Read the Racing Post's National Hunt season preview

 Jumps fans will soon have something to savour with the core season around the corner and with it the return of some of the sport’s biggest names.

Chepstow's opening Saturday is always an early-season highlight and is the first major meeting of the campaign.

October 13th is the date to circle in your calendar, and fans can expect to see many high-class horses being given their pipe-openers for the long season ahead.

Across the Irish Sea, the JNwine Champion Chase at Down Royal is the first Irish Grade 1 contest to savour. November 3rd is where we could first see the cream of Willie Mullins’ and Gordon Elliott’s chasing crop.

By this point Elliott and owners Gigginstown would have made us aware of how their potential superstar Samcro will be campaigned, whether that be over hurdles or over fences as a novice chaser.

It is truly a mouthwatering day for fans of the code as Wetherby plays host to the Charlie Hall Chase at the same time as the Down Royal meeting. A Grade 2 contest which always attracts a field of talented chasers, last season connections of Bristol De Mai were seen revelling in the winner’s enclosure.

The Charlie Hall proved a perfect fine-tuning for the mud-loving grey as he turned the Betfair Chase at Haydock into a procession three weeks later, winning by an incredible 57 lengths with the legendary Cue Card toiling way back in second place.

This year’s Betfair Chase will take place on November 24th. The first leg of the Stayers’ Chase Triple Crown, (completed by the King George VI Chase at Kempton and the Cheltenham Gold Cup), the incentive of a one-million-pound bonus for connections of any horse who manages to win the three races will continue to add more gloss to the event.

The jumps campaign will be really developing in earnest at this point, and early-season pecking orders will be all but established. All roads will lead to the Boxing Day bonanza at Kempton before owners and trainers can begin to dream of Cheltenham Festival glory in March.

by The Racing Post's Andrew Scutts at Rewards4Racing

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