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Monday, October, 27, 2003


The richest race ever run at Wetherby racecourse, the £60,000 Grade Two bet365 CHARLIE HALL CHASE, has attracted ten entries at today's five-day entry stage.

Marlborough, victorious in the 2002 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, heads the entries for the 2003 renewal. Trainer Nicky Henderson has revealed that Marlborough is likely to run again this year in the three mile, one furlong contest after working at Newbury racecourse yesterday. Another likely starter is the Paul Nicholls-trained Valley Henry, fourth in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup, who could be joined by his stable companion Sleeping Night, runner-up to Sackville in the 2001 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase when trained by Mary Reveley.

Hoping to keep the prize in Yorkshire is the George Moore-trained Jungle Jinks, who won three times over the course and distance last season and also finished runner-up to Keen Leader in the Grade Two Weatherbys Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby.

George Moore revealed today that Jungle Jinks could head to Wetherby on Saturday in preparation for a tilt at the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

The Middleham-based handler said: "We will run Jungle Jinks if we are happy with the ground, we thought we would make an entry and have a look at the race as rain is forecast.

"He definitely did noting wrong last year and is rated 132, so it is a bit limited as to where he can go. I am desperate to get a run into him before he goes to Newbury."

"He loves Wetherby - he won three times there last year and was second to Keen Leader, he really seems to love jumping round there. He's done fantastic over the summer and is in good shape - I'm really pleased with him. If he is available, Russ Garrity will ride on Saturday."

Another contender from the North is Telemoss from the Nicky Richards stable. The Montelimar gelding was a novice last season and won on three occasions, while his best hurdles form included finishing fourth to Baracouda in the Grade One Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle at the 2002 Cheltenham Festival.

There are two possible challengers from Ireland in the shape of Barrow Drive, from the yard of Tony Mullins and the Mouse Morris-trained Al Capone. The seven-year-old Gunner B gelding Barrow Drive gelding enjoyed a brilliant season in 2002/03, winning six races including the Grade One Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February.

The County Kilkenny trainer said today: "Barrow Drive will run if the ground is soft. If it's only been watered, he won't go.

"He was third in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase [at the Cheltenham Festival] and I think he's well.

"The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is going to tell us if he's good enough for the Hennessy, then I think the Hennessy will tell us if he's good enough to go that path [towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup]."

Henrietta Knight could be represented by Chives, who was last seen out when pulling up with a broken blood vessel in the Martell Grand National at Aintree in April. Knight warned today that Chives will only run if there is significant rain before Saturday.

Knight revealed today: "I would only even consider running Chives in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase if it absolutely downpours between now and then. Otherwise there is no question of going to Wetherby. It's got to be on the easy side of good or we won't even look at it.

"The horse is 100 per cent."

The field is completed by Alan King's Spendid and Ballybough Rasher from Howard Johnson's stable.

The going at Wetherby is currently GOOD TO FIRM. Tim Betteridge, Wetherby's Chief Executive, said today: "We had 6mm of rain on Saturday night and the ground is currently good to firm with watering taking place.

"We have had a dry, clear day today which was always forecast with rain due to arrive in the next couple of days."


The most valuable race ever staged at Wetherby, The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, which offers record prize money of £60,000, heads a quality seven-race programme at Wetherby on Saturday (1 November) – the second leg of the course's two-day meeting.

A Grade 2 race over three miles and one furlong, The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is recognised as one of the most prestigious and informative early-season contests for top steeplechasers. Sponsored for the first time by leading independent bookmaker, bet365, as part of a three-year agreement, The Charlie Hall Chase was first held at Wetherby in 1978 and the connections of Saturday's winner will receive an extra bonus of £75,000 from the sponsors if the horse goes on to land the 2004 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup next March.

In the last decade, horses of the calibre of Marlborough (last year) See More Business (twice), One Man (twice), Barton Bank (twice) and Young Hustler have won the Charlie Hall Chase, which commemorates the local Champion Hurdle-winning trainer, who recorded many successes, particularly at Wetherby from his base nearby Towton.

Racing on Saturday begins at 1.05 p.m. with the eleventh running of The Arthur Stephenson Novices' Handicap Chase, while the programme also features The John Smith's Hurdle (a Grade 2 contest for staying hurdlers), The Constant Security Wensleydale Juvenile Novices' Hurdle (a Listed race for three-year-olds – possible stars of the future over Jumps) and The Rocom Handicap Chase over the extended two and a half miles.

The action on Friday starts at 1.00 p.m. with a Handicap Hurdle contest for Conditional Jockeys supported by Sandbeck Motors of Wetherby. Friday's principal race is The bet365 White Rose Handicap Chase, a £15,000-added contest over two miles, while the Rocom3com Handicap Hurdle is contested over the same distance.

Musical entertainment on Saturday is provided by the West Yorkshire Fire Service Band, while there's a selection of entertainments for children in the Course Enclosure including face painting, Caistor Kiddi-Karts and bouncy slides.

The Tote giant screen is in operation on both days, providing racegoers an even better view of the action.


Rain forecast for later in the week

A bumper set of entries has been received for Newmarket's final meeting of the year this Friday (October 31) and Saturday (November 1). The meeting boasts five Listed class contests as well as the Betdirect.co.uk Mile, a very competitive handicap.

On Friday entry to the course is just £10, and gives access to ALL enclosures. On Saturday the Members' Enclosure costs £18 and Grandstand & Paddock £12.

Friday's racing features the James Seymour Stakes, over 1m 2f, and Far Lane may look to confirm superiority over Pawnbroker. The pair finished first and second in the Group 3 Darley Stakes on Champions' Day, but Pawnbroker will have a 7lb pull at the weights for a half-length beating.

The other Listed contest that day is the Bosra Sham Stakes in which Vermillian may look to get back on the winning trail after being well beaten in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Ascot behind smart sprinter Majestic Missile. Her biggest challenge may come from the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Coy, who won in the style of a good filly at Newcastle last time out under Jamie Spencer.

Saturday features the Betdirect.co.uk Mile, for which there have been 58 entries, won impressively last year by Barry Hills' Pablo. This year the trainer could be represented by Craiova and San Antonio, who between them have won six times this season.

The Ben Marshall Stakes (Listed) could see Polar Ben on a recovery mission after being well beaten in Group One company at Longchamp last time out. James Fanshawe's charge has looked unlucky once or twice this season, notably when third behind Duck Row, who could re-oppose on Saturday, at the July Course earlier this year. The other Listed races are the Zetland Stakes, over 1m 2f for two-year-olds, and the EBF Montrose Fillies' Stakes, over a mile, also for two year olds.

On Friday the gates open at 10.20am with the first race at 12.50pm. The gates open at 10.15am on Saturday with the first race at 12.45pm.

The going is currently good to firm but showers are predicted on Tuesday night through until Wednesday and then further rain is forecast with up to 12 millimetres expected by Thursday morning and a further four to six millimetres forecast for Friday and Saturday.


A Raceday with a difference will be held at Huntingdon Racecourse on Sunday 2nd November with a theme of the 'Countryside' being a prominent feature. Celebrating the best that the countryside has to offer there will be more than just horseracing this weekend. In-between races the Fitzwilliam Hounds will be parading on the course, there will also be working dog displays and falconry exhibitions, the day will be rounded off with an Inter-Hunt Club Horse Race.

The six race card should provide some competitive contests and Racecourse Manager Tina Dawson says she is thrilled for Huntingdon to be hosting its second `Countryside' Raceday and she believes that it will be an exciting event for all. She also commented as always it is a pleasure to welcome back The TOTE, but also wishes to thank Cambridge Drainage and first time race sponsors Claydon Horse Exercisers.

Gates open at 11.15pm, and the first race commences at 1.20pm closing with the Inter-Hunt Club Race at 4.40pm.

Prices start at just £6 for the Picnic Car Park, £12 for the Paddock Enclosure and £16 for Day Members, all CHILDREN UNDER 16 ARE FREE OF CHARGE.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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