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What's on this week: Champion Hurdle ace Epatante all set for Fighting Fifth

Epatante: Champion Hurdle winner is in line to return in the Fighting Fifth on Saturday
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What better way to start the week than with the sight of Shishkin making his chasing debut at Kempton in the 2m2f beginners' contest (1.25). 

Last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner returns to action in a race won by stablemate Altior four years ago, and Nicky Henderson has labelled Shishkin the most exciting horse he has sent over fences since. 

A quality card at Kempton also features the Listed Racing TV Mares' Hurdle (2.00) in which last season's Martin Pipe winner Indefatigable heads the ratings.

Fixtures at Musselburgh and Ludlow complete the jumps action, while there are all-weather meetings at Dundalk and Chelmsford.


Punchestown takes centre stage with a seven-race card, featuring an informative novice chase (1.00), which was won by subsequent Grade 2 scorer Salsaretta 12 months ago. Popular cross-country specialist Josies Orders is set to run over the banks in the Ballymore Group Risk Of Thunder Chase (12.30).

Sedgefield and Southwell provide the jump racing in Britain and Lingfield and Wolverhampton host all-weather fixtures.


Caribean Boy, an impressive winner for Nicky Henderson on his last start at Haydock in February, looks an interesting prospect and could reappear at Wetherby in the intermediate chase (1.50).

Nicky Henderson: Caribean Boy could be one of the trainer's runners in a big week

Hereford also stages a seven-race jumps card, with all-weather enthusiasts well catered for at Lingfield, Dundalk and Kempton.


Back to Ireland for the best of the action with Thurles staging a seven-race card that is likely to throw up some exciting types, particularly in the beginners' chase (12.25), which has been won by Royal Rendezvous, Jett and Tully East in recent years.

Lingfield and Taunton complete the jumps action, with Southwell and Chelmsford racing on the all-weather.


Day one of the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting at Newbury is sure to get pulses racing during this exhilarating part of the season. 

There will be star names in abundance for the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (3.00) with Lisnagar Oscar and Paisley Park – the last two winners of the Stayers' Hurdle – set to face emerging forces McFabulous and Thyme Hill.

With a rich history of producing superstars of the future, the Grade 2 novice chase (1.50) is another race not to be missed.

Jumping also takes place at Doncaster, with Southwell and Chelmsford completing the British line-up.


A veritable feast of top-class racing with the Ladbrokes Trophy (3.00) at Newbury taking place alongside the Fighting Fifth (2.05) at Newcastle. 

The Conditional could bid to go one better in the Ladbrokes Trophy

Last year's runner-up The Conditional, who went on to win at the Cheltenham Festival, is prominent in the Ladbrokes Trophy betting, while the Harriet Graham-trained Aye Right could be a leading contender for the north after his comeback third in the Charlie Hall Chase.

All eyes will be on Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante should she make her intended comeback in the Fighting Fifth. Sceau Royal, Ribble Valley and Silver Streak are expected to head the opposition.  


The week finishes with a bang at Fairyhouse, with no fewer than three Grade 1s on the card.

The Hatton's Grace Hurdle (2.35) is the main event and unbeaten Cheltenham Festival winner Honeysuckle could return in a race she won last year. The Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (1.05) and Drinmore Novice Chase (1.35) are the other top-flight contests on a superb card.

The British fixtures come from Carlisle, Leicester and Ffos Las.

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Day one of the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting is sure to get pulses racing
E.W. Terms