Noel has all the charm
Trainer, Noel Chance, has a 100 per cent record at the Northern Ireland Festival of Racing at Down Royal and he hopes to maintain it when he runs Slew Charm in the William Ewart Properties Handicap Hurdle on the second day of the two-day meeting on November 3.
Chance was successful with Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Looks Like Trouble, in the big race at Down Royal, the Jim Nicholson Champion Chase, in 2000 and he was also a winner with Murphy's Cardinal who won by a distance in the Killultagh Properties Chase.
"Those were good days," said Chance, "and I'm hopeful that Slew Charm runs a big race at Cheltenham today when he is engaged in the Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.
"That being the case, he will go on to run at Down Royal and after that, everything is possible."
It is getting near the stage where the Down Royal meeting is more and more on every one's mind and already we're almost upon the closing date for supplementary entries for the Nicholson Chase.
As far as the remainder of the card is concerned, the big race on the Friday November 2, is the Allied Irish Bank Hurdle which is a Grade 3 contest and which was won last year by Iktitab.
But back to Cheltenham today and in addition to Slew Charm there is another Ulster interest in that Le Burf trained by Giles Smyly, is the mount of Downpatrick jockey Ger Tumelty. Tumelty returned to race riding on Thursday at Ludlow when he was delighted to finish fourth on Mouseen in the selling hurdle.
"As you know I was out of action for over three months with a broken hip and also a dislocated thumb," said Ger.
" It's nice to come back and feel as if you've never been away and that's the way I am looking at things at present.
"I also have another mount at Cheltenham in Bonnie Zoe which is also for Mr Smyly."
Tumelty also hopes to be riding at Hereford tomorrow so he could have a successful weekend which would make up for his long absence. "I really miss racing," he said, "and I'm glad to be back."
Meanwhile, at the Curragh tomorrow, it's Beef or Salmon time again as he runs in the Irish Cesarewitch. This is the seasonal debut for Beef Or Salmon who will be among the favourites for the Nicholson Chase at Down Royal.
Trainer Michael Hourigan said: "Beef or Salmon is in good shape and I'm hopeful that he'll win the Nicholson Chase for the third time."
The 11-year-old has not run on the Flat since finishing ninth in the Irish Cesarewitch two years ago and Hourigan added: "I was determined to get a run into him before Down Royal and hopefully he won't let me down."
Beef or Salmon is twice a winner on the flat so he knows his way around."