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Festival Winners Set for Cheltenham Return at The Showcase
Day Two of the Showcase on Saturday, October 19, features an excellent seven-race card headed by a pair of £50,000 handicap chases that could see Festival heroes Oiseau de Nuit, Finger Onthe Pulse and Balthazar King return to Cheltenham.
Oiseau de Nuit, successful in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual in 2011, heads 22 entries for the Equus-Fine Dining At The Festival Handicap Chase (2.35pm). The two and a half-mile contest could also feature last season's Byrne Group Plate runner-up Vino Griego, Tanks For That and French import Vif Argent, who may make his debut for David Pipe.
Other notable entries include Tingle Creek Chase second Kumbeshwar, last year's runner-up Easter Meteor and Finger Onthe Pulse, successful in the Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in 2008.
Michael Scudamore is hoping for rain for his stable star Monbeg Dude, who could make his seasonal return in the £50,000 Showcase Trophy (3.45pm) over an extended three miles. The eight-year-old also holds an entry in the £10,000 Jools Holland Here On 9th November Novices' Hurdle (2.00pm, 15 entries) over the same distance.
Monbeg Dude captured the Murphy Group Handicap Chase at The Open last year before going on to take the Welsh National following a thrilling battle with Teaforthree. He returned to Cheltenham for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival, in which he was pulled up behind Bobs Worth.
A total of 22 entries for the Showcase Trophy also includes the 2012 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase scorer Balthazar King, who is seeking a hat-trick of victories in the race, Well Refreshed and Sire Collonges, who scored at The Showcase in 2012.
Scudamore reported: "The intention is for Monbeg Dude to run at Cheltenham, but I haven't decided which option he will take up. Hopefully, there will be a bit more rain this week as the softer, the better for him.
"He has done really well over the summer - he has strengthened up and looks like he has come on a little bit - and we are really pleased with him. He has had a couple of schooling sessions, which went really well and should hopefully put him in good stead for the rest of the season.
"We gave him an entry in a novices' hurdle because he seems ready to run and there is little in terms of staying chasing opportunities at this time of the season. We can make use of the fact that he is a novice and build his season from there.
"He is a good staying handicapper and wasn't quite up to Gold Cup standard last season. I can see a little bit of improvement to come from him but it would take a hell of a step up for us to run him in that level again.
"The whole season will be made around the Welsh National again. If everything went fine there and he jumped well, then we would have a look at Aintree if everybody is happy."
Recent winners Princely Player, Creepy, Oscar Magic and Foxcub may bid for more glory in the Go Racing With mcphersonracing.co.uk Handicap Hurdle (4.25pm, 30 entries) over two miles and five furlongs.
Balder Succes, successful at Chepstow on Saturday, could make a quick reappearance in the two-mile £20,000 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase (5.00pm, 11 entries), while the action concludes with the £7,000 Have Your Christmas Parties Here NH Flat Race (5.30pm, 30 entries).
The £30,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (3.10pm) has reopened until 11am on Tuesday, October 15.
The going at Cheltenham is currently Good.
Simon Claisse, Head of Racing, South West Region & Cheltenham's Clerk of the Course, commented: "We were forecast five to six millimetres of rain over the weekend but finished up with 22 and the going is now Good all round.
"The current forecast is for unsettled conditions this week."
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 Showcase Trophy 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