What a weekend! Star names set to shine at Down Royal and Wetherby
Jump racing moves up another gear on Saturday with two scintillating contests either side of the Irish Sea that could have ramifications for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and Randox Health Grand National.
At Wetherby, former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree has been given the thumbs up to contest the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase. The ten-year-old is one of ten declared for what should be a mouthwatering Grade 2.
That is because his opponents include the evergreen and ever-popular Cue Card, back for a ninth season, and Blaklion, a leading contender for the Grand National, for which he went off favourite this year.
Grand National pointers are also in the offing at Down Royal, where Aintree second favourite Our Duke heads a high-class field of eight for the Grade 1 JNwine.com Champion Chase.
The progressive seven-year-old, trained by Jessica Harrington for the Cooper Family Syndicate, takes on the likes of More Of That and Road To Respect, who represent the Irish powerhouse owners of JP McManus and Gigginstown.
Between them, the two owners are responsible for 13 of the 16 runners in the JNwine.com Champion Chase and the Grade 2 Mycarneedsa.com Chase, in which only one runner does not carry their silks.
Both owners are sure to be strongly represented at the Cheltenham Festival next year, which is where Lil Rockerfeller is being pointed.
Runner-up in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle in March, the six-year-old tops seven declared for the Grade 2 bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby.
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