TAKE THE STAND ONE OF EIGHT HIGH-CLASS DECLARATIONS FOR THE bet365 CHARLIE HALL CHASE
Trainer Peter Bowen reports Take The Stand to be in "good form"ahead of the £75,000 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby tomorrow, the feature event of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase Meeting.
Bowen is optimistic that the nine-year-old can put up a bold show in Wetherby's Grade Two, three mile one furlong contest, as he maps out a campaign that could see Take The Stand return to Cheltenham next March in a bid to improve on his second-place finish in last season's totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Welsh handler, who gave Take The Stand a spin over hurdles at Uttoxeter on September 7, said: "He's well and we'll see how it goes at Wetherby, then he goes to Haydock for the Betfair Chase and then probably on to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup. I was happy with his run over hurdles last time because that was only to tune him up a bit and two and a half miles would be far too short for him."
Take The Stand's effort in last term's Cheltenham Gold Cup was the peak performance of the gelding's career to date, and came after an unfortunate fall four from home in the Welsh National at Chepstow last December. His best form is on a quicker surface but Bowen feels that his charge will handle the softer conditions on Saturday.
Bowen commented: "He has handled soft and was unlucky not to have won the Welsh National on soft ground when falling last season, but this is a better race again. It's a hot contest. I'd rather see it on the fast side of good because he's obviously a better horse on good ground but he also goes well on soft ground.
"Tony Dobbin rides, and, if he is available, he'll keep the ride for the rest of season, otherwise we'll use the next best available."
Sponsors bet365 recently announced that they would continue to back the Charlie Hall Chase up to and including the 2008 renewal and have certainly been well-rewarded this year with a high-class field of eight runners having been declared at the overnight stage.
In addition to Take The Stand, the principal contenders also include last year's winner Grey Abbey, who ended the campaign as the highest-rated chaser trained in Britain, Ollie Magern, winner of the Grade Two Totty Construction Towton Novices' Chase over the course and distance back in February and one of the leading novices of last season, Jonjo O'Neill's Keen Leader, who should strip fitter after a run over hurdles at Chepstow last week and Kingscliff, the former top hunter chaser who only found Kicking King too good in last season's King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Completing the field are Chives from the local Bingley yard of Sue Smith, Colourful Life, successful in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last season and Joes Edge, hero of the 2005 Scottish Grand National at Ayr.
The 2005 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, Grade Two, £75,000 Total Prize Fund, 3m 1f - 3.25pm Wetherby, Saturday, October 29, 2005
1) P49- Chives - Sue Smith 10-11-10 Dominic Elsworth
2) 151- Grey Abbey - Howard Johnson 11-11-10 Graham Lee
3) FP-2 Colourful Life - Paul Nicholls 9-11-06 Paddy Brennan
4) 11-2 Joes Edge - Ferdy Murphy 8-11-06 Keith Mercer
5) U12- Ollie Magern - Nigel Twiston-Davies 7-11-05 Carl Llewellyn
6) 32-5 Keen Leader - Jonjo O'Neill 9-11-00 Tony McCoy
7) /2-4 Kingscliff - Robert Alner 8-11-00 Robert Walford
8) UP-5 Take The Stand - Peter Bowen 9-11-00 Tony Dobbin
Following some rain earlier this morning, the ground at Wetherby remains SOFT for the opening day of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase meeting.
ATR ANNOUNCES EXPANDED BREEDERS' CUP COVERAGE - TOP PRESENTING TEAM TO BROADCAST LIVE FROM NEW YORK
At The Races ("ATR"), the UK and Ireland's most watched dedicated racing channel, is delighted to unveil its plans for the channel's coverage of the 21st Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Saturday, October 29, 2005.
ATR will be the only UK broadcaster with a live, dedicated on course presence at Belmont Park and will cover every race on the card. Breeders' Cup race coverage starts at 5.40pm.
ATR will be sending a top team of presenting talent to cover the event - John McCririck, Mike Cattermole, Jim McGrath and Zoey Bird - with a direct link back to ATR's expert US racing studio team of Dave Compton, Jason Weaver and Dale McKeown. The studio team, which follows US racing live every night on ATR Stateside, will provide expert form analysis and betting reports.
Based at the heart of the action alongside the parade ring, the on course team will provide interviews with European trainers and jockeys as well as all the major American players. In addition, there will be an opportunity for one lucky viewer to win a once in a lifetime trip for two to spend four days in an exclusive hotel in New York with dinner in one of the Big Apple's top restaurants and a helicopter ride around this spectacular city.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive, ATR said: "ATR has really established itself as the UK home of American racing over the last year. Our daily 'Stateside' programme has been a real success and so it's only natural that we wanted to make our coverage this year of the Breeders' Cup, our biggest yet. We will be the only UK broadcaster with a dedicated team on the ground and I am delighted that we have been able to get together such a compelling mix of personalities."
The European challenge for the Breeders' Cup is particularly strong this year, with European-based trainers responsible for 21 runners at the meeting.
Among the familiar names flying the flag at Belmont are Ouija Board, Karen's Caper and Sundrop (Filly & Mare Turf), Ivan Denisovich and Leo (Juvenile), Whipper and Valixir (Mile), Azamour and Bago (Turf) and Starcraft and Oratorio (Classic).