With a prize fund of £52,000, the Grade 2 Virgin Bet Kingmaker Chase is the highlight of Warwick's seven-race card on Saturday and could provide course winner Edwardstone with another success as he continues his build-up to the Cheltenham Festival next month, writes David Hucker.
Brought down at the course in November, Edwardstone returned later that month to beat Stepney Causeway by seven lengths and has won twice more since to become the leading British candidate for the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Festival.
The race was won last year by Allmankind and his trainer Dan Skelton has entered two this time in the shape of Faivoir, the horse that gave him his 1,000th career winner, and Third Time Lucki, a winner of three chases from four starts and priced at 8-1 for the Arkle.
It all gets underway at 1.00pm with the Virgin Bet Novices' Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs followed by the Class1 Virgin Bet Warwick Mares' Hurdle (Listed Race) over the same trip, the first of three races to be shown on ITV4.
Skelton has two entries in this race as well, with the novice Get A Tonic, third to the useful Hillcrest at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, and last year's winner Molly Ollys Wishes, successful at Ascot last time and rated 20lbs above her stable companion, Indefatigable, runner up to Martello Sky in December, could give Molly Ollys Wishes most to do.
Second-most valuable race of the afternoon is the £50,000 Virgin Bet Warwick Castle Handicap Chase over two and a half miles in which hat-trick seeking Celebre D'Allen and The Mighty Arc are two that catch the eye amongst the 20 entries.
The card is made up of a competitive-looking Virgin Bet Handicap Hurdle over two miles, the longest race of the afternoon, the Virgin Bet Fives Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles, and the closing Virgin Bet Open National Hunt Flat Race.
There will be plenty to entertain the crowd before racing, including an RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) Parade, which will feature Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree and top flat horse Limato amongst others, Racing to School and Crossey's Corner, where retired jockey David Crosse will be using an equisizer to show racegoers how to ride a racehorse.