Williams looking to make splash on day one of bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting
Evan Williams is hoping Coconut Splash can run another good race at Wetherby in the Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap Chase (3.30pm, 2m 3½f), the feature race on day one of the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting, Friday, October 28.
Coconut Splash captured a maiden hurdle at the course in January 2020 and has finished in the first three in all six starts over fences, including going down by just over three lengths to dual G1 winner Chantry House back at Wetherby in February 2021.
William & Angela Rucker’s seven-year-old holds an entry in next month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, a race Williams won with Coole Cody in 2020.
Williams said: “Coconut Splash is grand. He needs to go somewhere and ran very well around the track behind Chantry House, so we felt it made sense to start him off here.
“We are of the opinion that the style of racing in handicaps, particularly a stronger pace, will suit him more than novice chases with smaller fields.
“He would have to run well on Friday for us to consider the Paddy Power Gold Cup but, with a bit of progression, I don’t think it would be silly to look at those kind of races as they could suit him.”
The weights for the Each Way Extra At bet365 Handicap Chase are headed by Nuts Well, who won the Listed Premier Chase at Kelso in March during an excellent season for Ann and Ian Hamilton.
Paul Nicholls’ runner Flic Ou Voyou is aiming to build on a successful reappearance at Chepstow, while the Sue Smith-trained Joke Dancer was second in a two-mile handicap chase at Wetherby’s opening fixture on October 12.
The returning Schiehallion Munro won a pair of course and distance handicaps last season for Micky Hammond before finishing eighth in the Festival Plate at the Cheltenham Festival.
Mark Walford’s Into Overdrive is also making his return after an excellent spring campaign, when he won handicap chases at Carlisle, Hexham and Perth, while the seven runners are completed by Fergal O’Brien’s Dublin Four.
A high-class prospect could emerge from the Listed Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle (2.55pm), won last year by subsequent G1 winner Porticello.
The leading stables of Alan King and Dan Skelton are represented by Tuddenham Green and Medyaf, who were both successful on their hurdling debuts at Chepstow and Stratford respectively.
Mr Freedom is chasing a four-timer for Sheena West after wins at Fontwell and Plumpton, while the Donald McCain-trained Vintage Valley wears first time blinkers after a 17-length success over the course and distance last time out.
Elsewhere on the card, G1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle victor Gelino Bello makes his debut over fences for Paul Nicholls in the bet365 Novices’ Chase (1.45pm) over three miles.
The bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting continues on Saturday, October 29, when exciting duo Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor are set to clash in the £100,000 G2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase.
The going at Wetherby is Good to Soft, Good in places, with a chance of further rain showers on Thursday and Friday morning.
For more information, please contact, Jonjo Sanderson, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course, Wetherby Racecourse & Conference Centre, on 01937 543344 or 07831 437453