Racehorse stars of the future will be on show as the 2018 racing calendar at Huntingdon Racecourse begins on Friday (January 12).
The feature contest is the Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle which offers £25,000 in prize money, a rise of 25 per cent on 2017.
Champion jumps trainer Nicky Henderson has sent out the winner on three occasions in the last nine runnings – and could be represented again after entering the French-bred Style De Garde who won on his British racing debut five days before Christmas.
Also among the 10 initial entries is the Alan King-trained Redicean who was successful on his own debut over hurdles at Kempton Park over the festive period.
The Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle, run over two miles, always attracts quality horses.
Sceau Royal, who triumphed in 2016 for trainer Alan King, ran well in the Champion Hurdle that season and has since gone on to become a high-class novice chaser and is well fancied for this season’s Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.
Twelve months ago, the victor was Nicky Henderson’s Divin Bere. He subsequently put in two excellent performances when runner-up in both the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle at the Aintree Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Friday’s entire card at Huntingdon is sponsored by Smarkets, the betting exchange which is becoming a major supporter of races at the venues of Jockey Club Racecourses in 2018. Thirty-five fixtures are covered by the new partnership, with backing for some 240 races.
The business, which is the shirt sponsor of Queens Park Rangers football club, was named last year as the 25th fastest-growing company in Europe in the inaugural FT1000 ranking and this is its first venture into racing.
Visitors to the Cambridgeshire racecourse may also see the jockey of the moment – 16-year-old James Bowen – who won the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow Racecourse on Saturday on a horse just three years his junior.
Main Enclosure admission for adults is £10 when purchased in advance – it’s £15 on the day. Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge. Tickets can be purchased at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk or on 0844 579 3007. Young adults aged 18 to 24 years can also get half price entry by registering with The Jockey Club’s RacePass18to24.co.uk. The first time is scheduled for 1.30pm.