Cantlow ready for Wetherby return

Cantlow will make his seasonal reappearance at Wetherby tomorrow in the £25,000 Listed bet365 Handicap Chase (2.10pm) over an extended two and a half miles, the highlight on day one of the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting.

Paul Webber’s charge was Grade One-placed over hurdles in April, 2011, but his first season over fences was not without its hiccups. After winning two of his first four starts last season, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old was a leading contender for Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but was withdrawn at the start after blood was found running from his nose.


His final start of the campaign came at Aintree’s Grand National festival, where he finished 10th of 18 in a Listed handicap chase over three miles and a furlong.


Webber reported: “Cantlow had a very good holiday over at Mr McManus’ Martinstown Stud in Ireland and he came back looking wonderful. He is moving and working well, and is ready to go.


“His first season over fences was good in parts but it was terribly disappointing at Cheltenham. He had a tiny bit of blood from a little nasal passage about 12 centimetres up his nostril. It was nothing from his lung, so it wouldn’t have affected the way he ran but any visible blood means you have to have a non-runner. It was a very peculiar thing to happen and hopefully we won’t have a reoccurrence.


“We had him very ready for Cheltenham and I think he was past his best at Aintree.


“There are no easy races when you are rated 141, but I am sure he will run well tomorrow and hopefully he can have a good season.”


Barry Geraghty partners Cantlow for the first time at Wetherby.


Among Cantlow’s 12 rivals is the Paul Nicholls-trained top-weight Mon Parrain, who will be returning from a 587-day absence, hat-trick seeking Noble Legend from the stable of Caroline Bailey and course scorer Green Wizard.


Paul Nicholls will be chasing back-to-back wins in the £17,000 Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle (2.45pm, seven runners) over an extended two miles. The Ditcheat handler captured the prize with subsequent Triumph Hurdle third Sametegal last season and will be represented by impressive five-length Chepstow scorer Keltus.


The line-up also includes fascinating French recruits Ainsi Fideles and Cadoudoff, trained by David Pipe and Charlie Longsdon respectively, Nicky Henderson’s Market Rasen victor Royal Irish Hussar and classy Flat recruit Zamoyski from the stable of Steve Gollings.

All eyes will be on Oscar Rock in the first division of the £5,000 Watch Racing UK on Sky 432 ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (11 runners), which opens proceedings at 12.40pm. The five-year-old, making his debut for Malcolm Jefferson, was one of Britain’s leading bumper performers for Harry Fry last season, winning two of his three starts including a Listed contest at Newbury by eight lengths.

The action is completed by division two of the £5,000 Watch Racing UK on Sky 432 ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (1.10pm, 10 runners), the £8,500 bet65 Handicap Hurdle (1.40pm, 15 runners), the £6,000 bet365 Handicap Chase (3.20pm, 8 runners),  and the concluding £5,000 Book Tickets On-Line @ Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (3.55pm, 10 runners).


Day two of the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting is headlined by the £100,000 Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (3.35pm) over three miles and a furlong. The 11 entries include 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Long Run, 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup fifth Cape Tribulation, and exciting second-season chasers Unioniste and Harry Topper.


The latest betting from bet365 is: 6/5 Long Run, 10/3 Unioniste, 7/1 Cape Tribulation, 8/1 Harry Topper,  10/1 Benefficient, 20/1 Master of The Hall, 25/1 Big Fella Thanks,  Wayward Prince, 40/1 Billie Magern


Saturday’s card also features the  £36,500 Grade Two bet365 Hurdle (3.00pm, 9 entries) over three miles and a furlong, which is likely to throw up an exciting clash between Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle hero At Fishers Cross and last year’s winner Tidal Bay.


The latest betting from bet365 is: 10/11 At Fishers Cross, 3/1 Tidal Bay, 6/1 Trustan Times, 7/1 Medinas, 12/1 Master Of The Sea, 14/1 Across The Bay, 20/1 Captain Sunshine, 33/1 The Knoxs




The going at Wetherby remains Good to Soft.

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