The new season at Cheltenham gets underway on Friday with the return of the popular two-day Showcase Meeting. There are 14 races over two days for punters to look forward to and as always there are some excellent horses engaged at this stage. The Showcase is always a great early season meeting for racing fans with a number of nice horses set to make their seasonal bows at Prestbury Park.
In the past we have seen some Showcase winners go onto to make their mark later in the season and it would be no surprise to see that happen once again this year. The first race on Friday will be the Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle and 12 months ago we saw a winner of the very highest order emerge from that race. The New One showed an impressive turn of foot to win that day for Nigel Twiston-Davies and he ended up back at Cheltenham in March, to win the Festival race of the same name.
The New One highlights just how important the Showcase Meeting can be and Nigel Twiston-Davies will be hoping he has another horse like The New One in his yard. The Neptune race will feature runners from all the big stables with Paul Nicholls set to run Saint Roque and Donald McCain set to run Clondaw Draft in the meeting opener. It remains to be seen if we see another top class winner this season but history suggests that it could be a race to keep an eye on.
Other races to watch at Cheltenham this weekend include the Novices Chase on Friday afternoon with crack hurdler Taquin Du Seuil set to start his chasing career for Jonjo O'Neill. According To Trev showed plenty of promise for the Twiston-Davies team over hurdles last season and he too could make his chase debut with the three mile race on Friday his likely aim.
There is just as much to look forward to on Saturday with a strong novice hurdle over three miles set to open the card. Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude is entered for that one as connections look to get a run into him with the Grand National at Aintree a potential long term aim for him. He is also engaged in the Showcase Trophy at 3.45pm which looks likely to be a strong renewal, while Balder Success will be well fancied if he runs in the Novices Chase at 5.00pm.