Jumpers out in force as Trouble looms

True devotees of jumps racing, those people who have been pining for the return of top-class chasers ever since the season (officially) began back in April, may feel slightly peeved on Saturday that having waited almost seven months for a decent race, they now find three coming along at once. They must now decide whether to head for Haydock, where Beau is an entry for the Edward Hanmer Chase, Down Royal, the venue for the seasonal debut of Looks Like Trouble, the Gold Cup winner, or headquarters itself, Cheltenham, for the Thomas Pink Gold Cup.

True devotees of jumps racing, those people who have been pining for the return of top-class chasers ever since the season (officially) began back in April, may feel slightly peeved on Saturday that having waited almost seven months for a decent race, they now find three coming along at once. They must now decide whether to head for Haydock, where Beau is an entry for the Edward Hanmer Chase, Down Royal, the venue for the seasonal debut of Looks Like Trouble, the Gold Cup winner, or headquarters itself, Cheltenham, for the Thomas Pink Gold Cup.

The latter is the spiritual kicking-off point for the entire winter campaign, although finding another new name attaching itself to what was for so long the Mackeson will do little to cement its place in punters' hearts. Twenty-eight runners remain after the declarations yesterday, the top weight being Fadalko, who was an impressive winner at Wincanton recently and is set to carry 11st 10lb. Paul Nicholls, his trainer, may also run Norski Lad, while Venetia Williams, the winner of the race last year with The Outback Way, has entered Davoski, another chaser with recent winning form. As for Martin Pipe, he can take his pick from six entries, including Exit Swinger, Majadou, and Dark Stranger, a winner over course and distance at the Festival.

With the Edward Hanmer also competing for the attention of the leading steeplechasers, not to mention the possibility of further rain, several names appear in the entries for both races. Davoski, who is the 7-1 favourite for the Thomas Pink Gold Cup with Ladbrokes and Hills, could yet travel to Haydock, leaving Fadalko, who also carries the colours of Robert Ogden, to represent the owner at Cheltenham. "We'll run him where we think he has the best chance of winning," Williams said yesterday, "but we won't know until nearer the time."

Exit Swinger is also prominent in the betting, along with Legal Right, who has not raced since a brilliant 22-length win in the Tripleprint Gold Cup at Cheltenham almost a year ago.

"The intention is to run and the ground should be all right for him," Jonjo O'Neill, his trainer, said yesterday. "The only problem is that it looks as if Tony [McCoy] will be riding for Martin Pipe but if he was available he would ride."

As well as betting on Saturday's race, punters facing a blank day over the jumps today can also study the Gold Cup lists, and decide whether to back - or oppose - Looks Like Trouble, the defending champion, before his seasonal debut at Down Royal on Saturday.

The clash between the James Nicholson Ulster Champion Chase and the Thomas Pink Gold Cup at Cheltenham is a little unfortunate from the point of view of the courses, and will be even more so if something spreads a plate before the Cheltenham race, since the Ulster Champion Chase is due off just 10 minutes later. There is at least no doubt about Looks Like Trouble getting a race, however, with Mike Todd, the course manager at Down Royal, reporting yesterday that the track has survived the recent poor weather unscathed.

Looks Like Trouble will travel to Ulster today to prepare to renew acquaintance with Florida Pearl, the runner-up in the Gold Cup. The pair are locked together at 5-4 in the book on the race opened yesterday by the Irish layer Liam Cashman, with Dorans Pride, another evergreen, on 8-1, and Micko's Dream, who took tens of thousands of punters' pounds with him when falling at the first in the Grand National, at 10-1.

There is a high-class card at Cheltenham on Sunday too, including the £25,000 novice chase won by Fadalko and Mister Morose in the last two seasons and sponsored this year by The Independent. Among 10 entries made yesterday were Alcapone (Mouse Morris) and Khairabar (Christy Roche) from Ireland, while Best Mate, one of last year's finest novice hurdlers, leads the home team.

News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Team of Female Support Workers Required - Competitive Pay

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: You will need to be able to follow instructio...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£10000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest In...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Car Sales Executive

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent...

Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London up to £40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London u...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?