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"It's like another day of the Festival": Who to look out for on a unique Trials Day

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

12:40 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

Originally set for December's International meeting, the cross-country course stands at good to soft, soft in places this afternoon. With November's challenge also abandoned, this is the first time Cheltenham's centre track will see use since the Festival last March. On that occasion, Delta Work became Tiger Roll's stablemate party-spoiler. With Tiger Roll retired, he's favourite tomorrow, while struggling Minella Times (a faller in the 2022 Grand National) looks to regain prowess, having gone third (with Rachael Blackmore aboard) in a Grade 3 at Cork last April. All eyes however, will of course be on Charlie Longsdon's brave mare, Snow Leopardess, whose National dreams tailed off after the 16th. Can her magic be relit here?

13:10 Clarence House Chase

Sandwiched between pre-planned contests, this is the second rescheduled addition, bringing the card to a giant nine-race special. Tingle Creek hero Edwardstone returns to Cheltenham, the site of his Arkle triumph last year, though Energumene is hot on his heels, with a Queen Mother and Punchestown Champion Chase under his belt. Entries improved on the switch from Ascot to Cheltenham, with Sizing Pottsie and Funambule Sivola now swelling the ranks (they already included Joe Tizzard's Amarillo Sky). Editeur De Gite is another new entry, victorious over Nube Negra in the Desert Orchid at Kempton.

14:25 Cotswold Chase

Before frost havoc, this was the meeting's feature. But my goodness, it's still some race to behold. Grand National-winning Noble Yeats (let's hope his paperwork is in order this time) heads over the Irish Sea, taking on a raft of British talent. There's Bryony Frost on Frodon, 2020's King George hero, who made a winning return at Wincanton two months back (he's also on the roll of honour for this race, having taken 2019's edition). Then comes Lucinda Russell's Ahoy Senor, who left Noble Yeats struggling in a Grade 2 at Wetherby last February. Protektorat runs for the Skeltons. He saw off Frodon (and A Plus Tard's poor performance) in the Betfair at Haydock, and is now the talk of the town, following on from a third in the Gold Cup last year. Could the hype be worth it, and 2023 serve as his year of victory?

15:00 Cleeve Hurdle

There's surely no seeing past Paisley Park, Emma Levelle's star, fresh from success in another Ascot reschedule, the Long Walk (moved to Boxing Day). Though seventh in the Relkeel, stuck in the wake of Marie's Rock, Botox Has may prove Paisley Park's rival. Harry Cobden, meanwhile, is on Gelino Bello, a steady performer, if a faller in Grade 1 company last month. Much more dangerous, indeed, Jeremy Scott's Dashel Drasher, runner up to Marie's Rock on New Year's Day, and a rival to Noble Yeats over fences last month.


For 2023


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