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Monday, October 13, 2008



TRAFFIC GUARD PRIMED FOR NEW APPROACH REMATCH

ASHRAM BIDS FOR GROUP ONE GLORY IN THE DARLEY DEWHURST STAKES




Trainer Jane Chapple Hyam is “quietly confident” that Traffic Guard can turn the tables on Derby winner New Approach and land a first Group One triumph in the £427,500 Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (3.10pm) at Newmarket on Saturday, October 18.


Newmarket’s end of season showpiece, one of seven tremendous races on Champions’ Day at The NatWest Rowley Mile Course, has 12 acceptors at the five-day stage, including the Andre Fabre-trained Russian Cross and Upton Grey, trained by John Gosden, each supplemented at a cost of £30,000.

Traffic Guard and New Approach renew rivalry having clashed in the Group One Irish Champion Stakes over the same 10-furlong distance at Leopardstown on September 7. Traffic Guard, overpriced at 50/1 that day, closed to within half a length of the Jim Bolger-trained New Approach at the line.

Chapple-Hyam revealed today: “On his home work, we expected Traffic Guard to run a big race last time. I wouldn’t have thrown him in at the deep end in Ireland if I didn’t think that he would have been in the first three and he justified that. He’s a good horse so he’s worthy of taking his place in the Emirates Airlines Champion Stakes.


“The horse is in good order and this time we don’t have the long journey over to Ireland, it’s just up the road. Traffic Guard is probably a little bit of an underdog but I’m going into the race quietly confident.


“He’s working well and I’m happy. He goes on any ground and he looks great, he really looks fantastic at the moment.”




Traffic Guard, owned by Fitri Hay and runner-up behind Asiatic Boy in the 2007 Group Three UAE 2,000 Guineas in Dubai, switched to Chapple-Hyam’s stable in the spring and immediately showed improvement when a head second to Phoenix Tower in the Group Three Weatherbys Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket in April.


A trip to the Far-East in May for the Group One Singapore Airlines International Cup, in which Traffic Guard was 10th, proved to be the colt’s only disappointment so far this term but he bounced back with a career best effort at Leopardstown.

Chapple-Hyam continued: “It was definitely the travelling and the humidity out there in Singapore that caused him to perform below par. He didn’t acclimatise to it.

“It would be great for the horse to break his Group race duck in a Group One on Saturday and I’ve never won one either. We’ll try and bag the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes and then see what the owner would like to do. There are still plenty of international races and it could be that they want to target Dubai but we’ll sit down and discuss that after the race.”

New Approach, owned by Princess Haya of Jordan, could be joined in the field by the same owner’s Upton Grey. The latter is likely to be deployed as a pacemaker for the Derby winner, who was crowned champion two-year-old last year following victory in the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes.


Gosden could also run last season’s totesport.com Cambridgeshire winner Pipedreamer, who captured the Group Two Sky Bet Stakes at York in August and is twice Group One placed.


Russian Cross, victorious in the Group Two Prix Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville in August was runner-up in the Prix du Prince d’Orange at Longchamp on September 20. The colt bids to give Fabre his third success in the Emirates Airlines Champion Stakes following Tel Quel (1991) and Dernier Empereur (1994).


French-trained runners are bidding for a hat-trick after the successes of Pride (2006) and Literato (2007) and the other cross-channel raider in the field is last season’s Group One Criterium de Saint Cloud winner Full Of Gold trained by Criquette Head-Maarek who also took the race in 1993 with the brilliant filly Hatoof.


Group One Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Famous Name, trained by Dermot Weld is one of three Irish-trained horses, the others being New Approach and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Group Three winner Hebridean.


Globetrotting Group One winner Linngari represents trainer Sir Michael Stoute, while Twice Over bids to give trainer Henry Cecil a third victory following on from Indian Skimmer (1988) and Bosra Sham (1996).


The Brian Meehan-trained City Leader, winner of the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot last term is also set to take his chance, as is Staying On, trained by Walter Swinburn who won the race as a jockey atop Hatoof.



ASHRAM ONE OF 24 GOING FORWARD FOR DARLEY DEWHURST STAKES

Ashram was an impressive winner at Newmarket on October 2 and trainer John Hills is looking forward to pitching his charge into Group One company for the £287,750 Darley Dewhurst Stakes (2.35pm) over seven furlongs.


The Indian Haven colt blitzed his rivals with a four and a half-length victory in the Group Three Somerville Tattersall Stakes over the Darley Dewhurst Stakes course and distance on October 2.


Hills revealed today: “Ashram did well and he showed a good turn of foot coming from last to first, like he had on his first run. We were really pleased with him and he’s a horse that is growing up.

“He’s a lovely horse and we’re thrilled to be heading towards a Group One race with him. We’re looking forward to it.


“He won on the soft side of good when he won his maiden on the July Course and it was quick last time. If the ground is good or on the fast side, marvellous, if it’s on the slow side I think he’ll be okay. My only enemy would be if it was on the slow side, then we’d be in the realms of the unknown but I think we’d be unlucky if that happens.


Champion jockey elect Ryan Moore piloted Ashram to his Somerville Tattersall Stakes victory and Hills is hoping that the rider ill be available again.


“Ryan will ride if he’s available and if not, we’ll look for the best available. The situation is that Sir Michael Stoute has one horse in the race and he’ll be making a decision later in the week, so I imagine Ryan would ride that if it runs.”

The prestigious contest, a race that often decides champion two-year-old honours, has 24 contenders at the five-day stage, including 11 challengers from Ireland.


Jim Bolger, winner of the past two renewals with Teofilo (2006) and New Approach (2007), could run Intense Focus and Gan Amhras.


Aidan O’Brien has eight going forward, including current StanJamesUK.com 2000 Guineas favourite Rip Van Winkle, Group Two Champagne Stakes winner Westphalia, Masterofthehorse and Indian Ocean.


The David Wachman-trained Bushranger landed the Group One Shadwell Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket last time and could again face the John Gosden-trained Huntdown, who was third in that race and has been supplemented for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at a cost of £20,000.


The Karl Burke-trained Lord Shanakill won the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, while Shaweel, trained by Mark Johnston, triumphed in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes staged at the same course.




Group Three winner Soul City gave trainer Richard Hannon a lucrative success in the Goffs Million last time and Sir Michael Stoute could run Glass Harmonium, while Marcus Tregoning may rely on Group Three victor Finjaan.


Brian Meehan has four engaged, Delegator, Nasri, Galpin Junior and impressive Newmarket maiden winner Ra Junior.

Champions’ Day commences with the £100,000 Group Two Victor Chandler Challenge Stakes (2.05pm) and also features the £160,000 totesport.com Cesarewitch (3.50pm), the £80,000 Group Two Countrywide Steel & Tubes Rockfel Stakes (4.25pm), the inaugural running of the £100,000 Group Two Pride Stakes (5pm) and the £65,000 Jockey Club Cup (5.35pm).


Newmarket’s fantastic two-day meeting kicks off on Friday with a quality eight-race card that features the Group Three Georgia House Stud Darley Stakes (3.10pm). Windsor Knot, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, won the nine-furlong race last year, having finished runner-up to the same trainer’s Stage Gift in 2006.


Friday also features a pair of exciting Listed races, the £44,000 Lanwades Stud Severals Stakes (3.45pm) over 10 furlongs and the £44,000 EBF National Stud Boadicea Fillies’ Stakes over six furlongs (4.20pm).


GAMBLE NEN SHORTENS AGAIN FOR CESAREWITCH

Totesport Cesarewitch gamble Gee Den Nen is 8/1 from 9/1 with the sponsors following today's five-day declarations.


Spokesman Damian Walker said: "There has been huge confidence behind Gee Dee Nen and his price has halved in the past week making him a big loser in our ante-post book.


"Gee Dee Nen has not run since scoring 70 days ago at the Shergar Cup meeting for Mark Tompkins, but the money we have seen for him suggests new trainer Jim Best has the gelding in top form for the biggest race of Gee Dee Nen's career.


"Ante-post favourite Askar Tau has won his turf races on good ground or faster and his supporters will be pleased to see he should get his ideal going on Saturday.


"He is incredibly short at 7/2 but has rock-solid credentials after hacking up last time by five lengths at Great Leighs and has just a 4lb penalty to carry for that win."



TURNELL AIMING BIBLE LORD AT SHOWCASE GLORY




Meeting - The Showcase, Cheltenham Racecourse
Dates - Friday, October 17 & Saturday, October 18
First race - 2.20pm (both days)
Going - Currently good (watering as necessary to maintain)
Admission prices - Club/Tattersalls from £18. Best Mate from £9. Accompanied children under 16 admitted FREE to all enclosures. FREE car parking. Tickets available from www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 08445 793 003.


Trainer Andy Turnell is looking forward to seeing Bible Lord make a return to Cheltenham in the £50,000 Dick Francis “Silks” Handicap Chase (3.25pm), highlight of the second day of The Showcase on Saturday, October 18.

The seven-year-old gelding proved himself as a top-quality chaser in his second campaign over fences last season and finished fourth behind Mister McGoldrick over the same extended two and a half mile course in the Grade Three Racing Post Plate at The Festival on March 13.

Turnell has been pleased with the son of Mister Lord’s progress throughout the summer and sees Saturday’s contest as an ideal preparation for the £150,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, run at The Open on Saturday, November 15.


The Broad Hinton-based trainer commented: “We’ve entered Bible Lord in the Dick Francis “Silks” Handicap Chase and the plan is to let him take his chance. We’ve got to start his season off somewhere and this race looks to be a good option.


“He’s pretty well on in his preparation. He was in quite early this year and there’s nothing more I can do with him at home so I am keen to get a race into him. Hopefully, he can run well and then we can think about the Paddy Power Gold Cup, which is the plan at the moment.


“Last season he needed a couple of runs to get up to full fitness so hopefully he can be spot on for The Open in November.


“I have always thought a fair bit of him but I suppose he disappointed me a little bit last season. He made a few jumping errors in the Racing Post Plate and I thought he was going as well as anything bar the winner turning into the straight but just didn’t quicken up the hill.


“It was a similar thing at Aintree on his latest start, when he made a couple of mistakes and didn’t really get home over three miles and a furlong.


“He’s a big backward baby of a horse but I hope that he has matured mentally over the summer. He’s willing enough but he just seems a bit clumsy at times - he’s still got a good jump in him and I think he will come on alright this season.


“He’s got improvement in him and I am hopeful that he can get his season underway with a good run on Saturday.”

Bible Lord looks set to face some tough opposition in the Dick Francis “Silks” Handicap, for which a total of 26 horses have been entered. Nigel Twiston-Davies, successful in this race last year with Knowhere, could be represented by Fundamentalist, who finished in front of Bible Lord when third in the Racing Post Plate, and the seventh from that race Patman du Charmil, who was also third in last season’s Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup at The Boylesports International.


2004 Paddy Power Gold Cup victor Celestial Gold could take his chance for owner David Johnson and trainer David Pipe, while Fier Normand, runner-up in a Grade Two Intermediate Chase at Ascot on his latest start in November, 2007, may make his seasonal reappearance in the race for the Jonjo O’Neill stable.

Nation State could return to Cheltenham, having triumphed on his latest start in the Messier-Dowty Landing Gear Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at the April meeting, and he could reoppose the second and fifth from that race, Sir Bathwick and Gold Medallist, while Nicky Henderson could let chaser Copsale Lad use the race as a warm up for another tilt at the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Lord Ryeford, fourth in this contest last year, is another possible starter.

Saturday’s seven-raced card starts off with the £20,000 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars "Help For Heroes" Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm), for which 34 have been entered, including the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Pacha d’Oudairies and Simondium.


The £22,000 University Of Gloucestershire Novices' Chase (2.50pm) has attracted 22 entries and could see last season’s Grade Three Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle third French Saulaie continue his education over the larger obstacles against the likes of Poquelin, Predatueur, Tatenen, The Package and I’msingingtheblues, who took the Grade Two Anglo Irish Bank Private Banking Novices' Hurdle at The Open last year.

Nicky Henderson is aiming to win the race named after his former stable jockey, the £10,000 Mick Fitzgerald Novices’ Hurdle (4.00pm), with Prince du Beury and You And I among the 24 entries, while the Seven Barrows handler has Prince du Beury, French Opera and Bonchester Bridge among the 42 entered for the £10,000 The Cheltenham Business Club Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (4.35pm).


Following on from the success of Joe Lively last year, Colin Tizzard could bid for a repeat success in the £22,000 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Novices' Chase (5.10pm) courtesy of Flight Leader, but the Supreme Leader gelding, eighth in last season’s Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle, could face stiff competition from a strong entry of 21, which includes Ballyfitz, successful in last season’s Pertemps Final at The Festival, and Big Fella Thanks.

The final race on the card is the £6,000 Betfair Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.45pm), for which 35 have been entered. Last year’s winner Oberon Moon, subsequently triumphed in the Endsleigh Insurance Novices’ Handicap Hurdle for Paul Nicholls at Cheltenham’s April meeting, and the champion trainer could this year run Bobby On The Beat and Vico.

The highlight of Friday’s seven-race card is the £30,000 IG Index Handicap Chase (4.05pm), which has attracted a total of 21 entries. Nigel Twiston-Davies could be represented by last season’s winner Ardaghey and Fundamentalist, while Colin Tizzard may run Joe Lively, who won the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Novices’ Chase at The Showcase last season, before returning to Cheltenham to finish sixth in the Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase in March.


The extended three-mile contest could also see 2007 Scottish Grand National third Parson’s Legacy make his seasonal reappearance alongside Cornish Sett, who chased home Sir Rembrandt in the Grade Three Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Chase at The Open last year, while Burntoakboy, successful over hurdles in the 2007 Grade Three Coral Cup, could also make his first start since April.


A total of 25 horses have been entered for the £25,000 Jewson Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (3.30pm), run over an extended two miles. The weights are headed by the David Pipe-trained Leo’s Lucky Star, who completed a hat-trick of wins with a facile 10-length success in a Sedgefield qualifier at the start of September. Other notable entries include the Charlie Egerton-trained Shore Thing, a winner of three of his last four starts, Donaldson, a Group One scorer on the Flat in Germany, and Font, representing the all-conquering stable of Paul Nicholls.


The Showcase gives members of the public the chance to get more involved in different aspects of racing. Prior to racing, racegoers can visit the parade ring and the weighing room and even win the chance to judge the Best Turned Out horse in a race, watch a race as an owner or make a trophy presentation. The Showcase Exhibition brings together information about breeding, owning, training, riding and caring for horses in their retirement, plus demonstrations covering aspects as diverse as how a horse is saddled and how a fence is built.


GOING
The going at Cheltenham is currently GOOD, with a going stick reading of 7.7. The outlook for the rest of the week is unsettled, with the chance of some rain. The course will be watered as necessary to maintain good ground.


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