Norton trainer Malcolm Jefferson will bid to make it back-to-back Rowland Meyrick Chase victories at Wetherby Racecourse with Cape Tribulation.
The eight-year-old is one of 17 entries for the £40,000 Boxing Day contest and Jefferson is hoping he can follow in the footsteps of According To Pete, who won last year’s renewal of the three-mile, one-furlong race.
Cape Tribulation has been running both over hurdles and fences in the past 12 months and also raced on the Flat at York in October.
He recorded a memorable double in the spring when successful in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival and then in a valuable handicap hurdle at the John Smith’s Grand National meeting at Aintree.
His latest appearance at Wetherby came at the start of November when he was fifth to Tidal Bay in the John Smith’s West Yorkshire Hurdle.“All being well, Cape Tribulation goes for the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase,” Jefferson said. “His run on the Flat at York in October (when he was second in a two mile, two furlong handicap under top weight) was all right but nothing went right for him at Wetherby.
“He is in good form now and we’ll just see how things go for him. I just wish it would dry up a little bit! There has been so much rain about up here.”
Other entries include Helpston and Midnight Chase, who were second and third respectively in the race last year. Bingley-based handler Sue Smith has two possible starters in Mr Moonshine and Auroras Encore, while Fergal O’Brien has made an entry for the progressive Alvarado.