We are less than two weeks away from the 2011 Cheltenham Festival and all the races are starting to take shape now with the announcement of the weights for each of the handicaps. There are 11 handicap races at the Festival and each of them are now full with entries leaving some connections to decide whether to run their horses with others hoping their runners make the cut. One of the most intriguing handicaps of the week is likely to be the Festival Handicap Chase which was formerly known as the William Hill Trophy and is one for the stayers. Following the announcement of the weights we have Siegemaster and Nacarat at the head of the field with both allotted 11st 12lbs for the race, at this stage they head a list 85 entries with only the top 24 allowed to take their chance. Other interesting names on the list of Festival Handicap Chase entries include the well backed Blazing Bailey who will have to saddle 11st 10lbs while another fancied horse Bensalem has been awarded 11st by the handicapper.
Of the other handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival perhaps the most interesting is the always exciting Coral Cup which is a race that tends to throw up some decent winners. For Non Stop is a talking horse at the moment having come in for a lot of money recently, but after being awarded 10st 2lbs by the handicapper he will need a few to come out if he is to make the line up. At this stage we have a bumper entry of 134 entries with only the top 28 in the weights allowed to run, top weight at the moment is Any Given Day who has been allotted 11st 12lbs. The Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle is another one that is looking competitive and the weights have backed that up with the exciting Molotof for Nicky Henderson at the head of the field. He is a horse that has had just one run in Britain so far which was a second place in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton, the handicapper was suitably impressed though and has awarded him 11st 10lbs. Henderson has a strong hand in the Fred Winter Hurdle with A Media Luz another possible runner for the trainer and she has been given 11st 4lbs with many expecting her to run a big race at Cheltenham.