Cheltenham Racecourse's season comes to a close tomorrow, Friday, May 5, with the Hunter Chase Evening offering an exciting seven-race programme for amateur riders plus a live DJ set after racing performed by Greg James of Radio 1.
The racing action gets underway at 5.10pm and runs through to 8.25pm, with the feature race of the evening being the Timico Mixed Open Gold Cup Final Hunters' Chase (6.45pm, 13 runners), which is the richest race ever staged at the popular Hunter Chase Evening.
Run over an extended three and a quarter miles, the Timico Mixed Open Gold Cup Final Hunters' Chase is the culmination of a 14-race series across the country. In order to qualify for the final, horses need to have finished in the first three of any of the Timico-sponsored qualifiers or have won a men's, ladies' or mixed open point-to-point.
Last year's runner-up in the equivalent race, Barel Of Laughs (Philip Rowley/Mr Alex Edwards), sets the standard in the Timico Mixed Open Gold Cup Final Hunters' Chase after a close third at 100/1 behind Pacha du Polder and Wonderful Charm in the St James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup at The Festival on March 17.
The 11-year-old, nicknamed Chuckles, has since recorded a comfortable three and a half-length victory in a men's open point-to-point, the Lady Dudley Cup, at Chaddesley Corbett on April 15.
Trainer Philip Rowley, who is based in Shropshire, said today: "Barel Of Laughs is in great form.
"He did it very easily at Chaddesley and it was a nice prep race for this. He was a good second last year and has come on again since then.
"He ran a great race in the Foxhunter and I don't see why he should run any differently tomorrow. I just hope the ground is OK for him."
Also in tomorrow's contest are Arkose (Tim Thrilby/Mr William Thrilby), who won the first qualifier in the series at Ampton in January, and Ni Sin E Mo Ainm (Alexandra Bell/Miss Alexandra Bell), who was successful in the qualifier staged at Barbury Castle in February.
Talkonthestreet (Chris McSharry/Mr Billy Garritty), The Wealerdealer (Ian Chanin/Mr Michael Legg) and Curraigflemens (David Kemp/Mr Shane Roche) all triumphed in open point-to-points on their latest appearance.
Elsewhere on the card, popular veteran chaser Big Fella Thanks (Tom George/Mr Noel George (5)), trained locally, is the headline act in the concluding GX Landrover Open Hunters' Chase (8.25pm, 14 runners) as he bids for back-to-back victories in the extended two and a half mile contest.
The 15-year-old chaser looked as enthusiastic as ever on his latest start when third in the Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase with 17-year-old (now 18) Noel George up at Aintree on April 6, which remarkably was the eighth time Big Fella Thanks has completed in races over the Grand National fences during his career.
To celebrate the end of the season, BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James will be performing a live DJ set after racing, flying in to Cheltenham immediately after his radio show, which ends at 7pm.
The Greg James DJ set takes place in the Centaur from 9.05pm to 10.15pm. It will be preceded by a live band performing from 8.30pm to 9.05pm. Entry to the Centaur is via wristband. Wristbands are available to Club/Tattersalls ticket holders or can be purchased separately for £10 on the day.
The Hunter Chase Evening is the final chance to see racing at Cheltenham Racecourse for almost six months. The gates open tomorrow at 3.30pm.