I wish you a wonderful 2016.