A small but classy field of four will aim for success in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
Bravemansgame heads the big-race betting, but who will land the spoils? Here's our runner-by-runner guide for the famous Grade 2 steeplechase.
|What||bet365 Charlie Hall Chase|
|When||3.00pm, Saturday 4th November 2023|
|How to watch||, ITV1 & Racing TV|
Trainer Lucinda Russell had a terrific October with a return of 15 winners. That could bode well for the wellbeing of Ahoy Senor on his seasonal return. The eight-year-old disappointed when sent off a warm favourite for this race last year, finishing last of five runners behind the reopposing Bravemansgame. He went on to win the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January before ending his season with a runner-up finish behind Shishkin in the Aintree Bowl. His form figures in fields of four or less reads 1211 and, if given a soft lead, he will be dangerous.
Going for a second successive bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, the Paul Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame is odds-on to see off his three rivals on his seasonal appearance. The eight-year-old saw off the attention of Eldorado Allen by three and a half lengths in the 3m contest last year. He followed that up with a scintillating 14-length victory in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. Second to Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup subsequently, if he can reproduce that level of form he should win. Nicholls has won the West Yorkshire highlight five times and will equal Nigel Twiston-Davies' record of six if Bravemansgame can come up trumps.
Dan Skelton has a formidable 29 per cent strike rate at Wetherby in the last five seasons, and this is a meeting that he always targets. Midnight River disappointed in the Plate at Cheltenham in March, but he won a big handicap at Cheltenham in January and rounded off his campaign with victory in a valuable handicap at Aintree on Grand National day. He needs to step up again to figure but he could be a player in these lower class Graded contests this season. The percentage call is to oppose.
The Mouse Morris-trained Gentlemansgame has the benefit of race-fitness over his three rivals and this is a nice bit of placing by the Irish handler. The seven-year-old finished a staying-on second behind Easy Game in the Grade 2 PWC Champion Chase over 2m4f at Gowran Park in September. He got outpaced when the pace picked up turning for home, but rallied well to the line, and the step back up to 3m will suit. Gentlesmansgame beat subsequent Irish Grand National winner I Am Maximus by eight lengths on his chasing debut in December on soft ground. He has a bit to find on ratings, but is well worth his place in this field.