Festival handicap weights announced

  • Last Updated: February 26 2014, 12:30 GMT

The weights for the 11 handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival were unveiled on Wednesday afternoon.

Fingal Bay: Carries top-weight in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
Fingal Bay: Carries top-weight in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle

Champion Hurdle Day on Tuesday features two handicaps - the Baylis and Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase and the Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase.

Triolo D'Alene (Nicky Henderson) and Houblon Des Obeaux (Venetia Williams), who both still hold entries in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, share top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Baylis and Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase over an extended three miles.

God's Own (Tom George) will have to shoulder 12 stone if he runs in the Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase, having been raised seven pounds following an excellent second in the Grade Two Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton Park on Saturday.

Although he is now rated above the limit of 140 for the two and a half-mile event, he is still eligible to run as he was rated 137 at the time of entry. Hunt Ball defied 12 stone in this race two years ago after also having his rating elevated following the entry stage.

Medinas (Alan King) will have to defy top-weight of 11st 12lb if he is to become the first horse to win the Coral Cup twice. He shares top weight of 11st 12lb in the two miles and five furlong handicap hurdle with Irish challenger Dunguib (Philip Fenton).

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase is also staged on Ladies Day.

Cheltenham specialist Balthazar King (Philip Hobbs) won this race in 2012 and will have to carry top-weight of 11st 12lb if he is to record a second success in the unique contest, which takes place over three miles and seven furlongs.

Ladies Day also features the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles, in which Abbyssial (Willie Mullins), a Grade Two winner at Fairyhouse on Saturday, has top-weight of 11st 12lb.

On St Patrick's Thursday, Fingal Bay (Philip Hobbs) has been allotted top-weight of 11st 12lb in the three-mile Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle and the Minehead handler is also responsible for the handicap topper in the two and a half-mile Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase with Wishfull Thinking on 11st 12lb.

The day concludes with the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong in which Holywell (Jonjo O'Neill), winner of last year's Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle, heads the weights on 11st 12lb.

Previous Festival winners Captain Cee Bee (Eddie Harty) and Dunguib (Philip Fenton) plus Diakali (Willie Mullins) share top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle, run over two miles and a furlong on Gold Cup Day.

On the same day, Virak (Paul Nicholls) tops the weights in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles.

In the concluding race of The Festival, the extended two-mile Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, the weights are headed by Kid Cassidy (Nicky Henderson).


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