Monday, 14 October, 2019 - The new Jump season at Cheltenham gets underway in just 11 days’ time with The Showcase on Friday, 25 October and Saturday, 26 October.
Leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott is seriously considering The Showcase for Dinons, a winner of three of his five starts over fences so far this season. The six-year-old was a comfortable 11-length winner on his latest outing in a novices’ chase at Limerick on 13 October and was also successful at The Showcase in 2018 when taking the Randox Health Novices' Hurdle over three miles.
Gordon Elliott said: “Dinons won well at Limerick on Sunday. He is progressing nicely over fences and it was a good performance.
“The plan is to go to Cheltenham for a novice chase at The Showcase.
“He won at the meeting last season and so it looks the logical next step for him.
“After that, he might have a break, before we target some staying handicaps later on in the season."
Minella Rocco went close to landing the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival in 2017 when the staying-on second to Sizing John. The nine-year-old, trained close to Cheltenham at Temple Guiting by Jonjo O’Neill, has not recaptured that form since but a return to action at The Showcase is a possibility for the J P McManus-owned gelding.
Jonjo O’Neill said: “Minella Rocco has been in good form since he came back to us after his summer break.
“The Showcase at Cheltenham is a possibility and we will see how he goes if he runs over fences at the meeting.
“We will see how gets on there and if he doesn’t take to it, then hunter chasing is a possible for him as he enjoys being in training.
“He has been a brilliant horse for the yard and it would be brilliant if we could get him to win again.
“He’s been a great favourite of ours and he is a special horse to the whole yard."
The Showcase is the natural starting point for horses returning from their summer breaks and is often used in preparation for The November Meeting, which runs this year from Friday, 15 November to Sunday, 17 November inclusive.
Headlining the action at The Showcase are two £60,000 handicap chases - the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong and the Randox Health Handicap Chase over two miles - plus the £40,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle for four-year-olds. All three races take place on Saturday, 26 October.
Among the best horses to compete at The Showcase in recent years is Tiger Roll, who won the Masterson Holdings Hurdle in 2014 and finished third in a novices' chase in 2016. The remarkable nine-year-old, trained by Gordon Elliott, has won the latest two runnings of the £1-million Randox Health Grand National and is also a four-time winner at The Festival™ presented by Magners, most recently taking the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap in 2018 and 2019.
Away from the track, the racecourse will stage its first Cheltoberfest - Cheltenham's twist on the ever-popular Oktoberfest.
The ticketed event takes place in The Centaur over both days of The Showcase and includes live German and Bavarian Oompah music from The Bierkeller Boys, a range of local real ales and Magners Cider, plus tips from a racing tipster before racing commences.
More information can be found at: https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-showcase/cheltoberfest/
Throughout the day on Saturday, 26 October, there will be a variety of entertainment and demonstrations in The Parade Ring, available in the Club/Tattersalls Enclosure, including:
*A demonstration from the Riding for the Disabled.
*Learn about racehorse anatomy with Rachel Keeble.
*Matt Nicholls (Kim Bailey's assistant) will be talking through how to prepare a racehorse for a day at the races.
*Josh Stacey from the Racing Post will be on hand to provide a tipster talk ahead of racing.
*South West Syndicate Horses will be on parade between racing, a perfect opportunity to find out more and become part of our Syndicate – further details are available at:
As well as entertainment and demonstrations in the Parade Ring, there are stalls and stands to see in the Tattersalls Sales Arena located in the Club/Tattersalls Enclosure, including:
*Representatives from the British Racing School will be available to answer any questions for those that are interested in working in the horseracing industry. More information is available at https://brs.org.uk/
*Retraining of Racehorses will be educating racegoers on a racehorse’s life after their career in racing.
*Racing to School delivers free outdoor learning activities for young people at racecourses, studs and trainers’ yards across the country. They will be around to teach you how to ride a racehorse with demonstrations and the opportunity for you to have a go by riding the equisizer.
*Matt from Beltane Forge will be showcasing his talent with a live demonstration straight from the forge.