Racing Returns to Cheltenham with The Showcase
The new season at Cheltenham starts with The Showcase on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19 and Hampshire trainer Emma Lavelle is targeting the two days of exciting action at the Home of Jump Racing.
Saturday’s seven-race card features a pair of £50,000 handicaps, including the Equus-Fine Dining At The Festival Handicap Chase (2.35pm) over two and a half miles, which Lavelle is going for with last year’s runner-up Easter Meteor.
The lightly-raced seven-year-old found subsequent Paddy Power Gold Cup third Nadiya De La Vega two and a half lengths too strong 12 months ago, but followed up in emphatic fashion over just short of two and a half miles at Doncaster in December.
After that success by four and a half lengths, he returned to Cheltenham in April and finished fourth behind Champion Court in the Grade Two MacMillan Cancer Support Silver Trophy over two miles and five furlongs.
Lavelle said: “Easter Meteor will run in the Equus-Fine Dining At The Festival Handicap Chase. He was second in the race last year and it looks an ideal place to start him off.
“He came back from his summer break very well and it has taken a little bit of time to get the weight off, but he looks great and seems to be working nicely.
“My horses weren’t right for a lot of last season and he needs nice ground, so consequently he had a light campaign.
“He is rated 144, but I think he is a nice horse and hopefully he will be competitive. He also loves Cheltenham and galloping tracks like that seem to suit him best.”
Lavelle is also considering the £20,000 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3.15pm), one of the highlights of Friday’s card, for last season’s Pertemps Final runner-up Captain Sunshine. The seven-year-old ran a number of fine races in defeat last term, but has not won since taking a novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham in April, 2012.
Lavelle added: “Captain Sunshine will probably run in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
“Touch wood, he seems to be in great order and, like Easter Meteor, he prefers better ground – he ran a blinder in the Pertemps Final on nice ground.
“We will see how he gets on next week, but afterwards he could go on and compete in conditions’ hurdles over three miles.”
About The Showcase
Cheltenham’s October meeting was renamed The Showcase in 2007 and moved to its present Friday/Saturday slot. The popular two-day meeting, takes place on October 18 and 19, offering record prize money of £288,000 (up from £275,000 last year). The Showcase is a natural starting point for horses returning from their summer breaks and is often used in preparation for The Open (Friday, November 15 – Sunday, November 17 inclusive) at Cheltenham.
Saturday’s card is headlined by two £50,000 handicap chases – the Equus-Fine Dining At Festival Handicap Chase (2.35pm), which takes place over a similar distance as the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open, plus the Ryman The Stationer Handicap Chase (3.45pm), run over an extended three miles.
The Showcase gives racegoers the chance to go behind the scenes and find about more about Cheltenham and Jump Racing. There will be guided tours of the Parade Ring and Weighing Room before racing, as well as various activities and displays in Hurdlers’ Hall.
The gates open at noon on both days. The first race is at 2.10pm on Friday and 2.00pm on Saturday. Please find more details at www.cheltenham.co.uk and through Twitter (@CheltenhamRaces) and Facebook www.facebook.com/thehomeofjumpracing
About Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Racecourse is situated in Prestbury on the outskirts of the historic spa town of Cheltenham. The Home of Jump Racing, Cheltenham Racecourse is the venue for the world’s pre-eminent Jump Racing meeting, The Festival, which takes place in March every year. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Racecourse is a stunning natural amphitheatre and offers the highest-quality action throughout the Jump season.
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