There should be plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues at the track on Saturday after some quality entries were released – but the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase was reopened.
The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, a precursor for the event in March which carries the same name, has attracted 14 to Cheltenham this weekend – including Challow Hurdle winner Champ.
Nicky Henderson has also entered Birchdale, who was a late absentee from the Leamington Spa at Warwick recently.
Warren Greatrex’s unbeaten Emitom, Olly Murphy’s highly regarded Brewin’Upastorm and Fergal O’Brien’s Jarveys Plate add further strength in depth.
Also entered is Dan Skelton’s Not That Fuisse, who will be stepping up in class after winning at Taunton last time out.
“We will probably go there on Saturday, but I don’t know how he comes out on ratings,” said Skelton.
“He looked good the other day, stepping up in trip. It is a big step up in grade again – but you have got to be brave this time of year. If you can find out now where you should be going, it makes spring a little bit easier.”
The JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle received 16 entries – with the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned pair of Torpillo and Adjali setting the standard.
Gordon Elliott has entered Chief Justice, Flat To The Max and Surin – while Joseph O’Brien could run Band Of Outlaws, Fakir D’oudairies, Fine Brunello.
Paul Nicholls’ French import Dogon, the unbeaten pair of Fabianski and Nelson River and Alan King’s Our Power are others to consider.
Mick Channon’s impressive Kempton winner Glen Forsa looks the one to beat in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase.
The connections of Lough Derg Spirit, who finished behind him at Christmas, are happy to have another crack, though.
“The form at Kempton keeps being franked – Glen Rocco (second) and Dell Oro (fourth) have both won since, so we’ll give it another try,” said Ryan Tongue, racing manager to owners Mike Grech and Stuart Parkin.
Kildisart, Highway One O One, Movewiththetimes and War Sound are among 26 possibles.