Just Cameron leads our Wetherby line up
Paul and Jean Chapman’s recent Castleford Chase winner Just Cameron makes a quick return to the scene of his biggest success as he heads the weights for tomorrow’s feature totescoop6 Play Today Handicap Chase (2.15) over a mile and seven furlongs at the A1 course.
Just Cameron has been put up 3lbs for that win but he’s still 1lb lower in the ratings than when he won this race last year, he’s no stranger to carrying big weights in good handicaps and he should be right in the thick of the action provided the ground isn’t too testing.
He’ll face four opponents in the £12,660 contest with Bun Doran bringing solid Festival form to the table, having run well at Cheltenham and Aintree last year. Neither Kayf Blanco nor Positively Dylan, who unseated at Haydock last month, have won over fences but both are open to a bit of improvement in this sphere now they’re running in handicaps, while Zarib was well behind Caraline here on Boxing Day and drops in trip but his low weight will be an asset in these conditions.
Our eleven year old will be partnered by Joe Colliver, who’s won on him five times.
Earlier in the day the Snook family’s eight year old former pointer Dark Valley kicks things off for us in the novices’ chase over 2m3f. The race is restricted to novices who haven’t won more than one hurdle race but there is a standout favourite in Evan Williams’ promising De Dollar Man who is rated 139 and will be hard to beat with a clear round.
Dark Valley goes back in trip after finishing last of three behind Bordeaux Bill over three miles here last month, but he still has a lot on his plate and first and foremost we’ll be hoping for a nice encouraging performance from him. Fin O’Toole keeps the ride.
We run two in the two mile handicap hurdle at 1.40 where a few of the leading contenders have something to prove on heavy ground.
The Multi Taskers’ Strike West (above) showed gradual improvement in his novice hurdles before getting no further than the second here on Boxing Day, this is effectively his handicap debut off a mark of 103 and Fin O’Toole takes over from Hugo Thompson Brown in the saddle. His two best runs have come on very soft ground so he shouldn’t have any problem with the conditions.
Henry Brooke rides The Cheltenham Trail’s seven year old Dubawi gelding Skywards Reward, who showed up well for a long way in testing ground in Wig Wam Wiggle’s race at Hexham back in November and this drop back to two miles looks ideal for him, He’s open to improvement at this trip and we expect him to go well.
We’re also double handed in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle at 2.50, with Becky The Thatcher returning to the scene of her 33/1 success back in November.
McGioldrick Racing’s five year old (above) is now 8lbs higher in the weights but she’s yet to run a bad race over timber and there was nothing wrong with her fourth to Eminent Poet in a strong race at Haydock last time out. She’ll handle tomorrow’s conditions and she ought to give another good account under her regular rider Fin O’Toole, who’s partnered her to all three of her jumps wins.
Dedigout has struggled in his three runs for us so far but the handicapper has dropped him 10lbs since his last run at Ayr and hopefully that will help him.
Our recent recruit from Ireland, Crest, has his third start in the Newboulds’ colours in the seven runner Northern Lights middle distance chase qualifier at 3.25. He’s been dropped 4lbs since his latest run at Ayr and he’ll again be ridden by our amateur jockey Joe Wright, who can claim 7lbs.
And finally if you’re going to Wetherby, don’t forget you can get £8 off the standard admission price in the Premier and Paddock enclosures if you wear your Christmas jumper!
Good luck to everyone!