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Friday, October 31, 2003


The 2004 Grand National will be the last to be sponsored by Martell Cognac as the brand begins to introduce new marketing plans in major markets around the world.

2004 is the final year of the current six-year agreement between Aintree Racecourse and Martell Cognac, who have sponsored the three-day meeting since 1992.

Lionel Breton, President of Martell Cognac, explained the decision. "The Grand National has been an outstanding sponsorship so it was a hard decision to make, but our priorities have changed and from now onwards our strategy will be geared more to the needs of individual markets."

"We would like to record our gratitude to Aintree Racecourse for being such willing partners throughout our 13 years of sponsorship. Given our relationship, we were determined to make a firm decision in good time to allow them to find a suitable new sponsor for 2005 onwards."

"I would like to underline that we will be supporting the 2004 event as strongly as ever and look forward to a memorable finale to our sponsorship."

Charles Barnett, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse, paid tribute to Martell for their part in making the event what it is today. "The Grand National meeting, and indeed Aintree Racecourse, has been transformed in large part thanks to the sustained support of Martell Cognac."

"The three-day meeting in 2003 attracted crowds of 140,000. This has increased from 87,000 in 1992 when the sponsorship started. International interest in the race has also expanded hugely with over 120 countries broadcasting the race, as opposed to 40 in 1992."

"Latterly and perhaps most encouragingly for the future health of racing and our racecourse, Martell and ourselves have led the way in targeting younger audiences. Anyone who has been to the Friday of the Grand National meeting will testify to that and numerous events around the country and worldwide show the broad spectrum of support that the Grand National now commands."

"On behalf of Aintree and the racing industry in the UK, we would like to record our sincere thanks to Martell for their wholehearted support and commitment. We look forward to a successful final year, secure in the knowledge that the Grand National meeting is in very good shape for the future."

"We are in the process of finalising our sponsorship strategy to ensure the event remains one of the 'Crown Jewels' in the worldwide sporting calendar."


It Takes Time & Poliantas 6/1 joint-favourites with the sponsor

The £110,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup has received a marvellous entry of 51, the second highest number in the last six seasons.

The first jump classic of the season is run under new sponsorship this year on Saturday, November 15 and included among the hopefuls are eight entries from Ireland.

Champion trainer Martin Pipe has sent out the winner of this extended two mile four furlong contest on six occasions, including for the last three seasons. This year there are seven entries from the Nicholashayne operation compared with nine in 2002 and 10 the year before.

They are headed by Cyfor Malta, winner of the Grade Three contest in 1998 and last season. He is rated a 14/1 chance to land a record third success by the sponsor with It Takes Time (6/1Jf), third to Baracouda in the 2002 Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle and a leading novice chaser last season, tyhe 6/1 joint-favourute.

Cyfor Malta could be joined by the high-class Seebald (16/1), runner-up in the 2002 Irish Independent Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Tarxien (12/1), winner of the IFTE Plc Novices' Chase at The Open Meeting last season, versatile Wahiba Sands, dual course winner Horus (16/1) and the progressive Montreal.

Nicky Henderson has won most of the major prizes in National Hunt racing but the Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the few to elude him. There are four entries from Seven Barrows this time, as against one last year, headed by Geos, who has shown he is equally adept at both hurdling and chasing in recent seasons.

He could be joined by Fondmort (10/1), winner of the Tripleprint Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 2002, Isio (14/1), third in the 2003 Irish Independent Arkle Trophy, and Iris Royal (16/1), twice a winner in novice company last season.

Similarly, Paul Nicholls has also not recorded a victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup but he is out to try and correct that this season with five entries. The Nicholls quintet is headed by the 6/1 joint-favourite with the sponsor, Poliantas, runner-up to Cyfor Malta 12 months ago and the winner of the Faucets For Mira Showers Silver Trophy Chase at Cheltenham in April.

Nicholls' other entries are Armaturk, Royal Auclair, victorious in the 2002 Cathcart Chase when trained by Martin Pipe, Exit Swinger (16/1), another ex-Pipe horse who came third in the 2001 Paddy Power Gold Cup and was runner-up the year before, plus St Pirran (16/1).

Philip Hobbs, successful with Joint Sovereignty in 1989, has four (two last year) to choose from including Brother Joe (16/1), who has made a successful transition to fences this year, last year's third Wave Rock as well as Saragann and Cameron Bridge (20/1).

There has not been an Irish-trained winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup since Bright Highway back in 1980. The best of the Irish entry looks to be the Christy Roche-trained Le Coudray (14/1), formerly a top-class staying hurdler who made a successful transition to fences last season. Roche has also entered Risk Accessor (12/1) while Michael O'Brien, trainer of Bright Highway, could be represented by Knife Edge (16/1). All three are owned by J P McManus.

The remaining Irish challengers are the Noel Meade-trained trio of Lights And Music, Nomadic (16/1) and Beachcomber Bay, along with Killultagh Storm and Over The First.

Henry Daly has two interesting entries in the form of the progressive Hand Inn Hand (12/1) and Young Spartacus (12/1), triumphant in the Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup over the course and distance at the National Hunt Festival last season.

Jonjo O'Neill has three entries to choose from, in former Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle victor Master Tern (9/1), Druid's Glen and Halexy (16/1), who landed the Betfair Handicap Chase at last season's Open Meeting.

Other interesting contenders include the Henrietta Knight-trained duo of Foly Pleasant (14/1), fourth last year and runner-up in 2001, and Midland Flame (16/1), winner of a valuable novices' handicap at Aintree on his final start last season.

Weights for the Paddy Power Gold Cup will be revealed on Wednesday, November 5.

PADDY POWER ANTE-POST PRICES: 6 It Takes Time, 6 Poliantas, 9 Master Tern, 10 Fondmort, 12 Hand Inn Hand, 12 Risk Accessor, 12 Tarxien, 12 Young Spartacus, 14 Cyfor Malta, 14 Foly Pleasant, 14 Isio, 14 Le Coudray, 16 Brother Joe, 16 Halexy, 16 Horus, 16 Dark'n Sharp, 16 Exit Swinger, 16 Iris Royal, 16 Knife Edge, 16 Midland Flame, 16 Seebald, 16 St Pirran, 20 Ballinclay King, 20 Cameron Bridge

EW 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4. Others on request. Ante-post rules apply.

Class A, Grade Three, Total Prize Fund £110,000. Cheltenham, Saturday, November 15, 2003. 2m 4 1/2f. For five-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after November 1, a winner of a Class C steeple chase 3lb; of a Class A or B chase 6lb; no penalty to increase a horse's weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed October 29, entries revealed October 31 (51 entries), weights revealed November 5. Five-day confirmation stage November 10, final declaration 10.00am November 14. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Thursday, October 30.

Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
342100- ARMATURK (FR) 6 B C Marshall Paul Nicholls
P3314P- BALLINCLAY KING (IRE) 9 Ian Guise, Brian Leatherday & Nicola Spence Ferdy Murphy
U513F-1 BEACHCOMBER BAY (IRE) 8 Lobby Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
1F1111 BROTHER JOE (NZ) 9 Sir Robert Ogden Philip Hobbs
41414-1 CAMERON BRIDGE (IRE) 7 The Country Side Philip Hobbs
02P/14U- CYFOR MALTA (FR) 10 David Johnson Martin Pipe
3F332U- DARK'N SHARP (GER) 8 Ascot Five Plus One Richard Phillips
11P202- DRUID'S GLEN (IRE) 7 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
4F2-21P DUCHAMP (USA) 6 R & E H Investments Ltd Andrew Balding
224134 EI EI 8 Mrs S M Richards Michael Chapman
U0403-2 EXIT SWINGER (FR) 8 Sandicroft Stud I Paul Nicholls
0P/4220- FOLY PLEASANT (FR) 9 Jim Lewis & Friends Henrietta Knight
31F022- FONDMORT (FR) 7 W J Brown Nicky Henderson
312405- GEOS (FR) 8 Thurloe Finsbury Nicky Henderson
4/P/11U0- HALEXY (FR) 8 Sir Robert Ogden Jonjo O'Neill
311115- HAND INN HAND 7 Patrick Burling Developments Ltd Henry Daly
26106-P HARVIS (FR) 8 Peter Richardson Toby Balding
11406P- HORUS (IRE) 8 Brian Kilpatrick Martin Pipe
11P//12F- INDIAN SCOUT (IRE) 8 Indian Scout Partnership Ben De Haan
211PP2- IRIS ROYAL (FR) 7 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Henderson
11/1113- ISIO (FR) 7 Sir Peter And Lady Gibbings Nicky Henderson
1/32162- IT TAKES TIME (IRE) 9 David Johnson Martin Pipe
565513 KILLULTAGH STORM (IRE) 9 Rose Boyd Willie Mullins IRE
3232-60 KNIFE EDGE (USA) 8 J P McManus Michael O'Brien IRE
3012-33 KORAKOR (FR) 9 John and Barbara Cotton Ian Williams
F111F4- LE COUDRAY (FR) 9 J P McManus Christy Roche IRE
23F11/-P LIGHTS AND MUSIC (IRE) 8 Neighbours Racing Club Noel Meade IRE
141- LORD MAIZEY (IRE) 6 Mr & Mrs Peter Orton Nigel Twiston-Davies
1U43P2/- MAN ON THE HILL (IRE) 9 David Johnson Ferdy Murphy
3/4P421- MASTER TERN (USA) 8 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
12422-1 MERCHANTS FRIEND (IRE) 8 Magic Moments Charlie Mann
3/2P231- MIDLAND FLAME (IRE) 8 Trevor Hemmings Henrietta Knight
414U3-F MONTREAL (FR) 6 David Johnson Martin Pipe
1P-2551 MOVING EARTH (IRE) 10 Pursuit Media Tony Carroll
F2-1P52 MR BAXTER BASICS 12 P Ryan Venetia Williams
3//2312U- NOMADIC 9 Des Sharkey Noel Meade IRE
41F40-3 OVER THE FIRST (IRE) 8 Trotters Ind. Trading Syndicate Charlie Swan IRE
212651- POLIANTAS (FR) 6 Mark Tincknell Paul Nicholls
3F5F4-U REDEMPTION 8 John Duggan & Mr Michael Purtill Nigel Twiston-Davies
0223-161 RISK ACCESSOR (IRE) 8 J P McManus Christy Roche IRE
111/440- ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) 6 Clive Smith Paul Nicholls
F3450-6 SARAGANN (IRE) 8 Jay Dee Bloodstock Limited Philip Hobbs
222F21- SEEBALD (GER) 8 The Macca & Growler Partnership Martin Pipe
23264/-6 ST PIRRAN (IRE) 8 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
1121F2- TARXIEN 9 Brian Kilpatrick Martin Pipe
311600- TOM COSTALOT (IRE) 8 Gerard Nock Susan Nock
43553-F WAHIBA SANDS 10 David Johnson Martin Pipe
FPU-254 WAVE ROCK 8 Sterling Racing Syndicate Philip Hobbs
553420- WHEREAREYOUNOW (IRE) 6 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
U/306/1-4 YOUNG SPARTACUS 10 Bart Hellyer Henry Daly
P/130P1- YOUNG WHACK (IRE) 9 Gordon Brown/Bert Watson Howard Johnson

51 entries
8 Irish-trained


7 Entries
Martin Pipe (1987 Beau Ranger, 1996 Challenger Du Luc, 1998 and 2002 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001 Shooting Light)
Cyfor Malta
It Takes Time
Wahiba Sands

5 Entries
Paul Nicholls
Exit Swinger
Royal Auclair
St Pirran

4 Entries
Nicky Henderson
Iris Royal

Philip Hobbs (1989 Joint Sovereignty)
Brother Joe
Cameron Bridge
Wave Rock

3 Entries
Noel Meade IRE
Beachcomber Bay
Lights And Music

Jonjo O'Neill
Druid's Glen
Master Tern

Nigel Twiston-Davies (1992 Tipping Tim)
Lord Maizey

2 Entries
Henry Daly
Hand Inn Hand
Young Spartacus

Henrietta Knight
Foly Pleasant
Midland Flame

Ferdy Murphy
Ballinclay King
Man On The Hill

Christy Roche IRE
Le Coudray
Risk Accessor
1 Entry
Andrew Balding

Toby Balding

Tony Carroll
Moving Earth

Michael Chapman
Ei Ei

Ben De Haan
Indian Scout

Howard Johnson
Young Whack

Charlie Mann
Merchants Friend

Willie Mullins IRE
Killultagh Storm

Susan Nock (1997 Senor El Betrutti)
Tom Costalot

Michael O'Brien IRE
Knife Edge

Richard Phillips
Dark'n Sharp

Charlie Swan IRE
Over The First

Ian Williams

Venetia Williams (1999 The Outback Way)
Mr Baxter Basics

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