Where to Watch Racing This Weekend: The Stellar Meetings

February 08, 2017

- Grant Whittington

While most of the UK tries to beat the winter blues and consign the joy of the festive period to memory, the horse racing season continues at pace. Jump races and steeplechases are particularly prominent at present, with this weekend set to host a number of exciting meetings across the country.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key events this weekend and highlight a select few of the best races…

Bangor, Friday 10th February

On Friday, fans will be treated to a full race card in Bangor-on-Dee, where several of the UK’s leading jockeys and trainers will be pitted in direct competition. The stand-out race is the Excel Signs Handicap Hurdle, which has 27 runners listed at present and a winners’ prize of £6,498. The Irish-trained Ballycash is among the favourites for this keenly-contested race, while prominent trainers such as R. Hennessy will also be well-represented during the meeting.

Kempton, Friday 10th February

On the same day, the iconic racecourse at Kempton Park will also host a full day of jump racing on behalf of eager fans. Of particular interest is the Smarter Bets With Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap 3-metre Chase, which has 22 listed runners and a prize fund in excess of £11,000. This race will have special significance in the Trainers’ Championship Race, with second place Colin Tizzard going head-to-head with third place Nick Henderson.

Tizzard has two horses competing in this race while Henderson is represented by one, but the formers’ experience and prolific output means that he is set to mount a serious attempt at overhauling title favourite Paul Nicholls. In this respect, this race will see the tension begin to build in anticipation of the Cheltenham Festival that will run between 14th and 17th March.

Newbury, Saturday 11th February

Moving onto 11th February, we will see one of February’s most lucrative races take place at Newbury. Part of a stellar, one-day event, the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle will deliver a winner’s prize of £88,272 and overall funds of more than £150,000 across the top four placings.

This is also a meeting that could have a key bearing on the outcome of the Trainers’ Championship, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Zubayr and Movewiththetimes both fancied to do well. Tizzard is not represented in this race, and the lucrative nature of the event means that Nicholls could steal a crucial march ahead of Cheltenham.

Exeter, Sunday 12th February

We finish at Exeter on Sunday, 12th February, with another one-day meeting that is sure to appeal to fans. This event is home to a number of interesting races, particularly the Graduation Chase.

This three-metre race has a relatively restricted field of 14 runners, but the winners’ prize of £12,512 means that it will remain of interest to all who participate. Tizzard’s French horse Alary is among the early favourites for the race, although his compatriot Vyta Du Roc (who is trained by Henderson) should also figure in the placings.

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