WEIGHTS PUBLISHED FOR FESTIVAL HANDICAPS
Betting on the seven famous handicaps at this year’s National Hunt
Festival at Cheltenham on Tuesday to Thursday, March 16 to 18, looks
set to hot up after today’s publication of the weights.
Saturday’s Racing Post Chase hero Marlborough, winner of the 2000
William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase off a weight of 10st 3lb, has
been put up 7lb for his Kempton victory and heads this year’s race
on 11st 12lb, with the 2003 runner-up Haut Cercy allotted 10st 9lb.
Should Tyneandthyneagain, winner of this season’s Tote Eider Chase
and Skybet Chase at Doncaster, run in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap
Chase, he will have to shoulder 12st 4lb, while the Hughie Morrrison-trained
Starzaan tops the Pertemps Final on 11st 12lb.
Smurfit Champion Hurdle possible Rhinestone Cowboy could take up an alternative
engagement in the longer-distance 2m 5f Coral Cup in which he would shoulder
a top weight of 11st 12lb but would be one of only 17 of the 135 entries
in the handicap. Similarly Rigmarole’s presence at the top of the
Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle weights on 11st 12lb means
he is one of only 16 of the 109 entries in the proper handicap although
Paul Nicholls’ charge looks set to take up his Smurfot Champion
Cheltenham specialist Fondmort, whose CV includes wins in this season’s
Paddy Power Gold Cup and the 2002 Tripleprint Gold Cup, tops the Mildmay
Of Flete Handicap Chase, in which he finished second last year, on 11st
12lb, the same weight his stablemate Isio has been given at the head
of the Grand Annual Handicap Chase.
The top weights are as follows:
HILL NATIONAL HUNT HANDICAP CHASE 11-12 Marlborough
WALWYN KIM MUIR HANDICAP CHASE 12-04 Tyneanthyneagain
FINAL (HANDICAP HURDLE) 11-12 Starzaan
CUP (HANDICAP HURDLE) 11-12 Rhinestone Cowboy
OF FLETE HANDICAP CHASE 11-12 Fondmort
ANNUAL HANDICAP CHASE 11-12 Isio
O’BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE 11-12 Rigmarole