NICHOLLS’ STARS AMONG 20 ENTRIES IN BET365 CHARLIE HALL CHASE
HOURIGAN FAVOURING WETHERBY FEATURE FOR CHURCH ISLAND
Champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls is keeping a close eye on the weather before deciding whether to run either Star De Mohaison or Neptune Collonges in the £90,000 Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday, October 28, which today has attracted a superb 20-strong entry.
Star De Mohaison, whose wins last season included the Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, prefers decent ground, while Neptune Collonges, a three-times Grade Two scorer over hurdles, including in the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle at Wetherby in February, relishes a soft surface.
“I intend to run either Star De Mohaison or Neptune Collonges in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday. They wouldn’t take each other on because they both want different ground,” explained the Ditcheat handler this afternoon.
“Star De Mohaison has done very well since last season. We’re very pleased with him and he looks in good form, but he would not want it soft.
“Neptune Collonges is also in good order, and we would want it to keep raining for him, as he loves it testing.
“Saturday’s race will be tough, but my pair are in fine fettle. I’m not making any predictions at the moment and everything will depend on the weather.“
A cracking entry for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase includes Ollie Magern, Kingscliff and Take The Stand, who filled the first three places in last year’s renewal, as well as the likes of Our Vic from the David Pipe yard, and the Phillip Hobbs-trained pair Monkerhostin and Lacdoudal.
The one Irish entry is the Michael Hourigan-trained Church Island, a Grade Two winner at Navan last season. The seven-year-old has already tasted success on these shores, having captured a novice chase at Cheltenham in November last year, when defeating Celtic Son by eight lengths.
Hourigan declared today: “Church Island has a few options, but I think I’m favouring a crack at the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
“Things did not really go his way after Christmas, and he was a bit unlucky when unseating twice, but he’s in top form now. He looks to be a much improved horse this term.
“He has a high cruising speed and jumps really well. He goes on any ground, and I hope he has the class to be competitive in these type of races.”
The Grade Two bet 365 Charlie Hall Chase (3.25pm) forms part of a cracking seven-race card at Wetherby on Saturday, October 28, the second of two excellent days racing at the Yorkshire track.
The other highlight on the Saturday is the £40,000 Grade Two John Smith’s Hurdle (2.50pm), which has attracted 12 high-class entries. The contest could witness a fascinating clash between the hugely exciting Black Jack Ketchum, unbeaten in seven starts, and World Hurdle hero My Way De Solzen.
The going at Wetherby is currently good to soft, soft in places, and the forecast is for unsettled weather with a little rain during the week.
Admission prices for Friday, October 27: Premier Enclosure £19; Paddock Enclosure £12; Course £4; Pick of the Paddock (advanced only) £16; 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, October 28: Premier Enclosure £26; Paddock Enclosure £15; Course £5; Pick of the Paddock (advanced only) £19; 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.