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Monday, October 29, 2007




The £90,000 Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (3.30pm) over three miles and a furlong at Wetherby on Saturday, November 3, promises to be a fantastic spectacle with 16 high-class chasers entered at today’s five-day stage.

Cumbria trainer Nicky Richards witnessed his father, Gordon Richards, saddle the great One Man to success in 1997 and could bid to emulate that victory with Faasel (12/1 with bet365) in the prestigious contest, race three in the Order Of Merit, which is being sponsored for the fifth time by bet365, one of the UK's leading betting and gaming groups.

The versatile Faasel is also one of 17 horses entered for an excellent renewal of the Grade Two John Smith’s Hurdle (2.20pm) over an extended three miles on the same seven-race card.

Richards revealed today: “Faasel could go for the bet 365 Charlie Hall Chase. I will look at the entries for Wetherby and he will run where I think he has the best winning chance, in either the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase or the John Smith’s Hurdle.”

The classy six-year-old finished fourth to My Way De Solzen in the Grade One Arkle Trophy over two miles at Cheltenham in March before chasing home fellow bet365 Charlie Hall entry, the Ferdy Murphy-trained Aces Four (4/1), in the Grade Two John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase over three miles and a furlong at Aintree the following month.

The Greystoke handler said: “Faasel has done well over the summer and has enjoyed a good preparation. He is a decent horse and hopefully we can look forward to a good season with him.

“He could drop back to two and a half miles during the course of the season and we may even go down to two miles as he was fourth in the Arkle at Cheltenham.”

The tremendous entry also includes the Evan Williams-trained Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup hero State Of Play who is the current 7/2 favourite with bet365, 2005 Grade One Betfair Chase winner Kingscliff (8/1) from Robert Alner’s Dorset yard, the Henry Daly-trained Grade Two Ryanair Chase third Billyvoddan (8/1) and 2005 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase victor Ollie Magern (8/1).

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has entered last season’s Grade Two-winning novice Turko (9/1) and Philip Hobbs has put in Monkerhostin (8/1), while the Peter Bowen-trained Summer Plate winner Iron Man (8/1) is also engaged and David Pipe could bid to match Our Vic’s success in last year’s contest with Joaaci (33/1) and Madison du Berlais (10/1).

The remaining entries are Heltornic (20/1) and Espoir Du Bocage (250/1) from the Michael Scudamore yard, the Howard Johnson-trained pair of Bewleys Berry (25/1) and Theatre Knight (33/1), and the Paul Murphy-trained Sybellius D’Artaix (250/1).

The superb seven-race card also features the prestigious extended three-mile £40,000 Grade Two John Smith’s Hurdle, which last year saw the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Redemption defeat subsequent Grade One Irish Independent Arkle Trophy winner My Way De Solzen.

The Charlie Mann-trained My Turn Now was one of the 2006/2007 season’s leading novices, winning six of nine starts and heads to the John Smith’s Hurdle in good heart.

Mann revealed today: “My Turn Now is definitely running in the John Smith’s Hurdle. There is nothing else suitable because he is so high in the handicap.

“We will find out on Saturday how good he is. He has been ready to run for the last fortnight and if he is good enough to contest conditions races then I hope he might end up as a Ladbrokes World Hurdle horse.

“The great thing with him is that he goes on any ground, he has won on fast and soft and it was heavy when he ran a good race in the Tolworth Hurdle.”

Inglis Drever took the prize in 2005 and Howard Johnson’s dual Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner is one of four entries for the County Durham trainer along with 2005 Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle hero No Refuge, Crocodile Dundee and Key Time.

Jonjo O’Neill has engaged brilliant Grade One winner Black Jack Ketchum, while James Moffatt could run Grade One Citroen C6 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle winner Chief Dan George and Alan King has entered last season’s Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle winner Blazing Bailey.

Monkerhostin is a possible for the contest as well as the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, while Ireland could be represented by recent Chepstow winner Sonnyanjoe, trained by Tom Hogan. Lough Derg, from the David Pipe yard, was runner-up to Mighty Man in the Grade One BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December and is also entered.

The exciting two-day bet365 Charlie Hall Chase meeting commences on Friday, November 2, with a competitive six-race card featuring the £23,000 Listed bet365.com Handicap Chase (3.25pm) over an extended two miles, three furlongs, which has attracted 21 entries including the Ferdy Murphy-trained L’Antartique, winner of the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in March, and Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase hero Cloudy Lane, trained by Donald McCain.

Friday also features the £16,500 Listed Weatherbys Bank Wensleydale Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (2.50pm) over two miles.

Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Day, Saturday, November 3, kicks off at 12.45pm with the bet365 Call 08000 322 365 Beginners’ Chase over two miles and concludes at 4.05pm with the competitive Daniel Garth Homes Handicap Hurdle over an extended two miles, three furlongs.


The ground is currently good to firm and watering of the new section of the course is taking place today and tomorrow. The going stick reading is 8.6.

James Sanderson, Chief Executive and Clerk Of The Course at Wetherby, said: “I am expecting that we will race on going which is good to firm, good in places on Friday and Saturday.

“Despite anything people may have read, I am extremely happy with the racing surface, which is very safe. The inspector of courses, Chris Dennis, shares my sentiments about the state of the course.”


Sponsor bet365 makes the Evan Williams-trained State of Play the 7/2 favourite for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase.

Bet365 spokesman, George Primarolo, said: “State of Play was a very impressive winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup last year and given the fact that he obviously goes well fresh, we feel he is a worthy favourite for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase.

“However, Aces Four is a rapidly improving chaser and Ferdy Murphy's charge was in the process of giving Denman a real run for his money when making a huge blunder in the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham last season. On the book, it looks a match between these two horses, though Charlie Hall Chase stalwarts Ollie Magern and Kingscliff might have something to say about that.”

Bet365 prices: 7/2 State Of Play, 4 Aces Four, 8 Kingscliff, Billyvoddan, Monkerhostin, Ollie Magern, Iron Man, 9 Turko, 10 Madison du Berlais, 12 Faasel, 20 Heltornic, 25 Bewleys Berry, 33 Joaaci, Theatre Knight, 250 Espoir Du Bocage, Sybellius D'Artaix.

Admission prices for Friday, November 2: Premier Enclosure £21; Paddock Enclosure £14; Course £4; Pick of the Paddock (advanced only) £18; Cars to Course (incl. four adults) £14; OAPs to Course £2; Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) are admitted free; Coach and car parking is free.

Admission prices for bet365 Charlie Hall Chase day, Saturday, November 3: Premier Enclosure £27; Paddock Enclosure £16; Course £5; Pick of the Paddock (advanced only) £20; Cars to Course (incl. four adults) £17; OAPs to Course £2.50; Children under 16 (accompanied by an adult) are admitted free; Coach and car parking is free.

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