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Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Charlie Mann today revealed that he is aiming Falcon Du Coteau at the £30,000-added Sporting Index Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on Friday, November 14.

This unique contest offers the challenge of Prestbury Park's cross-country course with its natural hedges, timber and banks.

The Lambourn trainer's charge is no stranger to challenging tasks as he finished a creditable fourth to Registana on his last start in the Velka Pardubicka, an extended four mile two furlong cross-country event, at Pardubice in the Czech Republic earlier this month.

"I would think that the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase would be the ideal race and the logical one to go for now with Falcon Du Coteau," said Mann.

The three miles seven furlongs of this prestigious race could be perfect for the Apeldoorn gelding as although his handler was delighted with his effort at Pardubice, he feels that he didn't stay the marathon distance.

"Although he finished fourth, Falcon Du Coteau didn't quite get the trip in the Pardubicka because of the plough - 40% of it is plough and he was cruising before they got to the last bit of plough. If it had been on grass he'd have been a lot closer I think," opined Mann.

"He ran a super race, Noel [Fehily, jockey] gave him a lovely ride and he jumped very well. I'm surprised that he didn't get a bit more press than he did actually but he did a great job and I was very pleased."

While Mann is still learning about the ten-year-old, who was formerly trained in Ireland by Tony Martin, he is confident that he can get his head in front.

He said: "We know a bit more about him now - over fences probably his best trip is about two and a half miles. He ran a good race when fifth in the Topham [at Aintree in April] this year and he's a very good workhorse at home. He's more than capable of winning a race of some sort."

Falcon Du Coteau's sole previous start at Cheltenham came at this meeting in 1999, when he was eighth behind Heros Fatal in the equivalent of the Paddy Power.com Intermediate Handicap Hurdle. Mann is adamant that his horse will withstand the difficulties of Prestbury Park's cross-country course.

"Quite honestly if he can get around in the Pardubicka, I think that he can go to any racecourse. He's run on all sorts of ground and at all sorts of places and I don't see Cheltenham being a problem to be honest," added Mann.


There is even more incentive for trainers to send their horses to Cheltenham this season with a number of exciting and valuable incentives.

Cheltenham's Frequent Runner scheme has been upgraded this season with the assistance of several new sponsors. Each contest at Prestbury Park up to January 24 carries a star rating from one to five, which indicates the number of points a trainer accrues for each runner.

The leading six trainers will receive a table for ten on a day at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival with all expenses paid; a table for ten at leading local restaurant, The Daffodil, in the upmarket Cheltenham district of Montpellier; as well as goods and products from Blue Chip, the horseracing industry's leading nutritional supplement supplier.

In addition the leading trainer will receive a brand new two horse box, painted in their own livery, courtesy of George Smith Horseboxes, on a free 12-month lease from this season's National Hunt Meeting.

A charming Stevensons rocking horse will go to the handler with the highest ratio of chase runners to hurdlers or bumper horses.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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