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Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Ground changed to Good to Firm, Good in places after overnight rain

The Irish tradition of sending runners to Wetherby on bet365 Charlie Hall Chase day looks set to continue this year with trainers Mouse Morris, Jessica Harrington and Eamon Sheehy all set to be represented at the West Yorkshire course on Saturday (November 1).

The going at Wetherby is now GOOD TO FIRM, GOOD IN PLACES after ten millimetres of rain overnight. The watering cycle will continue until lunchtime tomorrow with unsettled weather, a mixture of sunshine and showers, forecast for the next 72 hours. Today Wetherby has experienced a calm and bright day.

Mouse Morris, who saddled Boss Doyle to land back-to-back victories in the Grade Two John Smith's Hurdle in 2000 and 2001, is this year planning to run Rostropovich in the £30,000 contest on Saturday.

The six-year-old Sadler's Wells gelding was in fine form at the end of last season, running well at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals before defeating Deano's Beeno in the valuable attheraces Hurdle at Sandown in April.

The master of Everardsgrange reported today: "Rostropovich is a definite runner in the John Smith's Hurdle and is A1 at the moment. He ran a nice race under a big weight in the Irish Cesarewitch earlier this month and I'm very happy with him.

"I'm hoping the ground stays good, as his best form last season at Cheltenham, Aintree and Sandown was on good ground."

Morris is also set to be represented in the Grade Two £60,000 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase with Alcapone. The nine-year-old Roselier gelding recorded the greatest success of his career in the Grade One Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in April of 2001 and most recently came second to Go Roger Go in the Grade Three National Lottery Champion Chase at Gowran Park on October 9.

Morris added: "Al Capone is definite runner in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase and is absolutely "tanking" at the moment."

Although Alcapone has yet to win beyond two miles, Morris is confident that his charge will be able to handle the three miles and a furlong of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase:

"He was running a cracker at Liverpool last season in a three-mile handicap chase at the Grand National meeting, when he blundered four out but was still there at the last, so I think three miles is fine for him. He was staying on well last time at Gowran Park over two and a half miles. He wants good ground."

Jessica Harrington will be represented by the progressive Pay It Forward in the John Smith's Hurdle. The five-year-old Anshan gelding was a novice last season and recorded two wins at Fairyhouse, taking a maiden hurdle over two and a quarter miles and the Grade Three AIB Corporate Banking Festival Novices' Hurdle over two and a half miles.

He made a promising seasonal reappearance to finish second to Rapid Deployment under 12st in a competitive handicap hurdle over two and a half miles at Listowel on September 20.

Mrs Harrington revealed today: "Pay It Forward is a definite runner in the John Smith's Hurdle. I was delighted with his seasonal reappearance at Listowel last month."

Pay It Forward has yet to win beyond two and a half miles but the County Kildare handler is upbeat about his prospects of lasting home over three miles and a furlong at Wetherby:

"We are going a bit into unknown territory as we haven't gone over further than three miles with him yet but he did win a point-to-point as a four-year-old over three miles. He loves good ground."

A third Irish challenger for the John Smith's Hurdle is Satco Express the stable star of County Kilkenny trainer Eamon Sheehy's yard.

Last season the seven-year-old Satco gelding was in fine form, winning five times. His biggest successes came in the Grade Three Cork Stayers' Novices Hurdle at Cork and the Grade Three Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park where he defeated Rostropovich. Satco Express has not been seen out since that win at Gowran Park on January 23 due a leg infection.

Sheehy revealed today that the John Smith's Hurdle is very much on the agenda for Satco Express:

"At the minute it looks as if Satco Express will probably run in the John Smith's Hurdle, as the rain has arrived. He would run if the ground is good or easier.

"The horse is great form and we would expect him to go very, very close if he runs at Wetherby. He's working well and is in great form.

"He had an infection in his hind leg after he skinned it last season and we had to lay him off. By the time he had recovered, the ground had become too firm and that was it for the season."

"He's a very good horse. He gets three miles very well - he would staying four miles. He's an out-and-out stayer - the further he goes the better he is."


The Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale continued in record breaking fashion today with the aggregate, average and median all reaching new levels. A total of fourteen horses were sold for 100,000 guineas or more, compared with only five such lots on last year's corresponding day. In total 214 lots were sold for 5,753,100 guineas which was 23% higher that last year's day total whilst the average of 26,884 guineas represented a huge rise of 39% and the median of 16,000 guineas was a 45% increase on last year.

The highest priced lot for the day was the 170,000 guineas given by Irish bloodstock agent Bobby O'Ryan for AKSHAR, the Aga Khan owned son of DANEHILL. Consigned from Sir Michael Stoute's Freemason Lodge, the colt was in high demand with locally based agent Andrew Sime and Dublin based agent John McCormack both signalling interest in the four year old out of the KAHYASI mare AKILARA. O'Ryan indicated that the winner of five of his nine starts would continue his career with the Curragh based trainer Dermot Weld with a hurdling future firmly in mind.

Equalling the top price of 170,000 guineas was the four year old MARK OF ESTEEM gelding CHIVALRY. Earlier this month, the four year made a spectacular seasonal debut for trainer Sir Mark Prescott when winning the prestigious Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket on his only start to date this year. Consigned from Prescott's Heath House Stables, the gelding, out of the KRIS mare GAI BULGA, was purchased by Cumbrian based National Hunt trainer Howard Johnson for his principal owner Graham Wylie.

The three year old gelding ZABAGLIONE was one of two lot to make 160,000 guineas when he was purchased by McKeever St. Lawrence's Philip Johnston on behalf of Hong Kong based connections. By ZILZAL out of the MIDYAN mare SATIN BELL, the three time winner was consigned from Roger Charlton's Beckhampton House Stables and despite strong opposition from the underbidder Charlie Gordon-Watson, it was Johnston who signed for the three year old.

Sharing the third highest price of 160,000 guineas was the highly rated two year old INTIKHAB colt VIKINGS BAY, consigned from John Gosden's Manton House Stables. Blandford Bloodstock's Tom Goff started proceeding's off for the two time winner before Californian trainer Wally Dollase, accompanied by locally based bloodstock agent Johnny McKeever, also entered the fray. As the price soared past 100,000 guineas, Dollase saw off the challenge from Goff, but it was the Atlantic Partnership's Chris Nimmo who eventually secured the colt, also for Californian interests. The colt will join trainer Mike Puhich at Santa Anita racecourse in California.

The Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale continued at 10am today.

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