On Saturday, Doncaster (first race, 1:45pm) will stage the £200,000 Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes, which has been won in the last two years by subsequent Newmarket 2,000 Guineas winners, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia.
Both of these horses were trained by Aidan O’Brien, who, incredibly, was responsible for 11 of the remaining 12 horses in Saturday’s feature at the 5-day entry stage. Aidan has won the race nine times so far.
At Newbury (1:40pm), the fixture will include the £60,000 Group Three Victoria Club (St Simon) Stakes (12f, 3yo+), the £40,000 Cancom (Horris Hill) Stakes (for 2yo colts and geldings) and the £25,500 Racing TV (Radley) Stakes (for 2yo fillies).
Also on Saturday are a Cheltenham (2pm) meeting that will carry £240,000 in prize-money, a sure sign that the jumping season is clicking into gear, plus Kelso (1:20pm) for a card that will feature the £30,000 Paxtons Exclusively Kverneland Chase, and Chelmsford (5:25pm) on the Polytrack surface.
In Ireland, they are set to race at Leopardstown (1:20pm) for a card that will feature the €60,000 Group Three Eyrefield Stakes (9f, 2yo) but will also include the €47,000 Knockaire Stakes (7f, 3yo+) and the €50,000 Tote October Handicap.
In Ireland, they will also race on Saturday at Galway (2:05pm) for a jumping card that will feature the €27,000 W.B. Gavin & Co. Handicap Hurdle.
They will also race at Galway on Sunday (first race, 1:05pm), with the feature being the €26,000 Marlin Hotel Dublin Handicap ‘Chase, along with Wexford (12:50pm), with the main race being the €25,000 Casey Precast Handicap ‘Chase, and, in Britain, Wincanton (1pm), where the big race is the €26,800 PIB Insurance Brokers Combat Stress Raceday Handicap Chase (for the Desert Orchid Silver Cup) and Aintree (12:40pm).
One of the most iconic of racecourses, Aintree’s card on Sunday will carry £187,600 in prize-money and feature the £80,000 Grade 2 Virgin Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap ‘Chase. At the five-day entry stage, such high-class horses as Kalashnikov, Saint Calvados and last season’s Cheltenham Festival Grade One Ryanair Chase winner Frodon were all potential runners.
It’s a great way for racing to resume for the year in Liverpool and, again, another sure sign that the jumping season is coming into its own.