Newcastle Racecourse is counting down to the highlight of its jumps season at the end of the month. The £100,000 Grade 1 StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle, run over two miles, will take place on Saturday 29 November and with 19 horses at the entry stage the historic race looks set to have its strongest renewal in recent years.
The Fighting Fifth Hurdle regularly attracts some of the best hurdlers from across the UK and Ireland to the Gosforth Park track and champion trainers both sides of the Irish Sea are set to be represented.
Commenting on the renewal, James Armstrong, Clerk of the Course at Newcastle Racecourse, said: “This year’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle is shaping up to be a really exciting contest with potentially one of the strongest fields in recent years based on initial entries. Irving, unlucky when falling last weekend looks to make up for a race that appeared to be at his mercy, represents Paul Nicholls yard and Purple Bay who took advantage of Irvings misfortune could also line up for John Ferguson. The powerful Willie Mullins yard could be represented on the day by any of the following powerful four: Faugheen, Annie Power, Hurricane Fly and Arctic Fire.
“Other significant entries included The New One, impressive Wetherby winner Aurores Destruval, Jonjo ONeill’s Goodwood Mirage, the Gordon Elliott trained Flaxen Flare and the Venetia Williams trained Zamdy Man.
“Jeremy Scott will be hoping for plenty of rain for last year’s runner Melodic Rendezvous and Nick Hendersons Vaniteaux has an entry but looks like taking in other potential targets but he also has an interesting entry in Sign of Victory. Closer to home, the Tim Easterby yard based outside Malton in Yorkshire would be keen to see Hawkeye emulate the great Sea Pigeon who was trained by his father in a golden age of hurdlers.”
David Williamson, Managing Director at Newcastle Racecourse, said: “Once again our national hunt highlight looks like being a really exciting renewal. Thanks to the hard work of the grounds team the course is in great shape, tickets are selling well with hospitality places proving particularly popular, and we look forward to welcoming everyone for what is set to be a real spectacle at Gosforth Park.”
Rory Jiwani, Head of PR at StanJames.com, said, Were delighted to see such a strong list of entries for the Fighting Fifth which includes established stars as well as the cream of this years second-season hurdlers. Were proud to continue to sponsor this historic and prestigious Grade 1 race and its great to have the support of top trainers from across the UK and Ireland.
Obviously, Willie Mullins four entries will steal the headlines and we look forward to seeing at least one of them at Newcastle later this month. We also have Saturdays StanJames.com Elite Hurdle winner Purple Bay and Irving who fell when going well at Wincanton.
Last years winning trainer Nicky Henderson is represented by StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle favourite Vaniteux and impressive Ascot winner Sign Of A Victory. John Quinn won the race two years ago with Countrywide Flame and he has exciting mare Aurore DEstruval in the 19 with Cheltenham Festival winner Hawk High also take a hand in proceedings.
The Fighting Fifth is the fourth stop on the Road To Cheltenham with The New One currently our 3/1 favourite for Marchs StanJames Champion Hurdle. Faugheen is next best at 10/3 with defending champion Jezki a 9/2 shot.
For more information about the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle or to buy tickets contact Newcastle Racing & Events, call 0191 236 2020 or go to www.newcastle-racecourse.co.uk.