Stable staff involved in the £15,000 Injured Jockeys’ Fund Oaksey House Novices’ Chase (12.10pm), the opening race on Friday, 10 December at The International, Cheltenham, could benefit from the generosity of a mystery benefactor’s £1,000 donation.
The groom responsible for the best turned out horse prior to the race will receive £500 while a further £500 is to be awarded to the groom of the horse that wins the Injured Jockeys’ Fund Oaksey House Novices’ Chase.
The two-mile, five-furlong contest has attracted a high-class entry with a trio from the Paul Webber stable that includes last season’s Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle runner-up Time For Rupert, impressive when defeating Hell’s Bay over the course at The Open last month. Sarando and Space Mission are the other possible Webber-trained contenders.
Reve De Sivola was a dual Grade One winner as a novice hurdler last term and finished runner-up to Peddlers Cross in the Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival. Nick Williams’ charge was no match for Time For Rupert last time, finishing fourth to that rival on his chase debut at the course.
Nicky Henderson has engaged Spirit River, victorious in the Grade Three Coral Cup at The Festival, who looked a natural until taking a novicey fall in a Grade Two at Newbury recently, while stablemates Rackham Lerouge, Radium, Quantitativeeasing and Surfing could also line up.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has a strong hand to play with his potential runners including the hat-trick seeking Rebel De Maquis, successful at The Showcase in October, and the classy Royal Charm, impressive on his only chase start at Exeter on 9 November.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Tarablaze won at Exeter on 5 December, while stablemate Wishfull Thinking benefited form the fall of Robinson Collonges to win the Grade Two Rising Stars Novices’ Chase over the distance at Wincanton last month.
Howard Johnson has engaged a trio of potentially useful novices in Alvarado, successful on his only start over fences at Carlisle in October, The Knoxs and Milan’s Man.
Fredo and Othermix may represent Alvechurch trainer Ian Williams and Emma Lavelle could saddle the high-classBouggler.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Coote Hill, fourth to Wishfull Thinking at Wincanton, Vino Griego from the Gary Moore yard, the Tony Martin-trained Hegrid and the Gordon Elliott-trained Jessies Dream also hold entries in the Injured Jockeys’ Fund Oaksey House Novices’ Chase.
Lisa Hancock, Chief Executive of the IJF, commented: “Cheltenham kindly let the IJF know that this race had become available for sponsorship and we are extremely grateful to the very generous financial support we received from an anonymous supporter.
“The race offers us a great opportunity with the trading season for our Christmas cards and other products in full swing. The Christmas season is such an important time for the IJF.
“The IJF is fortunate to have extremely loyal supporters and we cherish their continued backing.”