We’re now just over a month away from the Cheltenham Festival, but there’s still some superb racing to look forward to this week. We run through the full weeks racing and highlight the key races/meetings, with the Ascot Chase and the Kingwell Hurdle are the feature races to look forward to.
Monday 12th February
We kick off the week with a trio of meetings, including a couple of interesting jumps fixtures at Catterick and Plumpton. The feature race at Catterick (4pm) features last year’s winner Omar Maretti, who returns to his favourite track – he has a 100% record at Catterick in his career (3 wins from 3 races).
Elsewhere, there is flat action in the evening at Wolverhampton, where Godolphin have the two at the head of the betting for the feature race (6.30pm).
The entries are also announced for Saturday’s key fixtures, including the Ascot and Wincanton cards.
Tuesday 13th February
We have four meetings to look forward to on Tuesday, including over at Thurles, who host a beginners’ chase that features last year’s Champion Hurdle third Zanahiyr. He could take some stopping, but the likes of Aspire Tower and Mighty Tom will make sure he doesn’t have it all his own way.
The jumps action in Britain comes from Ayr and Lingfield, whilst flat racing fans will have an evening all-weather card to get stuck into. Roger Varian has an impressive 25% strike rate when sending his horses to Newcastle, and My Cloud is the only runner he sends there on Tuesday (5.30pm). The half-brother to the impressive Palace Pier could make a winning debut to enhance his trainer’s excellent record at the all-weather track.
Also, the fields for several of the Cheltenham Festival races will become clearer, with scratchings made from the Grade 1 novice races, as well as entries announced for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and Mares’ Chase.
Wednesday 14th February
A Further four meetings to look forward to on Wednesday, with jumps action at both Fontwell and Hereford, whilst the flat action comes from Kempton and Dundalk. The race of the day comes from the all-weather in England, in the form of a competitive class 2 handicap at Kempton (7.30pm), which features the likes of The X O, Chipstead and Fivethousandtoone.
Also on the Kempton card, Racing Club’s VIP Syndicate horse Dayzee is set to race in the Fillies’ Handicap on the card (7pm), where she takes on Crystal Casque, who just edged out our runner before Christmas. We’re hopeful our talented filly can reverse that form this time around and she should go close.
Meanwhile, at Fontwell, Jamie Snowden sends Torneo to the handicap hurdle on the card (3.20pm), aiming to follow up after his impressive win at Wetherby last time out.
Thursday 15th February
The racing picks up on Thursday with a classy card at Sandown, which features the Grade 2 Jane Seymour Novices’ Hurdle (2.30pm). Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten filly Aston Martini could bid to make it a perfect 4/4 in her career, but could face a challenge from the likes of Smiling Getaway and Little Miss Dante.
Also on the Sandown card is the Royal Artillery Gold Cup (3.05pm), where RC Syndicate horse Farceur Du Large bids to follow up his Grand Military Gold Cup win. Jockey Major Will Kellard will again be in the saddle, and he’s confident we should be able to follow up.
Declarations will be announced for Saturday’s racing, including who will line up for the two Grade 1 Ascot Chase and the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.
Friday 16th February
Friday features four meetings, with the pick of the action arguably happening at Kelso. The feature race (3.20pm) could see Giovinco aim to bounce back to winning ways, after disappointing in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
At Fakenham, Secret Investor is an eye-catching entry for the Hunters’ Chase on the card (4.15pm), whilst there’s also a competitive-looking card at Ffos Las. The sole flat racing comes in the evening at Wolverhampton.
Saturday 17th February
The stars should be on show on Saturday, with plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues to be found. Venetia Williams has confirmed L’Homme Presse should line up in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase, as he bids to cement his claim as the chief danger to Galopin Des Champs for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
There’s a couple of Grade 2’s to look forward to on the Haydock card, along with the Grand National Trial (3.15pm), whilst at Wincanton the Kingwell Hurdle (2.05pm) is one of the biggest races held at the Somerset racecourse.
For Racing Club, Dunstan is entered to run at Wolverhampton, racing in the final race on the card (8.15pm). Having battled to an impressive victory last time out, we’re hopeful of another big run!
Sunday 18th February
Sunday’s feature race comes from across the water as Punchestown hosts their Grand National Trial (2.35pm), whilst there is further jumps action in Britain at Musselburgh and Southwell.
For flat racing fans, it’s Kempton’s turn to host the Sunday evening floodlit racing, with the ‘Try Unibet’s New Acca Boosts Handicap’ (8pm) the feature race on the card.