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2018 Showcase Meeting schedule - What to look forward to at Cheltenham this weekend

Jonathan Vine 23 Oct 2018
A view of the runners jumping the last at last year's Showcase Meeting.

We take a look at this year’s Showcase Meeting at Cheltenham and highlight the races punters can look forward to at Prestbury Park this weekend.

The moment jumps racing fans have been waiting for all summer has finally arrived, as Prestbury Park flings their gates open to the public for the first time since the Cheltenham Festival back in March. The Showcase Meeting is the traditional curtain raiser for the new National Hunt racing campaign and, over Friday and Saturday, punters have plenty of reason to be excited.

Friday’s card at the Showcase Meeting kicks off in excellent fashion with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, where second-season jumpers like Aye Aye Charlie and Blu Cavalier could clash with some interesting newcomers. Nicky Henderson’s Jenkins will then take centrestage, as he clashes with Diakali, Movewiththetimes and Amour De Nuit in a novices’ chase.

Imperial Cup winner, Mr Antolini headlines the entries in the Brandon Hill Handicap, before we reach what promises to be a thoroughly intriguing novices’ chase. Reigning Albert Bartlett winner, Kilbricken Storm will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Black Corton by winning this three-mile contest, but he will face stiff competition from fan’s favourite, Lil Rockerfeller and Rebecca Curtis’ Drover’s Lane, who scored a superb victory at Hereford earlier this month.

Amateur and conditional jockeys will have their chance to shine in two of the final three races at Cheltenham on Friday. Sandwiched inbetween is what’s shaping up to be a thrilling novices’ hurdle, where impressive bumper performers, Sebastopol, Thomas Darby and Seven De Baune could take their first tentative steps over jumps.

The ITV Racing team will join the Showcase party on Saturday afternoon. Singlefarmpayment heads the early betting for the opening handicap chase, with 2017 Kim Muir winner, Doomsday Book and former Gold Cup runner-up, Minella Rocco standing out at the seven-day declaration stage.

Harry Cobden and Kilbricken Storm celebrate winning the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

We Have A Dream could then put his unbeaten record over hurdlers on the line, as Nicky Henderson’s 4-Y-O Hurdle champion enters the Masterson's Holdings Hurdle. His principal rival could be Adonis Hurdle winner Redicean, along with Aintree runner-up, Gumball and Paul Nicholls’ Malaya. Foxtail Hill led from start to finish when winning the following handicap chase 12 months ago and Nigel Twiston-Davies front-runner will have to see off Big Martre, Duke Of Navan and Modus if he wants to do the same in 2018.

The final televised race of the afternoon will see a large field of handicap hurdlers try to book their Cheltenham Festival spots in the Pertemps Series. Stuart Edmunds' Theclockisticking sits atop the early betting, with Culture De Sivola and The Organist slotted in just behind.

After a couple of decent novice contests, the Showcase Meeting will be drawn to a close by a field of exciting bumper prospects. Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Gordon Elliott could give their young stars a first taste of the famous Cheltenham atmosphere, as this year's Showcase comes to a fittingly dramatic conclusion.

2018 Showcase Meeting Schedule

Day One - Friday 26th October
2:00pm Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+) 2m5f
2:35pm Novices' Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m
3:10pm Brandon Hill Capital Handicap Hurdle Cl3 (3yo+ 0-140) 2m5f
3:45pm "Matchbook Time To Move Over" Novices' Chase Cl2 (5yo+) 3m½f
4:20pm Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 3m1f
4:55pm Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+) 2m½f
5:30pm "Matchbook Betting Podcast" Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Two Mile Series Qual) Cl3 (3yo+ 0-140) 2m½f

Day Two - Saturday 27th October
2:00pm "Matchbook Betting Exchange" Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 3m1f ITV4
2:35pm Masterson Holdings Hurdle Cl2 (4yo) 2m½f ITV4
3:10pm Randox Health Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m ITV4
3:45pm Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) Cl2 (4yo+) 3m
4:20pm Move Over To Matchbook Novices' Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f
4:55pm Randox Health Novices' Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+) 3m
5:30pm Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race Cl2 (4-6yo) 2m½f

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2018 Showcase Meeting schedule - What to look forward to at Cheltenham this weekend

We take a look at this year’s Showcase Meeting at Cheltenham and highlight the races punters can look forward to at Prestbury Park this weekend on Friday 26th October.

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