Declarations have been made for the first day of Wetherby's two-day 188Bet Yorkshire Christmas Meeting, with eight runners set to go to post in the feature £40,000 G3 188Bet Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (2.10pm) over three miles on Boxing Day, Tuesday, December 26.
Heading the market at 7/2 with sponsor 188Bet is Aloomomo (Warren Greatrex/Richard Johnson, 10st 7lb). The seven-year-old looked a progressive performer over fences in the 2015/16 campaign and makes his first appearance over the larger obstacles this season, having shaped promisingly in two outings over hurdles at Carlisle and Southwell.
188Bet's 4/1 second favourite is Get On The Yager (Dan Skelton/Henry Brooke, 10st 7lb), an improving novice who comfortably defeated seasoned opposition by seven lengths in a handicap chase at Fontwell last time out on December 11.
Baywing (11st 4lb, 5/1 with 188Bet) goes for a second major victory at Wetherby after staying on strongly to score by 22 lengths in the G2 totepool Towton Novices' Chase, also run over three miles, in February.
The eight-year-old, trained by Nicky Richards, was third on his seasonal return in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle but fell at the first fence in a valuable handicap chase at Haydock Park on November 25.
Ryan Day, who partnered Baywing to victory in the Towton Novices' Chase, claims 3lb on the David and Nicky Robinson-owned chaser.
Cumbria-based Richards commented today: "Baywing was fine after his fall at Haydock. I'm not sure whether he landed in the deep ground and couldn't get his feet out, but he parted company anyway and that was the end of his race.
"We had planned to run him there and then go for this race or the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown, but we didn't want to go to Ireland on the back of that fall.
"He was a good winner around Wetherby in the Towton last season and the handicapper gave him a fair old whack afterwards. It was still nice to win a G2 with him and I think that he is a decent horse.
"I hope that there is a bit of rain as Baywing can't have it too soft - any rain would be a massive plus for him."
Local handler Sue Smith is doubly represented with Delusionofgrandeur (Sean Quinlan, 11st 2lb, 5/1), who defied top-weight when a comfortable winner at Catterick on November 24, and Wakanda (Danny Cook, 11st 4lb, 6/1), runner-up to Defintly Red in this contest last year.
The weights are headed by Shantou Flyer (Richard Hobson/James Reveley, 11st 12lb, 12/1), who was fifth to Bristol De Mai on his penultimate appearance in the G2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 4. Also set to line up are the mare Actinpieces (Pam Sly/Gina Andrews (3), 10st 13lb, 8/1), a dual winner at Wetherby, and Dedigout (Micky Hammond/Joe Colliver, 10st 9lb, 33/1).
188Bet Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, 188Bet: 7/2 Aloomomo, 4/1 Get On The Yager; 5/1 Delusionofgrandeur, Baywing; 6/1 Wakanda; 8/1 Actinpieces; 12/1 Shantou Flyer; 33/1 Dedigout
EW 1/4 1-2-3
The seven-race programme at Wetherby on Boxing Day runs from 12.00pm through to 3.20pm. The main supporting race is the £10,000 188Bet.co.uk Handicap Chase (1.40pm, five runners).
The 188Bet Yorkshire Christmas Meeting continues on Wednesday, December 27, when the £23,000 188Bet Castleford Handicap Chase (2.05pm) over two miles takes centre stage. Among the entries for the 188Bet Castleford Handicap Chase are the Kerry Lee-trained pair of G2 scorer Top Gamble and Gino Trail, winner of his latest two starts at Wetherby and Cheltenham.