Plenty of interest ahead of Wetherby’s opening flat day

Wetherby Racecourse.
Wetherby Racecourse.
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WETHERBY’S decision to introduce Flat racing at the West Yorkshire track has been rewarded with 241 initial entries for this Sunday’s inaugural meeting.

As well as being supported by trainers across the North, the Classic-winning yards of Richard Hannon, Saeed bin Suroor, Barry Hills, Michael Bell and William Haggas are among those to enter horses for Sunday’s seven-race card.

Though no more than 91 horses will line up on the day – the track’s stable facilities are limited to this number – Wetherby chief executive Jonjo Sanderson is delighted with the level of interest ahead of the first of four Flat meetings at the predominantly National Hunt course.

“I didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas or expectations,” said Sanderson, who confirmed that the course is already being watered to give the best chance of good ground on Sunday.

“Everyone said to me that we have a good layout and configuration, and that Flat racing would be supported. As well as horses from yards across Yorkshire and the North, I am heartened that many of the major trainers from the South have made entries.”

Final declarations will be made on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire jockey Brian Hughes, buoyed by his first century of winners, hopes to upset the odds in the bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

All eyes will be on McCoy who rides Mr Mole on his final day of competitive action, but Hughes believes Queen Mother Champion Chase runner-up Somersby can upset the odds.

“His form has been solid all season. He’s been second to Dodging Bullets twice and Al Ferof once,” said the rider.