What was formerly The Open (November 17-19) is now the November Meeting, which features key races such as the BetVictor Gold Cup, the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle and The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeplechase over the three days.
In order to not confuse any poor unsuspecting souls typing the words “The Open” into a search engine and bringing up hundreds of golf related items, Cheltenham racecourse executives decided to concede the name change to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews after extensive talks.
Here are some of the emerging stories and entries we can expect to see in a fortnight’s time at Prestbury Park:
Gold Cup on the radar for many
Alan Fleming is looking forward to seeing his Tully East return to Cheltenham to contest the BetVictor Gold Cup.
The Barry Connell-owned seven-year-old claimed the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase in March, a race run over the same distance as this month's big handicap.
Fleming said: "The Gold Cup is very much the aim for Tully East. He was a little rusty for his reappearance over hurdles at Punchestown earlier this month, but he finished off his race really good and we were very happy with him. He came home happy after that run and we will give him a good school over fences before going to Cheltenham.”
A total of 45 entries have been received for the £160,000 contest for which Kylemore Lough is one of the market favourites.
Kylemore Lough won the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in 2016 when trained by Kerry Lee, but has been switched to Harry Fry over the summer.
Fry said: “Kylemore Lough is very well and will head straight to the Gold Cup, all being well. There are still two and a half weeks to go, but we are happy with his progress and looking forward to the race."
Kylemore Lough finished fifth on both his appearances at Cheltenham last season, including in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase at The International Meeting in December, and came home fourth on his latest appearance in the Melling Chase at Aintree back in April.
Challenging Fry’s runner at the head of the market is Romain De Senam trained by Paul Nicholls.
The French import notched up a victory in his opening race of the new campaign at Chepstow, and the five-year-old now has the opportunity to add major silverware to his C.V at Cheltenham in the Grade Three sphere.
The five-year-old features among nine entries from the Paul Nicholls stable and he could also be represented by Le Prezien (14/1), who went down by a neck to Foxtail Hill (20/1) in the Randox Health Handicap Chase at The Showcase on October 28th.
JLT Novices' Chase fourth Politologue (25/1), last season's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Frodon (33/1) and San Benedeto (16/1), successful in the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree in April, also feature among a strong team from Nicholls, who has won the BetVictor Gold Cup on two previous occasions with Al Ferof (2012) and Caid Du Berlais (2014).
Cloudy Dream (14/1) ran a six length second to Altior in the Arkle Novices' Chase at The Festival in March. The Trevor Hemmings-owned seven-year-old made a pleasing seasonal return when narrowly going down to Smad Place in the Monet's Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree on October 29th.
Gold Present (16/1) one of three entries from Nicky Henderson, was second in the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase in March, while Double Treasure (16/1) trained by Jamie Snowden won the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase at The Showcase on October 28th.
As well as Fleming’s Tully East, other Irish-trained entries include Willie Mullins’ Ballycasey (20/1), a Group One winner over fences, plus Gowran Park Champion Chase scorer A Toi Phil (14/1) and Punchestown Chase third Ball D'Arc (20/1), who are both trained by Gordon Elliott.
Great line up for the Greatwood
Defi Du Seuil (5/1) heads a 47-strong entry for the Greatwood Hurdle on the Sunday of the meeting.
Winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Hurdle at Aintree, Philip Hobbs’ charge is the ante-post favourite for the Greatwood and the Champion Hurdle next March.
The weights which are published this week are likely to be headed by the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, The New One (20/1).
Nicky Henderson, who surprisingly has yet to land the Greatwood Hurdle, has six runners to choose from this time around, headed by Divin Bere (8/1), who chased home Defi Du Seuil at Aintree in April.
“Do not give up on Jenkins (20/1) and Charli Parcs (12/1)”, said Henderson at his recent Owner’s Day. He believes the pair are still capable of showing the form that made many people think they could join the list of Seven Barrows superstars.
Silver Streak (14/1) is an intended runner for Evan Williams who said this week: "Silver Streak is grand and if he gets into the handicap for the Greatwood Hurdle, the horse will run. His performance at Chepstow was a definite improvement compared to when we last saw him because a few of the horses that had beaten him at Ascot were behind him at Chepstow.”
The Greatwood Hurdle has twice gone to Ireland and there are nine Irish-trained entries this year.
These include Campeador (14/1), a promising juvenile in the 2015/16 season and a comfortable winner at Punchestown last month, plus the Joseph O'Brien-trained pair of Tigris River (14/1), successful in the Galway Hurdle over the summer, and the 2016 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov (16/1).
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*