Seven-race card kicks off new jumps season at Stratford Racecourse
AFTER the winter break, racing returns to Stratford today, Monday, with a seven-race card topped by the Class 3 Richard & Jill Hurst Ruby Wedding Celebration Handicap Chase over two-and-three-quarter miles, writes David Hucker.
Alcester trainer Dan Skelton had Accordingtogino entered in two races at Warwick yesterday, Sunday, but has opted to run him in this race instead and, if showing no ill effects from his disappointing run when pulled up behind Snuff Box at Bangor-on-Dee could land the day's top prize.
Danger lurks with Ludlow winner Subcontinent, who was paid a compliment at Warwick yesterday when third-placed Volcano won the feature long-distance chase.
The action gets under way at 12.30pm with the Join Racing TV Now Juvenile Hurdle over two miles, in which Casa Loupi, twice runner-up to leading JCB Triumph Hurdle candidate Tritonic, looks the one to beat.
There might not be much between him and the progressive Stepney Causeway, a 14-length winner at Catterick last time out, racing in the same colours as Allmankind, a leading Cheltenham Festival hope for Skelton in tomorrow's, Tuesday, Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy.
Despite making mistakes, Kap Auteuil got off the mark over fences in emphatic fashion when a 19-length winner at Fakenham last time and, although he has taken a big hike in the weights, could double up in the Watch On Racing TV Novices' Handicap Chase over two miles and a furlong.
Top-weight Hazzaar is an interesting contender, making his debut over fences after failing to score in six runs over hurdles, but will have been well schooled by trainer Tom Lacey.
A course winner on the flat, Vinnie's Getaway has yet to build on that promise in eight runs over jumps, but could get off the mark for Wilmcote trainer Olly Murphy in the Racecourse Live Streams On RacingTV Extra Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
Fourteen line up for the Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Qualifier) and Cheshire trainer Donald McCain saddles the consistent Beach Break, a winner over the course back in September 2018 from a rating of 123.
His last hurdles run saw him score from the same mark at Sedgefield five months ago, but he comes here fit from three races on the flat and, despite having to concede weight to all his rivals, should be hard to beat.
With Twominutes Turkish having run yesterday, the danger could come from Warwick winner Will Sting, well beaten last time out at Sandown Park when favourite in a race for conditional jockeys, but ridden by Bryony Frost today.
The absence of point-to-point racing has seen much larger fields than usual on the racecourses and the pointtopoint.co.uk Novices' Hunters' Steeplechase over two miles and five furlongs, won last year by 6-4 favourite Risk And Roll, has attracted 14 runners.
Golden Tobouggan, runner-up to the useful Caid Du Berlais at Wincanton, looks the one to be on.
Parramount, runner-up in both his starts for Over Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon and the mount of champion jockey Brian Hughes, can land the closing 100% RacingTV Profits Back To Racing Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race from Gregor and Earth Company .