Cyrname Bids For The Double Today

Wetherby- first of 7 races starts at 14h20

Favourite Cyrname will face six rivals when he attempts to win back-to-back renewals of the Gr2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby today.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ nine-year-old was an easy winner of this race last year but was pulled up in two subsequent starts and underwent a wind operation in July.

If back to his best, this frontrunning gelding would be hard to beat – he was rated 176 when outgunning the great Altior at Ascot in the Christy Chase. However, his last two starts earlier this year are a worry if considering the skinny prices on offer.

The second highest rated runner is Tom George’s progressive Clondaw Castle. He improved for stepping up in trip to three miles for the first time in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase at Kempton in February on his penultimate start. He was then not disgraced when running second to Clan des Obeaux in the Group One Bowl Chase at Aintree on his final start last season. The flat track at Wetherby together with likely good ground will be to his advantage and he is a serious contender.

Dan Skelton has started the season in good form, and he runs Shan Blue, a Grade One winner as a novice last season. The Shantou seven-year-old is a course and distance winner and with the 3-pound advantage he receives from Cyrname must be on the shortlist if the favourite does not run his race.

Earlier on the card, Paisley Park returns to the track in the Gr2 bet365 Hurdle with trainer Emma Lavelle hoping the forecast rain materialises. Winner of the Gr1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last season, he was pulled up on his final start last term at Aintree although no post-race abnormalities were detected.

He is the best weighted runner in the contest but faces Thomas Darby again who finished a fine third in the same race at Aintree. Master Tommytucker from the powerful Paul Nicholls yard reverts to the smaller obstacles and this strong frontrunner could be hard to catch.

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