Horse Racing this Week – 10th-16th December 2018

The weekend starts a little early this week for National Hunt fans with the latest two-day meeting from the home of the jumping game getting underway on Friday. With excellent Graded, handicapping and cross-country action on offer, the International Meeting is yet another Prestbury Park offering to savour. Let’s take a look at a few of the main events.

Tiger Rolls Up Again In Glenfarclas

One of the undoubted highlights of the Friday card sees one of the most popular horses in training make his latest racecourse appearance, as three-time Cheltenham Festival scorer and Grand National winner Tiger Roll, rocks up for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase.

Beaten just over five lengths by Josies Orders over this course and distance last time out – on what was his first start of the season – will the benefit of that run, in addition to being 3lbs better off at the weights be enough for the Gordon Elliott star to turn the tables here? Josies Orders is a 3/1 shot with Ladbrokes, whilst Tiger Roll can be backed at 7/2 with Betfair. Defending champion Bless The Wings (12/1 with Betfair) looks one of the more interesting contenders of those at bigger prices.

Caviar Compensation For Rather Be?

The big betting race of the meeting comes on the Saturday, with the latest edition of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.  Looking set to be as competitive a handicap as ever, the field may be graced by the past two winners of the race with Frodon and Guitar Pete looking set to stand their ground. Both have their chance given that proven liking for the track and trip, but the horse proving most popular with punters at this stage is the Nicky Henderson runner, Rather Be.

This seven year old son of Oscar had been set the BetVictor Gold Cup at this track as his main early season objective, and all looked to be going to plan as he was well in touch – and fairly tanking along – only to be unfortunately brought down four from home. Getting in off an unchanged mark here, it’s easy to like his chance at 6/1 with BetVictor. Baron Alco did win that BetVictor Gold Cup contest in good style in the end though and won’t go down without a fight despite being bumped up 6lbs by the handicapper. The Gary Moore representative is a 15/2 shot with Bet365 to record back to back successes at the track.

New Star On International Stage?

The classiest contest of the meeting comes with the 2m1f Grade 2 contest which lends its name to this meeting; Saturday’s International Hurdle. A quick look through the list of recent winners here gives a good idea as to the quality or performer needed to prevail, with Binocular, Khyber Kim and The New One (three times) all featuring prominently. My Tent Or Yours brought the house down when landing the prize as a ten year old last season, but won’t be returning to defend his crown as he instead heads into a well-earned retirement. The stage therefore seems set for a new star to emerge.

The entries haven’t been announced yet for this year’s edition, but whoever shows up on the day, you can be sure this will be a race well worth tuning into, both as a spectacle in its own right, and when looking for pointers for the season ahead.