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Midnight Chase On Course for Rowland Meyrick

Midnight Chase, who finished a fine fifth in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, is on course to contest the £40,000 Grade Three Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (1.45pm), the highlight of the six-race programme at Wetherby on Boxing Day, Monday, December 26, day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Christmas Meeting.

Midnight Chase
© Grossick Racing Photography

Midnight Chase

The nine-year-old, who is trained by Neil Mulholland for owner Lady Clarke, won three competitive handicap chases at Cheltenham last season before his fifth in chasing’s Blue Riband at the Cheltenham Festival in March. His one outing this season came at Down Royal in Northern Ireland on November 5, when he fell two fences from home in the Grade One Champion Chase.

Mulholland said today: “The plan is to go to the Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase with Midnight Chase.

“We kicked him away for a piece of work this morning and he worked well.

“He absolutely hated the soft ground at Down Royal last time out and hopefully we will get much better ground for him at Wetherby. Fingers crossed, the weather will stay fine ahead of the meeting.

“The horse has also shown his best form when going left-handed, so that is another reason why we plan to go to Wetherby.”

Entries for the Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase and the other five races, which are also sponsored by Betfair, on day one of the Welcome To Yorkshire Christmas Meeting will be revealed on Tuesday, December 20.

The Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, run over three miles and a furlong, was first run in 1957 and boasts an outstanding roll of honour with subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Forgive’ N Forget (1984) and The Thinker (1986) among the winners.

Yahoo, famously runner-up to Desert Orchid in the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup, scored in 1987, while the Ferdy Murphy-trained Truckers Tavern, second to Best Mate in the 2003 Cheltenham Gold Cup, took the spoils in 2004. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls took the latest renewal in 2008 with Nozic.

This is the first year of an exciting two-year partnership with headline sponsor Welcome To Yorkshire. The Welcome To Yorkshire Christmas Meeting continues on Tuesday, December 27, when the highlight is the £16,000 Castleford Handicap Chase (2.20pm) over two miles.

A shuttle bus service will be in operation between Wetherby and the Racecourse before and after racing on both days of the meeting. The first bus will leave Wetherby at 11 am both days, with a service offered approximately every 20 minutes. Return journeys will commence at 3.40pm for approximately an hour and a half.

Gates open on both days at 10 am with complimentary mulled wine and mince pies for the 'early birds' on Boxing Day. As usual, accompanied children under 16 years of age are admitted free of charge into all enclosures. There is also a dedicated 'Parenting Room' in the Paddock Enclosure, with baby-changing facilities, microwave and comfy chairs.

Musical entertainment during the meeting will be provided by 'LA Jazz' and the Endeavour Ceilidh Band, while 'Musical Ruth' - the singing nun - will be giving a rendition on Boxing Day.

The team from Rigmoor Reindeer will be bringing a couple of reindeer to add to the attractions on Boxing Day, which also includes an array of trade stands. There will also be a free to enter on-course competition to win an Amazon Kindle.

Advance Badges and Tickets for both days of the meeting are still available to buy from either the Racecourse office or by visiting the website with 20% discounts for group bookings.

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