Cyrname tops 20 in contention for Charlie Hall prize

Cyrname is one of 20 entries for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old is the highest-rated chaser in Britain, having beaten Altior in a highly-anticipated clash on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot last November.

He was subsequently well beaten by stable companion Clan Des Obeaux when a hot favourite for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, before suffering a heavy fall at the final fence when last seen defending his crown in the Ascot Chase in February.

Nicholls was initially keen on the idea of sending Cyrname to Down Royal for this weekend’s Ladbrokes Champion Chase, but restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have prompted a change of plan.

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The 176-rated chaser has also been entered for Saturday’s Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot, but is widely expected to head for Wetherby, where he could be joined by stable companion Black Corton.

The last two winners of the Charlie Hall in the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Ballyoptic and Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red are in the mix once again, while leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has a trio of contenders in Alpha Des Obeaux, Shattered Love and The Storyteller.

Other contenders include Warren Greatrex’s pair of Keeper Hill and La Bague Au Roi, Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite, the Colin Tizzard-trained Slate House and Jedd O’Keeffe’s stable star Sam Spinner.

Kim Bailey is considering running Vinndication at the West Yorkshire track instead of going for back-to-back victories in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot.

The seven-year-old holds entries in both races and Bailey will look at both contests before deciding which way to go.

The Gloucestershire trainer, who sent out Harry Topper to land the Charlie Hall in 2013, said: “I have been very happy with Vinndication’s progress and he is ready to go to Wetherby.

“He also has an entry in the handicap he won at Ascot last year, but it’s just a question of looking and seeing really. We did the same last year.

“He looks really well and I hope he can take another step forward this season. This weekend should tell us more.”

Lisnagar Oscar is set to make his seasonal bow at Wetherby
Lisnagar Oscar is set to make his seasonal bow at Wetherby (Tim Goode/PA)

Lisnagar Oscar, a shock winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, could reappear in the bet365 Hurdle – better known as the West Yorkshire Hurdle.

Rebecca Curtis’ inmate is one of 19 possible runners, with Paul Webber’s Indefatigable, Dan Skelton’s mare Roksana and the Philip Hobbs-trained Thyme Hill among his potential rivals.

Verdana Blue and Stormy Ireland, trained by Henderson and Nicholls respectively, could clash in the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle.

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