Weekend Racing Blog: Charlie Hall Chase Day at Wetherby

Cyrname 2/1 Fav In Charlie Hall Chase

Cyrname is officially the highest rated chaser in the UK and the Paul Nicholls trained gelding puts that status to the test in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby (3.20pm) on Saturday afternoon.

The only horse to beat Altior over jumps finished second in the King George V1 Chase and then fell at Ascot. However, the Ascot defeat of Altior makes Cyrname the horse to beat at Wetherby in the Class 2 Grade 1 chase over three miles. The eight-year-old has won six chases from 13 starts over fences.

Some famous chasers have won the Wetherby feature race. Former winners include Burrough Hill Lad (1984), Forgive ‘N Forget (1986) and See More Business (1999 & 2000) who all won the Cheltenham Golf Cup. Sadly I’m now old enough to remember all of these famous horses and can still fondly recall placing all my hard-earned pocket money on Burrough Hill Lad. Heady days!

Grade 1 winning chasers like One Man (1996 & 1997) and Barton Bank (1993 & 1995) were two-time winners of the Charlie Hall. In recent years, Silviniaco Conti (2012) and Cue Card (2015) prevailed and both were leading contenders in a number of Cheltenham Gold Cups.

Cyrname is not out of place in that company so can get his career back on track by winning the feature race on a big weekend of jumps racing.

Lisnagar Oscar Returns At Wetherby

Lisnagar Oscar also runs for the first time this season on the supporting card at Wetherby.

The Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle over three miles is a good starting point for the winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

The 50/1 winner trained by Rebecca Curtis has the highest Official Rating (OR) in the field but looks vulnerable to horses who consistently ran to a comparative mark during the season before the Festival. Lisnagar Oscar improved on his previous form to win the Stayers.

Next Destination is another interesting runner who has the historical form to beat Lisnagar Oscar. However, this is the Paul Nicholls trained gelding’s first run for 920 days. He was last seen winning a Grade 1 novices’ hurdle at Punchestown in April 2018.

The horse then finished third behind Samcro in a similar race at the Cheltenham Festival on his previous start. A reproduction of that level of form would see Next Destination beat Lisnager Oscar and the other seven runners in the Wetherby hurdle.

Fancy a Nibble on Might Bite at Ascot?

The Grade 3 Handicap Chase over almost three miles at Ascot on Saturday looks like a very competitive affair.

Cyrname was considered for the race but now runs at Wetherby instead. The weights have gone up across the board which means horses are running above their official mark.

He has been a monkey in the past but the enigmatic Might Bite may be able to handle his weight and could be a blot on the handicap if you go far back enough to discover his best form.

Newmarket’s Final Turf Flat Meeting

It’s the final 2020 meeting at Newmarket on Saturday but sadly there will be no racegoers attending over the vast expanse of the course and enclosures.

Social distancing would not be a problem but yet racing continues behind closed doors, except for owners and other connections associated with the horses.

The highlights are the Class 1 Listed races and the best race of the three is the Fillies’ Stakes for horses aged two over one mile. On form and ratings Alba Rose looks the horse to beat.

And finally…

Tiger Roll ran on the Flat for just the second time at Navan last week.

The popular 2-time Grand National winner was slow out of the stalls and never looked like winning. However, as a debut for a season that could end with an historic third Grand National win in succession, it was perfectly acceptable.

The handicapper will have a big influence on whether that is feasible. Tiger Roll is back and hopefully heading to Aintree next April but it would be a shame if there was no crowd in attendance.