All eyes turn to Wetherby for Saturday’s Charlie Hall Chase

Action at Ripon Races.
Action at Ripon Races.
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Nacarat will prepare to meet the challenge of rising star chaser Time for Rupert, in the £100,000 grade two bet365 Charlie Hill (3.25pm) at Wetherby on Saturday.

Tom George’s charge relished the three-mile, one furlong test last year when he powered four lengths clear of the Tother One to win that renewal.

Nacarat subsequently landed a grade one victory with a six length success in the totesport bowl at Aintree in April.

The Gloucestershire trainer revealed: “ Nacarat has had a good preperation and, as long as that continues as it has done, I’m very happy with him. He has had a good summer and things have gone as well as I would have liked them to. He loved it round Wetherby last year. I think he likes most tracks and he will go on good and good to soft ground but he doesnt want it soft/heavy. I’m not saying we will win it again but he will be going there as good as I can have him. It is very disappointing that Paddy Brennan is suspended and can’t ride him because he is also sponsered by Nacarat’s owner Simon Clarke, so that is disappointing. We haven’t decided who will ride him yet but I have a runner in France with Simon Clarke tommorow and we will probably have a chat about it then.”

Time for Rupert is in rude health as he prepares for his seasonal return in bet365 Charlie Hill Chase.

The top class seven year old has recovered from the ailment that resulted in a below par effort at the Cheltenham festival in March and trainer Paul Webber is hoping to unleash his charge in the prestigous, which is the highlight of Wetherby’s two day bet365 Charlie Hall meeting.

Time for Rupert, runner up to Big Bucks in the grade one ladbrokes world hurdle in 2010, enjoyed a fine first campaign over fences last season. After easily winning his first two starts, Webber’s charge was sent of the 7/4 favourite for the grade one RSA chase at Cheltenham on March 16 but was only fifth behind Bostons angel.

Webber, who trains at Cropredy in Oxfordshire, revealed: “Time for Rupert works in the grass tommorow and if all that goes well, and then his schooling goes alright next Tuesday, the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is the plan. All has been well through the summer. In the RSA Chase he was miles below what we had hoped for. He still had the residue of an infection that prevented him from running in the Argento Chase at the end of January. Despite all the tests and his seeming very good, he obviously wasn’t over it because when we ultra-sound scanned his lung afterwards we found a little patch on the lung that hadn’t cleared up, so it was a real deep-seated thing. He went to Ireland for some special treatment at Coolmore Stud- they very kindly had him over there- and we have rescanned his lungs; everything looks clean and we hope it remains so. I hope the race is an ideal place to start. I walked round the track last week and the ground should be fine. They had an awful lot more rain up there than there has been around here, so hopefully that will be the plan.”

Time for Rupert and Nacarat could lock horns at Wetherby with another exciting chaser, last season’s Gold cup hero Diamond Harry. Nick Williams’ charge is on the comeback trail, having sustained a ligament injury that kept him out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

The prestigous race has been won by a host of elite stars down the years among them, Wayward Lad (1983 and 1985), Burrough Hill Lad (1984), Forgive n Forget (1986), Celitc Shot (1990 and 1991), Barton Bank (1993 and 1995), One Man (1996 and 1997), See More Business (1999 and 2000) and Grey Abbey (2004).

The seven race card on bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Day also features the £32,000 John Smith’s hurdle (2.50pm), over three miles and a furlong, while action also includes the £17,000 listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle (2.15pm) over an extended two miles.

The Philip Hobbs- trained fair along has won the last two renewals of the grade two John Smith’s hurdle, which has fallen to plenty of crack performers in the opast, including Cab On Target (1991 and 1995), Pridwell ( 1997), Marello ( 1998) and the great triple world hurdle winner Inglis Drever in 2005.

Saturday’s first race is the bet365.com novices chase (1.40pm) over three miles and a furlong, while the remaining contests are the £7,000 Bulloughs cleaning services novices’ hurdle (4pm) over an extended two miles, the £7,000 wetherbyracing.co.uk novices’ chase (4.35pm) over two miles and the £7,000 Wetherby racecourse and conference centre handicap hurdle (5.10pm) over two and a half miles.

The six race card on Friday, October 28 features a pair of important listed contests, the £20,000 bet365 handicap chase (3.20pm) over an extended two and a half miles and the £15,000 Wetherby’s bank Wensleydale juvenille hurdle (3.55pm) over an extended two miles.

Tickets are available by calling the course on 01937 582035 or online at wetherbyracing.co.uk