The Winter National Hunt season is traditionally seen as getting underway with the Silver Trophy run at Chepstow in October. For this year's card the two top races have had their values increased, and a new handicap chase has been added.
The tracks owner, Northern Racing, hope that the boost to prize-money and the addition of the new race will see the meeting back on terrestrial television from next year. An additional Â£3000 takes the purse for the Totepool Silver Trophy up to Â£32,500. The Totepool Persian War Novicesâ€™ Hurdle is a Grade 2 race and this alongside the new Class 2 handicap chase will have prize-money of Â£25,000.
Jim Allen, head of racing development for Northern Racing said, "In many people's eyes Chepstow's October meeting signals the return of quality jump racing and we wanted the fixtures to live up to that reputation with prize-money to match. The Totepool Silver Trophy in the Totepool Persian War Novicesâ€™ Hurdle are established races and with the addition of a new class to chase it will undoubtedly make a very attractive days racing."
Possible entries for the Silver Trophy include Donald McCain's improving Cygnet and Jonjo O'Neill's progressive Mr Hyde. Both trainers would be looking for a follow-up victory in the race, as McCain won it last year with Any Given Day, and O'Neill in 2007 with Don't Push It.
The Persian War Hurdle on the other hand, has been something of a Paul Nicholls benefit in recent years. His stable supplied the winner with Elusive Dream in 2007, Hellâ€™s Bay in 2008, and Silviniaco Conti last year. All three went on to contest some of the major hurdle races in that and the following seasons, although none of them quite reached the top grade.