Racing: Grey Abbey to spike big guns as jumps takes over

The Jumping season, which has been hanging about in the wings for a few weeks now, finally leapfrogs its Flat counterpart on to centre stage today, on the domestic billboard at least. Yes, events in Texas tonight will be fascinating, but there will be as many yee-haas of delight from devotees of our winter game at less exotic locations in Yorkshire and Monmouthshire as a selection of serious leppers emerge from summer wraps.

The Jumping season, which has been hanging about in the wings for a few weeks now, finally leapfrogs its Flat counterpart on to centre stage today, on the domestic billboard at least. Yes, events in Texas tonight will be fascinating, but there will be as many yee-haas of delight from devotees of our winter game at less exotic locations in Yorkshire and Monmouthshire as a selection of serious leppers emerge from summer wraps.

The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby is the season's first pointer to high-class chasing form in the staying division. Previous winners include See More Business, One Man, Forgive 'N Forget and Burrough Hill Lad.

The reigning monarch is not present today, but no horse has come closer to dethroning Best Mate than Sir Rembrandt, just half-a-length adrift on that historic day in March. And, if all goes well in today's Grade 2 contest, the eight-year-old will have another go at the triple Gold Cup winner at Exeter next month.

His trainer, Robert Alner, certainly thinks he's hard enough. "He's done well over the summer and we were happy with him when he schooled the other day," he said. "He'll meet some good horses at Wetherby, but that's what happens when you get to where he is."

One of those Alner was referring to was one of last season's best novices, Lord Sam, who looked the part when taking his unbeaten fencing run to four with a gritty success over Grade One winner Hi Cloy at Punchestown in April. Today will be the eight-year-old's first start outside novice company and trainer Victor Dartnall hopes the star of his north Devon stable will rise to the occasion, literally and figuratively. "He seems well, but it's a tall enough order for a second-season chaser moving up in class," he said.

The Charlie Hall is sometimes won, not by ultimately the best horse - which, on the ratings, is easily Sir Rembrandt - but the fittest and there may be value in opposing the big guns with Grey Abbey (2.50). The front-running 10-year-old has found new zest since switching to Howard Johnson's care and finished the season with victory in the Scottish Grand National.

The grey blew the cobwebs away with a racecourse gallop at his favourite Ayr this month. He has won over the course and distance; indeed, all his 12 wins have come on similarly left-handed tracks.

The Wetherby card also features two significant hurdles contests, the West Yorkshire for those with pretensions to the marathon crown and the Wensleydale for the youngest generation. The classiest horse in the former is Crystal D'Ainay, third to Iris's Gift and Baracouda in the Stayers' at Cheltenham. His trainer, Alan King, feels he may benefit from the run and so preference is for Telemoss (3.25), who has not run over the smaller obstacles for more than two years but has been targeted at today.

On the Flat, Newmarket closes for business until the Craven meeting next year with a card that includes four juvenile races. The testing ground will be a major factor, with Ayam Zaman (2.05) only a tentative suggestion. But assuredly assorted futures lie in wait for the young hopefuls on display. The filly that finished second last in the opening maiden 12 months ago, Calomeria, won at her first attempt over hurdles at Haydock last week and turns out at Wetherby today. The one that came in third in the mile listed contest has done rather better. She was a certain Ouija Board.

Hyperion's tips for:

Ayr: 11.0 Danzatrice; 11.30 Passion Fruit; 12.0 Encounter; 12.30 Aston Lad; 1.0 Touch Of Irony.

Kelso: 2.0 Indy Mood; 2.30 Glenfarclas Boy; 3.5 Rosalyons; 3.40 Salvage; 4.15 Thunderclap; 4.50 Sharp Single; 5.20 Fairy Skin Maker.

Wolverhampton: 7.0 Sweet Namiba; 7.30 Linda's Colin; 8.0 West Highland Way; 8.30 Boldini; 9.0 Cashel Mead; 9.30 Bond Millennium.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers