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Unbeaten Buster Valentine in line for Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on January 26

Press Release 15th January 2019 Cheltenham

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - Trainer Ruth Jefferson is planning to send the unbeaten Buster Valentine for a crack at the £32,000 G2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (3.00pm), one of seven races on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 26, at Cheltenham Racecourse.

The six-year-old son of Ask won on his one Irish point-to-point start in April and was then sold for £100,000 at Goffs UK, Doncaster, the following month.

Buster Valentine, who races in the colours of the Mount Fawcus Partnership, made a winning debut for Jefferson when the comfortable winner of a two-mile maiden hurdle at Ayr in November.

He followed up on that success last time out when landing a novices’ hurdle over an extended two and a half miles at Newcastle on December 22. He was ridden by Henry Brooke both times.

North Yorkshire-based Jefferson reported today: “Buster Valentine is in good form.

“He has won his first two starts for us very nicely and he took the step up in trip well at Newcastle last time.

“The target now is the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day.

“We are looking forward to running him there."

Staged over two and a half miles, the G2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Festival Trials Day frequently provides valuable clues for The Festival™ presented by Magners.

Monsignor (2000) followed up his success on Festival Trials Day by taking the G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners, while At Fishers Cross (2013), Bobs Worth (2011) and Wichita Lineman (2007) all went on to triumph in the three-mile G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

The seven-race programme on Festival Trials Day features the £100,000 G2 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase (2.25pm), staged over three miles and a furlong and a leading trial for the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Looks Like Trouble (2000), Master Oats (1996) and Little Owl (1981) landed both contests in the same season, while the roll of honour also includes another Gold Cup victor in See More Business plus Grand National winners West Tip, Neptune Collonges and Many Clouds.

Last year’s BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase was won by the Brian Ellison-trained Definitly Red, who went on to finish sixth in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and is unbeaten so far this season, with G2 successes at Wetherby and Aintree. 

Festival Trial Day also has three more Grade Two races, including the £60,000 Cleeve Hurdle (3.35pm) over three miles, which often provides valuable pointers to the G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners.

Inglis Drever (2008), Big Buck’s (2009 & 2012) and Thistlecrack (2016) won both races in the same season in recent years.

The seven-race programme at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day runs from 12.40pm to 4.10pm and offers a total of £354,000 in prize money.

The gates open at 10.30am on Festival Trials Day.

Tickets in advance can be purchased via

Accompanied children aged 17 and under attend for FREE, and there is also FREE official car parking at the racecourse. 

Festival Trials Day is the last racing at Cheltenham before The Festival™ presented by Magners, which takes place from Tuesday, March 12, to Friday, March 15.

Festival Trials Day

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Time Race Distance Prize Money

12.40 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (Grade 2) 2m 179y £32,000

1.15 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase 2m 4f 127y £27,500

1.50 Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 127y £75,000

2.25 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase (Grade 2) 3m 1f 56y £100,000

3.00 Ballymore Classic Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 4f 56y £32,000

3.35 Cleeve Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 7f 213y £60,000

4.10 Steel Plate & Sections Handicap Hurdle   2m 179y £27,500

Total prize money £354,000


Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham Racecourse is situated in Prestbury on the northern outskirts of the historic spa town of Cheltenham. The Home of Jump Racing, Cheltenham Racecourse is the venue for the world's pre-eminent Jump meeting. The Festival™ presented by Magners, which happens in March over four days every year, next takes place from Tuesday, March 12, to Friday, March 15, 2019 inclusive and tickets are on sale. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Racecourse is a stunning natural arena and offers the highest-quality action throughout the Jump season.

If you need any information about racing at Cheltenham, please contact: Sophia Dale, Communications Manager - Jockey Club Racecourses South West 01242 537 683


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