Paul Nicholls, trainer of last year's Betfair Chase winner Kauto Star, said today that he would welcome the use of a pacemaker in races by the connections of Exotic Dancer.
He was speaking at the launch of the 2007 Northwest Racing Masters, the fabulous weekend of racing at Haydock Park and Aintree on November 24 & 25.
Nicholls commented: "The running of a pacemaker would not worry us in the slightest. We have always felt that a slow-run race does not suit Kauto Star. When he ran at Newbury, it was a crawl, he was a bit fresh and did not switch off and got himself into a muddle.
"A fast-run race helps him, because he can just sit in a little bit. We are not worried about his stamina whatsoever. He has never looked like not staying in his races. It was his first time over three miles, two furlongs in the Gold Cup - and he would have won over three miles, four furlongs.
"The only thing that would concern us is if Cheltenham came up very, very testing ground and it was a real slog - that would be a different story and affect a lot of horses.
"In normal circumstances, the use of a pacemaker would not worry us at all - it would save us running one!
"To be honest, when you get later into the season when Denman, Star De Mohaison and these other horses run, they will go a good gallop anyway.
"The Gold Cup this year was a race in which everybody was watching everybody and they did not go a gallop really."
Exotic Dancer, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, was second to Kauto Star in both the Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton and the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at Cheltenham last season.
Kauto Star, the best chaser in Europe last season, will go for the bonusprint.com Old Roan Chase at Aintree on October 28 all being well and then be aimed at the Betfair Million again, with the first leg being the Grade One £200,000 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on the opening day of the Northwest Racing Masters.
"Everything went really well last year with Kauto Star. We need to try and get him in the same shape for those races this season.
"There are a lot of good young horses coming through and there are always the ground conditions - lots of things can go against him.
"If we get him there in good form, he is the one they all still have to beat."
Asked whether he would back Kauto Star to win the 2007/08 Betfair Million at 6/1, the trainer replied: "I'm not sure. Barring Kempton which is sharp enough for him, Haydock and Cheltenham suit him well and he has got a fair chance if everything goes right. It will be interesting. Clifford (Baker - the head lad) thinks he is every bit as good if not better than he was last year.
"He certainly doesn't appear to have deteriorated. Every other horse has to improve to catch him up. If he learns not to make mistakes at the last, that will be an advantage.
"Ruby is going to come down and give him a school but he doesn't really need it - he jumps particularly well at home. He jumps exceptionally well at the races except for silly mistakes and you cannot iron out those silly mistakes at home. I think he is fairly safe even though he scares us all. "
Nicholls hopes to run others at the Northwest Racing Masters weekend, nominating Taranis for the £100,000 Betfair "Fixed Brush" Handicap Hurdle and both Poquelin and Gwanako for the £40,000 Pied Bull Hurdle on the first day.
Regarding Aintree on November 25, he put forward a number of possibles for the £100,000 totesport Becher Chase. These include Royal Auclair, Mr Pointment, Gungadu, Nycteos, Le Duc, My Will, Cornish Sett and Turthen.
He remarked: " A lot can happen between now and then. We will pick out one or two. Turthen has yet to win for us - he was unlucky last season - he fell at Sandown when going quite nicely and he fell in the Topham Chase at Aintree when going very nicely.
"He will definitely stay and has got quite a nice handicap mark. He is the type of horse to win some nice races and the Becher Chase might be made for him as he jumps well.
"Nycteos, owned by Andy Stewart, is a big strapping chaser and has run over the Grand National fences before, when falling in the Topham.
"We took our time with him last season and he won a Listed chase at Cheltenham in April really well. I have always thought he would be suited by Aintree and he is a definite possibility for the totesport Becher Chase."
THE 2007 NORTHWEST RACING MASTERS
The exciting Northwest Racing Masters, at Haydock Park and Aintree, offers two of the very best jump racing days of the year.
Haydock Park takes centre stage on Saturday, November 24, when the highlight is the £200,000 Grade One Betfair Chase.
Last year the Betfair Chase was won most impressively by Kauto Star, the horse of the season, who went on to collect the £1-million bonus offered by Betfair by landing the Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton Park (or the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown) and the totesport Gold Cup at Cheltenham after his Haydock Park success. Kauto Star was six from six last season and is being aimed at the Betfair Chase again.
The card at Haydock Park on November 24 is entirely sponsored by Betfair and also features the £100,000 Betfair "Fixed Brush" Handicap Hurdle over just short of three miles, as well as the three-mile £50,000 Betfair Handicap Chase and the £40,000 Betfair Limited Handicap Hurdle for four-year-olds.
Total prize money for the day comes to a massive £455,000 - the richest-ever day for jump racing at Haydock Park.
Kirkland Tellwright, Clerk of the Course at Haydock Park, commented today: "Everything is progressing smoothly at Haydock Park and the track itself looks in fantastic shape.
"It is full steam ahead to the Northwest Racing Masters, starting on November 24, for what should be two cracking days of the very best jump racing."
totesport.com Becher Chase day at Aintree is the second and final day of the Northwest Racing Masters weekend on Sunday, November 25. With two races over the famous Grand National fences in the £70,000 totepool Grand Sefton Chase and the £100,000 totesport.com Becher Chase, there's no need to wait until the John Smith’s Grand National in April to experience the unique thrills of seeing racing over the Grand National course.
Now firmly established as a trial for the John Smith's Grand National, the totesport.com Becher Chase attracts some of jump racing's best known horses. The 2007 John Smith’s Grand National hero Silver Birch landed the totesport.com Becher Chase in 2004, while Amberleigh House was successful in 2001, three years prior to his famous Grand National victory .
Aintree’s Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch reported today: "The course at Aintree has a very good grass covering and I’m very pleased with it.
"We are letting the grass height come up and it is nice jumping ground - good, genuine ground."
Aintree is adding a taste of the festive season on Sunday, November 25, with "Festive Fayre" being the theme of the day. Father Christmas will stopping off at the racecourse and, with Christmas carols and festive food shopping, there's no better start to the build-up to Christmas than a day out at the races with all the family.
Last year more than 18,000 people attended the Northwest Racing Masters - which is the ideal opportunity to experience the tremendous atmosphere of a day at the races on a great winter warming weekend.
NORTHWEST RACING MASTERS CONTINUES TO GROW
The 2007 Northwest Racing Masters is set to attract even more visitors from all over the UK and Ireland.
Julian Thick, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse, home of the John Smith's Grand National, commented today: "You don’t have to be a racing fanatic to enjoy the Northwest Racing Masters - the magical atmosphere of a day at the races appeals to just about everyone.
"Aintree is the home of the Grand National and, with two races over the Grand National fences on the second day of the Northwest Racing Masters weekend, there is no reason to wait until April to enjoy the thrills and excitement of racing at Aintree."
Dickon White, Managing Director of Haydock Park which hosts the first day of the Northwest Racing Masters, said today: "The Northwest Racing Masters is only in its third year, but it is growing in popularity very rapidly.
"The fact that this year's event falls into the Christmas party season, as well as the growing reputation of the event as one of the most exciting new race meetings in the UK, means we are due to increase the attendance significantly."
Located in one of the most vibrant regions in the country, the Northwest Racing Masters meeting offers a great opportunity to discover England's Northwest. It is an ideal time to combine a love of racing with a visit to Liverpool, European Capital of Culture, and the rest of the region.
Haydock Park, St Helens, is the most visited racecourse in the UK, offering first class racing all year round. It is located half-way between Liverpool and Manchester, just off junction 23 of the M6 motorway.
Aintree Racecourse is home to the John Smith's Grand National and is between Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008, and Southport - the perfect destination for a weekend break with beautiful beaches, great attractions and superb shopping.
Two-day tickets, available from the sales offices of both Haydock Park and Aintree, are on sale now. For both racedays, accompanied children aged 16 and under are admitted FREE.
THE NORTHWEST RACING MASTERS
HAYDOCK PARK, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2007
Time Race Distance Value
12.30pm Betfair Novices' Hurdle (Listed) 2m £30,000
1.05pm Betfair Limited Handicap Hurdle 2m £40,000
1.35pm Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle 2m 7f £100,000
2.05pm Betfair Chase 3m £200,000
2.35pm Betfair Handicap Chase 3m £50,000
3.05pm Betfair Handicap Chase 2m £30,000
3.40pm Betfair Standard Open NH Flat 2m £5,000
Total - £455,000
AINTREE, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2007
Time Race Distance Value
12.30pm Weatherbys Bank Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle2m ½f £10,000
1.30pm Amberleigh House Novices' Chase 2m £20,000
1.40pm totepool Grand Sefton Handicap Chase 2m 5½f £70,000
(Over the Grand National Course)
2.15pm totesportcasino.com Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f £30,000
2.50pm totesport.com Becher Handicap Chase 3m 2f £100,000
(Over the Grand National Course)
3.25pm Aintree Novices' Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f £10,000
Total - £240,000
NORTH WEST RACING MASTERS - TOTAL PRIZE MONEY - £695,000
STABLE STAFF TO GET GREATER SHARE OF BETFAIR MILLION BONUS THIS SEASON
Million just 6-1 with Betfair to be won again
THE path to the 2007-08 Betfair Million begins in earnest when the 2007 Northwest Racing Masters - the weekend of top-class jump racing at Haydock and Aintree, of which the Betfair Chase at the former track is the first highlight - is launched at Paul Nicholls’ stables at Ditcheat today.
And the star of the show will undoubtedly be Kauto Star, who landed connections the Betfair Million (in only the second year of the bonus being offered by the exchange) when winning the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
The seven-figure bonus was broken down into £750,000 for owner Clive Smith, £100,000 each to trainer Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh, and £50,000 to the stable staff.
But this year, the crucial and often forgotten role of the stable staff is further recognized by the fact that they will now receive £100,000 should the bonus be won, with the owner netting £50,000 less.
Once again, the Betfair Million comprises the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on November 24, the King George at Kempton on December 26 OR the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 14.
And the Ditcheat stable staff will be happy to hear that the Million is only 6-1 with Betfair to won again by any horse, and that the early exchange betting on the Betfair Chase sees Kauto Star as a 5-4 chance. He is also 6-4 with Betfair to win the King George and just over 9-4 (2.4-1) for the Gold Cup.
Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said: "Hopefully, Clive won’t mind us taking £50,000 out of his pocket and giving it the stable staff this season, as I haven’t plucked up the courage to tell him yet!
"We have always billed it as the most valuable and winnable bonus in horseracing - something that came true in only the second year of our offering it last season - but of course we recognise how hard it is to get a horse fit and firing for one race, with optimum conditions, let alone three.
"But the fact remains that it is only a 6-1 chance that any horse wins the Betfair Million again, and Kauto Star is the outstanding candidate to do so.
"We hope the Betfair Chase on November 24, the first leg of the Betfair Million, will attract all the top-class staying chasers. And not just because of the bonus, as it is a very valuable Grade One prize in its own right.
"But if Paul does win the race with Kauto Star, then bizarrely he is the probably the most likely person who can stop him winning the Million, such are his riches in the staying chase division!
"At the start of last season it was decided not to insure against the Million being won, and that is the case again this time around. There was never any real prospect of us not offering the bonus again, despite the seven-figure payout.
"When you look around Paul’s stables and see the likes of Denman, Taranis, Star de Mohaison and Neptune Collonges, you realize what a task Kauto Star has to stage a repeat. And that is without the likes of My Way De Solzen and Exotic Dancer being factored into the equation.
"But the Betfair Million is there to be won again this season and I hope we pay out again, although our CF0 Stephen Morana may think differently…….."
WILL THE 2007-08 BETFAIR MILLION BE WON?
Betfair bet: 2-13 No, 6-1 Yes.
Betfair bet: 5-4 to win the Betfair Chase; 6-4 to win the King George, 9-4 to win the Gold Cup.
WHAT TIMEFORM THINK ABOUT THE TOP CONTENDERS
"Kauto Star’s Timeform rating is the joint highest (with Moscow Flyer) achieved by a jumper since Desert Orchid, and has been bettered only by Arkle (212), Flyingbolt (210), Mill House (191), Desert Orchid (187) and Dunkirk (186) in the now-extensive period since the end of the Second World War."
Last year’s Old Roan Chase "……represented outstanding form, on paper better than any effort recorded in Britain or Ireland the previous season."
The 2006 Betfair Chase - "Kauto Star started a hot favourite and gave an exhilarating performance, never putting a foot wrong and travelling really well before quickening clear in the home straight. Kauto Star won in breathtaking style, looking like a horse who hadn’t really started to race in earnest as he annihilated the field, barely off the bridle at any stage and still full of running at the line."
"Kauto Star’s achievements in the latest season were remarkable"
"The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer stands head and shoulders above most of the potential Gold Cup candidates at Manor Farm Stables, with the obvious exception of Kauto Star who was in a different league to everything else in the latest season."
"Exotic Dancer may not be able to hold a candle to Kauto Star but he is a top-class chaser, clearly superior to the rest of the established chasers around three miles in the latest season."
"……the strapping Denman looks destined for the top after his novice season. He demolished a good field in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the Festival"
"The 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup is a long way off but Denman looks a very exciting prospect, his second season over fences something to look forward to with relish."
"Denman’s form was well above average for the season’s leading novice and his performances in novice company - as opposed to open company - have been bettered only by Florida Pearl, Escartefigue, Looks Like Trouble, Nick Dundee and Carvill’s Hill since Chasers & Hurdlers began (1975/76)"
My Way de Solzen
Last year’s Arkle Chase - "My Way de Solzen gave a flawless performance, jumping splendidly."
"My Way de Solzen is a superb jumper of fences and, all in all, looks a most exciting prospect."
Current Timeform Ratings
Kauto Star 184+, Exotic Dancer 175+, Kicking King 168+,The Listener 168, Trabolgan 167, Beef Or Salmon 167x, War Of Attrition 165, Denman 161p, Neptune Collonges 161, Monet’s Garden 160, Aces Four 157p, My Way de Solzen 157p.
totesport OFFERS 20/1 ABOUT ANY HORSE TO WIN THE 2007 totesport BECHER CHASE & THE 2008 JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL
Damian Walker, spokesman for totesport, said today: "We bet 20-1 about any horse winning this year's totesport Becher Chase and going on to win the 2008 Grand National.
"Strangely though, two horses in recent times to have followed up their totesport Becher Chase win with Grand National glory, did so three years later in the shape of Silver Birch (2004 and 2007) and Amberleigh House (2001 and 2004).
"Maybe we should be offering a price on this year's totesport Becher Chase winner to win the 2010 Grand National rather than the 2008 race?
"For those following that trend, Garvivonian won the Becher Chase in 2005."
totesport BECHER CHASE & GRAND NATIONAL DOUBLE
ANY HORSE TO WIN THE BECHER CHASE AND THE GRAND NATIONAL.
20/1 ANY HORSE
2008 JOHN SMITHS GRAND NATIONAL
4½ MILE HANDICAP CHASE, AINTREE, APRIL.
20 BEWLEYS BERRY 33 LIBERTHINE
20 BUTLERS CABIN 33 LONGSHANKS
20 HOT WELD 33 NINE DE SIVOLA
20 MCKELVEY 33 OSSMOSES
20 SLIM PICKINGS 33 PHILSON RUN
25 NUMBERSIXVALVERDE 33 STATE OF PLAY
25 POINT BARROW 40 DUN DOIRE
25 SILVER BIRCH 40 L’AMI
25 SIMON 40 MONKERHOSTIN
33 CHARACTER BUILDING 40 PARSONS LEGACY
33 HEDGEHUNTER 50 BOTHER NA
33 IDLE TALK 50 EUROTREK
33 JOES EDGE
E/W 1/4 THE ODDS A PLACE 1-2-3-4. OTHERS ON REQUEST.
TO WIN THE BETFAIR CHASE, KING GEORGE AND totesport GOLD CUP.
5/1 ANY HORSE
11/2 KAUTO STAR
STAN JAMES KING GEORGE VI CHASE
3 MILES (GRADE 1), KEMPTON, WEDNESDAY 26TH DECEMBER.
11/10 KAUTO STAR 25 RACING DEMON
9/2 MY WAY DE SOLZEN 25 STATE OF PLAY
6 EXOTIC DANCER 25 TURPIN GREEN
12 MONET’S GARDEN 33 CAILIN ALAINN
16 IN COMPLIANCE 33 CELESTIAL GOLD
16 TARANIS 33 L’AMI
20 ACES FOUR 33 UNGARO
20 MID DANCER 50 DON’T PUSH IT
25 OUR VIC 50 MONKERHOSTIN
EACH WAY 1/4 THE ODDS A PLACE 1-2-3. OTHERS ON REQUEST
totesport CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
3 MILES 2½ FURLONGS, CHELTENHAM, FRIDAY 14TH MARCH
2 KAUTO STAR 25 KICKING KING
5 DENMAN 25 TRABOLGAN
8 EXOTIC DANCER 33 ANOTHER PROMISE
8 MY WAY DE SOLZEN 33 IN COMPLIANCE
16 ACES FOUR 33 STATE OF PLAY
16 WAR OF ATTRITION 33 THE LISTENER
20 NEPTUNE COLLONGES 40 RACING DEMON
20 STAR DE MOHAISON 40 TURPIN GREEN
25 DON’T PUSH IT
EACH WAY 1/4 THE ODDS A PLACE 1-2-3. OTHERS ON REQUEST
for immediate release, Tuesday, October 16, 2007
WADHAM AND HOBBS OUTLINE SHOWCASE PLANS
GROUND CURRENTLY GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES - RAIN EXPECTED
Meeting - The Showcase, Cheltenham Racecourse
Dates - Friday, October 19 & Saturday, October 20
First race - 2.20pm (both days)
Admission Prices - Club & Tattersalls combined - £20 a day (£15 aged 16 to 24); advance booking £18 or £34 for both days. Best Mate - £8 a day; advance booking £14 for both days. Accompanied children under 16 admitted FREE too all enclosures. FREE car parking.
Cheltenham’s new season gets under way this Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20, with The Showcase, a new two-day curtain raiser. With the fixture moving to Friday and Saturday, and a massive increase in prize-money, the racing looks set to be extremely competitive.
GROUND CURRENTLY GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES - RAIN EXPECTED
The ground on both the chase and hurdle courses is good, good to firm in places, although Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse is expecting rain to arrive.
He said: “We have stopped watering because we are expecting between half-an-inch and an inch of rain on Tuesday afternoon.
“If the rain doesn’t materialise, we’ll start watering again.
“We are aiming to produce good ground for the weekend.”
WADHAM AND HOBBS OUTLINE SHOWCASE PLANS
Saturday’s card opens with the £20,000 Severn Trent Water/WaterAid Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm), run over two miles and five furlongs, and set to be broadcast live on Channel 4.
Newmarket-based trainer Lucy Wadham has two horses entered in the contest, and either Fenix or Eleazar could run depending on the state of the ground.
“One or the other will run, depending on the ground. If it’s good or quicker, it will be Eleazar, otherwise it will be Fenix,” Wadham explained.
Fenix has been a consistent performer for his connections, running with credit in several top-level handicap hurdles over the last few seasons. In 2006, he finished third in the Listed Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Sandown, and won a valuable event at Fontwell in November that year.
Wadham continued: “He cracked his pelvis at Fontwell, when he finished second behind Take A Mile (on December 23, 2006) and has been off the course since. He’s in great form now, although he always needs his first run. He’s also on a career-high mark.”
The eight-year-old is also entered in the Cheltenham Business Club Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle on the same card, but his participation is reliant on the ground:
“He has run on good ground before at the back end of the season, but we wouldn’t run him on fast ground at the start of a campaign. He has also never run at Cheltenham,” Wadham added.
Eleazar is a progressive six-year-old, and the gelding enjoyed a recent run at Market Rasen, when he finished a close third in the £50,000 bluesquare.com Handicap Hurdle on September 29.
“I thought he ran very well first time out, and he’s in good form. He ran at Cheltenham last year in the Letheby & Christopher Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (at The Open) on sticky ground, and he hated it. The ground it the key for him, as he needs it good,” Wadham commented.
The two mile, five furlong £20,000 Severn Trent Water/WaterAid Handicap Hurdle is the first race on Saturday’s quality card. Opposing either Fenix or Eleazar could be a number of high-quality runners, with 26 entered at the five-day stage.
Ungaro could revert back to hurdles, having proved an exceptional jumper over the larger obstacles. A winner of the Grade One Feltham Novices Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day last season, Keith Reveley’s talented eight-year-old finished sixth in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at The Festival on March 14.
Paul Nicholls could run Supreme Huntress, and the progressive Ofarel D’Airy, who won a novice chase at Cheltenham on April 19. Ostfanni, fifth in the Pertemps Final at The Festival on March 15 is also entered, as is Peter Bowen’s talented Decisive.
The second race on Saturday is the £12,500 Lady Angela Rooker Memorial Beginners’ Chase (2.55pm), run over an extended two and a half miles. Over The Creek, who finished tenth in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle here in March, could make his seasonal reappearance in the race. Crack hurdlers Self Defense and Tidal Bay, who was second in the Ballymore Properties Novice Hurdle at The Festival in 2007, could make their chasing debuts in the same race.
The day’s feature contest, the £50,000 Pyments Quantity Surveyors Handicap Chase (3.30pm), also run over an extended two and a half miles, is the third race on the card and will also be broadcast live on Channel 4. David Pipe could run Comply Or Die, who has been off the track for nearly two years, and Bannow Strand.
Somerset handler Philip Hobbs has four runners entered in the race, and his plans will revolve around the state of the ground.
He said: “Private Be would be my most likely runner with the forecast ground. He’s very talented, despite showing some wayward tendencies. Tamango would face a stiff task, being a 10-year-old with a career-high handicap mark. ”
“Petitjean probably won’t run with the projected ground, and Templer is not qualified.”
Private Be won on his last start, in a novice chase at Aintree on April 14, and the eight-year-old could be aimed at the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 17.
The £10,000 Lemington Novices Hurdle (4.05pm), could see the progressive David Pipe-trained El Bandindos bid for a hat-trick, having won twice in handicap company. Otto Des Pictons, a 17 length winner at Ayr on his last outing, is a possible starter for champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
The fifth race is the two-mile £10,000 Cheltenham Business Club Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (4.40pm). Last year’s winner O’Toole could bid for a repeat success for Philip Hobbs, while the in-form James Lambe may send over Torrid Kentavr from his County Tyrone base.
The £20,000 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Novices’ Chase (5.15pm), run over an extended three miles, looks set to have a strong line-up. Paul Nicholls’ Blu Teen had a pipe-opener at Market Rasen recently, while David Pipe’s Thirty Five Black could make his chase debut. The consistent Minella Tipperary could line up for Philip Hobbs.
The final race of the day is the £6,000 Cheltenham Racing Ltd Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.50pm) run over an extended two miles. Local trainer Jonjo O’Neill could run one or more of his three new recruits, Cruchain, I’m The Decider and Piamontini, while Irish handler Charlie Swan could send over Forty Foot, a winner on his only start at Roscommon.
The Showcase is so named because the meeting is designed to involve racegoers in the wider aspects of the sport.
Hurdler’s Hall, near the paddock, will be transformed into an exhibition of every conceivable aspect of Jump racing - including breeding, owning, training and caring for horses.
There will be a chance for racegoers to try their skill as a commentator or weigh in like a jockey.
Throughout each afternoon, a trail around the course will encourage racegoers to go to places that are normally off-limits such as going to the start, having the chance to judge the best-turned out horse and making a presentation.
Cheltenham will show Premiership football on certain televisions at the course on Saturday, October 20. The Everton versus Liverpool game can be watched from 12.45pm in the Istabraq Bar in Tattersalls and the Desert Orchid Bar in the Best Mate enclosure.
The Aston Villa v Manchester United match will be shown from 5.15pm on the big screen in the Centaur, working around the last race (5.45pm), and continuing until it finishes at 7pm.
The Centaur bars will remain open until 7pm.
POWELL BIDS FOR REPEAT VICTORY WITH MANDINGO CHIEF
The new jump season at Wetherby gets underway tomorrow, Wednesday, October 17, with a competitive seven-race card, and trainer Brendan Powell is hoping to land the feature contest, the £10,000 skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase (3.45pm), for the second year running with Mandingo Chief.
The eight-year-old gelding subsequently lost his way after a fall at Sandown in April but after a two-month break, returned to the track with a fine second over hurdles at Uttoxeter on September 23, finishing a length and a quarter behind the progressive Pigeon Island, and connections are hoping for a bold run at Wetherby.
The Lambourn handler said today: “Mandingo Chief is in good form. He had a wind operation at the end of last season and came back and ran a cracker over hurdles at Uttoxeter, when he was beaten by a nice horse of Nigel Twiston-Davies’s.
“He’s not really a hurdler but we wanted to see if the operation worked, and it appears to have been a success. It also protects his mark for this race. The owner lives locally to Wetherby and wanted to try and win the skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase for the second successive year.
“We know he likes the track and he enjoys quick ground. Mandingo Chief would not have been completely wound up for his run last time, his first after the operation, so it was a pleasing effort.
“Sam Jones takes off 5lb and gets on really well with the horse. Sam is a good young lad and a lovely rider who is improving all the time. I am hopeful of a good run.”
Mandingo Chief faces nine rivals in the skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase, including Arctic Ghost, who looked a young chaser on the upgrade when scoring at Wetherby in April, and evergreen 12-year-old Scots Grey, a winner over hurdles at Uttoxeter last month.
Wetherby’s opening fixture of the 2007/08 season is Spinal Research Charity Day (first race 2.10pm) and will see the first use of the newly realigned course, following redevelopment work necessitated by the widening of the A1 Motorway.
In addition, racegoers at Wetherby on Wednesday, October 17, will be the first to glimpse the new Bramham Hall racing, banqueting and conferencing facility. The £1.4 million construction replaces the previous Bramham Stand public facilities and will be officially opened by David Thorpe, Chairman of the Racecourse Association, at 11.45am.
James Sanderson, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at Wetherby Racecourse, said: “We are really looking forward to the new jumping season at Wetherby and Spinal Research Charity Day, now in its 17th year, is a fantastic event and a great way to kick off proceedings.
“The going is currently good to firm and should ride well. We are not expecting any rain and there is a really good covering of grass on the track.”