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Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Ferdy Murphy is confident that the classy Leading Man can return to winning ways in the £50,000 Grade Three skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (1.25pm), run at Wetherby on Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26, the first day of the West Yorkshire track’s two-day Sky Bet Christmas meeting.

The seven-year-old gelding triumphed in the three mile, one furlong, contest last year, beating Sir Rembrandt by eight lengths and also won the One Man Novices’ Chase over the same distance at Wetherby in December, 2005.

On his latest appearance, Leading Man ran disappointingly when pulled up in the Listed Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on December 1, but Murphy feels that the talented chaser is now returning to his best.

Murphy said: “Leading Man will return to Wetherby to contest the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase. He had a dirty scope after running poorly in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle, but he’s had medication and looks good now.

“The vet passed him on Monday, he’s been doing some work and he looks spot on. He seems to like Wetherby, and the way last year’s race was run also suited him.

“He stays well, and I couldn’t be happier with him. The ground won’t be an issue and I’m as confident as I was coming into the race last year.”

As well as training Leading Man to win last year’s skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase, Murphy also captured the race in 2004 with Trucker’s Tavern, who had previously finished second behind Best Mate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

A race that always attracts some of the season’s top staying chasers, the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase is the 21st race of the Order of Merit series, and the contest is the highlight of the meeting that boasts more than £150,000 in prize money.

The second day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting on Thursday, December 27, includes the £30,000 skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase, run over an extended two miles, which could see the Sue Smith-trained Mister McGoldrick bid for a ninth victory at Wetherby.

James Sanderson, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course at Wetherby, is looking forward to a busy meeting and is expecting a bumper crowd for both days.

Sanderson said: “We are rapidly selling out of Premier Enclosure tickets, so people need to get them quickly, but there is still plenty of availability for all of the other enclosures.

"The ground is now good to soft, good in places and we are moving the rails where possible, so that the Sky Bet Christmas meeting will be run predominantly on fresh ground."

Advance bookings can be purchased at www.wetherbyracing.co.uk or by phoning 01937 582 035.

Admission Prices (December 26 & 27): Premier Enclosure £27, Paddock Enclosure £16, Pick of the Paddock £20 (includes admission to the Paddock Enclosure, £3 Refreshment Voucher, £2 Tote Betting Voucher and Racecard), Course Enclosure £5, Cars into the Course Enclosure (including four adults) £17, Accompanied Children under 16 FREE, Car Parking FREE.

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

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