Wayward Prince could attempt to atone for a mishap on his latest start at Aintree by going for the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day.
The nine-year-old was eventually pulled up on Merseyside after being well behind when sprawling on landing at the first fence. His trainer Hilary Parrott had been expecting a big run, especially after Wayward Prince had finished runner-up in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby first time out.
“If Wayward Prince is all right after his funny experience at Aintree, he will go for the Rowland Meyrick,” said Parrott.
“He did the splits after jumping into the back of a horse at Aintree and was a bit sore in his back afterwards, but we have had him treated and he appears to be OK. I will work him this week and if that goes well, I will take him to Wetherby on Boxing Day.
“I was gutted at Aintree because it was an encouraging run at Wetherby before that, but that’s racing I suppose.
“He likes good ground. It was beautiful ground when he was second in the Charlie Hall, so let’s hope it’s like that again.”
Racegoers also have their fingers crossed that the elements are kind but the all-weather programme should at least provide us with Festive action regardless.
And it’s probably worth following a thriving northern raider in Tarooq, who showed a neat turn of foot to produce a record-breaking performance in the rearranged Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap at Lingfield yesterday.
The £45,000 sprint was saved over from last week after the meeting was lost to fog, and a good field was assembled including two Stewards’ Cup winners in Hawkeyethenoo and Hoof It.
And having just his second run for Thirsk trainer David Barron, Tarooq got a dream run up the rail after the pace-setting Addictive Dream drifted off slightly.
Tarooq shot clear but when Lancelot Du Lac began to close it looked inevitable that he would catch Graham Gibbons in front, only for the 7-1 chance to find more and eventually run out a cosy one-and-a-half-length winner from the fast-finishing Hawkeyethenoo.
Lancelot Du Lac was another neck back in third. The first six home all broke the previous track record which had only been set recently by Valbchek, suggesting the new all-weather series is having a big effect on the quality of runners.
“They played into his hands as they went very, very quick. I just stayed on the inside. I got a nice run round and he has done it well,” said Gibbons.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to be anywhere else from where he was drawn (four). He takes a while to warm up but he knows his way around.
“I knew he would come on from his first run for us because we hadn’t done a lot with him. He is quite smart around here.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept going on the all-weather.
“This was another step up for him.
“I don’t think he has to be tucked up like he was today, it was just the way the race unfurled for him.”
Tarooq is now eligible for the new £1million All-Weather Championships Final Day at Lingfield on April 18.