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Wetherby Racecourse - Archive

Friday, October 28, 2011 - BIG DAY TOMORROW




A hot renewal of the £100,000 Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (3.20pm) over three miles and a furlong at Wetherby tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, will see eight high-class chasers line up including last year’s winner Nacarat and Hennessy Gold Cup hero Diamond Harry.


That pair are among three Grade One winners in the race, the other being the James Moffatt-trained Chief Dan George, who took the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in 2007. He has since established himself over fences in a fine career that has also yielded a victory at the Cheltenham Festival in the 2010 Festival Trophy Chase.


Moffatt, who trains at Cartmel in Cumbria, revealed today: “He is fit and well, he has done two racecourse gallops and I expect him to run well. Hopefully, he will surprise a few people.


“He’s a Grade One winner, he’s a Cheltenham Festival winner and he has as much right to be there as anything else in the race. Where else do you go with an 11-year-old horse rated 142? First time out, a hundred grand race, it’s worth going for.”


Chief Dan George, who won the Grade Two River Don Novices’ Hurdle at Wetherby in 2007, was last seen finishing down the field in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree in April but Moffatt is considering other targets this year.


He continued: “We won’t go the Grand National route again. We will see where we are at after tomorrow and if the handicapper gives us some help we might go the handicap route.


“The horse has been an absolute star for me. He’s won a Grade One, two Grade Twos, he’s won at the Cheltenham Festival and he’s been round in a Grand National - not many horses have a CV like that.”


Nacarat won the Grade One totesport Bowl at Aintree in April for trainer Tom George, while the eight-year-old Diamond Harry, one of the most exciting young chasers in training, scored at the highest level in the 2008 Challow Hurdle.


Another top-class hurdler with a big reputation as a potential star over fences is the Paul Webber-trained Time For Rupert. The seven-year-old defeated subsequent National Hunt Chase victor Chicago Grey, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, when winning a novice chase at Cheltenham in December.


Weird Al, winner of the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase over the course and distance in February 2010, has his first start for trainer Donald McCain, while Paul Nicholls is set to test Poquelin, winner of the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham for the past two years, and Acrai Rua completes the field.


Also on Saturday’s superb card are the £32,000 John Smith’s Hurdle (2.45pm), over three miles and a furlong, the field for which includes Restless Harry, Fair Along, What A Friend and Carlito Brigante among eight declarations, and the £17,000 Listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle (2.15pm) over an extended two miles, which has seven declared runners, headed by the Webber-trained Alasi and Whoops A Daisy from the Nicky Henderson yard


The action begins on bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Day with the bet365.com Novices’ Chase (1.40pm, nine declared runners) and the card includes further competitive action with the Bulloughs Cleaning Services Novices’ Hurdle (4pm, 15 decs), the wetherbyracing.co.uk Novices’ Chase (4.30pm, three decs) and the concluding Wetherby Racecourse and Conference Centre Handicap Hurdle (5.05pm, 13 decs).    


bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Day is the second day of the two-day bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Meeting, which commences at Wetherby today, Friday, October 28, with a competitive six-race card.




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