The return of Cheltenham is the first true sign that we are heading right into the National Hunt season and all jump fans are counting down the minutes to Prestbury Park on Friday afternoon. As ever, we will have competitive fields to look forward to, potential Cheltenham Festival candidates, plenty of notebooks out and plenty of Irish raiders. The Irish are coming over in their droves this week and we have highlighted the ones that may be worth monitoring with a view to the season ahead.
Four Irish runners have been declared for the conditional jockeys’ handicap, but the most interesting one has to be Royal Eagle who hails from the Gordon Elliott stable. This mare defied a career high mark to win narrowly at Tipperary this month. She has an entry for the Greatwood here next month and will be targeting a big Festival handicap.
This is a good opportunity for Gavin Cromwell’s My Mate Mozzie to get off the mark over fences at the second time of asking. Second in a Royal Bond over hurdles, he was turned over when a short price at Fairyhouse on chasing bow. He will need to improve again to win this but that’s very possible.
Encanto Bruno won a bumper on this weekend last year, and did it in style. He finished midfield in the Champion Bumper in March, but created a great impression on hurdling debut in July. Pulled up at Galway when last seen, he has to bounce back, but he is clearly a horse with a lot of talent.
Peter Fahey’s Toto Too won a Killarney bumper in August and made no mistake on hurdling bow at Navan in September. He is well worth a crack at this level and could be an exciting one for the yard.
If you back any of our selections you can watch them live on the free Racing Post app or racingpost.com. Simply log in to one of your bookmaker accounts and click ‘Watch live’ on the racecards.