Coologue could bid for back-to-back victories in the randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase (2.00pm, 25 entries) this weekend, one of two £50,000 handicap chases at Cheltenham on day two of The Showcase, this Saturday, October 28.
Coologue, trained by Charlie Longsdon near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, teamed up with Richard Johnson to win the three mile, one furlong contest in tenacious fashion 12 months ago. The eight-year-old, who was last seen out when finishing third in a handicap chase at The April Meeting, will run off the same handicap rating (140) as last year.
The only multiple winner of the randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase so far in 10 runnings is Balthazar King, who triumphed three years on the bounce between 2011 and 2013.
Longsdon said today: "At this stage, Coologue could well run at Cheltenham.
"He is also in at Kelso the same day and I am yet to have a good look at the entries, but he won the randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase last year and quite naturally that would look the preference at this stage.
"It has always been the plan to get him ready for this weekend, so you would hope he can go close again.
"The main aim for him this season is to get him up the handicap so that he can get into the Grand National. That is what we are thinking at the moment.
"I am also looking forward to seeing Midnight Shot in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase (4.20pm, 12 entries).
"He has been a fun, progressive horse over the summer and won a nice race at Uttoxeter last time. We also have quite a nice young horse called Way Out West in the Jockey Club Venues Standard Open Bumper (5.30pm, 25 entries).
"We got him at the sales after he won first time out at Sedgefield."
Also among the other entries for the randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase are promising second-season chaser Singlefarmpayment (Tom George), who was just touched off by Un Temps Pour Tout in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase at The Festival, and Viconte Du Noyer (Colin Tizzard), winner of last season's G3 BetVictor Handicap Chase at The Open.
Dual course victor and likely top-weight Perfect Candidate (Fergal O'Brien) is also engaged alongside lightly-raced eight-year-old Robinsfirth (Colin Tizzard) and in-from summer jumpers Braqueur d'Or (Paul Nicholls) and Sonneofpresenting (Kim Bailey).
Fox Norton was the star of show on this day last year when running away with the £50,000 Randox Health Handicap Chase (3.10pm, 20 entries) for Colin Tizzard. He subsequently finished second in the G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Festival before going on to G1 triumphs at Aintree and Punchestown.
The two-mile contest has attracted 20 entries this year including 158-rated chaser Vaniteux, who has moved from Nicky Henderson to David Pipe, last season's G2 Racing Post Arkle Trial victor Le Prezien (Paul Nicholls) plus Double W's (Malcolm Jefferson) and Theinval (Nicky Henderson), who were first and second in the G3 Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree's Grand National Festival in April.
Other eye-catching names include Irish G1 victor Some Plan (Henry de Bromhead), recent Newton Abbot victor Sizing Platinum (Colin Tizzard), who was second last year, and course scorer Foxtail Hill (Nigel Twiston-Davies).
The highlight over hurdles at Cheltenham on Saturday, the £35,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle for four-year-olds, has reopened for entries until 11am tomorrow, October 24.
Cheltenham's seven-race programme on Saturday is completed by the £25,000 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3.45pm, 32 entries) and Junior Jumpers Novices' Hurdle (4.55pm, 17 entries), both over three miles.
The going at Cheltenham is currently Good.
The Showcase, which start's Cheltenham's new season, commences with another fascinating seven-race card on Friday, October 27.
As well as all the action on the track, racegoers will also be able to get behind the scenes of "The Sport of Kings" at The Showcase. There will be guided tours of the Parade Ring and Weighing Room before racing, as well as various activities and displays about the sport.
Tours will take place approximately every half an hour, starting from The Plaza, once gates have opened, up until half an hour before the first race.
The Showcase Food & Drink Zone, staged for the first time in 2014, returns to The Centaur to demonstrate all that is great about the food and drinks producers of the Cotswolds.
The racecourse sits in the heart of the Cotswolds and there are many amazing elements of the region that will be celebrated in The Showcase Food & Drink Zone.
Stands include those from local companies such as Pie And Might Pies, The Old Chapel Fudge Company and Severn Cider.
A full list of stands can be found here: http://cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk/the-showcase-food-and-drink-zone
Friday, October 27
2.00 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race 2m 5f £20,000
2.35 squareintheair.com Novices' Chase 2m £25,000
3.10 Brandon Hill Capital Handicap Hurdle (0-140) 2m 5f £12,000
3.45 Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices' Chase 3m ½f £25,000
4.20 Joel Dommett Here On 6th April Centaur Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (0 -125) 3m 1f £12,000
4.55 Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle 2m ½f £10,000
5.30 Experience The Theatre at The Festival Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-140) 2m ½f £10,000
Saturday, October 28
2.00 randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase 3m 1f £50,000
2.35 Masterson Holdings Hurdle 2m ½f £35,000
3.10 Randox Health Handicap Chase 2m £50,000
3.45 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle 3m £25,000
4.20 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase 2m 4f £25,000
4.55 Junior Jumpers The Showcase Novices' Hurdle 3m £10,000
5.30 Jockey Club Venues Standard Open NH Flat Race 2m ½f £10,000