Six things to look out for this week

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Mon 22 Jan 2018

By staff

Cotswold Conundrum:

Bristol De Mai could try to get his Cheltenham Gold Cup campaign back on track in Saturday's Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase at Prestbury Park.

Run in many guises over the years, the roll of honour for the Grade Two heat includes many of racing's biggest names, including subsequent Gold Cup victor Looks Like Trouble in 2000.

Last season's race resulted in a finish that will live long in the memory with Many Clouds fending off Thistlecrack in a thumping crescendo, only for the winner to tragically collapse and die following his narrow victory. Thistlecrack has yet to show he can be the same since, too.

Many Clouds is sure to be in the thoughts of many ahead of Saturday's renewal and you can watch the tribute we made to him last year above. A full showing of Many Clouds: The People's Horse will be screened around the racecourse after the last race at 4.10pm.

Festival Rehearsal:

The Cotswold Chase is the highlight of Festival Trials day at Cheltenham, with dress rehearsals for a handful of the feature races.

[(full)Watch Replay](//)

The Cleeve Hurdle, won by Unowhatimeanharry 12 months ago (video above), gives Stayers' Hurdle contenders the chance for a spin around the track, while the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial has a fine recent strike-rate with Peace And Co (2015) and Defi Du Seuil (2017) going on to victory in March.

The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle could be a good guide for the race of the same name at the Festival and there is also the Grade Three Festival Trials Trophy Chase to get your teeth into.

Eyes On The Sky:

Definitly Red (pictured) and L'Ami Serge are two star names in the frame for Saturday's Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.

Horse Racing - Betfair Super Saturday - Newbury Racecourse

The first-named blew away his rivals on his return at Aintree back in November and L'Ami Serge is a fascinating contender as a previous Grade One winner for Nicky Henderson.

Add into the mix the likes of Gold Present, Go Conquer and Frodon and you have all the hallmarks of another quality renewal on a card that also features the Lightning Novices' Chase and the River Don Novices' Hurdle.

National Service:

Mullins - Gold cup - RF

The Randox Health Grand National will be uppermost in many minds on Thursday as Gowran stages the Goffs Thyestes Chase.

Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde showed the value of this race in 2004 and 2005 respectively, with both going on to Aintree glory, albeit in the year following their Gowran glory.

Djakadam and On His Own feature among the more recent winners and with six winners already to his credit, look out for the Willie Mullins-trained contenders.

Polidam, trained by Mullins (pictured), currently vies for favouritism with Gordon Elliott's Ucello Conti and both are 33-1 for Aintree.

Toast To Fly?

For those who are prepared to put in a late shift on Saturday, the second running of the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park should be a sight to behold.

With $US16 million (£11.5m) up for grabs, this 12-runner heat is the richest race in the world and Jamie Osborne is taking a run for glory with Toast Of New York.

Back from a spell at stud that did not go as hoped, the one-time Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up appears to have an uphill struggle after winning at Lingfield on his return from over 1,000 days off the track, but connections will be hoping Frankie Dettori can weave a bit of magic.

When Osbourne was interviewed by Nick Luck for Luck On Sunday (watch above) Toast Of New York was a best-priced 50-1 but is no bigger than 20-1 and is also 40-1 for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March.

Home hopes are headed by Gun Runner, with the Breeders' Cup hero looking for a golden farewell before departing for stallion duties.

Minimum Bet rule to be discussed in front of Gambling Commission:

Bookmakers blurred

Punters across the land and beyond will be looking at events on Tuesday with much interest as the Gambling Commission and select MP listen to a discussion about the widespread use of account closures and bet restrictions by online bookmakers.

Account restrictions is a very hot topic and the seminar was triggered by a punter who was driven to contact his local MP, Philip Davies, due to a Kaftka-esque nightmare he experienced.

Speakers at the forum are expectd to be Richard Flint, the chief excutive of Sky Bet, Simon Rowlands, chairman of the Horserace Bettors Forum, and possibly Bruce Millington, editor of the Racing Post.

Rowlands has proposed a minimum bet rule, whereby bookmakers are forced to stand a bet at an advertised price to a specified sum, much as Coral already do in shops and which has worked so well in Australia.

FIXTURES (FLAT in capitals):

Monday: Fakenham, Lingfield (OFF), WOLVERHAMPTON

Tuesday: Leicester (RUK), SOUTHWELL, Wetherby (RUK) (Subject to inspection)

Wednesday: Catterick (RUK), Exeter (RUK), KEMPTON (RUK), LINGFIELD

Thursday: CHELMSFORD, Kelso (RUK), SOUTHWELL, Warwick (RUK)

Friday: Doncaster, Huntingdon (RUK), KEMPTON (RUK), LINGFIELD

Saturday: Cheltenham (RUK), Doncaster, KEMPTON (RUK), LINGFIELD, Uttoxeter

Sunday: Fontwell, Sedgefield

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