Blaklion planning repeat of earlier Wetherby success

Blaklion (second from right) ridden by Ryan Hatch on the way to winning the RSA Chase during Ladies Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. Picture: David Davies/PA
Blaklion (second from right) ridden by Ryan Hatch on the way to winning the RSA Chase during Ladies Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. Picture: David Davies/PA
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CHELTENHAM Festival winner Blaklion heads the entries for Wetherby’s 188Bet Rowland Meyrick Chase on Boxing Day.

Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the horse won the Towton Novices Chase at the West Yorkshire track in February ahead of a famous win in the Grade One RSA Chase the following month.

Jockey Ryan Hatch celebrates after a winning ride on Blaklion in the RSA Chase during Ladies Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. Picture: David Davies/PA

Jockey Ryan Hatch celebrates after a winning ride on Blaklion in the RSA Chase during Ladies Day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. Picture: David Davies/PA

A disappointing fourth in this year’s Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, Blaklion put up a mighty weight-carrying performance to finish fifth in Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup at the end of last month.

However, the horse will need a new jockey if he lines up in the Rowland Meyrick – regular rider Ryan Hatch remains in hospital in Bristol with serious back and neck injuries sustained during a fall at Cheltenham earlier this month.

A potentially vintage renewal of the Rowland Meyrick could also see Kim Bailey’s mudlark Harry Topper make his long-awaited reappearance.

The staying chaser has raced just six times since winning the Charlie Hall Chase at the West Yorkshire track in November 2013.

Out of action since February 2015 due to a combination of injury and unsuitable ground, Harry Topper heads 23 entries for the three-mile chase.

Sue Smith has three potential candidates in Wakanda, No Planning and Blakemount while Definitly Red, runner-up to Blaklion in the Towton, could represent Brian Ellison.

Meanwhile, Cue Card and Thistlecrack are among just seven horses confirmed for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.

The Colin Tizzard-trained pair are set to lock horns after connections of star novice Thistlecrack confirmed he will take on his esteemed stable companion and last year’s King George hero Cue Card.

Paul Nicholls has left in dual King George hero Silviniaco Conti, while last year’s Feltham winner Tea For Two has been confirmed by Nick Williams.

Josses Hill has been supplemented by Nicky Henderson, and the Irish-trained pair of Road To Riches and Roi Des Francs complete the acceptors.

Former champion apprentice Freddy Tylicki has taken a significant step in his rehabilitation from life-changing injuries after moving to a specialist spinal centre.

Tylicki suffered a T7 paralysis after being involved in a four-horse pile-up at Kempton at the end of October.

He was airlifted to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, where he spent 15 days in intensive care.

Tylicki is now looking forward to stepping up his recovery after taking up residence at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre in Stanmore. “I have been waiting on this day for a long time and it’s finally come,” the 30-year-old posted on Twitter.

Veteran General Tufto was a popular winner on the Southwell all-weather yesterday on his 100th at the track.