Jefferson planning double entry at Wetherby meeting

Malcolm Jefferson plans to be double-handed with According To Pete and King Fontaine in the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day.

A winner at the West Yorkshire track in April, King Fontaine completed a four-timer at Haydock last month.

According To Pete has tackled several top handicap chases, but was well beaten in a valuable fixed-brush handicap hurdle on the same Haydock card.

"King Fontaine will be heading to Wetherby for the Rowland Meyrick and he will hopefully be joined by According To Pete," said the North Yorkshire trainer.

"We gave King Fontaine an entry at Haydock on Saturday, but he would have to carry a big weight there and we thought that we would wait until Wetherby because it's a more valuable race.

"He's a nice horse but he has been hammered by the handicapper – he's gone up 20lb for winning his last two races.

"He won by 11 lengths at Haydock but there were a couple of horses making their first start of the season, the favourite fell early on and they all stopped in front of him.

"According To Pete has come out of his last run at Haydock in good order and we may have just sat too near to the pace with him on that occasion.

"He likes to be up there but it was a good old gallop and the winner looks a very good horse.

"He ran a good race on his seasonal return at Wetherby when he got stopped completely – a horse ran right across in front of him on the first fence down the back and he was almost brought to a stand-still.

"He was given little respite by the handicapper last season but he is rated 130 at the moment, which is round about his correct mark."

Uttoxeter will stage a further inspection at 7.30am in the hope of staging today's jump fixture.

The course was found to be raceable under the fleece covers at 4pm yesterday, with the going described as heavy.

However, temperatures were set to drop as low as minus 4C or even minus 6C overnight and they will struggle to get above freezing today.

"We are raceable at the moment. We've had five millimetres of rain, sleet and snow, but nothing has settled," said clerk of the course Charlie Moore.

"It is just a question of how cold and for how long it is overnight and then concerns about the daytime temperatures tomorrow.

"What the covers have been doing is maintaining the soil temperature, so where it is covered the soil is warmer so it is going to take more to freeze it. And also the fleece does take the first impact of the frost."

Colm Murphy was delighted with Voler La Vedette's performance to take third in the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The mare put her best work in at the finish to claim minor honours behind Hurricane Fly and Solwhit in a quality renewal of the Grade One over two and a half miles.

"I was delighted with her, she ran a cracker.

"When she settles she is a really good mare and she settled really well for Andrew (Lynch)," said the County Wexford trainer.

"I'm not sure where she'll go next but she'll probably have to take on the big boys again."