Sneaked in among the top-class international Flat racing this weekend is Cheltenham’s final fixture of the season; Race Night featuring hunter chase racing.
This is Cheltenham’s only evening fixture of the year. Seven races are planned, giving the amateur riders and trainers a chance to compete at jump racing’s most famous venue.
After this, our blog will back for the Showcase Meeting scheduled for October 27th and 28th. For now, we have information on all seven races this Friday night at Prestbury Park, beginning with the extended two-miler.
4.50 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 5) – FIER JAGUEN
Our opening selection may go off favourite, but it’s easy for us to see why. Bradley Gibbs’ eight-year-old was in a similar position at Aintree in April in the Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase too, though he couldn’t win that time.
Going back over more traditional fences now, he can get back to winning ways after looking very smart in his point-to-point wins.
Caryto Des Brosses is next on our list. He went to Newbury for a similar sort of race to this one in March but wasn’t seen to best effect. If showing his true colours this time however, he has a fair chance at a nice price.
5.25 (Point-to-Point Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – ALL IS TRUE
Gina Andrews will be a popular jockey here and she gets the ride on All Is True. The six-year-old has won his last three point-to-point races and is truly on a roll.
He was an easy winner by a big margin in a Garthorpe point-to-point back in March and it could be that he is just about the best of the bunch here in what is a competitive, well-matched field.
Lift Me Up knows how to win in PTP’s too and was under rules at Newbury so is feared most, along with Camdonian and Theshoddytradesman.
6.00 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – TRIO FOR RIO
11-year-old Marcle Ridge has a fantastic profile for point races and also won this very race in 2019. Another big race is surely on the cards for Lucy Smith’s runner, but it’s another former winner we’re backing to do the job.
Trio For Rio took this race down in 2021 and 2021, so he could be a very well named victor if scoring again. His recent runs in PTP races suggest he remains capable and he is a strong shout to land the hat-trick.
6.35 (Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – PREMIER MAGIC
The feature race of the evening is run over the Gold Cup course across 3 miles, 2½ furlongs of the New Course. In it, we reckon likely strong favourite Premier Magic will not let backers down.
Premier Magic actually won here at the Cheltenham Festival back in March and if he’s in even similar form to that he cannot be opposed here.
Back then, he was handed cheekpieces to wear for the first time but we’re sure they’ll have the same effect now and his opposition is naturally much weaker.
There are a number of contenders in behind who are looking for a scalp. Rebel Dawn Rising looked booked for a comfortable win last time out at Fakenham before unseating. With no such mistakes made this time, he could have a big shout for a place.
Another to note is Dandy Man. Though he pulled up during the Cheltenham Festival, he did take this race twelve months ago and so clearly this is all to his liking. Encounter A Giant is one more who could add some spice to the contest.
7.10 (Mares’ Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – HIGHWAY JEWEL
Bradley Gibbs could well be set for a pretty successful night at Cheltenham on Friday. One more of his who looks set to go very well is his nine-year-old Highway Jewel.
Highway Jewel has been running very well indeed in his point-to-point races, in fact he took his last race by some 20 lengths. He also boasts winning Cheltenham form and has very little against him in this race so is the clear pick for us.
Solid behind him is the mount of Darren Andrews, Singapore Saga. Sent off an 11/10 shot up against Shantou Flyer in April at Exeter, he couldn’t manage better than second there but if Highway Jewel is not at the same level, he has a very live chance. For info; Shantou Flyer runs later on the card.
One who won very easily in a Hunters’ Chase at Stratford when last seen is Sine Nomine, meaning Fiona Needham’s runner cannot be discounted either by any means.
7.45 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – LAW OF GOLD
It’s great to see Step Back in this race, the 2018 bet365 Gold Cup winner who was last seen running in the Foxhunters’ at Aintree during the Grand National Festival. Before that, he was second in a Hunters’ Chase at Carlisle and remains of interest.
We could be in a good position to get a strong favourite beaten here. The horse in question is the aforementioned Shantou Flyer who won that Exeter race by 18 lengths and was a good third in the Hunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Arguably better is Law Of Gold. Though we haven’t seen him under rules for a good while, he won a point-to-point race in February and retains his form, form that would see him outdo Shantou Flyer. He was beaten in a close finish in this race last year and looks in good shape to go one better this time.
8.17 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 5) – MAGIC SAINT
In this last race at Cheltenham Racecourse until the end of October, Magic Saint is taken to get the better of a potential battle between some well-known horses such as him, Not That Fuisse and Paloma Blue.
Paul Nicholls’ Magic Saint wasn’t too hot at Aintree but he looked excellent beforehand at Wincanton. The Aintree form doesn’t worry us at all and he looks best placed to win this.