MAC AEDA bids to gain his third course success at Wetherby this afternoon in the feature race on the card.
The short journey from Malcolm Jefferson’s Norton yard is a familiar one for the popular gelding, who lines up for the £10,000 totepool Handicap Chase with Denis O’Regan in the saddle.
Mac Aeda made his seasonal reappearance at this venue last month in the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase and turned in an encouraging display to finish fourth to Alvarado.
That race was over an extended two and a half miles, but the step up to three miles and one furlong promises to suit even better today.
With the benefit of a recent run under his belt, the eight-year-old can come out on top.
O’Regan, who has a big following on this course from his days when he was riding as stable jockey to Howard Johnson, also has good prospects of landing the opening Countryside Day On Wednesday 28th November Novices’ Chase on Brian Ellison’s Stormy Weather.
The Norton trainer’s six-year-old won on the Flat at Thirsk in September. He was useful over hurdles last season, elevating himself to a handicap rating of 130. He now tackles fences for the first time in public and merits serious consideration.
Sue Smith has her horses in good form and the Bingley trainer can hit the target with Twice Lucky in the Download The Free Racing Plus App Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old came good at Kelso last time out, winning decisively by seven lengths.
He has been raised a handy 7lb for that success and looks capable of scoring again.
Wetherby’s seven-race card also offers winning opportunities to game Newcastle winner Accordingtoscript (1.45) and Mason Hindmarsh (3.25), who returns to hurdling after a lengthy absence, but who has been in sparkling form on the Flat lately, winning handicaps at Musselburgh and Catterick.
The one horse most people will be looking forward to seeing at Cheltenham tomorrow is Sprinter Sacre, the most exciting two-mile chaser in the country.
Nicky Henderson’s handsome and spring-heeled gelding proved in a league of his own over fences last season, winning all his five races in the style of a horse who has champion written all the way through his athletic frame.
The £50,000 Shloer Chase is his comeback target tomorrow. He will hardly be worth backing at expected cramped odds – but he will be well worth watching.
The most valuable race on the Chelentenham programme is the £100,000 Racing Post Handicap Hurdle.
Darlan, winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival meeting in March, is a worthy top-weight and is the class horse of the race.
But weight brings horses together and, at the other end of the handicap, the in-form Hunters Belt, winner of his last two races and trained by George Bewley near Hawick, makes definite each-way appeal and is sportingly awarded the nap vote.
The highly-regarded Captain Conan (1.10) and smart Irish raider Maller Tree (1.45) are two others to note.
12.10 Stormy Weather, 12.40 Moulin De La Croix, 1.10 Twice Lucky, 1.45 Accordingtoscript, 2.25 Mac Aeda, 2.55 Ronnie Rhino, 3.25 Mason Hindmarsh.
Today’s other meetings: Cheltenham, Lingfield, Uttoxeter and Wolverhampton.
1.10 Captain Conan, 1.45 Maller Tree, 2.20 Sprinter Sacre, 2.50 Hunters Belt (NAP), 3.25 Fox Run, 4.00 Westward Point.
Tomorrow’s other meeting: Fontwell.