Grade Two Towton Novices' Chase Wetherby Guide 2024

Joe Glayshier | @joeglayshier

Wetherby - January 13 2024
Wetherby 13:10
Fergus Gillard

The King Of Ryhope

J: Fergus Gillard
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 135
Days: 32

Dan Skelton sends one of his horses to this grade two contest at Wetherby on Saturday over a trip of 2m 3f in the form of The King Of Ryhope. The eight-year-old arrives in good nick, having finished in the top three of every single run he has had in his short career.

He performed well over hurdles to begin with, recording a third-place finish in a G2 Novice at Haydock in February last year before making the switch to fences in October, winning a class three Chepstow Handicap by just under a length to Evan Williams' Can You Call.

He then finished third in a Ffos Las Handicap and now enters graded company for the first time over fences and could run well. This is a big step up in quality, though, so don't expect too much from him. Fergus Gillard is booked to ride.

Wetherby - January 13 2024
Wetherby 13:10
Gavin Sheehan

Colonel Harry

J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Jamie Snowden
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 148
Days: 35

Jamie Snowden boasts one in the Grade Two Towton Novices' Chase in the form of the current market favourite Colonel Harry. The seven-year-old had a good start to his career last term, when recording two wins over hurdles as well as finishing second to Nemean Lion in the Grade Two Premier Novices' Hurdle at Kelso last March.

He has since been sent chasing by Snowden for this term, winning a class three handicap chase at Chepstow in November by over two lengths to the Evan Williams trained Out Of Office. He then stepped into tougher waters when staying on strongly to finish second in a G1 Novice at Sandown last month, just over a length behind Le Patron.

Those performances have seen him be backed into favourite here and a strong showing is expected in the hands of Gavin Sheehan. The 148-rated runner is the one that should take the beating.

Wetherby - January 13 2024
Wetherby 13:10
Brian Hughes

Chasing Fire

J: Brian Hughes
T: Olly Murphy
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 136
Days: 18

Stratford-based trainer Olly Murphy sends one runner to the Grade Two Towton Novices' Chase on Saturday at Wetherby in the form of Chasing Fire. The seven-year-old won three times over hurdles during 2022/23, but finished a disappointing 12th in the G1 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and it wasn't long before the gelding switched to fences.

He has since recorded finishes of first at Uttoxeter in a class three, fourth at Ayr in a class three before his most recent run saw him unseat rider Harry Skelton at the first at Aintree on Boxing Day just gone.

This requires a lot more now in graded company and while better will be expected of him, the 136-rated runner looks unlikely to cause an upset here in the hands of Brian Hughes.

Wetherby - January 13 2024
Wetherby 13:10
David Bass


J: David Bass
T: Kim Bailey
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 143
Days: 29

Kim Bailey boasts one runner in the only graded race at Wetherby on Saturday in the Towton Novices' Chase, wi9th her eight-year-old Trelawne her hope for victory. The gelding did a lot of things right when hurdling, winning three times before being sent over fences in November.

He recorded victory at the first time of asking over the larger obstacles, claiming success by over three lengths to Blue Fin before finishing a respectable third in a class two novice at Cheltenham last month, behind two good prospects in Dan Skelton's Grey Dawning and Paul Nicholls' Ginny's Destiny.

He now moves in to graded company over fences and looks well set for a shot at victory here in the hands of David Bass. He should be challenging favourite Colonel Harry for the winner's medal.