Some more early 2018 Festival clues surfaced in the past week with racing at Exeter, Cheltenham, and Aintree throwing up a handful of horses to put in your notebook. The Follow The Money team have the details...
Yanworth off the mark over fences
One of last season's top hurdlers, Yanworth, made a winning debut over fences on Tuesday at Exeter. Jumping big at his first few fences Yanworth soon settled down and got in a rhythm winning by a cosy two lengths from a decent horse in Sternrubin.
Presumably Yanworth's two potential Cheltenham targets will be the JLT or the RSA, having shortened on both markets. He can now be backed at [9.0] for the JLT and [13.5] for the RSA with the latter race seeing the biggest movement, from a high of [32.0].
The return of Cheltenham
For a lot of people this weekend is seen as the opener for the National Hunt season and it didn't disappoint. Friday threw up some potential novice race winners for the festival.
The second race on the card was novice chase between hopeful Arkle contenders North Hill Harvey and Sceau Royal. A great battle cumulated in a close finish with the former rallying well on the flat to win. Both horses were drifters in the Cheltenham market however, Sceau Royal out to [20.0] and North Hill Harvey to [29.0].
Irish point-to-point winner Slate House was the winner of the maiden hurdle on the card and the Colin Tizzard-trained horse has been introduced into three of the open novice hurdle races for the festival. The horse has been matched at [34.0] for the Supreme, [21.0] for the Ballymore and [28.0] for the Albert Bartlett.
Handicappers to follow
Saturday's racing at Cheltenham was brilliant but the horse's that won are more likely to be running in the big handicaps come festival week rather than the championship races. It would be smart to keep an eye on some of the winners including Foxtail Hill, Thomas Campbell, Twobeelucky and Cogry as they were all impressive.
Sunday at Aintree
The big feature race of the day was the 15:00 Old Roan Handicap Chase (Grade 2) which involved some of last year's Cheltenham Festival big guns such as Cloudy Dream, God's Own, Smad Place and last year's winner of this race Third Intention.
The gutsy old boy Smad Place battled hard to hold off Cloudy Dream who was looming behind hitting a low of [1.25] in running. No doubt Alan King will be aiming Smad Place for another big run at the festival.