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Monday, January 28, 2013



Fentara could step up in the class for the £30,500 Grade Two totepool.com Towton Novices’ Chase (3.20pm, 14 entries), the highlight of totepool Irish Day at Wetherby this Saturday, February 2.


The eight-year-old mare, trained at Sheriff Hutton by Tim Walford, has progressed in each of her four starts over fences, placing on two occasions at Newcastle, falling when in contention at Catterick before winning impressively last time out by 38 lengths at Kelso on January 13.


Walford said today: “Fentara is a possible runner in the totepool.com Towton Novices’ Chase but I want to see what the opposition is like before committing to the race. She is rated 127 and I think you need to be rated 137 but we will see what’s in because she will like the ground.


“She is in really good form at the moment and seems to be improving with every run, but she is still a bit novicey. The cheekpieces helped her concentrate at Kelso and the only mistake she made was at the last but Daryl (Jacob) blames himself for that.


“We have got the EBF Mares’ Final at Newbury in the back of our minds for her but it’s at the end of March and we don’t know what the ground is going to be like. She needs it soft and will be put in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham as well and we will see what materialises.”


The 14 entries for totepool.com Towton Novices’ Chase, run over three miles and a furlong, also include Venetia Williams’ Grade Two Rising Stars Novices’ Chase victor Houblon Des Obeaux, smart novice hurdler Ambion Wood and last season’s impressive Grade Two John Smith’s Hurdle hero Restless Harry.


Donald McCain has a trio entries headed by Cheltenham scorer Super Duty and Real Milan, who has recorded comfortable successes at Carlisle and Ayr, while Somerset-based David Pipe could saddle Exeter winner Buddy Bolero and Goulanes. 


Local trainer Sue Smith has three possible representatives, Fill The Power, Vintage Star and Yurok, while another Yorkshire handler, Tim Easterby, has Fourjacks engaged.


The totepool.com Towton Chase has an impressive roll of honour, featuring good horses such as Wayward Prince, Weird Al, Ollie Magern, Royal Emperor, Escarteifigue and Mr Mulligan, who subsequently won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.


Totepool Irish Day also features the £18,000 Play totescoop6 At totepool.com Handicap Chase (3.55pm, 21 entries) over an extended two and a half miles and the prestigious Wilmot-Smith Memorial Cup (1.35pm, 21 entries), one of the first significant hunter chases of the season.


Gates open at 10.30am with the action getting underway at 1.00pm.


The Irish-themed marquee in the Paddock Enclosure is open to all racegoers and features the Ceilidh House Band and dancers. Advanced bookings for the 'Irish Experience' can be made right up to the meeting. For £22 this includes Paddock Enclosure admission, voucher for the full-colour racecard, a pint of Guinness, a beef & Guinness meal and a discounted tote betting voucher.




The going at Wetherby is currently:


Soft (Heavy in places), with areas of water standing in the back straight.


Clerk of the Course Jonjo Sanderson said: “The course was covered in five inches of snow on Saturday and yet by Sunday morning it had all completely thawed, which has resulted in the water standing in the back straight. 


“The forecast is for up to 15 millimetres of rain by the close of play on Tuesday and then, hopefully, a more settled end to the week. 


“Obviously, we’ll monitor the situation with the standing water and keep everyone updated. 


“Hopefully, as most of the snow in this part of the world has thawed, the river levels will continue to drop and the water recede from the track as the week progresses.”

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