|Monday 23rd January 2017|
Clarence House Chase Set for Cheltenham Switch
The Grade One Clarence House Chase is set to be switched to Cheltenham next weekend following the abandoned card at Ascot which fell to a frozen track.
If the race is added to Trials Day at Prestbury Park, it means there will now be nine races at the meeting which will feature many of the Cheltenham Festival hopefuls who will be running for the final time before the big week in March.
It won’t be the first time that Cheltenham has added extra races to one of its cards. In 2008 at the Festival, there were 10 races in one day on the Thursday of the meeting to make up for the loss of the Tuesday that year.
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Sadly, trainer Gary Moore has hinted that Ar Mad is unlikely to run at Cheltenham in the Clarence House Chase if the race is switched to the track. The seven-year-old has had just the one run so far this season where he finished fourth in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. Last season’s impressive novice chaser set the pace in the Grade One contest but he made a mistake early in the race which knocked his confidence over the fences. He rallied well late on to get within just over three lengths of the winner Un De Sceaux in fourth place.
Un De Sceaux could well go off a lot shorter now in the betting at Cheltenham as he looks to prevail in his second Grade One contest of the season. Willie Mullins runner is set to run in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival if you are looking to place a sportsbet on the former Arkle winner. He finished second in the race in 2016 where Sprinter Sacre was right back to his best in what was one of the most popular wins at the meeting last year.
Mares’ Hurdle Rescheduled for Huntingdon
The Mares’ Hurdle is also a race which was lost when Ascot failed its inspection on Clarence House Chase Day. That race will now be run on Friday at Huntingdon which will be an opportunity for Nicky Henderson’s Kotkikova to get her first win in the UK since making the switch from France.
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The six-year-old has an entry in the mares’ only race at the Festival and Henderson will be hoping she shows the same form in the UK as she did in France where she was a Grade One winner at Auteuil. She could run against Mullins’ Vroum Vroum Mag, Annie Power and Apple’s Jade on day one of the meeting in March as all three of those big names in the division have entries in the contest.
Kotkikova made her debut for Henderson at Leopardstown last month where she finished a respectable fifth in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle which was won by Vroum Vroum Mag. If she improves from that run, she will be expected to score at Huntingdon and put her in contention as one of the leading players in the mares’ race at the Festival.