Middle Distance Chase Series Final
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ will be looking to make it three wins in as many years as Crievehill heads the betting and the weights in the first Challenger Series Final of the meeting. The main challenges will be headed by Ben Pauling’s Creep Desbois and Paul Nicholls’ Orbasa. It’s also worth mentioning Challenger Series regular Twenty Eight Guns, who is surely going to be primed for the race.
Two Mile Hurdle Series Final
Donald McCain could hold the key to the Two Mile Hurdle Final with Chti Balko, William Of Orange and Cousin Oscar all qualified to run. Tom George and Adrian Heskin aim to win the race for a second year in a row with Super Sid. All these could fall short to the favourite and hattrick seeking Joke Dancer for the Sue Smith stable. He has been in cracking form of late and goes for a shot at the big prize here.
Staying Chase Series Final
The Staying Chase Final looks the most competitive race on the card. There is no doubt the Sue Smith trained Delusionofgrandeur could be the class act in the field. However, he has a weight to match this and carrying 11lbs more than his nearest rival could make life tough. The top three in the market, Behind Time, Shanroe In Milan and Jennys Surprise are all last time out winners and could take advantage of a lower weight.
Mares’ Hurdle Series Final
The first Mares’ race of the day is one of the most supported races of the day. The south west trainers have come out in their masses with the Oliver Sherwood trained Hitherjacques Lady and the Paul Nicholls’ trained Coillte Lass are the top rated. Further down the weights, last years’ third Midtech Valentine is 10lb lighter and Alan Kings’ Paggies Venture has been the model of consistency this year.
Stayers Hurdle Series Final
The Stayers Hurdle Final is another race with multiple last time out winners. Planet Nine for the Rose Dobbin team has enjoyed a fruitful 2018 with form figures of 3-1-1. Henry Daly’s Flashjack is bidding for a five timer, whilst Aaron Lad bids for the hattrick. Neil Mulholland will be hoping the switch from fences to hurdles for Fingerontheswitch will do the trick and make it third time lucky on Finals Day.
Mares’ Chase Series Final
The final race of the 2018 Challenger Series will be the second running of the Mares’ Handicap Chase which has received a record 15 entries. Michael Scudamore could be triple handed with Two Smokin Barrells, Twenty Eight Guns and Sheneededtherun. Peter Bowen’s Rons Dream has been in the top two in his last five starts, whilst Same Circus could cap a terrific day for the Donald McCain team.
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:
- 3m Handicap Chase Series
- 2m 3f Handicap Chase Series
- 2m Handicap Hurdle Series
- 3m Handicap Hurdle Series
- 2m 3f Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Series
- 3m Mares’ Chase Series