Symonds on Kaki weather watch ahead of Wetherby’s totepool Towton Novices’ Chase

Kings Palace headlines 15 entries for the £30,500 Totepool Towton Novices’ Chase (3.20pm), the highlight of a seven-race card at Wetherby on Totepool Medieval Day, Saturday, January 31.

The David Pipe-trained seven-year-old is unbeaten in two starts over fences this season and is disputing favouritism with Don Poli for the Grade One RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Tom Symonds is hoping for rain for his entry Kaki De La Pree, who was last seen out when second to another Pipe-trained horse, Gevrey Chambertin, in a three-mile novices’ handicap chase at Newbury on December 17.

The eight-year-old, who was second in a Grade Two novices hurdle at Haydock last season, was third to Return Spring (Philip Hobbs) on his chasing debut at Exeter in November.

Symonds said: “We have entered Kaki De La Pree but we would want to see some rain.

“The softer the ground the better for him. We have entered because he was declared for a race at Bangor which was off and he was also declared at Chepstow, which was also off.

“He has been really good since Newbury and we were probably unlucky to bump into an in-form Gevrey Chambertin. Kaki De La Pree is a good horse and a stamina-sapping test is what he needs.

“He needed it at Exeter and we were never going to do anything quickly with him because he is not the easiest. He is quite fragile, so you can’t ever do too much work with him at home and we like to leave plenty to work on. He is ready to rock and roll now.”

Top Totti (Henry Daly) and Ned Stark (Alan King), who finished third and fourth respectively in the Grade Two Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, are other notable entries for the Wetherby race which takes place over three miles and a furlong.

First run in 1996 and sponsored by totepool since 2006, the Towton Novices’ Chase commemorates the Battle of Towton in 1461 which was a major conflict in the Wars of the Roses.

The inaugural winner Mr Mulligan progressed to take the Cheltenham Gold Cup just over a year later, while another notable winner was Wetherby specialist Ollie Magern in 2005, who went on to land the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby twice (2005 and 2007).

Mwaleshi is among 19 entries for the £18,500 Totescoop6 Updates At totepoolliveinfo.com Handicap Chase (2.10pm) over an extended two and a half miles. His trainer Sue Smith has won four of the last six renewals.

Others engaged include classy mare Pepite Rose (Venetia Wiliams), 2010 victor Sa Suffit (James Ewart) and recent course scorer Firth Of The Clyde (Malcolm Jefferson).

The action starts at 1.00pm and concludes at 4.30pm.

Saturday, January 31 is Totepool Medieval Day and the Medieval theme includes living history re-enactments, a medieval kitchen, birds of prey and live music.

A special ‘1461 Package’ – bookable in advance for £25 per person – includes Paddock Enclosure admission, racecard, a £2 tote bet, a pint and a bap from the Hog roast.

A giant screen, situated opposite the main stands, will enable racegoers to enjoy even more of the action, including Betfred Day from Sandown Park.

There’s a free shuttle bus service between Wetherby Bus Station and the racecourse from 11.30 am. operating every 20 minutes. The bus will run shuttles on the return journey up to an hour after the last race (due off at 4.30pm).

Going and Weather

The going at Wetherby is currently: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Jonjo Sanderson, Wetherby’s Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, commented: “The forecast is generally settled for the rest of this week however, as with most of the country, there is a chance that the temperatures will dip towards the end of the week, although at this stage nothing to give me any concerns.

“We’re looking forward to a really exciting day’s racing here for the Totepool Towton meeting and hopefully we’ll witness a performance in the Towton that merits a crack at the Cheltenham Festival.”

For more information, please go to www.wetherbyracing.co.uk, follow on Twitter @WetherbyRaces, go to Facebook, or contact Jonjo Sanderson, chief executive & clerk of the course, on 01937 582 035

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