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It's the biggest day in Wetherby's calendar on Saturday as the Yorkshire venue stages one of the key early-season staying events, the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase. It's one of two Grade 2 contest on a strong card, with action at Wetherby from 1.20pm-4.50pm on Saturday afternoon. The Racing Post bring you their preview and analysis for what should be a top-class day of racing.


1.20 - bet365 Handicap Chase (2m3½f)

A tough start to the afternoon from a punting perspective, with 13 runners and a very open feel to this contest. Gericault Roque won 2-3 over hurdles last season for David Pipe and is an obvious one to make further strides forward now sent chasing. He should be in the mix.

Veteran Sizing At Midnight has been in good tune of late and cannot be dismissed, with a pair of blinkers now added, while ex-Gordon Elliott inmate Corran Cross may have found 2m7f stretched his stamina to breaking point on bow for this yard at Worcester earlier in the month. He ran well enough there and has to be considered a player down in trip now.

ROAD WARRIOR weakened having set the pace over C&D earlier in the month, and Rebecca Menzies charge is entitled to be fitter for that. He's been eased a couple of pounds by the handicapper and now has Nathan Moscrop claiming a further 3lb from his back. The market may underestimate them.

Selection: Road Warrior

Next Best: Gericault Roque

1.55 - bet365 Mares' Hurdle (Listed, 2m)

A good renewal of this contest and one in which champion jockey Harry Skelton will likely force things on Molly Ollys Wishes. She's done all her winning over further and was third in a Fontwell Grade 2 in February when last spotted. She likely set fractions that weren't speedy enough there.

Miranda won 2-4 hurdles starts last season for Paul Nicholls and can easily enough be forgiven a well-held fifth in the Imperial Cup at Sandown when last out. There's just a hint of a worry she might need this outing. She holds Marie's Rock on form at Doncaster last season.

Zambella's best form has come over fences and so perhaps HER INDOORS can put fitness to good use here. The Alan King-trained daughter of Raven's Pass had a spin around Nottingham this month, finishing third, having finished last season on the up over sticks.

She won Listed/Grade 3 contests at Doncaster and Cheltenham in January and April, flanking a midfield finish in the Fred Winter at the latter track in March. That is the only time she's finished out of the first two in five starts over timber and there should be more to come from her as a lightly-raced filly.

Selection: Her Indoors

Next Best: Molly Ollys Wishes

2.30 - bet365 Hurdle (Grade 2, 3m)

It's become increasingly more difficult to assess Paisley Park in recent times. Once set to be the doyen of the staying hurdles division for a sustained period, he has instead lost his way since a fibrillating heart cost him his crown at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020.

Last season was a mixed bag. His run behind Thyme Hill at Newbury in November was promising and he avenged that defeat in landing the Grade 1 Long Walk at Ascot in December, though many felt the runner-up played into his hands there. He was a creditable third at Cheltenham in March but pulled up at Aintree a month later.

At nine-years-old, what remains of Paisley Park? Near his best he'd win this cosily but, now, conceding upwards of 6lb to the field, it's no certainty.

Master Tommytucker has never been defeated over hurdles, though he only won a pair of minor contests at Exeter in 2018. He's got lots of ability and has come up just shy as a Grade 1 chaser since then, and this is certainly an interesting departure from Paul Nicholls to go over hurdles again with a horse that possesses a big engine.

Run For Oscar has won a couple of times in Ireland recently but will find this a lot tougher, while Proschema came up shy on comeback at Chepstow in their Silver Trophy this month and has to find more.

THOMAS DARBY's first attempt at this sort of trip saw him finishing third behind Thyme Hill and Roksana at Aintree in open Grade 1 company in the spring. He hasn't got a lot of miles on the clock for an 8YO and could be one to do better at this game. He also has a good record when fresh and, in a tricky race, gets the nod.

Selection: Thomas Darby

Next Best: Paisley Park

3.05 - bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2, 3m)

Cyrname had his doubters ahead of this race 12 months ago but he'd emphatically prove them wrong with a stylish win for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden. Alas, he'd be pulled up in both starts afterwards and the nay-sayers will be out in force once again now. He could answer them in no uncertain terms again but, as things stand, the price is short enough.

SHAN BLUE will suffice as a solid alternative for Dan and Harry Skelton. He was impressive in winning the Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day and he took runner-up finishes from another pair of Grade 1 novices at Sandown (2m4f, heavy) and Aintree (3m1f, good to soft) either side of finishing fifth in the Marsh at the Cheltenham Festival when he perhaps was asked to do too much, too soon in front and paid for it late on. He goes well fresh and, if his rider can keep some powder dry for the finish, they should be involved at the line.

Fusil Raffles did as well as could have been expected when ceding weight to Bravemansgame at Newton Abbot recently and Nicky Henderson's charge has some solid form in the book from last year. He isn't a certain stayer but he wouldn't be dismissed.

Clondaw Castle was a remote second behind Clan Des Obeaux in an Aintree Grade 1 in the spring on his second go at this sort of trip, place claims aren't beyond him now either.

Selection: Shan Blue

Next Best: Fusil Raffles

3.40 - bet365 Handicap Hurdle (2m3½f)

Any money coming for the long-absent Angel Of Harlem would be worth taking note of, as Olly Murphy's charge is reappearing from a workable mark. This is no easy starting place however, after two years in absence.

RATTLE OWL is low-miles and now 2-3 over timber after a commanding success at Sedgefield (2m4f, good) last month on his first start since May. From a mark of 120, and with Oakley Brown again taking off 5lb, there's got to be a fine chance he can follow up despite the tougher nature of this challenge.

Haafapiece was consistent without winning last term but is now back within 2lb of his last win-mark and Pam Sly's charge has run well from higher marks in all three previous visits to Wetherby.

Selection: Rattle Owl

Next Best: Haafapiece

4.15 - bet365 Novices' Hurdle (2m3½f)

Likely an unoriginal selection but TAMAR BRIDGE got off the mark on second hurdles start at Ayr (2m4½f, heavy) in April and, while he only beat a single rival, the Olly Murphy-trained runner is surely going to make further strides forward this season. He's got a penalty to carry on his return but may be up to it.

If there are any chinks in his armour, Hidden Heroics may be the one to take advantage. Dan Skelton won this race a year ago with a useful sort in Ashtown Lad and this once-raced Irish point winner changed hands for £60k following that success around Fairyhouse in April.

Kalmoor for Amy Murphy on hurdles bow and the hooded ruled debutant Moore On Tour are amongst those likely to be involved at the business end.

Selection: Tamar Bridge

Next Best: Hidden Heroics

4.50 - Price Promise At bet365 Handicap Chase (3m)

Soyouthinksoagain was second on chasing bow at Newton Abbot over 3m2f earlier in the month. He's yet another solid contender on this card for the Skelton brothers and should find improvement on the back of that solid start.

Quick Draw also made the frame this month on his chasing introduction at Huntingdon and will have similar aspirations if building on that not, though there's a stamina query against his name based on his hurdles form.

Ecossais returns for another campaign and, having won three times last term, is respected though not noted for his reliability. Blazer often promised a big win in Ireland but his strike-rate tells a sorry tale and he hasn't beaten anything home bar the ambulance in three runs for Ben Haslam. He is plummeting down the ratings should he be able to rediscover his appetite.

GRANGE RANGER won here over 2m5½f on soft ground in February and had also finished second in this race 12 months ago under Emma Smith-Chaston. She's back in the plate today for the first time since, claiming 7lb, and given that her charge has a good record when fresh, they seem likely to be in the shake-up again from just 2lb higher than last year.

Selection: Grange Ranger

Next Best: Soyouthinksoagain




V: 1.20.0 All rights reserved. August 2021