Cheltenham's new season continues on Saturday, October 27, day two of The Showcase, with a fascinating seven-race card including a pair of £60,000 handicap chases.
Leading Somerset-based handler Paul Nicholls has enjoyed a good start to the 2018/19 Jump season, which included a quickfire double at Kempton Park yesterday.
The 10-time champion Jump trainer has entries for day two of The Showcase, Cheltenham's opening meeting, spearheaded by Modus, who could line up alongside stablemate Tommy Silver in the £60,000 Randox Health Handicap Chase (3.10pm, 13 entries) over two miles.
Eight-year-old Modus, who is owned by J P McManus, justified odds-on favouritism in three contests over fences last season before finishing eighth in the G1 JLT Novices' Chase at The Festival™ presented by Magners in March and fifth in the G1 Big Buck's Celebration Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree's Randox Health Grand National Festival in April.
Tommy Silver put up his best performances last season when winning a beginners' chase at Leicester and finished third in the G2 Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas.
Nicholls reported today: "Modus has been in good form at home and, with the ground as it is at the moment, Cheltenham on Saturday is a possibility.
"He stays further than two miles, but he likes decent ground and that's where he could start.
"Tommy Silver's in good form and we'll stick to chasing again with him this year.
"He's only a six-year-old and is still improving. He could start at Cheltenham as he's ready to run."
The 13 entries for the Randox Health Handicap Chase also include last year's winner Foxtail Hill (Nigel Twiston-Davies) plus Bigmartre (Harry Whittington), a G2 scorer on his final start last season at Ayr, and Doitforthevillage (Paul Henderson), successful last season over the course and distance at The November Meeting.
Several of the entries have been busy already this season, with Penny Jane (Gordon Elliott IRE), Vosne Romanee (Dr Richard Newland) and Lillington (Colin Tizzard) all having won twice already.
The other £60,000 handicap chase is the opening 'Matchbook Betting Exchange' Handicap Chase (2.00pm, 26 entries) over three miles and a furlong.
The weights are likely to be headed by Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill), runner-up to Sizing John in the 2017 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, while also engaged are the first three horses home in this race 12 months' ago - Cogry (Nigel Twiston-Davies), Singlefarmpayment (Tom George) and Doing Fine (Neil Mulholland).
Reigning champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson has a pair of entries in Laurium and Baden, both successful last time out, while another possible starter is Domesday Book (Stuart Edmunds), triumphant in the 2017 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase at The Festival™ presented by Magners.
Another highlight on day two of The Showcase is the £40,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.35pm, 12 entries), staged over two miles for four-year-olds.
A fascinating contest is in prospect with the entries headed by We Have A Dream (Nicky Henderson), who is unbeaten in five starts since arriving in the UK and was successful last season in G1 company at Chepstow and Aintree.
Another exciting Masterson Holdings Hurdle entry is Redicean (Alan King), a G2 scorer at Kempton Park in February, while Gumball (Philip Hobbs) was runner-up in to We Have A Dream at Aintree.
Nicholls in planning to be represented in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle by filly Malaya, who was successful in the 2017/18 campaign in Listed company at Wetherby and in a valuable handicap at Ascot.
Nicholls said: "Malaya had an infection in her foot and that has put us behind slightly as we were going to novice chasing straight away.
"She could start over hurdles on Saturday and then go over fences at some stage this season."
Nicholls could also saddle Amour De Nuit in the £25,000 'Move Over To Matchbook' Novices' Chase (4.20pm, 14 entries) over two miles and four furlongs.
The six-year-old son of Azamour was successful on his latest start when landing a novice event at Kempton in May and is one of two possible runners in the race for the trainer along with Movewiththetimes, who finished fourth in the contest last year.
Nicholls continued: "Amour De Nuit is another horse who likes fast ground, so we're looking at The Showcase with him.
"He'll stay over fences and this meeting has been the plan."
Completing the action on Saturday are the £25,000 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3.45pm, 39 entries), a qualifier for the Pertemps Network Final at The Festival™ presented by Magners, the £15,000 Randox Health Novices' Hurdle (4.55pm, 15 entries) and the concluding £15,000 Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.30pm, 26 entries).
The three horses owned by the Cheltenham & South West region of The Jockey Club Syndicate - Hes No Trouble (Kim Bailey), Carolines Charm (Neil Mulholland) and Diamond River (Nicky Henderson) - will be paraded at 1.15pm in the paddock on day two of The Showcase.
The Showcase gets underway on Friday, October 26, with a seven-race card running from 2.00pm to 5.30pm.
Accompanied children aged under 18 gain FREE entry to the racecourse.
The going at Cheltenham is currently Good.
Conditions are forecast to be sunny and dry with temperatures of up to 16 degrees Celsius by midweek. Cooler temperatures with occasional showers are forecast for Friday and Saturday.
With no rain forecast until the showers at the end of the week, the course will be selectively irrigated to maintain current conditions.
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.
The biggest prize money boosts at The Showcase apply to the two handicap chases run on Saturday.
The 'Matchbook Betting Exchange' Handicap Chase (2.00pm) over three miles and a furlong and the two-mile Randox Health Handicap Chase (3.10pm) both have a total prize fund of £60,000 (up from £50,000 in 2017).
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 Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (0-125) 3m 1f £15,000
4:55 Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle 2m 87y £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 'Move Over To Matchbook' Novices' Chase 2m 3f 166y £25,000
4:55 Randox Health Novices' Hurdle 2m 7f 208y £15,000
5:30 The Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race 2m 87y £15,000
Meeting Total £370,400