No Planning needed for Ryan Mania in televised Wetherby feature
National Hunt fans get enjoy a bonus of two races from Wetherby on Channel 4 on Saturday with the 2.05 and 3.15 added the station’s coverage of Cheltenham. The handicap chase has attracted six runners with the weights headed by the promising Grouse Lodge, trained by Donald McCain.
The seven-year-old by Well Chosen has won three of his five races over fences culminating in a narrow victory over Velator at Cheltenham in April. He wore blinkers for the first time in that race and needed every ounce of Jason Maguire’s strength to get up close home.
That represented a big improvement on his previous effort when disappointing in heavy ground at Uttoxeter. The likely favourite is Denali Highway, trained by Caroline Bailey and ridden by Andy Thornton.
The six-year-old has won his last three races, the last of which was a five-length victory at Warwick in March. He is up 7lbs for that success but has plenty of scope for improvement.
Sue Smith’s No Planning comes here after a fine third behind Grandad’s Horse at the October meeting. A mistake four out may have been his undoing that day but he rallied well to finish less than two lengths down at the line. He should give Ryan Mania a good ride in a competitive race.
The key to the handicap hurdle at 3.15 could be the race won by Hartside here last month. The four-year-old just got the better of the grey Pertuis with Lifetime, Mojolika and Zafranagar close up behind.
The second and third caught the eye but it may pay to give Zafranagar another chance. Although he eventually faded into sixth that day, he had been well supported in the market and travelled nicely for much of the race.
The weights are headed by Alan King’s Fair Trade who has unseated his rider twice in his last three outings. He clearly has plenty of ability and won at Kempton in between but he cannot afford any jumping errors with 11st 12lb to carry.