What's on this week: excitement builds up to Cheltenham's November meeting
There are four meetings in Britain to kick off the week – at Carlisle, Kempton, Newcastle and Wolverhampton – and one of the most interesting contests is Carlisle's 2m graduation chase (2.10), in which the prolific partnership of Donald McCain and Brian Hughes will have high hopes that Grade 1-placed Minella Drama can continue his impressive start to life over fences.
Lingfield plays host to the Flat Jockeys Can Jump Handicap Hurdle (3.07), with Flat stars such as Rob Hornby and Kevin Stott tackling the jumps.
There is also action from Hereford, Huntingdon, Newcastle and Fairyhouse.
Could Be Trouble will bid to maintain her perfect record since switching to Donald McCain when stepping up in grade in the Listed mares' novice chase at Bangor (1.00). Also on the card, last season's Grand National sixth Blaklion will make his seasonal reappearance in the 3m handicap chase (1.30).
Kempton’s mile novice stakes (5.00) has a plethora of attractive entries, including a couple from Charlie Appleby's in-form stable. Princesse D'Or was a 2,000,000gns yearling purchase and is a Frankel half-sister to Derby and Arc hero Golden Horn, while Makkari, by Galileo, is the first foal out of Appleby's Group 1 winner Sobetsu.
The rest of Wednesday's racing comes from Exeter and Dundalk.
The Clonmel Oil Chase (2.25) will take centre stage, with the entries including Grade 1 winners Fakir D'Oudairies and Hardline. Mount Ida, last season's winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, could make her reappearance in the Listed mares’ chase (1.55).
Market Rasen also has a Listed mares’ chase (1.40), with the first and second from last season's race set to renew their rivalry. The Henry Daly-trained Chilli Filli scored by a length 12 months ago but is 8lb worse this time with Nicky Henderson's Casablanca Mix.
Taunton, Sedgefield and Chelmsford are also in action.
It’s the opening day of Cheltenham’s November meeting, highlighted by the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (3.30). Current Mood could bid to maintain her unbeaten run since switching to the Evan Williams stable and Gordon Elliott may send last month's Limerick Listed winner Off Your Rocco from Ireland. Dan Skelton's Grade 1-winning novice hurdler My Drogo could make his debut over fences in the November Novices' Chase (2.20) and the card also features the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (2.55).
Last year Roger Varian won the 1m2f maiden at Newcastle (1.25) with future Group 1 winner Teona and this time he has entered Voodoo Queen, who is by Frankel out of Varian’s Group 1-winning two-year-old Cursory Glance.
Action also comes from Worcester and Kempton.
Once again all eyes will be on Cheltenham as the November meeting continues, with four races live on ITV Racing. Top of the bill is the £160,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.15) for which the Skelton-trained Protektorat is the ante-post favourite. The always informative card also includes the Grade 2 Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (12.30) and a Grade 2 novice chase (1.40).
Punchestown's two-day winter festival opens, and there is also racing at Wetherby, Uttoxeter and Wolverhampton.
The Cheltenham November meeting comes to a conclusion, highlighted by the Grade 2 Shloer Chase (2.20) which is set to feature Put The Kettle On, who won the race last season en route to Queen Mother Champion Chase glory.
The second day of Punchestown's winter festival features the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle (2.05) and the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase.
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