This weekend sees the start of the three-day November meeting at Prestbury Park with nation hunt fans eager to get a look at some of the best horses in training.
The flat season is over and as the trophies were handed out at Doncaster on Saturday to Champion Jockey Richard Hughes and his father-in-law Champion Trainer Richard Hannon, the eyes of the racing world firmly turned to the jumps season.
This weekend will see Cheltenham Racecourse, the self-titled ‘Home of jump Racing’ host their first meeting of the year and fans of the ‘Sport of Kings’ will be eager to see what the season ahead will bring as the world’s best Jumpers head to the Gloucestershire course.
The Highlight of the meeting will of course be the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, the grade 3 handicap over 2m4f will see 18 of the country’s best novice chasers from last season tackle the famous course as fully fledged thoroughbreds.
With many owners and trainers looking to get the season off to a flying start, many will have been boosted by the defection of early favourite Dynaste, after his trainer David Pipe told supporters he had opted to save him for next weekend’s meeting at Haydock and the Betfair Chase via twitter.
Pipe tweeted: “Ballynagour will be our only runner in the Paddy Power Gold Cup @CheltenhamRaces on Saturday.”
It is thought that the competing in the Betfair Chase will be the perfect stepping stone as Dynaste looks to take home the prestigious William Hill King George VI chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, the same venue as his triumph in the Feltham Novices’ Chase last term.
Of those left to contend this Saturday’s valuable handicap, Champion Court leads the market at 5/1 and the 169 rated chaser appears to be going in the right direction after running a big race in the King George VI last season before a poor spring.
As with all handicap’s you cannot rule out a David Pipe trained runner and the above mentioned Ballynagour is sure to be backed in from his current price of 8/1 as is the Nicky Henderson trained Finnian’s Rainbow who has ran well at Cheltenham for the last few season’s winning the 2012 running of the Queen mother Champion Chase at the festival.
Racing is back my friends, and I for one can’t wait.
Racing Fans, Who are you most looking forward to see this season?
image: © Paolo Camera