The Old Course
Chase & Hurdle - Good, Good to Soft in places.
Cross Country Course - Good, Good to Firm in places (watered).
The GoingStick readings at 6am were Chase & Hurdle 6.8, Cross Country 7.8.
The forecast today is for cloudy, dry & mild weather.
Cheltenham Clerk of the Course and Regional Head of Racing Simon Claisse commented: "It is very mild this morning and not a breath of wind in the air.
"We have had significant rainfall over the last 10 days which was much needed. The rain came between Wednesday last week and Monday this week which has put the chase and hurdle tracks of the Old Course in the ideal condition of being Good, Good to Soft in places.
"We have a stellar card today and over the last four years eight horses who ran on Countryside Day have gone on to success the following March at The Festival™ presented by Magners.
"The Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase (2.25pm) has also produced Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Imperial Commander (2007) and Denman (2006). What will happen today to the Nicky Henderson-trained Mr Whipped, a G2 novice hurdle winner?
"Today also features Tiger Roll, the winner of the Randox Health Grand National in April at Aintree, in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3.00pm). He is a three-time winner at The Festival™ presented by Magners - the JCB Triumph Hurdle over two miles, the National Hunt Chase over four miles and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase earlier this year. He also captured the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at The Showcase here in 2014. Can he enjoy his fifth Cheltenham victory today?
"The Cross Country Course has been watered intensively over the last two and a half weeks. It is Good, Good to Firm in places."
JOSIE OUT TO RESTORE ORDER AGAINST THE TIGER
Day one of the November Meeting, Countryside Day, takes place at Cheltenham today with bookmakers reporting brisk business ahead of the six-race card.
In today's opening contest, the £26,400 Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (12.40pm), the Kim Bailey-trained Station Master has attracted good support with BetVictor, official betting partner of the first two days of the 2018 November Meeting. Partnered by top-class Irish amateur Jamie Codd, the seven-year-old son of Scorpion, a good second on his chase debut at Uttoxeter in October, is a 4/1 shot from 11/2 for the three mile and one furlong contest.
Dostal Phil is a solid favourite in the Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices' Handicap Hurdle (1.15pm) over two miles. Trained by Philip Hobbs, ridden by Barry Geraghty and owned by J P McManus, the five-year-old was second at Uttoxeter in October and is the 2/1 market leader from 4/1 with BetVictor.
There are seven runners in the BetVictor Handicap Chase (1.50pm), but the two-mile contest is proving a tricky puzzle for punters to solve. The Tom George-trained Bun Doran was fifth on his latest start in the G3 Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree's Randox Health Grand National Meeting in April and has been well supported in today's event, heading the market at 9/4 from 11/4 with the race sponsor. Colin Tizzard's horses are in excellent form and the Sherborne handler saddles Shanahan's Turn. The 10-year-old son of Indian Danehill is an 11/2 shot from 7/1 with BetVictor.
The Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase (2.25pm) has thrown up two subsequent Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in recent years with Denman (2006) and Imperial Commander (2007) landing the two mile and four furlong contest, before going on to capture Jump racing's Blue Riband event. An intriguing field lines up for this year's renewal in which Seven Barrows maestro Nicky Henderson is double-handed courtesy of the well-backed 11/4 market leader Mr Whipped, who makes his debut over fences and 13/2 chance Jenkins, a comfortable winner on his first start over the larger obstacles at Stratford.
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National victor Tiger Roll makes his eagerly awaited reappearance in the £25,000 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3.00pm). Gordon Elliott's top-weight has won four times at Prestbury Park, including three victories at The Festival™ presented by Magners. However, the eight-year-old son of Authorized is weak in the market for his seasonal debut, drifting out to 2/1 from 6/4 with BetVictor. Irish trainer Enda Bolger is no stranger to success over the Cross Country fences, winning today's race on seven occasions. Josie's Orders provided Bolger with his latest victory in the extended three mile and six furlong contest in 2015 and has been punted off the boards in today's renewal, now heading favouritism at 15/8 from 3/1.
In the concluding £32,000 G2 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (3.35pm) over two and a half-miles, the Jamie Snowdon-trained Double Treasure has attracted each-way support into 5/1 from 6/1 with BetVictor. A talented chaser, the seven-year-old son of King's Theatre has won two of his last three starts since reverting back to timber.
Today's BetVictor Market Movers:
12.40pm - Markel Insurance Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase - Station Master 4/1 from 11/2
1.15pm - Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices' Handicap Hurdle - Dostal Phil 2/1 from 4/1
1.50pm - BetVictor Handicap Chase - Bun Doran 9/4 from 11/4 & Shanahan's Turn 11/2 from 7/1
2.25pm - Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase - Mr Whipped 11/4 from 3/1
3.00pm - Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - Josie's Orders 15/8 from 3/1
3.35pm - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle - Double Treasure 5/1 from 6/1