Boxing Day at Wetherby is possible target for Dolatulo

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WARREN GREATREX could send Dolatulo to Wetherby on Boxing Day to test the steeplechaser’s credentials for the Crabbie’s Grand National.

The seven-year-old was eighth to Poole Master in Saturday’s Betfred Grand Sefton Chase over Aintree’s world famous fences despite nearly parting company with jockey Denis O’Regan at the seventh.

“He’s a star and I picked him up for next to nothing,” said Greatrex who has already recorded four winners at Wetherby this season.

“Denis said he was just moving into contention when he made the mistake which knocked him back, otherwise it would have been a different story.

“In an ideal world, we’d like to go back there over a bit further but that would mean waiting a year for the Becher so we’ll have a look at the Grand National, he’s rated high enough.

“The owner, Andrew Black, is a good sport and would love a runner in the National, but he needs to finish in the first three over three miles, he’s won over two-seven so it shouldn’t be a problem. I might look at the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby over Christmas.”

Greatrex also revealed that Cole Harden, the winner of the West Yorkshire Hurdle, could miss his intended engagement in Ireland over Christmas.

Greatrex reports his charge to have picked up a splinter in his knee when hitting the final flight in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury when second to Medinas. “I could leave it but it may turn into something more than it currently is so it’s probably best to have it removed,” he said.

Monbeg Dude remains on target for the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27 following the latest entry stage.

Winner of the race two seasons ago, he is now 8-1 co-favourite with the sponsors along with Midnight Prayer and Shotgun Paddy, who fought out the finish to the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March.

Monbeg Dude, who is co-owned by Yorkshire-born rugby player Mike Tindall and his wife Zara Phillips, ran an excellent race in the Hennessy at Newbury last month to finish fourth.

“We were delighted with his run in the Hennessy Gold Cup, finishing fourth on testing ground and on a trip sharp enough for him,” said trainer Michael Scudamore.

The New One could face as many as nine rivals in the StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

They include Bertimont who has become one of the standard-bearers for up-and-coming trainer Dan Skelton, whose father Nick is the Olympic showjumping champion.

Bertimont was second in Wincanton’s Elite Hurdle and the trainer noted: “He is a horse with a lot of speed, who jumps slickly, and I think he is worth his place in the line-up.”

In-form jockey Danny Cook hopes to resume riding at Newcastle tomorrow after injuring his arm in a heavy fall at Musselburgh on Monday.