Handicap Weights revealed for this month's Cheltenham Festival

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The Cheltenham Festival is just under two weeks away, and with that the weights for the 11 handicap races have been revealed. Taking place on the opening day of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase has seen Hughes’ Siegemaster carry Top Weight along with Tom George’s Nacarat. However, it is Alan King’s Bensalem who heads the betting, at the best price of 7/1 offered by Coral, although he could face a stern challenge from the Racing Post Chase winner Quinz. There is talk that Philip Hobbs' 7-year-old could head to Aintree for the Grand National, but he is set to carry 11st 10lb in the Cheltenham handicap and can be backed at an industry best of 10/1 in the betting with Paddy Power. Elsewhere, 9/1 punt Great Endeavour is set to shoulder 11st 5lb and 10/1 Sunnyhillboy 10st 10lb.

Ladies’ Day at this year’s Cheltenham Festival will host the ever competitive and always exciting Coral Cup, which has seen For Non Stop well backed. The Nick Williams-trained horse currently has best odds at 8/1 with most of the industries’ bookmakers in agreement on the price. Though, the impressive youngster is relying on other horses to make way if he is to make the 28 runner field as he is set to carry just 10st 2lb. The best of the rest for the Coral include Aegean Dawn at 10/1, with PaddyPower and William Hill, and a weight of 10st 12lb. Meanwhile 16/1 flutter Walkon is set to carry 11st 7lb.

The Kim Muir Challenge Cup on the Thursday of the Festival sees two of the favourites in 8/1 shot Galant Nuit and 10/1 Junior carry 11st 6lb.

Meanwhile, the County Hurdle on the Friday of the Festival looks set to be a competitive affair with Cheltenham debutant Recession Proof who was at the head of the betting at 8/1, having slid to best price of 14/1 with StanJames, looks favourably weighted at 10st 1lb. There are a number of others around the same price including fellow debutants Dirar, priced at 14/1 by Boylesports, and Final Approach, 16/1 at Boylesports, who carry 10st 2lb and 10st 3lb respectively. Currently ahead by a nose in the market at 12/1, Ski Sunday saddles 10st 7lb and will be looking for victory after finishing runner up at last year’s festival in the Fred Winter. Elsewhere, JCB Triumph Hurdle Winner Alcaivan is set to go with 10st 8lb.

The Fred Winter at this year’s Cheltenham Festival is looking highly competitive and the weights have backed this up with the exciting Nicky Henderson-Trained Molotof at the head of the field. He has only run once in Britain so far where he finished second place at Kempton, the handicapper was suitably impressed though and has awarded him 11st 10lbs. Henderson has a very strong hand in the Fred Winter Hurdle with A Media Luz another possible runner for the veteran trainer who has been given 11st 4lb, with many expecting a big run from her at Cheltenham.

Henderson also has a strong hand in The Grand Annual which rounds up the racing on the final day of the Festival, where he lays claim to three of the top four weights, as well as the 9/1 favourite Tanks for That.

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