Jumping Back Into Action This Weekend

As Britain readies itself for a change in seasons and daylight savings this weekend, we also sees a change in code as the Jump Season kicks into life at Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting.

While the Flat enthusiasts will be watching Doncaster’s Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy, looking for next year’s Classic contenders, legions of National Hunt fans will flood back to Prestbury Park for the opening meeting of the 2018/19 season.

The Showcase has thrown up classy winners aplenty over the years, so if you’re switching focus this Saturday, there will certainly be a few future contenders to go into your notebooks.

Arguably the biggest equine pull of the meeting is that of We Have A Dream. Nicky Henderson’s star four-year-old has won his last 5 starts, including a dominant Grade 1 victory during Aintree’s Grand National meeting and looks set to compete for a number of big prizes this coming season.

If he is entered he will face no more than 11 rivals in this weekend’s Masterson Holdings Hurdle. His possible opponents include Alan King’s Redicean and the Philip Hobbs trained Gumball.

In addition, Minella Rocco who was previously placed in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, currently has an entry in the ‘Matchbook Betting Exchange’ Handicap Chase, his first potential outing since February. The race is no gimme for the classy nine-year-old though, with potential quality runners entered in the shape of Singlefarmpayment, Shantou Village, West Approach and Perfect Candidate.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill outlined his hopes for his yard and his expectations for Minella Rocco last month below.

In addition to those trained on UK shores, trainers Henry De Bromhead and Gordon Elliott could well saddle a number of quality prospects from across the Irish Sea.

In the ‘Move Over To Matchbook Novices’ Chase, seven-year-old Abbey Magic may well bid to complete a hat-trick for Henry de Bromhead following two handy wins in Ireland since switching yards in August this year.

Last year’s leading Cheltenham festival trainer Elliott could also enter two of his promising young weapons. Cubomania, if entered comes into the meeting off a creditable third in last week’s Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown and Dinions looks well set to progress further having racked up a four wins in as many recent outings, Elliott’s charge could bid for a fifth win on the bounce in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

ITV Racing will be live at Cheltenham on ITV4 bringing back the jumps with a bang from 1:30pm on Saturday. Coverage will also feature the Group One Vertem Futurity Stakes from Doncaster which gets underway at 4:05pm.

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