The three leading jockeys in the National Hunt Championship go head-to-head in Carlisle Racecourse’s big race tomorrow.

Richard Johnson, Brian Hughes and Sam Twiston-Davies all have contenders in the listed Houghton Mares’ Chase. There’s £17,085 on offer for the winner in the stand-out feature of a seven-race card where there’s plenty to warm the interests of winter racegoers.

The trio have notched almost 250 winners between them this season, with Johnson holding a slight advantage over Hughes at the top – and all three boasting strike rates of around 20 per cent.

Four-time champion jockey Johnson will likely start off favourite over the 16 fences of this 2m 4f race.

He rides Henry Daly’s Atlanta Ablaze, a winner last time out in a listed mares chase at Market Rasen, and a four-time winner last season.

Hughes, Carlisle’s leading jumps jockey this year, partners My Old Gold for Nicky Richards. The nine-year-old was up against quality opposition when returning for the Class One Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle at the start of November. The bay was a 4-1 winner at Carlisle in April 2018 over a longer trip.

Twiston-Davies takes Stuart Crawford’s Hidden Dilemma, who may not rate as highly as her rivals, but has good experience of the Durdar track at this time of year. The six-year-old has twice triumphed at Carlisle, most notably in the mares’ handicap hurdle final in the Northern Lights series last December.

Johnson and Twiston-Davies also have rides in the Join RacingTV Now Handicap Chase, but most eyes will be on a local entry.

Bafana Blue, trained by Maurice Barnes at Farlam, near Brampton, has put together a fantastic run of three consecutive wins, including two at Carlisle. The latest in that sequence was a convincing win at Ayr over similar distance and heavy going.

The seven-year-old gelding can claim seven wins from 17 chases and will, again, have Ross Chapman in the saddle.

Twiston-Davies will be one to watch on No Hassle Hoff, racing for Dr Richard Newland after a switch from Dan Skelton’s yard. The good doctor can claim an impressive 24 per cent strike rate this season.

Carlisle regulars Keith Dalgleish and Tristan Davidson will have high hopes in the Jim Williamson Memorial Handicap Hurdle. Dalgleish’s top weight One Night in Milan stayed on well when winning at Kelso in September and has a Carlisle victory in October last year on his record.

Davidson, whose stable is at Irthington, near Brampton, had success with Justatenner in his last outing at Ayr over the same distance, winning by two lengths when favourite. Harry Reed takes the ride again.

Stratford trainer Olly Murphy has two from two so far this season at Carlisle and he puts that unbeaten record on the line with Perfect Man, a winner last time out at Chepstow.

Dalgleish also has a contender in the Saranne Wilkinson Beginners’ Chase with I’m To Blame. The six-year-old was runner up last time out at Carlisle in a novice hurdle and has two wins at this distance.

There’ll likely be tough competition though from Glinger Flame, trained by Richards and ridden by Hughes. The seven-year-old celebrated a hat-trick of wins at Hexham in the spring and returns after a 194-day break.

Gates open at 10.20am. The first race is at 12.20pm and the last race is at 3.25pm.