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Thursday, December 30, 2004


WELL CHIEF HEADS NINE FOR RESCHEDULED skybet.com CASTLEFORD CHASE


The Martin Pipe-trained Well Chief is one of nine entries for the rescheduled Grade Two skybet.com Castleford Chase to be run at Wetherby on Monday, January 3.


The famous two-mile chase was due to have taken place on Monday (December 27) this week but racing at Wetherby was abandoned that day but, with the assistance of sponsor Sky Bet and the British Horseracing Board, the £50,000 race has been saved for Wetherby's New Year Bank Holiday Monday fixture.


No less than seven of the 10- strong original field have been re-entered, headed by Well Chief, winner of the Irish Independent Arkle Chase at last season's Cheltenham Festival and a close third to Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop in a fantastic renewal of the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown earlier this month.


There could be a challenger from Ireland with Co Clare handler Donal Hassett considering giving Native Scout a quick return following his excellent second to Central House in the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on Monday.


“I've entered Native Scout but whether he runs depends on what else does,” said Hassett. “If Martin Pipe's Well Chief takes part, I would be half tempted not to but if that horse was out of it, we would consider running.


“I don't think he killed himself at Leopardstown and I might be tempted to put blinkers on him at Wetherby. Hopefully, Davy Russell will ride if he doesn't have to go somewhere else.”

Last season's winner Kadarann is likely to be one of three runners for trainer Paul Nicholls, with Cenkos and Armaturk also set to represent the Somerset handler.


Nicholls' secretary Cher Hallett said today: “I think Mr Nicholls is hoping to keep to the plan and possibly send Kadarann, Armaturk and Cenkos up to Wetherby again for the skybet.com Castleford Chase on Monday. I suppose the weather and ground will determine whether they run or not.


“They all went up the other day but just had to turn around on the M1! They were all going to run that day so I should think Mr Nicholls has re-entered them again to have a look.”

Mister McGoldrick, whose season began with an eight-length success at Wetherby on October 30, looks set to represent locally-based Sue Smith, while a new addition to the entries is Turgeonev, who landed the 2001 Castleford Chase for trainer Tim Easterby.


The George Moore-trained Sir Storm and No Need For Alarm, trained in Co Durham by Richard Guest, complete the new entries.


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