Saturday racing: National Hunt season kicks off again at Wetherby

Wetherby Races

As November kicks off, so does the proper start of the National Hunt season with the Charlie Hall meeting at Wetherby. Tom Wilson in collaboration with GIVEMEBET walks through the feature races on the card.

1:55 Mares Hurdle (Listed) 2m

Lady Buttons runs here after winning the race last year. She heads the market for local trainer Phil Kirby in what could be a big weekend for his yard. She’s 3/6, 4pl at Wetherby in the past and is clearly a 140 horse over hurdles and deserves her place at the front of the market.

One potential negative could be the recent form of Kirby's string. They’re 0 from the last 11 and only two from the last 74 runners.

Vision Du Puy takes second position in the market, coming here from one run so far when winning a Novice Hurdle at Perth. The form of that race looks poor to me; five runners, no winners, one place since. Trainer Dan Skelton is running at 13% currently vs a yearly average of 18%, he’s slightly under form.

The horse that catches my eye here is ZAMBELLA, a french import running for Nigel Twiston-Davies. It’s hard to benchmark how the French form stacks up, but Twiston-Davies is 8/26 30% +31pts with French bred horses having their first run for him in hurdle races. That’s a strong enough stat to make her my selection here.

TO WIN: ZAMBELLA @ 11/2 with GIVEMEBET

15:05 The West Yorkshire Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m

Twiston-Davies’ Ballyandy heads the market here. The Wetherby track should definitely suit, he’s a galloping type that will enjoy the layout here. The notable thing here is the significant trip move up to 3 miles for the first time. Being by Katy Tara I'd say that the trip move will suit. There are lots of Graded winners in his progeny over 3m and 3m+. That said, the Dam, Megalex, has never had a runner beyond 2m5f in the UK and Ireland, which could be a concern. I’m happy to oppose Ballyandy with a proven performer who will love conditions here today.

UNOWHATIMEANHARRY is an 11 year old now and has never raced at Wetherby. I feel though that the track will really suit him, he goes best left handed where he’s 4/9 +24.99pts and relishes galloping tracks with slight undulations. He definitely has the class to win this being 4/7 in Grade 2 company and 4/9 at Grade 1 level. His early season form is solid, he’s 5/9 with 8 places in November and I think he sets the bar form wise.

TO WIN: UNOWHATIMEANHARRY @ 11/4 with GIVEMEBET

Punchestown Races

15:40 Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) 3m

The mare La Bague Au Roi heads the betting here, at a track where she’s 2/2 and on seasonal re-appearance where she’s 4/4 on seasonal debut. In receipt of the 7lbs allowance she’s a deserved favourite.

Definitly Red is last years winner. He’s 2/4, 4pl at Wetherby and is very good on Soft ground.

Grade 2 is definitely his level. He’s 5/8 at this Grade and 0/6 in Grade 1 company. I feel there could be better horses lurking in here than him.

The one I feel is underrated on runs from the back end of last season and overpriced here is ASO for Venetia Williams. He was 2nd LTO to Frodon in the Ryanair at Cheltenham. That’s the best form on offer here. The Wetherby track will really suit; galloping, stiff fences, slight undulations. At 5/1 with GIVEMEBET I feel he has a good chance.

TO WIN: ASO @ 5/1 with GIVEMEBET

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