There’s not long left to go until the Ladbrokes Winter Festival finally kicks into gear at Newbury on Friday.
The two-day meeting will showcase some of the sport’s biggest names across 14 races on Friday and Saturday afternoon.
While the undoubted highlight is the Ladbrokes Trophy, there’s still plenty of other action to enjoy.
Here, we bring you some of the key races from across the two-day meet…
Friday 1st December
The third race of the day on Friday looks a belter featuring three star novice chasers. Unbeaten over fences Willoughby Court and Modus will take on the highly-fancied Yanworth, who fell last time out at Exeter.
Can Unowhatimeanharry spoil the hotly-anticipated return of Thistlecrack? Colin Tizzard’s stable star suffered a tendon injury last February and missed the Cheltenham Festival. Now he’s back and rated as a 7/4 chance to land the Long Distance Hurdle from last year’s winner whom he’ll line up alongside in this one.
Saturday 2nd December
12:10 Ladbrokes Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
This Listed race looks set to feature the undefeated Cap Soleil as the filly goes for a fifth straight triumph. Dame Rose and Countister will provide the main challenge, although Nicky Henderson’s Sunshade could also feature if she can handle the step up in class.
12:45 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase
Thistlecrack won this contest last year and it’s Black Corton who is tipped to do the business this time around for trainer Paul Nicholls. The progressive six-year-old will be stepped up in class once again as he looks for an impressive six-timer at what should prove to be optimum distance.
Braqueur D’Or and Adrien Du Pont also run for Nicholls who holds all of the aces in this pack. Sir Ivan and Fountains Windfall are also expected to throw down a challenge.
An open Listed contest that is currently headed by French-bred raider Charli Parcs at 4/1. The Henderson-trained four-year-old should perform better in this class but will fancy competition from stablemate Verdana Blue, as well as Malcolm Jefferson’s Mount Mews.
This is the big one. 24 runners will go to post in the hope of landing one of the season’s biggest races. Some big names have won this in the past including Arkle, Denman and Many Clouds.
In the 2017 edition, Total Recall (9/2), American (6/1) and Singlefarmpayment (7/1) are the current top-three in the ante-post betting. But with names like Whisper and the veteran Coneygree in contention, it really is anyone’s to call.
Click here for the latest Horse Racing odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.