Run this coming Friday and Saturday, Cheltenham’s October meeting, the first of the new season at the Home Of Jump Racing, was renamed The Showcase in 2007 and went into a Friday/Saturday slot for the first time after being run in mid-week previously.
The Showcase used to clash with British Champions Day, but moved a week later for the first time in 2015.
The popular two-day meeting, which offers record total prize money of £375,000 in 2019 (up from the £370,400 in 2018), is the natural starting point for horses returning from their summer breaks and is often used in preparation for The November Meeting (Friday, November 15 – Sunday, November 17 inclusive) at Cheltenham.
The Saturday card of The Showcase is headlined by two £60,000 handicap chases, starting with the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong.
Cheltenham specialist Balthazar King, trained by Philip Hobbs, landed the spoils three years on the bounce in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Balthazar King won eight times in all at Cheltenham and gained the biggest victory of his career in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at The Festival™ presented by Magners in 2014.
Midnight Chase was successful in the 2010 ‘Matchbook Betting Exchange’ Handicap Chase and the Neil Mulholland-trained gelding proved to be a real star at Cheltenham throughout the 2010/11 season, also capturing valuable handicaps at The November Meeting and The International (in December) before finishing that campaign with a fine fifth in the Gr1 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Midnight Chase, whose first Cheltenham win came in a novice chase in April, 2010, enjoyed a fifth and final victory at Cheltenham in the Gr2 Cotswold Chase in January, 2012.
We will provide an updated analysis closer to the meeting on Friday.