This year's Paddy Power Gold Cup, the feature race of the three-day The Open (Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 11-13), to be held on Saturday, November 12, at Cheltenham, has attracted 59 entries, 17 more than last season, including seven from Ireland.
Last year's winner Celestial Gold is a 12/1 chance with the sponsors to follow up on his 2004 victory and is one of nine entries from the Martin Pipe yard.
The trainer has a record second to none in the Paddy Power Gold Cup having lifted the prize seven times courtesy of Beau Ranger (1987), Challenger Du Luc (1996), Cyfor Malta (1998 & 2002), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001) and Celestial Gold last year.
Along with last season's victor, Pipe's team includes Contraband, a thrilling winner of the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy at The Festival in March, along with the current 7/1 market leader Our Vic, Therealbandit, It Takes Time, Horus, Tango Royal, Zeta's River and recent Irish recruit Windsor Boy, winner of two chases for Edward O'Grady in September 2004.
Victor Dartnall is looking forward to saddling Lord Sam. The nine-year-old was a high-class novice over hurdles and fences but failed to fire last season due to a sinus problem and hasn't been seen since pulling-up in the 2004 Stan James King George VI Chase.
Dartnall said: "There are no definite plans yet but you can't run unless you enter. He summered well, he's fine and we hope to be there. We put him in to give us the option and he won't have a prep race beforehand. We'll take it one race at a time this season. He had a well-documented major sinus operation after the King George but it all seems okay now."
The Irish haven't captured the prize since the Michael O'Brien-trained Bright Highway in 1980 but the trainer could bid to repeat that success with the suitably named Forget The Past. The seven-year-old won the Grade 2 Ellier Developments Novices' Chase at Punchestown on his latest start in April, beating the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Quazar by five lengths.
Fellow Irish entrant, Watson Lake, ran fourth to Contraband at The Festival last term for Noel Meade, and made a winning return this season when impressively accounting for Accordion Etoile in the Sherry Fitzgerald O'Malley Chase at Limerick on October 9. He is a possible along with stablemate Always, winner of the Grade 2 National Lottery Agent Champion Chase over two and a half miles at Gowran Park on October 8.
Euro Leader won the Guinness Kerry National for trainer Willie Mullins, where he had the Davy Fitzgerald-trained Pearly Jack back in third. Pearly Jack, ran second in this month's Munster National, with the Pat Fahy-trained Mariah Rollins in third and Euro Leader a faller. All three are entered.
The list of possible Irish raiders is completed by Sir Oj, fourth to King Harald in the Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase at The Festival last season.
Paul Nicholls' seven entries includes last season's runner-up Thisthatandtother, who went on to capture the inaugural Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase, now sponsored by Ryanair, at The Festival with stablemate and fellow entrant Le Passing in fifth.
Nicholls' contingent also includes last season's exciting novice Kauto Star, My Will, a commendable second to Henrietta Knight's possible starter Impek over two and a half miles at Aintree this month, Le Roi Miguel, Armaturk and Ladalko
Fellow west country trainer Philip Hobbs won this race in 1989 with Joint Sovereignty and his three entries are Lacdoudal, Tamango and Monkerhostin. The latter was third in last season's renewal and returned to Cheltenham when gamely capturing the bonusprint.com Gold Cup the following month.
Fondmort was victorious in 2003 for Nicky Henderson and the nine-year-old is one of five entries for the trainer along with Liberthine, successful in the Mildmay of Flete at The Festival. The 2003 Tripleprint Gold Cup winner Iris Royal, Chauvinist and Scots Grey could also line up.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Ollie Magern put in a superb performance for a novice when fourth in last year's Paddy Power Gold Cup and could bid to improve on that effort and give the Naunton handler his second success in the contest following Tipping Tim in 1992. He proceeded to finish second to Celestial Gold in the Hennessey Gognac Gold Cup before capturing the Feltham Novices' Chase.
Weights for the Paddy Power Gold Cup will be revealed on Wednesday, November 2.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the seventh of 63 races involved in the British Horseracing Board's Order of Merit competition. The overall winner with the most points throughout the season will receive 200,000 - 75% to the owner , 12.5% to the trainer and the sane again to the stable staff.
The winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup, as a Grade Three event, will score 10 points while horses placed second to eighth will be allocated points on a sliding scale down to one point for eighth.
The Open (Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 11-13) is three days which herald the moment when Jump Racing takes centre stage and people gather to celebrate top quality steeplechasing and hurdle racing. Each day has its own character and together they form an irresistible package. In recent years horses have travelled over from Ireland and Cheltenham has welcomed international challengers from France, Norway and the Czech Republic.
Friday, November 11 is Countryside Day, Saturday, November 12 is Paddy Power Gold Cup Day, Cheltenham's first great occasion of the season with a crowd of 25,000 expected to witness the £110,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, while Sunday, November 13 features the £50,000 Greatwood Hurdle.
Friday/Sunday admission prices are Club/Tattersalls: £20 (£18 in advance, £16 if booked online); Group Rate (15 or more): £16; 16-24s: £12; Best Mate: £8 (£6.40 if booked online); Rooster Booster Raceday Package: £46 and Best Mate Raceday Package: £25.
Saturday's admission prices are Club: £30 (£25 in advance, £24 if booked online, 16-24s £20); Tattersalls: £20 (£18 in advance, £16 if booked online); Group Rate (15 or more): £16; Tattersalls seat: £15; Best Mate: £10 (£8 in advance); Group Rate (15 or more): £7; Rooster Booster Raceday Package: £46 and Best Mate Raceday Package: £25.
THE PADDY POWER GOLD CUP
Class A, Grade Three, Order of Merit Race No 7, £110,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.10pm, Cheltenham, Saturday, November 12. For five-year-olds and upwards, two miles, four and a half furlongs. Penalties: after October 29, a winner of a Class C chase 3lb; of a Class A or B chase 6lb; no penalty to increase a horse's weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed October 26, entries revealed October 27 (59 entries), weights revealed November 2, five-day confirmation stage November 7, final declaration stage, 10.00am November 11. Form figures suppiled by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Wednesday, October 26.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
5-F5411 ALWAYS 6 Des Sharkey Noel Meade IRE
303036- ARMATURK (FR) 8 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
5/2212-1 BABY RUN (FR) 5 Mr & Mrs Peter Orton Nigel Twiston-Davies
211FP-2 BACKBEAT (IRE) 8 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
4F-2041P BALL O MALT (IRE) 9 Declan Kinahan Richard Fahey
1/U42PR- BALLYBOUGH RASHER (IRE) 10 BDR Partnership Howard Johnson
111325- BANKER COUNT 13 Mrs Hector Brown Venetia Williams
00341-1 BROOKLYN BREEZE (IRE) 8 Ashleybank Investments Limited Len Lungo
21/1130- CELESTIAL GOLD (IRE) 7 David Johnson Martin Pipe
12413P- CHAUVINIST (IRE) 10 Bunny & Nick Roberts Nicky Henderson
213103- CONTRABAND 7 David Johnson Martin Pipe
12-1004 EAST TYCOON (IRE) 6 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
0-4111F EURO LEADER (IRE) 7 John Cox Willie Mullins IRE
F0B0-0P EUROPA 9 Trevor Hemmings Ferdy Murphy
11436/F- FLAME CREEK (IRE) 9 Martin Wesson Partners Noel Chance
F/0002P- FONDMORT (FR) 9 Bill Brown Nicky Henderson
11212-1 FORGET THE PAST 7 Sean Mulryan Michael O'Brien IRE
P3F1-F1 FULL HOUSE (IRE) 6 The Chamberlain Addiscott Partnership Paul Webber
61P61-5 GAZUMP (FR) 7 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
F3/113U- GRAPHIC APPROACH (IRE) 7 Mr & Mrs Peter Orton Charles Egerton
606020- HORUS (IRE) 10 Brian Kilpatrick Martin Pipe
552-221 IMPEK (FR) 9 Jim Lewis Henrietta Knight
2/111P2/- IRIS ROYAL (FR) 9 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Henderson
431042- IT TAKES TIME (IRE) 11 David Johnson Martin Pipe
03/05P-0 JAKARI (FR) 8 The Earl Cadogan Henry Daly
00/1132- KANDJAR D'ALLIER (FR) 7 Let's Live Racing Alan King
353/112- KAUTO STAR (FR) 5 Clive Smith Paul Nicholls
13224-1 LACDOUDAL (FR) 6 Carol Skan Philip Hobbs
2521-33 LADALKO (FR) 6 Paul Barber & Mrs M Findlay Paul Nicholls
112553- LE PASSING (FR) 6 The Hon Mrs & J R Townshend Paul Nicholls
45225-5 LE ROI MIGUEL (FR) 7 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
230410- LIBERTHINE (FR) 6 Robert Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson
11/1F3P- LORD SAM (IRE) 9 Plain Peeps Victor Dartnall
1216-F3 MARIAH ROLLINS (IRE) 7 Gone West Racing Syndicate Pat Fahy IRE
53124F- MISTER MCGOLDRICK 8 Richard Longley Sue Smith
6/13213- MONKERHOSTIN (FR) 8 Martin St Quinton Philip Hobbs
11521-2 MY WILL (FR) 5 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
421U12- OLLIE MAGERN 7 Roger Nicholls Nigel Twiston-Davies
121P14/- OUR ARMAGEDDON (NZ) 8 Leslie Garrett Richard Guest
113/FPP- OUR VIC (IRE) 7 David Johnson Martin Pipe
3-60432 PEARLY JACK 7 Mrs A McCarthy Davy Fitzgerald IRE
11301-2 QUAZAR (IRE) 7 C D Carr Jonjo O'Neill
0U2000- REDEMPTION 10 John Duggan & Michael Purtill Nigel Twiston-Davies
065500- ROYALEETY (FR) 6 Mr & Mrs John Poynton Ian Williams
U0055-0 SCOTS GREY 10 Henry Ponsonby Nicky Henderson
F25532- SEE YOU SOMETIME 10 J A G Meaden Seamus Mullins
1U504-6 SIR OJ (IRE) 8 Brian Keenan Noel Meade IRE
PB11513 TAMANGO (FR) 8 The Brushmakers Philip Hobbs
62-1600 TANGO ROYAL (FR) 9 Brian Kilpatrick Martin Pipe
020330- THEREALBANDIT (IRE) 8 David Johnson Martin Pipe
2/22214- THISTHATANDTOTHER (IRE) 9 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
34-1114 TIGERS LAIR (IRE) 6 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
46004-6 TURGEONEV (FR) 10 David Sills Tim Easterby
13P5-02 VANDAS CHOICE (IRE) 7 J Petterson Lucinda Russell
1143-21 WATSON LAKE (IRE) 7 John Corr Noel Meade IRE
331012 WET LIPS (AUS) 7 Concertina Racing Three Richard Guest
01511F- WINDSOR BOY (IRE) 8 Byrne Bros (Formwork) Limited Martin Pipe
221612-P WRAGS TO RICHES (IRE) 8 No Illusions Partnership Jimmy Frost
021220-P ZETA'S RIVER (IRE) 7 David Johnson Martin Pipe
59 entriies, 7 Irish-trained
OUR VIC AND KAUTO STAR HEAD PADDY POWER BETTING
The Martin Pipe trained Our Vic heads the betting at 7/1 for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 12.
He is followed by last years star novice Kauto Star at 8/1. Paul Nicholls' youngster is sure to attract plenty of column inches should he line up on the big day.
Past Paddy Power Gold Cup winners Celestial Gold (12/1) and Fondmort (20/1) are among a strong entry of 59, with Forget The Past (12/1) and Watson Lake (14/1) heading the Irish challenge.
Paddy Power opening show :-
The Paddy Power Gold Cup
2m 4 1/2f H'cap Chase, Cheltenham, Saturday, November 12
7 Our Vic
8 Kauto Star
10 Brooklyn Breeze
10 My Will
12 Celestial Gold
12 Forget The Past
14 Watson Lake
16 Kandjar d'Allier
16 Lord Sam
16 Ollie Magern
16 Sir Oj
16 Zeta's River
20 Iris Royal
20 It Takes Time
20 Le Passing
20 Le Roi Miguel
25 Euro Leader
25 Full House
25 Mariah Rollins
25 Mister McGoldrick
25 Our Armageddon
25 See You Sometime
33 East Tycoon
33 Flame Creek
33 Scots Grey
33 Tango Royal
33 Tigers Lair
40 Banker Count
40 Graphic Approach
40 Pearly Jack
40 Vandas Choice
40 Windsor Boy
50 Ball O Malt
50 Ballybough Rasher
50 Wet Lips
50 Wrags To Riches
NQ Baby Run
Each Way 1/4 Odds 1, 2, 3, 4
All 59 Quoted
BREAKDOWN OF ENTRIES BY TRAINER WITH PAST SUCCESSES IN THE PADDY POWER GOLD CUP CHASE
Martin Pipe (1987 Beau Ranger, 1996 Challenger Du Luc, 1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001 Shooting Light, 2002 Cyfor Malta, 2004 Celestial Gold)
Pat Fahy IRE
Davy Fitzgerald IRE
Willie Mullins IRE
Michael O'Brien IRE (1980 Bright Highway)
Venetia Williams (1999 The Outback Way)
VANDA'S CHOICE SET TO RETURN TO WETHERBY FOR NEW LISTED CHASE
Wetherby Racecourse will host a new Listed race on day two of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Meeting. The Weatherbys Bank Handicap Chase becomes the second Listed contest on the card alongside the Constant Security Wensleydale Juvenile Novices' Hurdle, on Saturday, October 29.
The Weatherbys Bank Handicap Chase over an extended two and a half miles has attracted 15 entries and carries prize-money of £25,000.
Vanda's Choice is set to return to Wetherby having finished second to Full House in the skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase over the course and distance on October 12. The Lucinda Russell-trained seven-year-old progressed to win three chases last season and the trainer is hoping for more success.
Russell said: "He's entered and will be declared. He's really good in himself and I think he's improved a little bit from his last race. He was second to Quazar last season and he improved again for that first run over fences. Hopefully he's still got a little bit more improvement in him.
"He has an entry in the Paddy Power Gold Cup but we'll see how he runs here. He'll definitely step up in trip in time, it's just that at the moment the right races seem to be around two and a half miles."
Vanda's Choice could again encounter the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Quazar, a classy victor of the One Man Novices' Chase over the course and distance last December and later successful in the Grade Two Silver Trophy Chase at Cheltenham in April.
Paul Nicholls is responsible for four of the possible contenders - Almost Broke, a winner four times last season, Ladalko, who defeated No Refuge in the Grade Two Winter Novices' Hurdle at Sandown last December, Indien Royal and Le Passing.
Alan King could field last season's good novice, Kadount, winner of the Grade Two Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Wincanton last February. Duke Of Buckingham and Full House may represent the Paul Webber yard.
Old stagers Banker Count and 2004 Grand National hero Amberleigh House are also entered. Turgeonev, a four-time winner at Wetherby, Redemption, St Matthew and Wet Lips complete the entries.
The two mile Constant Security Wensleydale Juvenile Novices' Hurdle is worth £18,000 and has 18 entries.
Milton Harris may run Federstar but the trainer is torn between whether to take his chance at Wetherby or travel to Auteuil the following weekend. The gelding boasted smart form on the flat in Germany, running third to subsequent German Derby runner-up Night Tango in a Listed contest at Dresden, and opened his account over hurdles at Stratford in July when beating Royal Master a head.
"The horse has an option to go to Paris for a 250,000 (euro) race the following weekend but I don't want to say that we're not running at Wetherby. We're keeping our options open.
"He was a bit unfortunate last time at Aintree because the reins broke before the race and he got himself into a bit of a pickle mentally. That probably cost him the race. I think he's a very good horse on soft ground. He is potentially a better horse than Mondul and that horse won £100,000 in his juvenile campaign. He's a big horse - I think he'll jump a fence and will be a nice horse in the future."
Paul Nicholls could field interesting French recruit Twist Magic. The gelding won a one mile seven furlong hurdle at Auteuil in June on only his third start, having placed third twice previously.
One More Time is an unraced filly from Howard Johnson's yard. The Crook handler could also run Negas and hurdles debutant Poirot, while Alan King could saddle useful flat recruit Le Corvee.
Royal Master is one of three Pat Halsam-trained possibles along with Kerry's Blade and The Pen, winner of her only hurdles start over the course and distance on October 12. She defeated Toss The Caber, Finland and Aviation that day and all three could re-oppose.
bet365 EXTEND SUPPORT OF CHARLIE HALL MEETING UNTIL 2008
bet365 and Wetherby Racecourse are pleased to announce that bet365 will continue to support the Charlie Hall Chase for a further three years, up to and including the 2008 renewal.
Bet365, the internet division of one of the UK's biggest betting and gaming groups, first sponsored the feature race of Wetherby's Charlie Hall Meeting in 2003 when the Howard Johnson-trained Ballybough Rasher caused a 40/1 shock with a defeat of the high-class favourite Marlborough in the Grade Two event.
Johnson then sent the brilliant Grey Abbey to capture the three mile one furlong contest on his seasonal debut last year, after landing the previous season's Scottish Grand National. The gallant grey's victory in the 2004 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, combined with wins in the Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham and a Grade 2 contest at Aintree, saw him end the season as
the country's top-rated staying chaser.
This year's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is worth £75,000 and has attracted a suitably high-class entry including Grey Abbey, Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Take The Stand, Kingscliff, Ollie Magern and Keen Leader.
Bet365 Chief Executive, John Coates said:
"We are thrilled with the success of the first two years of our sponsorship. It was a joy to see Grey Abbey win the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase last year and very satisfying to watch him emerge as the best staying chaser in Britain. This season's race looks like being our best yet and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Wetherby over the next three years."
James Sanderson, Chief Executive of Wetherby Racecourse said:
"We are delighted that bet365 is extending its commitment to the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, which is part of the BHB's Order of Merit. Bet365's continued support will ensure that the race maintains its standing as a prestigious early season prize for the country's leading chasers."