Weird Al: set to head to Wetherby to defend his Charlie Hall titlePICTURE: Getty Images
Wetherby return on the cards for Weird Al
WEIRD AL looks set to attempt to defend his title in Saturday's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in a campaign which could mirror last season's.
The nine-year-old made a winning start to his time with trainer Donald McCain in the Grade 2 contest over 3m1f last year in a campaign which saw him go on to run in Gold Cup and the Grand National and McCain has Aintree in mind as his ultimate target again this time around.
The trainer said: " He's very talented but needs a little bit of managing. He doesn't run a lot and he'll probably head to the Charlie Hall and the Grand National is his target."
Weird Al beat Time For Rupert by three and a half lengths in the race last year and the second could reoppose again on the weekend.
He figures among 14 entries for the race which could also see the reappearance of Diamond Harry, a late non-runner when well fancied for last season's Charlie Hall.
The last Irish-trained winner of this race came in the shape of Sackville in 2001 and First Lieutenant is the only contender entered from across the Irish Sea this time around.
Silviniaco Conti has been installed the 3-1 favourite by the race sponsors with Weird Al 5-1 next best.
Spokesman Pat Cooney said: "Silviniaco Conti was an impressive winner of the Mildmay Chase at Aintree in April and what he may lack in experience he more than makes up for in potential improvement this season."
McCain could have further interest on the card with his high-class versatile performer Overturn having been given an entry in the 2m novices' chase scheduled to open the card.