Promising hurdler Emitom is ready to reappear in the £50,000 G2 Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle (3.10pm, 11 entries, 2m 4f 56y), one of the highlights at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, Wednesday, 1 January.
Trained by Warren Greatrex, Emitom took high rank among last season's novice hurdlers and lost nothing in defeat on his final start of the campaign when second to Champ in the G1 Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle over three miles at Aintree.
Emitom had taken some notable scalps leading up to his first run at graded level, including Lisnagar Oscar and Interconnected, as he reeled of a hat-trick of hurdle race victories at Ffos Las, Lingfield Park and Newbury.
The G2 Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle is a trial for the three-mile G1 Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners, a race Greatrex captured in 2015 with Cole Harden.
The trainer said: "I am very happy with Emitom and he is on track to run at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.
"He worked nicely at Newbury recently and has schooled since, when he jumped really well, so it is all systems go.
"New Year's Day looks a good starting point. It is his first run out of novice company and he will have to step up, but his form looks good and we think he has improved."
A classy list of entries for the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle features the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned pair of Janika and Top Notch, who have both landed G2 prizes over fences this season.
Their trainer Nicky Henderson is also responsible for William Henry, winner of this year's G3 Coral Cup at The Festival, and the 2018 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup second Might Bite, who has not raced over hurdles since April, 2016.
G1 OLBG Mares' Hurdle heroine Roksana (Dan Skelton) and Summerville Boy (Tom George), winner of the 2018 G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, are other entries to note.
The most valuable race at Cheltenham on New Year's Day is the £70,000 G3 Paddy Power Handicap Chase (2.00pm, 21 entries) over an extended two and a half miles, one of three races on the card sponsored by Paddy Power.
Paddy Power's 7/2 favourite is Kalashnikov (Amy Murphy, 11st 12lb), a G1-winning novice at Aintree last season who was just touched off by Oldgrangewood (Dan Skelton, 10st 7lb) in a competitive handicap chase at Newbury on 29 November.
Other highlights include the £35,000 G2 Paddy Power Broken Resolutions Already Dipper Novices' Chase (1.25pm, 2m 4f 127y, 12 entries), in which Champ (Nicky Henderson) could bid for a three-timer over fences, and the £25,000 Listed Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (12.15pm, 2m 4f 56y, 12 entries).
Racing starts at 12.15pm and ends at 3.50pm.
Under 18s go racing for free on New Year's Day. Club/Tattersalls Enclosure ticket holders will have access to a variety of complimentary entertainment in the Family Fun Zone, including exclusive appearances from Alex the Lion and Skipper the Penguin from the film Madagascar at intervals throughout the day.
Lampa will be performing in The Guinness Village throughout the day for Club/Tattersalls racegoers, while there will be live music in The Centaur after racing from local favourites Tommy and The Fuse for Club/Tattersalls racegoers.
If you need any information about racing at Cheltenham, please contact: Sarah Jane Muirie, Communications Manager - Jockey Club Racecourses South West 01242537683 SarahJane.Muirie@thejockeyclub.co.uk