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Friday, December 21, 2007


Middleham trainer Micky Hammond is hoping that course specialist Manbow will run another big race in the £10,000 TurfTV Handicap Chase (3.05pm), over two and a half miles at Wetherby on Boxing Day, December 26, the first day of the West Yorkshire track’s two-day Sky Bet Christmas meeting.

Manbow has won four times at Wetherby, and the nine-year-old gelding triumphed earlier this season in the two and a half mile skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase on October 17.

On his latest appearance, Manbow put in another game performance over a longer distance of three miles and a furlong when finishing second behind Notanotherdonkey in the totesport.com Handicap Chase at Wetherby on November 17.

Hammond hopes that the step down in trip will suit and is looking forward to another bold show.

The handler said: “We are hoping to run Manbow in the TurfTV Handicap on Boxing Day. He loves the track and is in good form. Good to soft ground will be fine.

“He ran a really good race last time when second to Notanotherdonkey. I think he loves Wetherby because is a nice flat galloping track with big fences. I am looking forward to running him.”

As well as Manbow, Hammond could also be represented on the first day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting by Terenzium in the £6,000 St. John Ambulance ‘Caring For Life’ Handicap Hurdle (1.00pm), run over two miles.

The five-year-old gelding has already enjoyed two previous visits to Wetherby, and Hammond believes that Terenzium can improve on his latest third in the totescoop6 Handicap Hurdle on November 17.

Dawn Ride is another of Hammond’s stable to have raced around Wetherby before, and the nine-year-old gelding looks set to take his chance in the £7,000 New Bramham Hall For Conferences & Banqueting Novices’ Handicap Chase (2.35), run over an extended three miles.

The £50,000 Grade Three skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Chase (1.35pm) is the highlight of the first day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting, and the three mile, one furlong contest attracts some of the season’s best staying chasers.

2006 Hennessy Gold Cup victor State Of Play, who finished runner-up on his seasonal reappearance over the course and distance in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase on November 3, heads the weights on 11st 12lb. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has two to choose from in recent Sandown scorer Turko (11st 7lb) and Cerium (11st 6lb).

David Pipe, successful in the 2005 renewal with Therealbandit, has entered the trio of Madison du Berlais (11st 3lb), fourth behind Denman in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last time, Comply Or Die (10st) and Vodka Bleu (9st 11lb).

Last year’s winner Leading Man (9st 8lb) is being aimed at the contest once again while county Durham trainer Howard Johnson has the promising Hard Act To Follow (10st 4lb) and Royal Rosa (9st 10lb) engaged among the 21 entries.

The second day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting, Thursday, December 27, features the £30,000 skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase, run over an extended two miles, and there are 20 entries for this year’s contest.

Mister McGoldrick could bid for a ninth course win in the race, while Richard Lee has entered Almaydan, who triumphed under top weight of 11st 12lb in the Constant Security Services - “Excellence Awards” Winner 2007 Handicap Chase at Wetherby on December 8.

Charlie Mann could run Moon Over Miami, who captured a Grade Two novices’ chase at Cheltenham on November 18 while David Pipe has entered this season’s Haldon Gold Cup winner Pablo du Charmil.

Last year’s winner Calatagan could bid for a repeat victory for trainer Malcolm Jefferson while Howard Johnson has entered Lennon, Some Touch, and Percussionist, who has won on his two previous visits to Wetherby.

Micky Hammond hopes to run his exciting prospect Tucker in the £5,000 Go Racing At Catterick Tomorrow Novices’ Hurdle (3.35pm), run over two miles.

The five-year-old gelding was a promising second on his hurdling debut at Musselburgh on December 10, and Hammond hopes that Tucker will come on for that education.

Hammond said: “He’s a nice horse, and has some very useful Flat form, having won three times at Newmarket. He looks to be a horse with a bright future.”

Trained on the Flat by David Elsworth and Walter Swinburn, Tucker finished second behind subsequent Group One scorer Proclamation in the Listed Heron Stakes at Goodwood in May, 2005.

The going at Wetherby remains good to soft, good in places with generally mild conditions forecast over the next few days.

While the Premier Enclosure has sold out on December 26, there are still some tickets left on December 27. There is plenty of availability for all other enclosures on both days.

Advance bookings can be purchased at www.wetherbyracing.co.uk or by phoning 01937 582 035. Gates open to the public at 10am on both days, and there will be complimentary mulled wine and mince pies for the ‘early birds’ on Boxing Day.

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

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