The 2018 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River will be parading before racing at Wincanton Racecourse today. The Colin Tizzard-trained gelding, who leapt into the hearts of the nation following his courageous run in the race which saw him win by four and a half lengths under Richard Johnson, will parade at around 1pm, giving racegoers a wonderful opportunity to show their appreciation for a true champion.
The colours of his owners, Garth and Anne Broom of Brocade Racing, will later be seen in action in the Smarkets Handicap Hurdle where hopes will be high that Quiz Master, ridden by Harry Cobden, will follow up his recent Fontwell win, although an eight pound rise in the weights might take its toll.
The Smarkets Novices’ Hurdle gets the card underway where the Jack Barber-trained Darcy Ward will be bidding for a hattrick of wins having scored in a point-to-point in May and then making a winning debut under Rules when landing a novices’ hurdle at Taunton in May.
Opposing him is course and distance winner Captain Cattistock who may find a step back in class will help him regain winning ways after finishing down the field at Ascot last month.
In the Smarkets Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, Harry Fry saddles the JP McManus-owned Litterale Ci who won a handicap hurdle at Ludlow in December, but struggled at Cheltenham in January in a much more competitive race. She should find this a far easier opportunity.
The two miles four furlongs Smarkets Handicap Chase looks a tight little race with a case to be made for each of the runners. The Tom George-trained Some Are Lucky sluiced up at Leicester in January in a three runner race; City Supreme won a novices’ limited handicap at Plumpton just over a year ago, and although he struggled in his subsequent runs he hints at ability and Noel Fehily is a postive jockey booking, and Somchine has an eye catching handicap mark.
Colin Tizzard is double handed in the three miles one furlongs handicap chase with The Cider Maker and Cucklington both running. The latter ran well in defeat at Hereford earlier this month when he was beaten a short head by Flashjack, while Cucklington is a recent course and distance winner and is five pounds higher than winning a similar race three weeks ago.
Unioniste has strong claims in the Smarkets Open Hunters’ Chase for the John Dufosee Trophy. He was unplaced in the St James’ Place Foxhunters at The Festival but he faces a much easier task today.
In the concluding Smarkets Maiden Hurdle Dublin Indemnity is an interesting runner for in form Kerry Lee.He makes his hurdling debut having had a wind operation with the Paul Nicholls-trained, a previous bumper winner, Blu Cavalier is likely to start the favourite.