Cyrname among a stellar field of ten declared for the Charlie Hall Chase

Thu 29 Oct 2020

Cyrname is set to face nine rivals in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

The highest-rated chaser in Britain – following his victory over Altior at Ascot last November – the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old subsequently disappointed when a hot favourite for the King George at Kempton before suffering a heavy fall in February Ascot Chase.

With coronavirus travel complications prompting connections to shelve plans to run in this weekend’s Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, it was a straight choice on Saturday between a trip to Wetherby or giving away lumps of weight in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot.

It was confirmed on Thursday morning that Cyrname would appear in West Yorkshire for what will be his first start on a left-handed track since finishing fourth at Aintree in the spring of 2018.

Kim Bailey faced the same choice with Vinndication, and has also elected to head for Wetherby instead of bidding for back-to-back wins in the Sodexo Gold Cup.

The Vinnie Roe gelding was last seen finishing a close fourth in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Last year’s Charlie Hall hero Ballyoptic returns to defend his crown for Nigel Twiston-Davies, while Brian Ellison’s 2018 winner Definitly Red is also in contention.

Jedd O’Keeffe saddles stable star Sam Spinner, and Warren Greatrex fires a couple of bullets in Keeper Hill and La Bague Au Roi.

Trainer Jedd O'Keeffe said today: "Sam Spinner is in really good order. His preparation has gone absolutely to plan, and we are as ready as we want to be for Saturday.

"It looks like the ground is going to suit and, although the opposition does look very stiff, it is time to get on with it and find out where we are at with him.

"He is short on chasing experience compared to most of them, but the counter to that is that he is still a bit unexposed and we do not know where his ceiling is over fences.

"The Gold Cup is obviously something we are thinking about and it would be a great story, but the horse has to go out there and prove himself now."

Harriet Graham’s Aye Right, the Mick Channon-trained Mister Whitaker and Saint Xavier from Richard Hobson’s yard complete the field.

Pat Cooney of bet365 said: "It is fair to say we got the headline act we wanted in Cyrname in our bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, with the added bonus of nine other talented rivals making up a classy field of 10.

"Locally trained Sam Spinner has been the best backed horse throughout the week, but the interest in Cyrname going left-handed and over three miles will make for both a fascinating betting market and race."

bet365 Charlie Hall Chase - bet365 prices: 2/1 Cyrname; 100/30 Sam Spinner; 4/1 Vinndication; 6/1 Ballyoptic; 9/1 Definitly Red; 20/1 Keeper Hill, La Bague Au Roi, Mister Whitaker; 40/1 Aye Right; 66/1 Saint Xavier Each 1/5 1,2,3.

Last season’s surprise Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar tops nine runners declared for the bet365 Hurdle – better known as the West Yorkshire Hurdle.

Rebecca Curtis’ charge will concede upwards of 6lb to the rest of the field – including Colin Tizzard’s Copperhead, Noel Kelly’s Irish raider Decor Irlandais and the Twiston-Davies-trained Wholestone.

Next Destination is a fascinating contender on his debut for the Nicholls yard, having been off the track since beating Delta Work in a Grade One novice hurdle at the 2018 Punchestown Festival for Willie Mullins.

The going at Wetherby is Good to Soft, with a further band of heavy rain is due to pass through today (circa 7 - 10mm). A dry afternoon is expected for Friday's card. Further showers are possible on Saturday.

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