After a six month hiatus over the summer the long anticipated Showcase Meeting takes place this week at the headquarters of jump racing, Cheltenham.
The Showcase is a popular meeting with many of the top owners, trainers and jockeys having runners over the two days. This fixture marks the beginning of the year for many horses, ready to get the season rolling which will hopefully bring them back to The Festival™ next March.
The schedule for the two days is as follows:
Friday, October 27
2.00pm - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race 2m 5f £20,000
2.35pm - squareintheair.com Novices' Chase 2m £25,000
3.10pm - Brandon Hill Capital Handicap Hurdle (0-140) 2m 5f £12,000
3.45pm - Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices' Chase 3m ½f £25,000
4.20pm - Joel Dommett Here On 6th April Centaur Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (0 -125) 3m 1f £12,000
4.55pm - Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle 2m ½f £10,000
5.30pm - Experience The Theatre at The Festival Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-140) 2m ½f £10,000
Saturday, October 28
2.00pm - randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase 3m 1f £50,000
2.35pm - Masterson Holdings Hurdle 2m ½f £35,000
3.10pm - Randox Health Handicap Chase 2m £50,000
3.45pm - Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle 3m £25,000
4.20pm - Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase 2m 4f £25,000
4.55pm - Junior Jumpers The Showcase Novices' Hurdle 3m £10,000
5.30pm - Jockey Club Venues Standard Open NH Flat Race 2m ½f £10,000
Some exciting novice chasers and hurdlers are set to feature on a seven-race card on day one of The Showcase.
Racing gets underway at 2pm with the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs, which has attracted 15 entries including Mon Palois, who has been successful on both his hurdle appearances to date, and recent Uttoxeter winner Palmers Hill.
Sceau Royal, sixth in the Champion Hurdle at The Festival in March, headlines 12 entries for the Squareintheair.com Novices' Chase (2.35pm) over two miles. This useful performer won at this corresponding meeting last year. The Alan King-trained five-year-old made a winning start to his chasing career when scoring comfortably from Ballyhill at Warwick on October 5th...
Paul Nicholls has won three of the last nine renewals of the race and could this year rely on his Betfair Hurdle runner-up Movewiththetimes. Capitaine may make a quick return to action after scoring at Market Rasen last Saturday.
North Hill Harvey (Dan Skelton), successful in the Greatwood Hurdle in 2016, and recent Downpatrick winner Canny Tom for Gordon Elliott also hold entries in the Squareintheair.com Novices' Chase.
Guitar Pete scored a couple victories over hurdles as a juvenile in 2014, as well as finishing third in the Triumph Hurdle in the same year. The seven-year-old is one of the entries for the two-mile, five-furlong Brandon Hill Handicap Hurdle (3.10pm).
Nicky Richards could also be represented in the Brandon Hill Handicap Hurdle by six-year-old Caius Marcius, a four-time hurdle winner over two miles, who last raced at Market Rasen, finishing eighth in the Listed Prelude Handicap Hurdle.
Windshear who came fourth in the 2014 St Leger, and French import Dostal Phil feature among the contenders for the £10,000 Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle (4.55pm) over an extended two miles.
The second day of The Showcase on Saturday, is headlined by a pair of £50,000 contests - the randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong and the two-mile Randox Health Handicap Chase - plus the £35,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle over two miles.
Cheltenham specialist Perfect Candidate heads a strong team of Fergal O'Brien-trained runners gearing up for season.
Perfect Candidate will bid to go one better than two years ago in the £50,000 randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong, which opens the seven-race programme on the second day.
The 10-year-old, a dual winner of handicap chases at Cheltenham in 2016, bravely lumped top-weight to victory in a veterans' handicap chase at Exeter in February. He has not raced since the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree in April when he was pulled up.
The Triumph Hurdle victor Defi Du Seuil, unbeaten in seven hurdle races, is on course to make his eagerly-awaited comeback in the £35,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle. The two-mile contest, restricted to four-year-olds, is also set feature recent Dan Skelton scorer Bedrock.
And don’t forget next Sunday...
Aintree begins its season with a top class card starring the Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase. The Grade Two event honours Nicky Richards' ever-popular grey who won the race three times, including a memorable victory over dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Kauto Star in 2007. The two-and-a-half-mile race usually draws some decent entries and it should be a great contest once again.
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