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The list of entries for the ten handicap races at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival has been announced.
The 10 handicaps at the four-day extravaganza, which takes place from Tuesday, 10 March through to Thursday, 13 March inclusive.
Tuesday, 10 March plays host to the £110,000 G3 Ultima Handicap Chase (3m 1f, 91 entries), in which Vinndication (Kim Bailey) heads the ante-post market most with most firms after an impressive comeback at Ascot just before Christmas.
Day one of The Festival comes to a close with the £70,000 Listed Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase (2m 4f, 72 entries). Kim Bailey, who is based not far from Cheltenham at Andoversford, also has the market leader for this contest in Imperial Aura, who has finished second on his latest two outings, both of which came at the Home of Jump Racing.
There are a massive 148 entries for Wednesday’s £100,000 G3 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (2m 5f), in which Protektorat (Dan Skelton), who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, tops the ante-post market. The five-year-old was a Listed winner at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and third in the G2 Ballymore Novice’ Hurdle on Festival Trials Day, 25 January. Last year’s winner William Henry (Nicky Henderson) is entered once again.
Also taking place on Wednesday is the £80,000 G3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (2m, 61 entries) for four-year-olds.
Day three, Thursday, 12 March features three handicaps, kicking off with the £100,000 G3 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (3m, 57 entries). Gordon Elliott has won the last two runnings and has seven entries in 2020, including last year’s winner Sire du Berlais.
The £110,000 G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (2m 4.5f) has attracted 96 including 2019 scorer Siruh du Lac (Nick Williams) and Happy Diva (Kerry Lee), who scooped the G3 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November.
Thursday concludes with the £70,000 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (3m 2f, 95 entries.)
The £100,000 G3 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (2m 1f, 99 entries) on Friday, 13 March has gone to trainer Dan Skelton for three of the past four years. Skelton’s four entries this year include previous winners Ch’tibello (2019) and Mohaayed (2018), as well as exciting novice West Cork and Sofia’s Rock.
Trainer Nicky Henderson has two entries, Theinval and Whatswrongwithyou, in the race named in memory of his father – the £110,000 G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (2m, 53 entries).
The Festival concludes with the £70,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2m 4f, 156 entries). David Pipe has yet to win the race named in honour of his father and has six entries this year.
Weights for all 10 handicaps at The Festival will be revealed on Wednesday, 26 February