horse-racing

Where to Watch Racing This Weekend

March 16, 2017

- Grant Whittington

 

If you are a race fan, there is no doubt that this weekend is one of the most exciting in the sporting calendar. From the final day of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday to jump racing in Carlisle on Sunday, there are stellar meetings scheduled across the length and breadth of the UK over the course of the next few days.

The issue is selecting which meetings to attend, of course, as while you may be willing to travel it is important to highlight the best and most exciting events!

So, here is a breakdown of where to watch racing this weekend (and how to get involved in the action!)…

See Out the Cheltenham Festival on Friday

Let’s start with Friday, as this will play host to the final day of the iconic Cheltenham Festival. There are several, high-profile races taking place on this day, with the Gold Cup standing head and shoulders above the rest.

This years’ race is likely to be incredibly competitive and hard to call, particularly after the favourite Thistlecrack was withdrawn after incurring a tendon injury. Trainer Colin Tizzard is still odds on for success in this grand old race, however, with the much-loved Cue Card and Native River the two favourites to compete for this years’ crown.

Punters may also be interested in the understated Foxhunter Chase, in which On the Fringe will looking to claim his third consecutive victory. He is likely to be pushed hard by the 5/1 shot Wonderful Charm this time around, however, while the 16/1 outside Sweet As a Nut also deserves an honourable mention after a series of recent hurdle victories.

Whisper it quietly, but the Foxhunter chase could yet upstage the Gold Cup and deliver the highlight of the weekend horse racing schedule.

Visit Kempton on Saturday

Rather than mourning the end of another thrilling Cheltenham Festival, you should jump back into the saddle this Saturday and check out what promises to be another exciting meeting at Kempton Park. Heading into the weekend horse racing in style, this iconic location will play host to a number of Grade two races this weekend, with one or two of particular interest to spectators.

Take the exquisitely-titled ‘Winners Are Welcome At Matchbook Silver Bowl Handicap Chase’ for example, which is set to feature a huge and talented field alongside a total prize fund in excess of £40,000. The W.P. Mullins-trained Pleasant Company is likely to start as narrow favourite for this one, having won two of his last three outings and most recently at Fairyhouse in February. He will face stern competition from L’Ami Serge and Dodging Bullets, however, both of whom have performed consistently of late and are trained by Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls respectively.

Let’s face facts; a trip to Kempton is always good fun, but it is even more satisfying when there are a handful of high quality races to look forward to.

Take in Sunday Racing at Carlisle

There are two Sunday meetings to bring the weekend to a close, at Carlisle and Ffos Las resectively. While both are set to be enjoyable jump meetings, we would recommend choosing Carlisle as there are five relatively high quality races stretched across the duration of the day.

The pick of these is undoubtedly the Thornby Veterans’ Handicap Chase, which is a Grade two race for thoroughbreds aged 10 years and over. With 16 runners and a top prize of 18,768 on offer, this race is sure to be keenly contested and has the potential to deliver a genuine thriller!

Although the race itself is hard to call, the famous and much loved horse Shutthefrontdoor is set to start as favourite. The Irish-bred thoroughbred, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, has a win rate of 33% on jump courses this season while he has also placed successfully in eight of his 18 races to date. The Nick Trent-trained Gonalston Cloud is likely to run him close in all Irish, race to the finish, however, particularly with a win rate of 27% this term and eight placements in a total of just 15 outings.

Whoever prevails, we cannot think of a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon as Carlisle provides an enjoyable but more relaxed antidote to the carnage of Cheltenham!

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