As the new jumps season starts, we head back to the West Country and glorious Cheltenham to start off with a bang. The Irish trainers love Cheltenham and the course will be flush with them over the next few days. After five months of no racing at Cheltenham, the course will be filling up nicely to host another great season of jump racing with the culmination being The Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Taking an overview of today’s racing, we’ll give you the most talked about runners and riders in the start of another exciting season.
Starting at the beginning, with the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle, running at 2.10: This is a class two race over two miles, five furlongs and twenty-six yards and the going is good. One thing I will say is there is a noticeable drop in prize money from flat to hurdles. Today’s prize is £10K for this first race.
Heading up the field of only five runners is El Bandit, the Paul Nicholls-trained horse has the best form and is only likely to progress; odds on El Bandit today are Evens with Ladbrokes and most other bookies.
This is quite an open field, It being small and nearly all five runners are similar in form so anything could happen. Second favourite is Black Warrior, trained by the Irish trainer C Byrnes. Again not much between Black Warrior and El Bandit, so odd this morning on Black Warrior are 5/2 with William Hill.
Heading on to the next race at 2.45, Squareintheair.com Novices Chase, another class two with eight runners and the prize money goes up to £12K. A slightly bigger field and Paul Nicholls has representation in this race too, in the form of Marracudja. The favourite again with odds of 2/1 with Coral this morning.
Running as second favourite is Aristo du Plessis, trained by James Ewart and ridden by Richard Johnson today which could make all the difference. Odds today are 9/2 with Bet365.
There are two Irish horses in the running for this race, Ridastan and Neverushacon, both had a great season last time out and are on the up.
Good Luck today.