As the cold weather abates, Newbury are all set to host their rescheduled Super Saturday card on Friday and Cheltenham Festival clues are to be on offer throughout the seven race card in a truly mouthwatering meeting.
Sprinter Sacre will start off the classy proceedings at 12:10pm as he looks to cement his place at the head of the Arkle Challenge Trophy betting with success in the Game Spirit Chase. Nicky Henderson's speedster has been phenomenonal since making the transition from the larger obstacles and will take on Queen Mother Champion Chase outsider Hold Fast in the 2m 1f contest.
All eyes will then look towards current Gold Cup champion Long Run, who heads a six-strong field for the Denman Chase, as he looks to notch up his first success of the campaign. Two defeats to Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase have left Henderson's star fighting to cement his place at the head of the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup betting, but tomorrow's assignment at Newbury looks a fairly straightforward one.
Zarkandar will then stake his claims for the Champion Hurdle as he is set to go off a fairly short-priced favourite for the Betfair Hurdle. Last season's Triumph Hurdle winner has not been seen on the track since that win at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, but Paul Nicholls will be hoping to use the race as the perfect springboard to a tilt at Hurricane Fly on March 13.
However, in a wide open contest which also sees a plethora of Festival-bound horses line up for the richest handicap hurdle in Europe, the Ditcheat inmate is going to have to provide an exemplary performance to bag the honours.
The Scilly Isles Novices' Chase provides the Grade One action on the card and could throw up a possible Arkle contender, whilst Grands Crus' full-brother Gevrey Chambertin is looking to cement his place at the head of the Champion Bumper betting with success in the final race on a top quality seven race card.
Check out the latest news on the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.