Malcolm Jefferson hopeful Cape Tribulation tipped for Boxing Day success at Wetherby races

Gazette & Herald: Cape Tribulation, pictured winning the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby last season, will look to defend his title on Boxing Day Cape Tribulation, pictured winning the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby last season, will look to defend his title on Boxing Day

FORGET talk of a white Christmas. Malcolm Jefferson is hoping that lightning can strike in the same place twice at Wetherby on Boxing Day.

Cape Tribulation, the chasing star of the Norton yard, won the Grade 3 William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase last season and will bid for an encore on Thursday in a race Jefferson also won in 2011 with According To Pete.

An 11-length winner of the Wetherby showpiece 12 months ago, Cape Tribulation went on to land the Grade 2 Argento Chase at Cheltenham in January before rounding off his season with creditable efforts in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Betfair Bowl at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

He has, however, failed to fire in two outings so far this season.

He was pulled up in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his reappearance before trailing home in 16th place under top-weight in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last month.

“We were expecting a bit more from him at Newbury, but the Hennessy is not the easiest of races to win under top-weight,” said Jefferson, adding: “He has come on for that run.”

Jefferson seems to feel that Cape Tribulation has taken time to regain full fitness this season.

“He was meant to go to York (in late-October) for the Flat race he was just beaten in last year, but he was held up and couldn’t run.

“There is only so much work you can do with them and he came back very fat this season which has meant it has taken that bit longer to get him fit,” explained the Newstead trainer, who added: “He seems in good nick now though and I am very happy with him.”

A big week is looming for Jefferson.

On Friday, on the second day of Wetherby’s traditional Christmas meeting, he is hoping to saddle King Of The Wolds in the featured Castleford Chase, while on Saturday, Oscar Rock will journey to Newbury for the prestigious Challow Hurdle.

The Castleford Chase is a race Jefferson won a couple of times with Calatagan and the Norton trainer is hoping King Of The Wolds, who is two-from-two over fences this season, can add to his tally.

“I don’t think the drop back to two miles will bother him, especially on soft ground and given the way he jumps,” said the trainer. “And he’s already a winner over hurdles at Wetherby.”

It was at the same course last month that Oscar Rock, one of last season’s leading bumper horses when trained by Harry Fry, made an impressive winning debut over hurdles.

The gelding has since suffered a narrow defeat at Newcastle, but that form has worked out exceptionally well.

Ballyalton, who beat him, has since scored again at Cheltenham and Blakemount, who finished third, was a wide margin winner at Newcastle last Saturday.

“Oscar Rock will go to Newbury for the Challow,” confirms Jefferson. “He’s a galloper and the track should suit him.”

 

WETHERBY’S two-day meeting forms part of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Winter Festival.

The actions rolls on to Catterick on Saturday and concludes on Sunday at Doncaster.

 

SAM JAMES, who rode with much success as an apprentice in Ireland, has joined David O’Meara’s Nawton yard near Helmsley.

The 23-year-old rider, previously attached to Kevin Prendergast’s Curragh stable, rode his first winner for O’Meara at Southwell last week when showing style, strength and poise on Fortinbrass, who had to dig deep to justify favouritism.

“I am very grateful to Mr O’Meara for giving me the opportunity of joining his yard and giving me chances so soon,” said James, who rode 71 winners in Ireland.

His biggest successes were gained on the John Oxx-trained Minsk in the Irish Cesarewitch and Six Of Hearts, trained by Cecil Ross, to win a premier handicap at the Curragh.

“It is hard in Ireland to get going because there is not as much racing,” said James.

“I was looking to come to England and I’m pleased to have joined such a successful stable.”

O’Meara is happy with his new recruit. “Sam rides very well. Richard Hale is going to be his agent and I think he’ll do well.”

O’Meara has a useful squad of jockeys. Danny Tudhope is number-one, but also attached to the yard are successful apprentices David Bergin and Julie Burke, while David Nolan has given excellent service this year and was on the mark for the stable aboard Mont Ras at Kempton last week.

 

TOM EAVES is finishing off 2013 with a flourish and is now only one winner shy of equalling the 76 winners he rode last year.

The Norton Flat jockey has been in cracking form lately. He completed a Southwell double last week on Stoney Quine and Goodlukin Lucy for Scottish trainer Keith Dalgleish, for whom he now rides as number one, and he followed up with a Wolverhampton success for Michael Mullineaux on My Time on Friday and a Lingfield victory the following day on the Kevin Ryan-trained Touch The Clouds.

 

GEOFF OLDROYD received the ideal birthday present at Lingfield last Saturday in the shape of a winner.

The Brawby trainer sent Alfred Hutchinson on the long journey to the Surrey course and, in the hands of apprentice Robert Tart, the 5-2 favourite duly obliged to make Oldroyd’s 67th celebrations go with an extra swing.

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