Racing: Lady ready to make grade

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RACEGOERS in the Midlands have a problem if they want to go racing today - which meeting to choose. Their new floodlit track at Wolverhampton might be easy to forsake until the builders have finished and the real debate is whether to head west to Chepstow, north to Wetherby or south to Kempton, writes John Cobb.

Each card stages a Grade One contest featuring aspirants for championship honours, while the Welsh National at Chepstow is one of the betting races of the season.

The 10-runner field is the smallest since Corbiere won in 1982 but the race lacks nothing in competitiveness. The last horse to win a Grand National, Party Politics, the 1990 winner of this race and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Cool Ground, and last year's runner-up, Riverside Boy, are the outstanding contenders.

Preference is for Riverside Boy (1.55), who narrowly went down to Party Politics in the Rehearsal Chase here and now has the best of the weights.

The Grade One contest at Chepstow is the Finale Hurdle, a Triumph Hurdle trial. Kadastrof (next best 1.20) had useful Flat form and made an impressive debut over timber.

At Kempton, the pounds 55,000 Christmas Hurdle has attracted a field of only five. Halkopous is unsuited by a right-hand course, while King Credo and Muse might find the track and trip on the sharp side. The lightly raced Absalom's Lady (2.20) may be the one to take advantage.

The day's third Grade One event, the Castleford Chase at Wetherby, should confirm Sybillin (2.35) as the country's leading two-mile chaser.

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