Bishop Wulstan improving ahead of Wensleydale test

Wetherby’s two-day bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting gets underway tomorrow, October 31, with a six-race card headlined by the £28,000 Listed bet365 Handicap Chase (2.15pm).

A field of eight is set to go to post for the extended two and a half miles contest, headed by the Sue Smith-trained Mwaleshi (ridden by Ryan Mania). The nine-year-old took the Grade Two Premier Kelso Hurdle in March, 2013 and made a smooth transition to fences last season with two victories from four starts.

Mwaleshi’s rivals include Scottish Grand National third Trustan Times (Tim Easterby/Wilson Renwick), the enigmatic but talented Cedre Bleu (Dougie Costello), who is making his debut for Charlie Mann, and Viva Colonia (Brian Ellison/Danny Cook).

The other highlight on the card is the £20,000 Listed Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Wensleydale Hurdle (2.50pm) over an extended two miles. Trainer Brian Ellison has two of the five runners courtesy of dual hurdles scorer Come On Sunshine (Wilson Renwick) and the filly Full Day (Danny Cook).

Also engaged is Bishop Wulstan, a half-brother to smart hurdler Gibb River, who prevailed by a short-head on his hurdling debut at Ludlow on October 8. It was his first start for trainer Harry Whittington having previously been with Richard Hannon. Aidan Coleman takes the ride for owners Middleham Park Racing.

Whittington, who is based in Lambourn, said: “Bishop Wulstan’s preparation has gone very well.

“We expected him to run well on debut but to go and win was a bit of a surprise. He has gained a lot of confidence for winning that race at Ludlow.

“All he has done is improve since then and has been schooling really well. The track at Wetherby should be fine and he wants good ground.”

Completing the line-up is Magic Magnolia (Mark Gillard/Tom Cannon) and the hurdling debutant Sicilian Bay (Joanne Foster/Dougie Costello).

More competitive handicap action is assured in the £9,000 bet365.com Handicap Hurdle (1.40pm, 13 runners) over an extended two miles. Camachoice (Jamie Snowden/Tom Garner) will be looking to follow up a wide-margin success at Southwell on October 23, while Mick Easterby will be hoping Lightening Rod (Mr Harry Bannister) can build on his course and distance second to Goodwood Mirage on October 15.

The action gets underway at 1.10pm with the £5,000 Racinguk.com ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (15 runners) and concludes with the £5,000 Download Your Racing UK App Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (4.00pm, 11 runners).

The bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting continues on Saturday, November 1, when the highlight is the £100,000 Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase over three miles and a furlong. King George VI Chase hero Silviniaco Conti (Paul Nicholls) is expected to line up alongside Taquin Du Seuil (Jonjo O’Neill) and Gold Cup third The Giant Bolster (David Bridgwater).

bet365 Charlie Hall Chase – sponsor bet: 11/10 Silviniaco Conti, 7/2 Taquin Du Seuil, 11/2 Menorah, 10/1 The Giant Bolster, Medermit, 14/1 Double Ross, 20/1 Wayward Prince, 80/1 Ballypatrick
e/w 1/5 123

Going

The going at Wetherby is currently: Good, Good to Soft in places (watered).

Jonjo Sanderson, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course, said: “We had 4mm rain overnight last night, which has complemented the watering we have done this week, to give us ground which is on the nicely easy side of good. The latest GoingStick readings are 6.6 on the Chase course and 7.0 on the Hurdle course.

“Everyone at Wetherby is really looking forward to two excellent days racing and, looking at the declarations for tomorrow, we should hopefully be served up some competitive action on the eve of bet365 Charlie Hall Day, when we’ll see one of the hottest Charlie Hall Chases for some time.”

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