Cheltenham's season gets underway tomorrow, Friday, October 26, which is day one of The Showcase.
The first day of The Showcase features two £25,000 contests, the first of which is the squareintheair.com Novices' Chase (2.35pm, seven runners) over two miles. The field includes performers who are already on the scoresheet this season, headed by Diakali (Gary Moore/Joshua Moore), a dual G1 winner over hurdles who has made the perfect start to his career over fences with two wins from two starts at Fontwell and Newton Abbot in June.
Sister Sibyl (Hughie Morrison/Tom O'Brien) brings course-winning form to the table, having taken the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Handicap Chase by 15 lengths at The April Meeting. The seven-year-old mare was subsequently second to the G1-placed Ozzie Oscar later in the same month before regaining the winning thread when successful in a novices' handicap chase at Warwick on May 23.
Morrison, who is based at East Ilsley in Berkshire and boasts a 43 per cent strike rate with his Jump performers so far this season, said today: "Sister Sybil had bit of a break over the summer.
"We were hoping to bring her back a bit earlier, but there were no suitable races and with the ground being very firm, we were not able to do any schooling in September.
"The attraction of tomorrow's race is that it doesn't affect our handicap rating. We thought of starting off back in a novices' chase was the right way to go.
"We can then hopefully look at the programme of mares' Listed races and handicaps later in the season.
"Tomorrow is a step forward to see if she can go up in grade this winter. She won well at Cheltenham in April and was in great form during the spring. A worry would be that maybe she is a spring horse, but she seems in good form.
"Hopefully, we will have a season to look forward to with her."
Other winners over the summer who go to post in the squareintheair.com Novices' Chase include One For Billy (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton), All Set To Go (Kevin Frost/Paddy Brennan), Dear Sire (Donald McCain/Brian Hughes) and Caid Du Lin (Dr Richard Newland/Sam Twiston-Davies). Completing the line-up is Storm Home (Colin Tiizzard/Harry Cobden), who was a useful novice over hurdles last season.
The second £25,000 contest tomorrow is the 'Matchbook Time To Move Over' Novices' Chase (3.45pm, five runners) over an extended three miles. The pick of the runners in this contest is the popular Lil Rockerfeller (Neil King/Wayne Hutchinson).
The seven-year-old was victorious twice at G2 level over hurdles and also took the runner-up spot in the 2017 G1 Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners. Successful over the summer in a handicap on the Flat at Glorious Goodwood, he made the perfect start to his chasing career when winning at Uttoxeter on October 7.
The opposition to Lil Rockerfeller includes Pickamix (Charlie Mann/Harry Bannister), successful at Newton Abbot over the summer, plus Treacle Tart (Charlie Longsdon/Jonathan Burke) and Arctic Gold (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies), who were first and second respectively in a Worcester novices' chase on September 28. Shannon Bridge (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton), who was G2-placed over hurdles, will be making his chasing debut and completes the line-up.
Day one of The Showcase gets underway with the £20,000 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (2.00pm, eight runners) over two miles and five furlongs. The eight runners include Havana Beat (Tony Carroll/Robert Dunne), a Listed winner on the Flat back in 2014 and successful in a conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle at Aintree's Randox Health Grand National Festival in April. Two Irish-trained contenders go to post in Got Another One (John McConnell/Sean Bowen) and Make My Heart Fly (Gordon Elliott/Richard Johnson), who were both successful multiple times over the summer.
The seven-race programme at Cheltenham on day one of The Showcase runs from 2.00pm through to 5.30pm.
The Showcase continues on Saturday, October 27, when the highlights are the £60,000 Randox Health Handicap Chase (3.10pm) over two miles and the three-mile, one furlong £60,000 Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase (2.00pm).
The going at Cheltenham is currently Good.
Today is set to be partly cloudy, with temperatures of 12 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow should be cooler, with a few showers.
With no rain forecast until a few showers tomorrow, the course has been irrigated to maintain current conditions.
Record prize money
The Showcase offers record prize money of £370,400 across the two days in 2018 - a boost of £51,400 (16 per cent) on the £319,000 in 2017. The increase is part of the £8-million cash injection announced by The Jockey Club in December of last year.
Free admission for accompanied children
Accompanied children aged under 18 gain FREE entry to the racecourse.
SoGlos Showcase Zone - The Centaur
The Showcase will host the 'SoGlos Showcase Zone', celebrating and featuring some of Gloucestershire and the West's most well-respected food, drink and craft producers, in The Centaur
The SoGlos Showcase Zone is the perfect location to indulge in unique shopping, interactive demonstrations, as well as quality food and drink from across the region - not to mention meet the SoGlos team - at what is set to become a real autumnal highlight in Gloucestershire's social calendar.
Gloucestershire's leading lifestyle media, SoGlos has worked closely with Cheltenham Racecourse to promote world-class events in the online magazine for many years.
Attending in 2018:
Movers and Shakers
Bespoke custom mobile bars, with over two decades of hospitality and bar experience. Movers and Shakers are experts at providing custom, mobile bars with highly trained bar staff.
Polo Gin produces 100% organic gins certified by the Soil Association alongside being vegan-friendly/gluten free. Steeped in history, this proudly British, quadruple distilled, handcrafted, small batch Polo Gin uses only the best organic ingredients to create some of the most flavoursome yet smoothest of gins on the market.
The Pork Peddler
Pork Peddler' s philosophy is to use top quality local free-range meat, cooking it low and slow using smoke and fire to create unique barbecue flavours. Selling hot dogs, pulled pork, brisket and halloumi burgers.
A stylish and unique pop-up bar, stocking creative and tasty refreshments that will tantalise everyone's tastebuds.
Creating creative, specialist and bespoke metalwork ranging from sculptures, railings and art.
The Indian Guy
Selling authentic Indian street food including vegetarian and vegan options and Indian snacks, featuring both hot and cold dishes.
Unique and quirky, the Gloucester Studio and Pyromaniac Chef brand tell a story behind every food dish.
Farmers Finest Scotch Egg
Sue & Eddie Farmer welcome you to try and purchase their famous scotch eggs, deli produce and freshly made sandwiches & coffee.
Cake and Sugar Boutique
Cake and Sugarcraft Boutique have been creating beautiful cakes in Cheltenham for many years. We create wedding cakes, birthday cakes, unusual designs made to order and cupcakes in Cheltenham and the wider Gloucestershire area. We also offer popular cake making and decorating lessons.
The Curry Corner
With almost 40 years' experience, the Curry Corner has a choice of dishes, always using fresh ingredients and offering a variety of flavours.
At Windyridge, we have a flair for creating cheese flavour fusions from around the world using the finest ingredients and selecting quality cheeses from across our region. Over here in the West Country of England, we've historically always liked a hands-on approach to fine artisan cheese making.
At Cotswold Riding for the Disabled, we believe that life is about what you CAN do. Our riders all have a disability whether that's physical, mental or a learning difficulty, but we are here to help them achieve the very best they can whatever the disability or whatever the age.
Furniture maker Steve Mcllveen uses attention to detail to produce beautifully crafted gifts and homeware products. The aim of Steve's workshop is to be as eco-friendly as possible. It is powered by 100% renewable energy and all waste production material is used by a local visitor attraction to power their compost toilet. All of Steve's products are made from sustainably sourced FSC approved timbers and are finished with natural oils.
Crafting intricate pebble mosaics using colours and shapes, Sue Rew can make a unique garden feature which boasts individuality.
Willow Therapy Salt Lamps
Himalayan salt lamps are decorative lights for your home that emit a warming pink glow.
The Showcase 2018 Race Programme
Friday, October 26
Time Race Distance Prize Money
2:00 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2m 5f £20,000
2:35 squareintheair.com Novices' Chase 1m 7f 199y £25,000
3:10 Brandon Hill Capital Handicap Hurdle (0-140) 2m 5f £15,400
3:45 'Matchbook Time To Move Over' Novices' Chase 3m 80y £25,000
4:20 Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle 2m 87y £15,000
4:55 Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (0-125) 3m 1f £15,000
5:30 'Matchbook Betting Podcast' Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-140) 2m 87y £15,000
Saturday, October 27
Time Race Distance Prize Money
2.00 'Matchbook Betting Exchange' Handicap Chase 3m 1f £60,000
2:35 Masterson Holdings Hurdle 2m 87y £40,000
3:10 Randox Health Handicap Chase 1m 7f 199y £60,000
3:45 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) 2m 7f 208y £25,000
4:20 Randox Health Novices' Hurdle 2m 7f 208y £15,000
4:55 'Move Over To Matchbook' Novices' Chase 2m 3f 166y £25,000
5:30 The Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race 2m 87y £15,000
Meeting Total £370,400