February on Racing UK
With the Cheltenham Festival around the corner, it is an action-packed month on Racing UK with a whole host of Festival clues.
It’s a Super Saturday at Newbury on the 9th. Although leading Cheltenham Gold Cup protagonist Long Run skips Newbury, Silviniaco Conti is set to put his Gold Cup credentials on the line in the Denman Chase. Silviniaco Conti is unbeaten in two races this term, including the Betfair Chase at Haydock when Long Run finished behind him.
Nicky Henderson has won the Betfair Hurdle on four occasions and he is likely to have a strong hand again this time. Novice My Tent Or Yours has been trained for the event, run over two miles, while Cash And Go attempts to go one better than his run in the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.
Look out for the unexposed pair Claret Cloak and Cotton Mill, provided the ground doesn’t ride too testing. The other feature event on the glittering card is the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase. Simonsig, the outstanding novice, may line up here en route to a crack at the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.
The Racing UK roadshow rolls on to Haydock and Wincanton the following weekend. Last year’s fixture at the Merseyside track featured five subsequent Cheltenham Festival winners, plus the first and second in the Grand National.
Wincanton stages the Kingwell Hurdle, another significant Champion Hurdle trial. Grandouet may clash with Zarkandar for the fourth time during their careers. It is currently three nil to Paul Nicholls runner.
The month concludes with another tremendous card at Kempton with the Racing Plus Chase the highlight.
The three-mile contest has been won by the likes of Desert Orchid, Marlborough and Gloria Victis over the years. It has paid to follow anything Philip Hobbs runs in recent seasons. The Minehead-based handler has won the race four times since 1999. Watch out, too, for the progressive Katenko, the mount of Racing UK ambassador Aidan Coleman.