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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Glamorgan handler Evan Williams, who landed the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup with State Of Play last month, is hoping to bag another big prize over the festive period with Rosses Point in the feature Grade Three £50,000 skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day, Tuesday, December 26.

The progressive seven-year-old is among a tremendous 21-strong entry for the three mile and one furlong contest, and comes into the race in top form having won his last three starts, culminating in a facile success at Ludlow on December 7 over a similar trip.

Williams revealed today: “Rosses Point is almost certain to head to Wetherby for the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase. If he’s in the handicap and works well on Thursday morning, then he will take his chance.

“He has been very progressive this year and has really improved for the summer break. He’s won beautifully the last twice, and is a young horse who is getting better with age, as his pedigree suggests he might.

“I’m happy with how he has come out of his last race - he seems very well. Although he’s done his winning on good and good to soft ground, he’s by Roselier, so softer going shouldn’t be a problem.”

Despite Rosses Point’s age and relative inexperience, his trainer is confident that he will prove up to the task under suitable conditions.

Williams continued: “A flat, galloping track really suits him well, and Wetherby could be tailor-made for him. The way that he travels so strongly in his races is a huge advantage, and I think that the faster the race is run the better for him.

“Although his jumping frightens me to death at times, Paul [Moloney] who rides him says it looks worse from the ground than it does on top! He can jump very well, but can just be a little bit of a plonker sometimes.

“Saying that, Rosses Point’s confidence is very high at the moment, and if he gets into the race off a feather weight, I’d be hopeful of him going up to Wetherby and giving a very good account of himself.”

Other entries for the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase include Sir Rembrandt, twice placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Scottish Grand National winner Run For Paddy, Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup third Preacher Boy, 2004 skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase hero Truckers Tavern, the progressive King Killone and the Ferdy Murphy-trained Leading Man.

Ground conditions at Wetherby are currently soft, heavy in places, with dry weather forecast before Boxing Day.

The gates open at 10am on Boxing Day, skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase Day, for a six-race card, with the first race off at 12.50pm. Free mince pies and mulled wine will be available for early arrivals on a first come, first served basis.

The course gets very busy around midday, so racegoers are advised to arrive at the track before then.

Live music will come from the Endeavour Ceilidh Band on both days. The ‘LA Jazz’ will also perform on Boxing Day, and the Baron von Rhinestein Bavarian Band on Wednesday, December 27, the second day of the Sky Bet Christmas Meeting at Wetherby.

Entertainment for young racegoers comes in the shape of ‘Pat’s Puppets’ in the Family Marquee, while ‘Musical Ruth and her Magical Piano’ will be delighting the crowds on Boxing Day. There is also a new ‘parenting facility’ in the Paddock Enclosure.

Advance bookings for the 2006 Sky Bet Christmas Meeting are advised at www.wetherbyracing.co.uk, especially as Premier Enclosure tickets on Boxing Day have nearly sold out, though there remains plenty of availability for both the Paddock and Course Enclosures on that day.

Admission Prices (December 26 & 27): Premier Enclosure £26, Paddock Enclosure £15, Pick of the Paddock £19 (includes admission to the Paddock Enclosure, £3 Refreshment Voucher, £2 Tote Betting Voucher and Racecard), Course Enclosure £5. Accompanied children under 16 are admitted free to all enclosures.


KAUTO STAR is just over 4-6 on Betfair to win the Stan James King George and set himself up for a crack at the exchange's million pound bonus, awarded to any horse winning the Betfair Chase, the Boxing day showpiece at Kempton (or the Lexus) and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The owner will pick up £750,000 of the Betfair Million bonus, with £100,000 each going to the trainer and jockey and the final £50,000 going to the stable staff.

It is 11-2 bar Kauto Star, which brings in Monets Garden, while Racing Demon is a weak 17-2 chance on the exchange.

There have been some massive prices matched about the other contenders, with Exotic Dancer being backed at 359-1, Yes Sir at 329-1, and Ollie Magern and Ballycassidy at 799-1.

Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said: "The person who laid Commercial Flyer for £4 at 999-1 (risking £3,996 to win £4) will be hoping he doesn't turn up on Boxing Day."

To win the Stan James King George - Betfair bet: 4-6 Kauto Star, 11-2 Monets Garden, 17-2 Racing Demon, 18-1 Exotic Dancer, 21-1 Monkerhostin, 27-1 Yes Sir, 59-1 L'Ami, 69-1 Ollie Magern, 84-1 Commercial Flyer, 119-1 Ballycassidy, 209-1 Puntal, 299-1 Mister McGoldrick.

Prices correct as of 2.30pm.

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