All eyes on Gold Cup hopefuls

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  • Racegoers can see Cheltenham Gold Cup hopefuls in action at Wetherby tomorrow

    Wetherby stages the most exciting race so far this jumping season, the Charlie Hall Chase which is packed with possible Cheltenham Gold Cup aspirants.

    Lord Noelie, who was traveling well in the race when he fell three out last year, is expected to make up for what turned out to be a winnerless season.

    Marlborough and What’s Up Boys, fourth and fifth in the Gold Cup, the SunAlliance Chasde winner Hussard Collonges, the front running Grey Abbey and Ireland’s Moscow Express will ensure it is a test of the highest order.

    Lord Noelie turned in a smashing performance to finish fourth giving lumps of weight to What’s Up Boys, Behrajan and Take Control in the Hennessey Gold Cup, and commands respect on that form alone.

    Trainer Henrietta Knight has had the Charlie Hall as Lord Noelie’s early season objective for some time, though she is worried because Lord Noelie broke a blood vessel in his last race at Aintree.

    “We want to try and make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said the Wantage trainer. “He is in good form and are hoping for a good run.”

    What’s Up Boys went on from Newbury to finish second to Bindaree in the Grand National and Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs will not have sent him all the way to Yorkshire for the benefit of his health.

    Grand National hero Bindaree reappears in the John Smith’s Hurdle, taking on the Irish-trained Boss Doyle, who has won the last two runnings. Boss Doyle is best when freshand should complete a memorable hat-trick.

    Sporazene, a winner on the flat in France when trained by Andre Fabre, makes his hurdling debut for Paul Nicholls in the Wensleydale Novices’ Hurdle. He is sure to be a warm order and has most to fear from Tim Easterby’s course winner Tunstall.

    Action from Ascot

    At Ascot Under The Sand, from the Philip Hobbs stable, may carry topweight to victory in the United House Handicap Hurdle before switching to a chasing career.

    Ian Balding’s Moor Lane would be hard to beat at his best in the Modern City Living Handicap Chase, while Wetherby winner Chergan may be the pick of the United House Handicap Chase.

    The curtain comes down on Newmarket’s season with the Littlewoods Bet Direct Mile, which provides Mick Channon’s Digital with a winning opportunity.

    Beauchamp Pilot,> the Cambridgeshire winner, is a must for the Ben Marshall Stakes.

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