Sky Bet’s “Road To Cheltenham” gets underway on Sunday, day three of The November Meeting at Cheltenham.
The £32,000 Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle over an extended two miles at 3.30pm, is the first of seven races in the “Road To Cheltenham”, which culminates with the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race of The Festival at Cheltenham on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
There are 11 entries for Sunday’s race, headed by Itchy Feet (Olly Murphy), who is three from three so far this season, winning a bumper at Stratford on 8th September, followed by a Southwell novices’ hurdle in early October and, on his latest outing, he made a successful transition to Listed class when successful at Kempton Park on 21st October.
The four-year-old is one of two entries for Murphy along with five-year-old Thomas Darby, who is already a winner at Cheltenham this season, having taken a maiden hurdle at the course on 26th October, when scoring by three and a quarter lengths from Elixir De Nutz (Colin Tizzard).
Another entry already on the mark this season is Anytime Will Do (Dan Skelton), who landed a maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter and a novices’ hurdle at Bangor in October.
Other entries to have won last time out include Seddon (Tom George), who contested last season’s Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper and was an impressive winner on his hurdling debut at Stratford on 1st November.
Weather Front (Karen McLintock), a smartly-bred five-time Flat winner, won well at Hexham, while Colonel Custard (Nicky Martin) was a comfortable five-length winner at Newton Abbot last month.
An intriguing contender is David Pipe’s Ekayburg. The four-year-old won a Grade 2 bumper in France in October 2017, and has been purchased by Cheveley Park Stud.
Benny’s Bridge (Fergal O’Brien), Normal Norman (John Ryan) and Two For Gold (Kim Bailey) complete the entries.