For this media pack in PDF format, please click HERE
A total of 844 entries are revealed today, including 272 from Ireland, for the 10 handicaps at The Festival.
The first handicap of the meeting is £110,000 G3 Ultima Handicap Chase (83 entries) over three miles and a furlong on Champion Day, Tuesday, March 13. Singlefarmpayment (Tom George) was beaten a short-head in this race last year and could bid to go one better.
David Pipe captured the last two renewals with Un Temps Port Tout and has four contenders to choose from including promising novice Ramses De Teille. Leading Randox Health Grand National contenders Gold Present (Nicky Henderson) and American (Harry Fry) are also entered.
Champion Day concludes with the £70,000 Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase over two and a half miles, which has a revised ratings band this year of 0-145. Testify (Donald McCain) tops the 78 entries, having made it three from three this season in a G2 event at Haydock Park last month.
Nicky Henderson has two contenders in Rather Be and Divine Spear. Irish challenger Peregine Run (Peter Fahey IRE), a G2 scorer at Cheltenham over hurdles last season, Barney Dwan (Fergal O’Brien) and Mount Mews (Ruth Jefferson) are also engaged.
There are 119 entries for the £100,000 G3 Coral Cup over two miles and five furlongs on Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 14, including the 2016 winner Diamond King (Gordon Elliott IRE).
Other high-profile names include Listed Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle scorer William Henry (Nicky Henderson), Betfair Hurdle runner-up Bleu Et Rouge (Willie Mullins) and recent Sandown Park winner Topofthegame (Paul Nicholls).
Mitchouka (Gordon Elliott IRE) and French import Casa Tall (Tom George) top 42 entries for the £80,000 G3 Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle over two miles on Ladies Day.
Course scorer Thomas Campbell (Nicky Henderson) is one of 52 entries for the £100,000 G3 Pertemps Final Network Handicap Hurdle over three miles on St Patrick’s Thursday, March 15.
Irish handler Patrick Kelly and owner Philip Reynolds have teamed up to win the last two renewals with Mall Dini and Presenting Percy. They are chasing the three-timer with the lightly-raced novice Eagle Lion.
Last year’s Close Brothers’ Novices’ Handicap Chase victor Tully East (Alan Fleming IRE) is among 94 entries for the £110,000 G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs on St Patrick’s Thursday. Go Conquer (Jonjo O’Neill) and Patricks Park (Willie Mullins IRE), both successful in valuable handicaps this season, may also run.
Grand National contender Abolitionist (Dr Richard Newland) is on course to warm up for Aintree in the £70,000 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (77 entries) on St Patrick’s Thursday. Pendra (Charlie Longsdon) and Mall Dini (Patrick Kelly IRE), who were second and fifth last year in a bunched finish to the three and a quarter-mile contest, could reoppose.
Leopardstown G1 Ryanair Hurdle hero Mick Jazz (Gordon Elliott IRE) and Hunters Call (Olly Murphy) headline 88 entries for the £100,000 G3 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle on Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 16.
Ireland’s champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins has won four of the last eight renewals. Mullins’ 16 entries include Bleu Et Rouge, 2017 Melbourne Cup third Max Dynamite and recent G3 scorer Sandsend.
Flawless Escape is one of 19 contenders for Gordon Elliott in the £75,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (146 entries) over two miles and a half miles on Gold Cup Day. Elliott took the spoils in 2017 with Champagne Classic.
Elliott’s big rival Willie Mullins has won the race three times in the last seven years. Among Mullins’ 19-strong team are Duc Des Genievres, who took second behind Samcro at Leopardstown last time out, and Carter McKay.
The final race of The Festival, the £110,000 G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase over two miles, has attracted 65 entries. Rock The World (Jessica Harrington IRE) could bid to become just the third two-time winner of the race and the first since Dulwich in 1974 and 1976.