Grand start for ‘Crus’

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The weekend saw the National Hunt season gather momentum with the three day Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham.

This is usually the meeting where we start to see the leading stars of the season staking their claim for the campaign ahead and this year was no exception.

The novice chase on Friday saw several of last season’s top hurdlers in action, including Cue Card, Zaynar and eventual winner Grand Crus.

Grand Crus, trained by David Pipe, had some tough battles against star staying hurdler Big Bucks last year but looks to have an exciting future over fences.

David Pipe was also successful in the big race, the Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase with Great Endeavour, ridden by Timmy Murphy.

Attention now switches to Haydock and the Betfair Chase tomorrow. Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Long Run, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen returns to the fold and is reported to be in ‘good nick’ ahead of his seasonal debut.

Preparations continue for our own National Hunt curtain raiser on Friday, November 25. The fences have all been refurbished and are due for the pre-season inspection this week.

This fixture is the Doncaster Countryside Day, in association with the Countryside Alliance, and starts with a charity race over seven furlongs for members of the hunting community.

It should be a fantastic day’s entertainment with colourful parades of horses and hounds providing a real flavour of the countryside.

The meeting is also the first of four jumps fixtures between now and Christmas.

For more information or to book tickets to a race day or one of Doncaster Racecourse’s Christmas Party nights or New Year’s Eve celebration, call 01302 304200, or visit www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk.