Wetherby stage their ‘Christmas Carol’ meeting on Saturday.
This is my favourite race day at the course and combines great racing with a lovely festive atmosphere.
The Christmas lights at the racecourse will be switched on, musical entertainment is provided and the Wetherby Musical Theatre Group will be singing carols. There is even an appearance by Santa Claus with his reindeer!
On the racing front I am hoping that Sue Smith runs her Whiskey Ridge in the three mile handicap chase. This seven-year-old ran at the last Wetherby meeting and was leading until falling at the third last fence. He had jumped super until that point, he won at the course in May and granted a clear round I expect him to go close.
Zaplamation is another recent course winner who could represent Malton trainer John Quinn in the handicap hurdle at 2:15pm. He pulled like a train that day yet still won; if he can settle a bit better he has a decent chance of victory under top conditional jockey Dean Pratt who claims a valuable 7lbs allowance.
Rossini’s Dancer was second in the two mile handicap chase on this card twelve months ago and I am hoping he can go one better this year.
Trainer’s son Kit Alexander gets on well with Rossini’s Dancer, the pair winning their last two races, so I’m hoping he’s in the saddle again on Saturday.
Racing gets under way at 12:10 and there is a free shuttle bus service running between Wetherby Bus Station and the course.
Ginger McCain was the master of Aintree and his son Donald is equally adept at preparing a horse to tackle these unique obstacles. Two races are run over the Grand National fences and McCain could win both of them. Across The Bay led last year’s National until the 26th fence and he looks a value bet in the Becher Chase. The shorter distance should help him get home, hopefully in front of all the other horses.
Dunowen Point was fourth in the Topham Chase, also run over these fences, where the winner that day was none other than last week’s Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene.
Finally, such has been the success of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival that a winter version is to be run.
The four day festival starts with the two day Wetherday meeting on December 26-27, followed by Catterick on the 28th before concluding with Doncaster on Sunday 29th.
Garlick’s Saturday Goodies: Rossini’s Dancer – Wetherby 1:40pm; Zaplamation – Wetherby 2:15pm; Whiskey Ridge – Wetherby 2:50pm; Across The Bay – Aintree 2:10pm; Dunowen Point – Aintree 3:20pm.