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Williams eyeing Cheltenham on New Year's Day for Clyne


CHELTENHAM offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate the New Year with a tremendous seven-race card on New Year's Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

New Year's Day at the Home of Jump Racing boasts a programme offering a total of £260,000 in prize money, with the most valuable race of the day being the £75,000 G3 BetBright Best For Festival Betting Handicap Chase (2m 4f 166y, 2.00pm).

Locally-based trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has landed this contest for three of the past five years, including in 2018 with Ballyhill.

Further Graded action on New Year's Day comes courtesy of the £35,000 G2 BetBright Dipper Novices' Chase (2m 4f 166y, 1.25pm), which often privides clues for the novices' chases at The Festival™ presented by Magners, and the £50,000 G2 Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (2m 4f 56y, 3.10pm), which went to subsequent G1 Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle third Wholestone in 2018.

Clyne (Evan Williams) made a very encouraging return this season when the two and a half-length second to Unowhatimeanharry in the G2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on November 30 - his first attempt at three miles. The son of Hernando has six victories to his name; four at two miles, one at two miles and three furlongs and the most recent over two and a half miles at Uttoxeter in March.

Clyne also finished a creditable third in the G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle at over two and a half miles at Aintree in April and the eight-year-old's trainer is considering going for the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle.

Williams, based at Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan, said today: "I was delighted with Clyne's performance in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

"It was a competitive contest against some high-quality staying hurdlers and he ran a great race.

"Cheltenham on New Year's Day for the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle would be a definite possibility at the moment.

"Clyne got outpaced early, but stayed on well at Newbury and these races look the way to go. He also likes cut in the ground.

"He is not a horse who wants to go right-handed - he showed at Newbury that he lugs to the left.

Clyne, out of the first four only once in his 18 starts, has yet to race at Cheltenham, a left-handed track.

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