HORSE-RACING: A deadly dozen set for the Peterborough Chase

Dodging Bullets on the way to victory at Cheltenham last year.

Dodging Bullets on the way to victory at Cheltenham last year.

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There’s a top-class field for Sunday’s (December 4) big race at Huntingdon.

Twelve entries have been made for the Betfred Peterborough Chase which, at £65,000 in prize-money, is the richest contest on the calendar at the Cambridgeshire track.

Champion jump-racing trainer Paul Nicholls, who has sent out the winner of the race just once before, is triple-handed among the entries made yesterday.

Dodging Bullets won the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year, while Art Mauresque and Vibrato Valtat are also seeking a return to winning form.

Ar Mad is unbeaten in his last four runs since October 2015 and could put up a bold show, while trainer Tom George will want God’s Own to show the quality that led to a victory at the Grand National Festival at Aintree last spring.

Josses Hill, one of two trained by Nicky Henderson in the two-and-a-half mile race, has won his only race to date this term, while stablemate Volnay De Thaix has winning form at Huntingdon, albeit over hurdles.

Tea For Two, from the West Country stables of Nick Williams, could use the race to warm up for the 32Red King George VI Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton Park, a track where he has won twice before.

Trainer Dan Skelton won the Huntingdon Grade 2 race with Al Ferof last December and is set to be represented this time around by Pain Au Chocolat.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has entered More Of That, a horse he rates very highly, while Royal Regatta, a recent winner at Ascot, could represent the Somerset yard of Philip Hobbs.

At the age of 12 years, Ratify – trained in Wales by Dai Burchell - is the veteran of the field, but he’s another who knows what it takes to win at Huntingdon.

Liam Johnson, general manager at Huntingdon Racecourse, said: “Betfred Peterborough Chase day is our most high profile and prestigious fixture of the year at Huntingdon Racecourse and the early indications are that we are going to have a cracking field of runners for the big race. There are plenty of talking points among the entries and we wait with anticipation to find out which horses will run on Sunday.”

Betfred Peterborough Chase fact file

First run – 2nd December 1969; run under today’s conditions since 1978;

Most successful horse – Edredon Bleu with four wins;

Most successful trainer – Henrietta Knight with eight wins;

Most successful jockeys – Richard Dunwoody and Jim Culloty with four wins each;

Abandoned – just once, due to fog in 1982 (2010 and 2012 races were transferred to Newbury and Kempton Park);

Days of the week – run on Tuesday (from 1969), Saturday (from 1998), Thursday (from 2008) and Sunday (from 2014).

Huntingdon Racecourse’s owner, The Jockey Club, is to allow all 18-to-24-year-olds to enjoy racing for half-price from the start of December, so the first chance to do so is on Sunday.

Young adults are encouraged to register immediately at RacePass18to24.co.uk to receive their free RacePass membership card, which is eligible for use at each of The Jockey Club’s 15 racecourses in England, including Newmarket.

With under 18s, accompanied by an adult, offered free admission already and students and senior citizens given discounts, it means a day at the races is becoming even more affordable.

The dedicated website, RacePass18to24.co.uk, lists all participating fixtures. Getting a RacePass is free and Jockey Club Racecourses is guaranteeing a minimum of 250 tickets will be available for half-price at each of the fixtures involved.

The occasion on Sunday, 4th December not only offers families a great racing day out before the Christmas holidays but also the top jockeys in Britain will be riding at the racecourse.

Tickets for the Main Enclosure are on sale for Betfred Peterborough Chase Day at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk and on the ticket hotline on 0844 579 3007, starting from £18 in advance (£20 on the day). Accompanied children aged 17 years and under are admitted free of charge.

For those spectators wishing to make their visit to the racecourse extra special, there is a choice of Lentons Package, including a pint of beer or a glass of wine, a race-day programme and a hot home-made pie, which is £27 in advance, or Hurdles Package (dish of the day instead of the pie), which is £31 in advance.

Racing on Sunday, 4th December is between 12.30pm and 3.30pm, with gates open two hours before the first race.