188BET Rowland Meyrick Chase

Grade 3 Handicap, Wetherby
£40,000 added,
4yo plus,
3m 1f, Class 1  
Saturday 26th December 2015

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Both days of the 188BET Yorkshire Christmas Meeting were abandoned. 40mm of rain left the course flooded.

Top-weight Holywell (Jonjo O'Neill/Joshua Moore) drops back into handicap company for the first time since capturing the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. He followed that up with a 10-length victory over Don Cossack in the Grade One Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree, which ensured he was crowned the leading novice chaser that season.

© Racehorse Photos

The eight-year-old was fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season

but has failed to sparkle in two starts this term, most recently beaten 33 lengths by Cue Card when fourth in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on November 21.

Prior to that, Holywell was fifth behind the same rival in the Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase over three miles at Wetherby on October 31.

Jonjo O'Neill said today: "Holywell seems in great form.

"His two runs this year have been a bit below par, but he is flying at home and schooling brilliantly. I could not be happier with him and hopefully he will pick up.

"He has got a big weight but he carries a big weight every time he runs in the top races. He doesn't know the Rowland Meyrick is a handicap!"

Also set to line up in the three-mile contest is last year's winner Dolatulo (Warren Greatrex/Gavin Sheehan) while stepping up in distance is Top Gamble (Kerry Lee/David Noonan (5)), a Grade Two winner at Ayr in April.
Top Gamble
© Grossick Racing Photography
Top Gamble

What A Good Night (Dan Skelton/Ian Popham) was successful over the course and distance last year and was also on the scoresheet last time out at Bangor. Another horse to boast course winning form is Grandads Horse (Charlie Longsdon/Brian Hughes), who was successful in the 2013 Bobby Renton Handicap Chase.

Chances of the valuable prize remaining in Yorkshire rest with No Planning (Sue Smith/Danny Cook), a dual winner over fences at Wetherby plus the Micky Hammond-trained duo of Alderbrook Lad (Finian O'Toole (7)), successful twice over the summer at Carlisle and Silver Tassie (Miss Catherine Walton (5)), who finished third at Kelso on his debut for the Middleham handler having previously been trained in Ireland.

Completing the field are dual Grade Three scorer Splash Of Ginge (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jamie Bargary (5)) and Distime (Richard Drake/Jonathan England).

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William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase
£40,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 1f, Class 1
10 runners
Going: Soft

No Form Horse Age Weight Trainer Jockey
1 U14 3-54 Holywell (IRE) 35 8 11-12 Jonjo O'Neill Joshua Moore
2 125 1-P3 Top Gamble (IRE) 29 7 11-6 Kerry Lee David Noonan (5)
3 P7P-77U Splash of Ginge 28 7 10-13 N A Twiston-Davies Jamie Bargary (5)
4 818 00-3 Dolatulo (FR) 21 8 10-13 pt W Greatrex G Sheehan
5 112 46P Alderbrook Lad (IRE) 20 9 10-7 Micky Hammond Finian O'Toole (7)
6 04-1 P3U No Planning 21 8 10-4 Mrs S J Smith Danny Cook
7 188 P9-0 Grandads Horse 21 9 10-4 p C E Longsdon B Hughes
8 F1U 6-F1 What A Good Night (IRE) 45 7 10-0 t D Skelton Ian Popham
9 U-F6 853 Silver Tassie (IRE) 20 7 10-0 Micky Hammond Miss C Walton (5)
10 PF5-813 Distime (IRE) 21 9 10-0 R Drake Jonathan England

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