With Newbury and Warwick both called off due to frost on, all eyes turns to Exeter, Naas and Punchestown for the weekend racing action.
From a hotly-contested Irish Grand National trial to an intriguing Listed Novices’ Hurdle known for its previous winners, there is still plenty of exciting races to sink your teeth into.
Here are five races to tune into over the weekend…
BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase – Naas, 1.40 Saturday
Currently the 4/1 favourite for the Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Elimay makes her final prep run in the Listed contest at Naas before heading to Prestbury Park. The seven-year-old spearheads the Willie Mullins challenge and is joined by stablemate Yukon Lil, who is aiming to land a first success in Graded company. Veteran mare Shattered Love and 2019 Mares Novices’ Hurdle third Tintangle lead the charge for Gordon Elliott while Waitnsee lines up for John Patrick Ryan.
I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle – Punchestown, 2.00 Sunday
Sunday’s action gets underway with Power Of Pause looking to land his first victory in Listed company. Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old, who came third in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle last month, can book his ticket to Cheltenham with success at Punchestown. He face a tough challenge in Supreme contender Thedevilscoachman, who was impressive when landing victory at Navan two weeks ago for Noel Meade. Joseph O’Brien holds two entries in the contest, with Uhtred making his second start over hurdles while Fire Attack will need to bounce back after suffering a late fall last time out.
Bet At racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle – Exeter, 3.10 Sunday
A race renowned for broadcasting future stars, with Gold Cup winner Native River and Champion Chase victor Politologue both landing this contest in recent years. The Glancing Queen, who took third in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury over Christmas, makes her last appearance before heading to the Festival for most likely the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. Dan Skelton’s Wilde About Oscar will be aimed to return to winning ways after being pulled up in the same contest, while Johnny Farrelly will be hopeful Breffniboy can land his sixth win in eight races.
Punchestown Grand National Trial Handicap Chase – Punchestown, 4.30 Sunday
Gordon Elliott sends six runners to Punchestown for the Irish Grand National trial, as the County Meade trainer attempts to land this contest for the third successive time. 2019 winner Doukinos and top weight Alpha Des Obeaux line-up for Elliott alongside stablemates Roaring Bull, Out Sam and Monbeg Notorious, while General Prinicple takes second reserve. Race favourite The Big Dog makes his handicap debut for Peter Fahey, while Leopardstown Christmas Festival winner Midnight Maestro will be looking to continue his good run of form.
Join Racing TV Now Mares’ Chase – Exeter – 4.40 Sunday
The final major contest of the weekend sees National Hunt Chase entrant Snow Leopardess attempt to claim her second win over fences for Charlie Longsdon. The Grade 2 winner, who placed in all four of her starts over fences, looks to continue her good form and faces challengers in Rebecca Curtis’ Legends Gold and Alan King’s Midnightreferendum.