Today’s racing

The curtain goes up on the four-day Cheltenham Festival today with the Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle the feature event.

A field of 17 will contest the two-mile showpiece headed by runaway Christmas Hurdle heroine Epatante, who would become the first mare to score since Annie Power in 2016.

Epatante’s owner, JP McManus, is bidding for his fourth straight Champion Hurdle, having struck with Buveur D’Air (2017 and 2018) and the ill-fated Espoir D’Allen (2019). His other runner this year is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Darasso.

The meeting opens with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the card also includes Grade 1 contests the Racing Post Arkle and the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle, which will see superstars Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle clash.

Our Bloodstock Editor Nancy Sexton has previewed some of the key bloodstock angles that could come to the fore at this year’s Festival, which you can read here.

Away from Cheltenham, Sedgefield hosts a National Hunt fixture while there are all-weather meetings from Southwell and Newcastle.

Catalogue released for Festival Sale

Tattersalls Cheltenham has revealed a total of 24 lots will come under the hammer during its Festival Sale after racing on Thursday.

Colin Bowe, who guided the early career of the unbeaten Envoi Allen, is responsible for four entries which are Chosen Port, Gerri Colombe, Amarillo Sky and Bareback Jack.

You can view the catalogue here: