Green Flag ready to go in Grade 2 at Wetherby
Wetherby stages the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at 3.20 with a field of six chasing the £30,000 prize. The form horse is Lucinda Russell’s Green Flag who was second to Annacotty in the Grade 1 Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The seven-year-old was beaten ten lengths that day but beat some useful types in Third Intention and Just A Par. He’s a previous winner on heavy ground and had been impressive in chalking up a hat-trick of wins in October and November.
The big danger is Shutthefrontdoor, the mount of champion jockey Tony McCoy. He was a decent performer over hurdles and looked to have transferred his form to the bigger obstacles when second at Cheltenham in November.
He finished a close second to Le Bec, going down by just three-quarters of a length. He was then made favourite to gain his revenge in December but faded out of contention after a mistake at the fourth last.
The best of the rest could be Ely Brown who made a couple of mistakes on his chasing debut at Leicester but still ran out a comfortable winner. Coverholder was second to Taquin Du Seuil at Haydock last month but was beaten a long way and may struggle against these.
Sue Smith and Ryan Mania have endured a difficult week following the career-ending injury to Grand National winner Aurora’s Encore. They could receive a timely boost when No Planning lines up for the handicap chase at 2.10.
The seven-year-old is a course winner and ran creditably when third to Night Alliance at Haydock in December. Ice ‘n’ Easy looks the main danger after finishing a close second for Charlie Longsdon at Kempton recently.
Sue Smith also has claims with Rattlin in the handicap hurdle at 2.45. His second to Saphir River here was a decent effort and the 7lbs claim of his rider lets him in with very little weight.
The booking of McCoy for Relic Rock in the closing bumper could be significant. He was second at Cork on his only previous start and can put that experience to good use here.
Selections: 1.00 Aurore D’Estruval, 1.35 Flemenson, 2.10 No Planning, 2.45 Rattlin (nb), 3.20 Green Flag (NAP), 3.55 Doctor Kingsley, 4.30 Relic Rock