Wetherby's Jump season gets underway with its annual Spinal Research Charity Raceday tomorrow Wednesday, October 12.
The seven-race programme begins at 2.20pm with the Spinal Research Rachel Wright Memorial Hurdle (eight runners), run in remembrance of Rachel Wright who founded and organised the charity fixture until her death in 2006.
Ballybolley (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Daryl Jacob) and progressive mare Actinpieces (Pam Sly/Miss Gina Andrews) feature among a field of four for the Racinguk.com Novices' Chase (2.55pm) over just shy of two and a half miles.
Ballybolley, winner of Grade Two bumper at Aintree's Grand National meeting in 2014, shed his maiden tag over fences with an authoritative display in a valuable handicap series final at Haydock Park in March. The seven-year-old was runner-up to Marracudja on his return to action on September 26 at Newton Abbot.
Actinpieces is making her chasing debut after a good campaign over hurdles last season, which included a wide-margin success at Wetherby in November.
Following further wins at Catterick and Fakenham, the five-year-old was third to Jessber's Dream in a Grade Two mares' hurdle at Sandown Park and was far from disgraced behind Limini at the Cheltenham Festival in March, finishing eighth. The grey mare went down by a neck to Katie T in an extended two and a half-mile Listed mares' hurdle back at Cheltenham in April.
Sly said today: "Actinpieces is good. She has schooled over about 24 fences in the last 10 days and has jumped well.
"She is 16.2hh so has plenty of size to jump fences and this is the first time she has carried any condition. She was always very lean but the summer break has done her good. This is the first time she looks like a racehorse.
"She won't be dead spot on tomorrow but she is fit enough to run. It is a competitive race as Ballybolley sets a good standard.
"I have a race in mind for her at Market Rasen in early November - a mares' Listed chase - so I wanted to get a run in before then as I want to get some more black type. If she can win a Listed or Graded race this season, I would be delighted.
"She is a nice mare but just a little bit wacky. People will think I'm silly but she does not like men for some reason. Gina [Andrews] gets on fine with her but her brother came in to ride the other day and Actinpieces was trying to buck him off."
The field is completed by two other chasing newcomers - Shear Rock (Charlie Longsdon/Richard Johnson), who completed a three-timer over hurdles last year, and Work Du Breteau (Tim Reed/Harry Reed).
Ten runners are due to line up in the £10,000 Bobby Renton Handicap Chase (4.00pm), the feature race of the day, over the same distance. They include course scorers The Grey Taylor (Brian Ellison/Tom Scudamore) and Lord Wishes (James Ewart/Nick Scholfield), while Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs is sending Art Of Logistics, with Richard Johnson up, to participate under top-weight.
Wetherby's Spinal Research Charity Raceday, now in its 26th year, raised £55,000 in 2015 and has generated well over £500,000 since its inception.
Racegoers can support Spinal Research by joining them in their exclusive hospitality marquee, which includes a drinks reception, three-course luncheon followed by a charity auction and raffle. Items on offer include a week-long stay in Barbados for four people, a morning on the gallops with Nicky Henderson, a night's stay at the award-winning Coniston Cold Hotel and tickets to the Henley Royal Regatta.
Tickets for Wetherby's first raceday and Spinal Research charity lunch can be purchased at www.wetherbyracing.co.uk
Donations to Spinal Research can be made via www.spinal-research.org
Visit www.wetherbyracing.co.uk for more information