The 5 day declarations for Festival Trial's Day at Cheltenham where published today and weather permitting we have the prospect of one of the highest quality days racing of the entire 2012/13 NH season.
After the disappointment of Ascot's top class card being lost due to the snow NH fans will be holding there breath that the weather relents to allow this fantastic card to go ahead with some of the stars of NH racing pencilled in to run at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The most exciting prospect if the day must be the prospect of seeing the brilliant Sprinter Sacre who is a intended started in the rescheduled Victor Chandler Chase where opposition will be thin on the ground after the race was reopened today due to the lack of entries.
The renowned Gold Cup trial The Argento Chase promises to be a a vintage renewal of the race with the 14 entries headed by Nicky Henderson's Hennessy Gold Cup hero and also four time course winner Bobs Worth who could bid to consolidate his position at the head of the betting for The Cheltenham Gold Cup. He wont have it all his own way thou as Paul Nicholls has entered Tidal Bay winner of a thrilling Lexus Chase after finishing runner up to Bobs Worth in The Hennessy (he does have a alternative engagement in the Cleeve Hurdle a race he won back in 2010) but early indications are that he will take his chance in this. Imperial Commander the 2010 Gold Cup winner is a intended starter after nearly 2 years off the track and will be fascinating to see how much of the old ability he retains. Grands Crus from the David Pipe stable is another top notch entry and last years winner Midnight Chase could bid to follow up last years win in this race but he will face a much stiffer task this year with the likes of Bobs Worth and the revitalised Tidal Bay in opposition. Other entries include Wayward Prince, Weird Al and and Cappa Blue.
The Cleeve Hurdle will sadly not feature the mighty Big Bucks this year but we have the prospect of Nicky Henderson giving Oscar Whisky another shot at 3m after he appeared not to see out the trip in last years World Hurdle. Peddlers Cross who failed to deliver over fences last season may make his seasonal debut here along with the impressive Long Walk Hurdle winner Rene De Sivola. Paul Nicholls has entered Kauto Stone a grade 1 winner of fences at Down Royal in November but then a disappointment in the King George on Boxing Day along with stablemate Tidal Bay also entered in the Argento Chase earlier on the card. The novice Coneygree a impressive winner at Cheltenham;s December is another potential runner in this important World Hurdle trial.
The Neptune Investment Management Novice Hurdle could turn out to be the best Novice Hurdle staged in the UK so far this season and has attracted the cream of the crop from novice hurdling division headed by Nigel Twiston-Davies impressive Warwick winner The New One. Puffin Billy who took a grade 2 novice hurdle at Ascot in December without breaking sweat. At Fisher Cross unbeaten this season and a course winner in December is engaged along with another winner from Cheltenham's December meeting Coneygree who has several other entries on Saturday.
If that wasn't enough then there is also 3 highly competitive handicaps along with the grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trail all of which could well throw up plenty of clues for The Festival in March.