Back To Cheltenham On Friday

Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

The National Hunt season is now in full swing with the three-day November Meeting at the home of jump racing, Cheltenham this weekend.

This is the first of three race meetings held at Prestbury Park over the winter.

Owners and trainers will prepare their charges over this unique racecourse with the Festival in mid-March very much the target.

Racing action starts on Friday and the day’s feature is the Gr2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

There are 11 declarations and the Paul Nicholls trained Hermes Allen looks the best of the English runners.

Plenty of jumps action to look forward to on Friday (Pic – Cheltenham Racceourse)

A winner of his last two of three starts, this Sir Alex Ferguson part owned juvenile now tackles raiders from Ireland in the form of the Willie Mullins trained Hubrisko and Music Drive a fellow five-year-old from the Gordon Elliott yard. The three mentioned look the main protagonists with Weveallbeencaught from the Nigel Twiston-Davies stable, unbeaten in two starts, an interesting recruit over hurdles.

Irish raider French Dynamite heads the market for Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase. This contest has the largest purse at the Meeting with winning connections in line to collect £90,032. Trainer Mouse Morris’s seven-year-old has a realistic chance of success being a Grade 3 winner last season during his novice chase campaign. He returned with a three-length win over hurdles at Thurles last month and looks to have been targeted for this race.

An open contest, with Midnight River for Dan Skelton, Paul Nicholls’s Il Ridoto and the evergreen 11-year-old Coole Cody, all very much in the mix.

Two Grade 2 events are also run on Saturday, a juvenile contest and the Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase over 2 miles.

Have you read the SPRINT?

In the latter, champion trainer Paul Nicholls saddles the progressive 5-year-old Monmiral. Recently part-purchased by Sir Alex Ferguson, he finished runner-up to champion mare Epatante in the Gr1 Betway Aintree Hurdle on his last start in April. He takes Tommy’s Oscar, the highest rated horse in the field, Pentland Hills from the in-form Nicky Henderson stables and Banbridge who raids from Ireland for Joseph O’Brien.

Sunday’s highlight is the Grade 2 Shloer Chase run over 2 miles. Seven high class chasers have been declared, but all eyes will be on the return of Alan King’s smart Arkle winner Edwardstone. This course and distance winner won two Grade 1’s and a couple of Grade 2’s last season before an over the top 2nd in the Gr1 Aintree Chase in April.

His main rival looks to be defending champ Nube Negra, trained by Dan Skelton. He was last seen finishing third behind Greaneteen in the Gr1 bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown last April and is known to go well fresh.

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