Spectacular entries for the big race at Huntingdon

Top entry Frodon trained by Paul Nicholls.
Top entry Frodon trained by Paul Nicholls.
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A vintage renewal of Huntingdon Racecourse’s showpiece race is in prospect on Sunday (December 9) after trainers revealed their entries today.

Eighteen horses have been put into the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Edredon Bleu Chase – usually known as the Peterborough Chase – including four from Ireland.

Josses Hill won the big race in 2016.

Josses Hill won the big race in 2016.

There has never been an Irish-trained winner of the race which was first run 49 years ago, but County Meath trainer Gordon Elliott – who has a great record of two winners from three runners at the Cambridgeshire racecourse – is targeting the steeplechase.

Three of the four Irish contenders, including Alpha des Obeaux who last raced in Britain in the Randox Health Grand National last April, are owned by Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary.

Heading the 18 horses is Frodon, trained by Paul Nicholls and a winner of the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October and runner-up in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month.

Champion jumps trainer Nicky Henderson has two potential runners, including the 2016 winner Josses Hill who could bid to regain his crown. The handler is aiming for a seventh victory in the Huntingdon race which would see him bearing down on former trainer Henrietta Knight’s record haul of eight wins.

God's Own (centre) is another possible runner.

God's Own (centre) is another possible runner.

Tea For Two was runner-up behind Josses Hill in 2016 and could bid to go one better this time around. He is set to be ridden by Lizzie Kelly.

God’s Own, winner of the bwin Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last month, is another possible for Sunday, while Rene’s Girl – from the Midlands yard of Dan Skelton who won the race with Al Ferof three years ago – triumphed at the track and over the same distance earlier this year.

The contest is being run in honour of Edredon Bleu, the winner of the race four times in succession between 1998 and 2001 who died in September at the age of 26.

Liam Johnson, general manager at Huntingdon Racecourse, said: “The ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Edredon Bleu Chase is gearing up to be a high class and exciting contest and we are looking forward with anticipation to Sunday. The entries for our feature race of 2018 are tremendous and a thrilling race and day are in prospect for our visitors.”

The day features not only exciting racing but also an array of family entertainment, including a visit by Father Christmas, children’s activities, rock climbing, paint balling, a military brass band performance and a dedicated army military village.

Adult tickets for 9th December are £18 in advance (£22 on the day), with accompanied children going free as usual. There is also a value-for-money Christmas Family package available for £33. Further information is available online at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk where tickets can be purchased or on 0844 579 3007. The first race is at 12.15pm – and gates open two hours before that.

The new sponsor of the feature race, which has been won by some of the most famous middle-distance steeplechasers, is The ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the official charity of the racecourse during 2018.

The ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the national charity of the British Army. It gives a lifetime of support to soldiers and veterans from the Army, and their immediate families, when they are in need. They make grants to individuals through their Regiments and Corps and support a wide range of specialist charities that sustain the British Army ‘family’, both at home and around the world.