Irish-trained superstars set to dazzle at the Dublin Racing Festival
Another week where rain and sub-zero temperatures are set to cause havoc across racing begins with a day which has already been depleted following the cancellation of Hereford's fixture.
A jumpers’ bumpers card has been arranged at Lingfield after the track was forced to cancel Tuesday's meeting, while Sedgefield hosts the only traditional jumps fixture of the day across Britain and Ireland.
The reliable Tapeta and Polytrack surfaces at Wolverhampton and Dundalk ensure there will also be two Flat fixtures to focus on.
The Dan Skelton-trained Proschema, who was sent off 5-1 for the Greatwood Hurdle in November, features among declarations at Newcastle (3.55), which follows in Lingfield’s footsteps by hosting a jumpers’ bumpers card in place of its cancelled jumps fixture.
Southwell stages a seven-race all-weather card in the evening.
The Listed Mares’ Chase at Warwick (3.05) is the highlight of the day and could feature 2019 winner Happy Diva taking on the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Annie Mc, who landed a Listed mares’ race at Doncaster at the end of December.
Nicky Henderson’s Triumph Hurdle contender Heross Du Seuil, who runs in the Shishkin colours of owners Joe and Marie Donnelly, could also line up at Warwick (12.55).
A seven-race card on Kempton’s all-weather track can keep you entertained into the evening, plus an additional Flat meeting at Lingfield in the afternoon.
Weather permitting, Wincanton stages a seven-race jumps fixture where some top staying chasers will vie for The Dick Hunt Trophy (2.10). Last year’s runner-up The Kings Writ attempts to go one better up against the likes of Springfield Fox and Shantou Flyer.
Further jumping action comes from Ffos Las in Wales and Down Royal in Northern Ireland, while Chelmsford and Southwell host all-weather fixtures on a busy day of racing.
Catterick will attempt to make it third time lucky in their attempt to stage racing following the cancellation of the track's last two fixtures.
Tolworth Hurdle second Shakem Up’Arry, who trainer Ben Pauling believes will develop into a top-class chaser, could continue his education over hurdles at Chepstow (1.50).
Elsewhere, Lingfield and Newcastle host seven-race all-weather cards.
The week explodes into life with a bumper weekend of action headlined by the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, which features eight Grade 1s across two days of top-notch racing.
Cheltenham Festival clues will be plentiful, with Champion Chase favourite Chacun Pour Soi bidding to win the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (1.35) for the second time. He could face a tough challenge, however, in the shape of Ryanair Chase-winning stablemate Min.
Several of Ireland’s leading novice hurdlers are set to do battle in the opener (1.05), and the level of Shishkin’s challenge at Cheltenham should become clearer after Energumene lines up in the Irish Arkle (2.10).
Unbeaten mare Honeysuckle bids to defend her Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle crown (3.15) for trainer Henry de Bromhead, but faces stiff competition from the yards of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
In Britain, Sandown hosts Grade 1 action of its own with the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (2.20) on a card which could yet feature the Cotswold Chase and Cleeve Hurdle if they are rearranged following the cancellation of Cheltenham’s Trials day.
There is more jumps action from Wetherby, and Musselburgh stages the opening day of its two-day Cheltenham Trials meeting where the Edinburgh National is the feature race. All-weather fixtures at Kempton and Lingfield offer variety for Flat fans.
The Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (3.40) takes centre stage as four more Grade 1s headline a terrific Leopardstown card.
Delta Work and Minella Indo are both on redemption missions after failing to complete in the Savills Chase at Christmas, while the second and third that day, Kemboy and Melon, are set to line up again in a quality field.
Three of the most exciting juveniles either side of the Irish Sea – Zanahiyr, Quilixios and French Aseel – could face off in the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle (1.40), and Supreme favourite Appreciate It bids to maintain his unbeaten record over hurdles in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle (2.10).
The Flogas Novice Chase (3.10), won in memorable fashion by Faugheen last year, could see Monkfish and Latest Exhibition renew their rivalry.
Supreme and Triumph Hurdle trials are run at Musselburgh and Southwell completes the action with a seven-race all-weather card.
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