Cheltenham International Meeting

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Punters wanting to get some important clues for the Cheltenham Festival in March may want to pay close attention to another big meeting at the same course in the build up to Christmas.

The Cheltenham International Meeting runs for two days each December and plays host to many of the horses who have aspirations of victory at the Cheltenham Festival.

Undoubtedly the standout race in the Cheltenham International Meeting odds is the December Gold Cup, which has been dominated by the Paul Nicholls-trainer Poquelin in recent years.

Poquelin has won the last two renewals of the contest and has used it as a springboard to run in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, which is run over the same distance of 2m5f.

Therefore, both Cheltenham races are ideally suited to horses who do not have the speed for 2m, but also struggle for stamina over the Cheltenham Gold Cup trip of 3m2f.

The Stan James International Hurdle is another hugely competitive contest and is tackled by horses with an eye on the Champion Hurdle, the most prestigious hurdles race at the Cheltenham Festival.

Many horses have successfully won both races during their career, including Rooster Booster and Binocular.

Binocular is among those who may take part in the Cheltenham International Hurdle this season, along with last year’s winner Menorah.

Both of these races feature on the second of the two days, but the opening day is also not short of top-drawer action, with Buena Vista and Al Ferov winning on the opening day last year before going to triumph again at the Cheltenham Festival.

The bigger races on the day one card are the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and the Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.