Middle Distance Chase Series 2.05pm
Popular chaser Some Buckle heads the field in the Middle Distance Chase Series Final for Tom George who had the winner of the Staying Chase Final last year with No Duffer. Grand National winning trainer Lucinda Russell has two entries in Mumgos Debut and The Cobbler Swayne while she could be joined by fellow Scot Nick Alexander who has Gold Opera entered. Last year’s winner of the race Ballybolley bids to retain his Middle Distance Chase Series crown for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Stayers Handicap Chase 2.40pm
The Stayers Handicap Chase Final is headed by Bernardelli who is one of five entries on the day for Nicky Richards, the Cumbrian based trainer. Bob Buckler from Somerset has saddled just nine different runners this season, but he bids for the big prize pot with Regal Flow who qualified when finishing fourth at Sandown in February and won his last start over three miles at Warwick. Entries also feature the runner up from last year’s Stayers Hurdle Final – Fingerontheswitch for Neil Mulholland.
Two Mile Handicap Hurdle 3.15pm
In the Two Mile Handicap Hurdle Final, Cumbrian trainer Kenneth Slack, has entered his exciting five-year-old Tonto’s Spirit who has won his last two starts, including a qualifier at Carlisle. Formerly on the Flat with Michael Dods his record over hurdles is three wins from five starts. Valhalla tops the weights of the 23 entries for the Two Mile Handicap Hurdle Final for the in-form Colin Tizzard.
Mares Handicap Hurdle 3.50pm
There can’t be many horses to have made more starts this season than Beyondtemptation and if she lines up on Saturday it will be her 14th start of the season and 54th of her career. The nine-year-old qualified for the Mares Handicap Hurdle Final with victory at Newcastle in February and would be a popular winner for trainer Jonathan Haynes.
Stayers Handicap Hurdle 4.20pm
Fresh from the biggest success of his career when Lalor won the Bumper at Aintree last week, Richard Woollacott will hope his good form continues with Millanisi Boy in the Stayers Handicap Hurdle Final. An impressive 24 entries have been received for the race, including the winner of the Cheltenham qualifier in November – Behind Time for Harry Fry.
Mares Handicap Chase 4.55pm
The final race of the 2017 Challenger Series will be the first ever Mares Handicap Chase Series Final which has received 13 entries including the popular Twenty Eight Guns for Michael Scudamore. Cambridgeshire trainer Pam Sly has the top weight at the moment with the leading light in her stable Actinpieces. Winner of a Novice Chase this season at Wetherby as well as a Series Qualifier at Catterick in February, she was last seen finishing third in a Listed Mares Chase at Huntingdon.
More about the Challenger Series
The Challenger Series was launched in the 2015/16 jumps season as a recommendation from the BHA’s jump racing review, and proved a successful and popular addition amongst trainers, owners and the racing public.
Aimed at horses who operate at just below the top level, it comprises six separate series that allows horses rated up to 135 (130 for the Mares Chase Series) to qualify through a total of 85 races for a finals day at the Jockey Club’s Haydock Park Racecourse on Easter Saturday 2017.
Each of the six finals carries £50,000 in prize money, resulting in a £300,000 raceday, which provides a substantial incentive and boost not only for mid-tier owners and trainers, but also for jump racing in the north.
35 racecourses hosted Challenger Series qualifiers across the jumps season, including racecourses operated by Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR), Arena Racing Company (ARC) and independent tracks.
The six series and corresponding £50,000 finals are: