Lots to enjoy over both codes as jump jockeys' title race reaches thrilling end
A busy week gets under way in hectic fashion with seven fixtures across Britain and Ireland. Plenty of eyes will be trained on Hexham, where the duel to be crowned champion jockey continues as Harry Skelton enters Brian Hughes's territory in the north.
The defending champion has seven rides booked compared with Skelton’s five as he bids to reduce the gap at the top.
There is more jumps action at Market Rasen and Kempton, which host evening meetings, while Limerick and Tramore race in Ireland.
For Flat fans, the feature race at Pontefract is the Pontefract Marathon (2.00), the longest Flat handicap race in Britain, while there is also an eight-race card at Windsor.
Racing returns to Epsom where John and Thady Gosden could unleash unbeaten Derby hopeful Uncle Bryn in the Listed Blue Riband Trial (2.15). Gosden snr won this contest in four successive years from 2015 to 2018, including with dual Champion Stakes hero Cracksman.
William Haggas sends two to Yarmouth looking to continue a fantastic run of form which saw him land a Group 3 treble over Newmarket and Newbury’s meetings and Group 1 glory in Australia with Addeybb last week.
The sole jumps fixture of the day comes from Sedgefield and there is evening all-weather action from Wolverhampton and Southwell.
Perth’s three-day jumps festival begins and champion trainer in-waiting Paul Nicholls has a strong squad of entries as he closes in on a record-breaking season. The biggest star on show could be his Albert Bartlett sixth Threeunderthrufive, who is in line to compete in the Listed novice hurdle (2.30).
Ludlow races in the afternoon, Taunton hosts an all-hurdles evening card and there is Flat action from Catterick, Dundalk and Lingfield
Racing continues at Perth with the Thank You Phil Nelson River Tay Handicap Chase (2.55) the feature race of the day. Nicky Henderson and Dan Skelton head the list of entrants with the 144-rated pair Pistol Whipped and Born Survivor.
In Ireland, Rachael Blackmore is eight wins behind Paul Townend in the race be champion jockey and she could be in action on Kilbeggan's seven-race card.
The action does not end there with jumps fixtures at Warwick and Exeter, while Flat fans are catered for with meetings from Beverley and Chelmsford.
Last year's star miler Palace Pier could make his return to action in the Group 2 bet365 Mile (3.00), part of a hugely exciting card at Sandown which will be broadcast live on ITV4.
Several more Derby hopefuls will be on show in the Group 3 Classic Trial (3.35), and Sir Michael Stoute bids for a fourth successive Gordon Richards Stakes (2.25) triumph with Dante runner-up Highest Ground.
The conclusion of Perth’s festival is headlined by the William Hill Highland National (2.40), which has attracted 39 entries with a maximum field of 16. Hopes of another home National success may rest with the Nick Alexander-trained Chanting Hill.
The afternoon's action is completed by Doncaster's Flat fixture while Chepstow and Worcester host evening jumps meetings.
The long-running battle between Harry Skelton and Brian Hughes will be decided as the curtain is brought down on the 2020-21 jumps season at Sandown where a high-class seven-race card featuring four Graded races.
The highlight is the Grade 1 Celebration Chase (3.05), which could see the return to action of superstar Altior, who has won the last three runnings.
Dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux has never raced in a handicap but could carry top weight in the bet365 Gold Cup (3.40) for trainer Paul Nicholls, who is looking for a fifth victory in the 3m5f contest.
The action is complemented by a pair of Grade 2s, the Select Hurdle (4.15) and the Oaksey Chase (2.30), where the winner will earn the Menorah Challenge Trophy, named after the four-time winner of the race.
Elsewhere, Flat racing returns to Haydock and Leicester hosts the Listed King Richard III Stakes (2.10). Ripon also races in the afternoon and there are evening meetings from Doncaster and Wolverhampton
What better way to finish the week than with some top-notch Flat action at Navan courtesy of the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes, which could play host to a top-class field.
Joseph O'Brien has entered his Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment, while Irish Derby winner Santiago could line up for his father Aidan.
Prix du Cadran winner Princess Zoe, one of racing's greatest success stories last season, is also in the line-up for trainer Tony Mullins, but she needs to bounce back after a disappointing return effort at the Curragh.
In Britain, there are Flat fixtures at Salisbury and Wetherby.
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