With only a month and a half to go until we hear that famous Cheltenham roar, the excitement is bubbling for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. The best horses will be on show and with plenty of trial races to wet our appetites, we should find plenty of clues as to who we should be backing come March. Below is all the big races for February 2018, so you don’t miss any of the NINE Grade 1 races. As always, we’ll have all the build up on our Twitter page, @myracingtips, where you can find all the latest news and share your opinions with us!
Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase
Distance: 2m 4f
2017 Result: 1st Top Notch, 2nd Baron Alco, 3rd Le Prezien
Won by Best Mate back in 2001, the contest tends to throw up some smart horses and recent years have been no exception with the emergence of Bristol De Mai and Top Notch. The latter finished a very close second in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival (The Golden Miller), with several horses having aspirations for that contest if they were to be success.
Distance: 2m 5f
2017 Result: 1st Cue Card, 2nd Shantou Flyer, 3rd Royal Regatta
A race won down the years by several very smart types including Kauto Star, Riverside Theatre, Silviniaco Conti and most recently Cue Card. It can give us some very useful clues to the Ryanair Chase, with is contested over the same distance at the Festival.
With so many Grade 1 contests out in Ireland at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival, we’ve condensed them all into the list below. We’ve also listed the horses we are likely to see, with last year’s winner also included.
Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle (2m 6f) (2017 Winner: Let’s Dance) – Samrco holds an entry here, but he’s not certain to run with the Deloitte another potential target. Away from him, Real Steel bids to get back on track after falling at the last over two miles last time. Dortmund Park was impressive at Thurles and is another to watch alongside Fabulous Saga.
Arkle Novices Chase (2m 1f) (2017 Winner: Some Plan) – A direct trial for the Arkle, we finally will see Footpad take on Petit Mouchoir, which will hugely shake up the Arkle market for the Festival.
Irish Champion Hurdle (2m) (2017 Winner: Petit Mouchoir) – It’s make or break for Faugheen, who bids to bounce back from a pulled up effort last time. He faces competition from stable-mate Melon and British raider Defi Du Seuil. Our Trends Analysis of the 2018 renewal is online now.
Spring Juvenile Hurdle (2m) (2017 Winner: Mega Fortune) – Espoir D’Allen puts his Triumph Hurdle credentials on the line against some very interesting challengers. Stormy Ireland was impressive on her Irish debut for Mullins and Farclas was only a length behind Espoir D’Allen on his hurdling debut on Boxing Day, which he could build on.
Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2m 2f) (2017 Winner: Barcardys) – The star horse would be Samcro, but his participation is very much a question mark. Other horses to note are bumper stars Debuchet and Paloma Blue, with the unbeaten Whisky Sour also likely to take his entry.
Flogas Novice Chase (2m 5f) (2017 Winner: Our Duke) – Last year’s renewal has worked out incredibly and this year should be no different. Sutton Place bids to build on his chasing debut success from last time, but will face stern opposition from a host of challengers who include Invitation Only and Snow Falcon.
Irish Gold Cup (3m) (2017 Winner: Sizing John) – Our Duke was massively disappointing on his return and bids to put that right here, but much of the intrigue of this race revolves around Killultagh Vic, who won his return last time. Anibale Fly will be bidding to follow up his Paddy Power Chase win while Djakadam needs to prove he’s still capable at the top level.