HELPSTON could bid to go one better in the £40,000 Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby Racecourse on Boxing Day.
Pam Sly’s eight-year-old was runner-up in the Grade 3 contest 12 months ago and the trainer has revealed she is considering a return to the track in a bid to get him back on the winning trail this season.
Helpston has failed to finish in two runs so far this campaign but was well in contention at Doncaster last Saturday before falling at the 13th fence.
Sly revealed: “The Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase is definitely a race I am looking at for Helpston. He was travelling well at Doncaster last time when he fell and I think that maybe was a result of jockey error – asking him to take off a stride too soon.
“Obviously, the horse ran a great race at Wetherby last year in the Rowland Meyrick when he was runner-up. Gina Andrews rode him last year and I have promised she can have the ride on him at Wetherby again this time around.”
Trainer Fergal O’Brien, meanwhile, could be represented by improving performer Alvarado, who is unbeaten in two starts around the Wetherby circuit.
The seven-year-old made an impressive return at the West Yorkshire track when powering home to win the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase in October and was last seen coming home fifth in a competitive handicap chase at Newbury on November 29.
O’Brien said: “The Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase is a race we are looking at for Alvarado. He is very well and has been in good form since his run at Newbury. It was a good run there and he was staying on nicely at the finish. He definitely wants three miles and better ground but there isn’t much of that around at the moment.
“He has a good record at Wetherby and he won nicely there first time out so we are looking forward to getting him back out again.”
Alvarado’s first success at Wetherby came in a novice chase in January 2011.
The Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, run over three miles and a furlong, was first staged in 1957 and boasts an excellent roll of honour with subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Forgive ‘N Forget (1984) and The Thinker (1986) among the victors.
The first part of a two-day meeting, the £16,000 Castleford Handicap Chase over two miles is the highlight of the second day on Thursday, December 27.