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Monday, November 27, 2006


Sky Bet have renewed their sponsorship of Wetherby’s prestigious two-day Christmas Meeting, supporting this season’s fixture on Boxing Day Tuesday and Wednesday, December 26 & 27 (first race 12-50 p.m. & 12-45 p.m. respectively).

Based in Harrogate, Sky Bet – one of the U.K’s leading horseracing, gaming and sports betting companies – first supported Wetherby’s Christmas Meeting in 2002, so this renewal marks the fifth successive year of their sponsorship.

The principal race on Boxing Day is The skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, a Grade 3 contest over three miles and one furlong for top class stayers offering prize money of £50,000. This race continues to be in the Racing UK ‘Order of Merit’ series of leading races over Jumps, identified by The British Horseracing Board to promote the very best in Jump racing.

Wednesday’s feature race is The skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase over two miles, with prize money of £30,000. It’s a contest for horses rated 0-145 and should produce a competitive race with its new handicap banding.

Wetherby’s chief executive, James Sanderson, clearly delighted with the arrangement, said “This is good news for the racecourse and racegoers, with the generous support over the years of Sky Bet enabling the meeting to flourish. Long may it continue.”

In response, Dale Tempest, Sky Bet’s public relations director said “The Sky Bet Christmas Meeting gains in popularity every year and we are delighted to continue our sponsorship.”


Wetherby stages a seven-race programme over Jumps on Saturday (December 2), with the most valuable contest being the fourth running at the track of The One Man Novices’ Chase, which reverts back to being held over the extended two and a half miles. It’s a race which remembers and pays tribute to one of the best steeplechasers of recent times, One Man.

The imposing grey captured the respect and admiration of the racing public, winning 20 of his 35 races, including several big-race victories such as The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The King George VI Chase (twice), The Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, while he was a dual winner of one The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in 1996 and 1997. One Man was owned by John Hales and his daughter, Lisa, and the Hales Family, as well as sponsoring this race, also provide a challenge trophy for the successful owner in Saturday’s £20,000 race. The equine stars for the Hales family since One Man include Azertyuiop (a former winner, like One Man, of The Queen Mother Champion Chase) and last weekend’s winner of The Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle, Neptune Collonges, who last season at Wetherby won the Grade 2 River Don Novices’ Hurdle.

The Wetherby Racecourse & Conference Centre Handicap Chase is a race for stayers over three miles and one furlong, while forthcoming events are celebrated in The Lucy Marries The Mackem Handicap Hurdle and The Mick & Sue Penrose 60th Birthday Celebrations Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (both races held over the extended two and a half miles), while the afternoon’s card also includes the third running of National Hunt Flat race over the shorter distance of one mile and three-quarters for three-year-olds which are about to begin their careers over Jumps – a contest supported by The European Breeders Fund.

Racing on Saturday begins at 12-20 p.m. with The Benfield Ford Novices’ Hurdle, a contest over two miles and seven furlongs supported by the local Ford dealership, which will have a selection of their vehicles on display.

The giant totesport screen, situated opposite the main stands is in use, supplemented by an additional screen located near the parade ring.

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

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