With the absence of Altior, five runners will contest today’s Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton.
Altior’s trainer Nicky Henderson is represented in the 2m4½f event by the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned Top Notch, who was an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase (2m4f) at Huntingdon last month.
The Tom Gretton-trained Kauto Riko, who was beaten only three-quarters of a length by Top Notch last time, re-opposes today. Paul Nicholls is represented by Frodon while the field is completed by Born Survivor and Keeper Hill.
Warwick stages the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2m5f) and the Grade 3 Classic Handicap Chase (3m5f) today. The hurdle looks an interesting match-up between The Queen’s Keen On and the Dan Skelton-trained Shan Blue.
A field of 14 will go to post for the Classic Chase including the David Bridgwater-trained The Conditional, who was beaten one and a half lengths by De Rasher Counter in the Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November.
Wetherby and Fairyhouse (Ireland) also stage National Hunt fixtures today while the all-weather action comes from Lingfield and Chelmsford.
Changes to Eider Chase
Newcastle racecourse has announced an increase in race distance for the Eider Chase on February 22.
Previously run over 4m122y, the race will now be run over 4m1f56y, with the start of the race having been moved backwards by 154 yards.
As a result, an extra fence has been added to the race, with a total of 26 now to be jumped in the marathon event. The position of the new first fence will allow jockeys and horses more room to negotiate the obstacle.
Clerk of the Course James Armstrong said: “The Eider Chase is one of the highlights of the National Hunt season at Newcastle and often attracts fields at, or near, the limit of eighteen.
“As such, we have taken the decision to move the start back so that both jockeys and horses have a better sight of the new first fence, with much more space for them to negotiate the obstacle.
“We believe that these steps will make a positive effect to the start of the race without any impact on the unique test that the race offers both horses and jockeys.”
One race saved from Huntingdon
A single race has been salvaged from Huntingdon’s card on Friday, which was abandoned in the morning following the river around the course bursting its bank and flooding public enclosures.
BHA officials have decided that only the 2m4f novices’ handicap chase will be restaged due to a lack of similar opportunities for horses in the coming weeks.
A spokesman told the Racing Post: “Whenever a fixture is lost there is always a process of evaluation as to whether specific opportunities have been lost and whether the program in its entirety has suffered, which is particularly relevant in periods of sustained and considerable fixture loss.
“Having been through that process for today’s fixture at Huntingdon, we are of the view that there are alternative opportunities for the horses declared to run today in the coming weeks with the exception of the novice handicap chase.
“We have offered out the opportunity to stage this race to racecourses with a deadline of Monday, and should a suitable replacement venue be found we will communicate that to trainers early next week.”