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Tuesday, January 29, 2002


ISTABRAQ A GIVE-AWAY IN THE CHAMPION HURDLE


William Hill have knocked out Istabraq to 9-4 for the Smurfit Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 12 and have trimmed Valiramix, Landing Light and Ned Kelly (who attracted a bet of £2,000 at 6-1 today) for the hurdling crown.

David Hood, Head Of Public Relations at Hills said: “It is inconceivable with only six weeks to the Festival that we can not give away Istabraq. It is the first time in four years that he has been a winner in our ante-post book, but quite simply no one wants to be with the him.

“Perhaps he didn't look at his best at Leopardstown over Christmas and missing Sundays Irish Champion Hurdle hasn't helped, but he is so easy to back you could be forgiven for thinking the wheels have fallen off. In contrast we are laying plenty of those behind him so he continues to drift.”

2002 SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE: 9-4 Istabraq (from 15-8), 11-4 Valiramix (from 3), 9-2 Landing Light (from 5), Ned Kelly (from 6), 14-1 Marble Arch, 16-1 Bilboa, 20-1 Azertyuiop, Hors La Loi III, 25-1 Ansar, Westender, 33-1 Geos, Grimes, 40-1 Regal Exit, (Others Upon Application)

2002 IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE: 4-1 Barton, Seebald, 6-1 Moscow Flyer, 7-1 Fondmort, 12-1 Armaturk, Blue Royal, Royal Auclair, Youllneverwalkalone, 14-1 Assessed, 16-1 Asador, Colonel Braxton, Europa, Il Athou, Mr Cool, 20-1 Bounce Back, Grimes, Hit And Run, St Pirran, Truckers Tavern, 25-1 BAR

2002 QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE: 11-4 Edredon Bleu, 10-3 Flagship Uberalles, 8-1 Fadalko, 8-1 Native Upmanship, 10-1 Knife Edge, 14-1 Latalomne, Tuitchev, 16-1 Direct Route, Turgeonev, Wahiba Sands, 33-1 Bellator, Commanche Court, Exit Swinger, Exit To Wave, Ilnamar, Tresor de Mai, 40-1 Cenkos, Eskleybrook, 50-1 Red Ark, (Others Upon Application)

2002 BONUSPRINT STAYERS HURDLE: Evs Barracuda, 5-1 Bannow Bay (from 6), Jair du Cochet (from 6), 7-1 Limestone Lad (from 11-2), 10-1 Liss A Paoraigh, 14-1 Brother Joe, Magnus, 20-1 Deano's Beano, It Takes Time, Rodock, Telemoss, 25-1 BAR

2002 TOTE GOLD CUP: 5-1 Looks Like Trouble, 6-1 Best Mate, 10-1 Bacchanal, Behrajan, Florida Pearl, Sackville, Shooting Light, 12-1 Lord Noelie, Marlborough, 14-1 Rinci Ri, 20-1 Alexander Banquet, Foxchapel King, Whats Up Boys, 25-1Cyfor Malta, 33-1 Legal Right (from 25), Shotgun Willy (from 25), 40-1 Ad Hoc, Commanche Court, Go Ballistic, Kingsmark, See More Business, Sleeping Night, 50-1 Banker Count, Ikrenal Royal, Red Striker, Stormyfairweather, Toto Toscato, (Other Upon Application)

2002 JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE: 12-1 Prizeman, 14-1 Burning Impulse, Vol Solitaire, 16-1 Sud Bleu, Tempo D'or, 20-1 Heezapistol, Quazar, Turtleback, 25-1 Find The King, Le Roi Miguel, Newhall, Scolardy, Sonevafushi, Tender Cove, 33-1 BAR (Others Upon Application) (40-1Dubai Seven Stars (from 66)

2002 MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL: 14-1 Moor Lane (from 16), Supreme Glory, 20-1 Behrajan, Papillon, Rinci Ri, Smarty, 25-1 Ad Hoc, Alexander Banquet, Beau, Bindaree, Blowing Wind, Davids Lad, Florida Pearl, Hati Roy, Kingsmark, Legal Right, Lyreen Wonder, Marlborough, Mely Moss, Paris Pike, Red Striker, Sheltering, Whats Up Boys, 33-1 BAR

THE LINCOLN HANDICAP: 12-1 The Judge, 16-1 Atlantic Ace, Faithful Warrior, Highland Reel, Midshipman, Nimello (from 20), Smirk, 20-1 Attache, Banjo Bay, Danelor, Duke Of Modena, I Cried For You, Island Light, Lord Protector, Mutawaqed, Nose The Trade, One More Round, Pietro Siena, Pulau Tioman, Putra Pekan, Scotty's Future, Thihn, 25-1 BAR


LEVY SETTLED


The 41st and final Levy scheme was settled by the government today.


In reply to a parliamentary question, Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this afternoon told Parliament that the Levy scheme - which comes into effect from April 1 - will be based upon an average payment of around nine per cent of bookmakers' gross profits from horseracing.


It is anticipated that this would provide a total yield of between ££90million and ££105million.


Jowell said: “This scheme should enable both the betting and racing industries as well as punters themselves to share in the benefits from the new tax regime; and enable the Levy Board to meet its own liabilities.


“I understand that the racing industry may be disappointed that I have decided to introduce a gross profits levy.


“But this is wholly consistent with the Government's introduction of a gross profits betting tax and is the fairest and most reliable indication of the bookmakers' capacity to pay.”




Response by Robert Hughes, Chairman of the Levy Board,
To the Determination of the Forty-First Levy Scheme by
The Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport


“I welcome today’s announcement by the Secretary of State that she will determine a Levy Scheme for 2002/03 that is likely to yield around £90m to £105m. This is in line with the advice given to her by me and my independent colleagues on the Levy Board. It will give Racing a fair share of the financial benefit to the Bookmaking industry and to punters arising from the Government’s decision to abolish Betting Duty and introduce a Gross Profits Tax with effect from October 6, 2001.


“There are likely to be several detailed aspects of the determined Levy Scheme that will require clarification with officials of the DCMS and the Bookmakers’ Committee. I am confident that the necessary discussions to achieve this can be held over the next few weeks so that the Levy Board can promulgate the Scheme in good time before April 1, 2002.


“These discussions will also be an opportunity to try and facilitate the agreement between Racing and Bookmaking of the commercial arrangements which should succeed the Forty-First Scheme.


“Failure to reach an early agreement could see a considerable decline in horserace betting, post May 1, with a consequent knock-on effect on the Levy and damaging consequences for the funding of racing. The irony is that, on the evidence of the negotiations which took place on both the Levy and (betting shop) picture rights in October, a negotiated settlement is achievable. Let me, therefore, make some positive proposals which might help move things forward.


“Firstly, both sides should accept the Secretary of State’s announced determination with good grace and without legal challenge. Secondly, they should recognise that there is a degree of equivalence to a payment for data rights. After all, the BHB’s demands of 1.5% of turnover are very similar to the Levy rate of 1.52% under this year’s Company Scheme. Thirdly, sort out the issue of picture rights, on a short term basis if necessary. In the final hours of the Levy negotiations last year, the Chairman of the BHB put a proposal on the table which indicated that there was significant flexibility in his negotiating position. I believe that a commercial deal is still possible in the coming weeks.


“With the Secretary of State’s determination, there is a window of opportunity to sort out all the contentious issues which divide racing and bookmaking without resorting to “m’learned friends”. Fortuitously, while it remains in existence, the Levy will fill the gap, with the added benefit of VAT-free payments for bookmakers and Capital Credits for the racecourses. As the law now stands, bookmakers are going to have to sign up for the BHB’s data rights if they want to use them and the BHB has already given an undertaking that, without prejudice, levy payments will be offset against the commercial price due.


“What we need is a sensible solution acceptable to both sides. Litigation is no substitute for negotiation.”


ROA COUNCIL REACTION TO 41ST LEVY DETERMINATION


The Racehorse Owners Association Council today commented on the Secretary of State's determination of the 41st Horserace Betting Levy Scheme.


The ROA President, Jim Furlong, said: "In deciding on a gross profits based levy, the Minister is encouraging bookmakers to use the next 12 months to promote non horseracing products at racing's expense, upon which they will not be paying 9% of gross profits.


"This calls into question the projected yield of £90-105 million in 2002/3 which are based on betting industry forecasts. These projections are at odds with the betting industry's recent public statements on their own experience, post GPT.


"Notwithstanding the decision by the Secretary of State to determine the Levy based upon gross profits, the ROA remains convinced that the commercial terms for the racing industry's pictures and data should be turnover related.

"Owners are fully supportive of the British Horseracing Board's position on the commercial pricing policy for pictures and data. Even with a 2½ per cent charge for pictures and data, owners' cost recovery would only increase from the current 21 per cent to approximately 35 per cent of their total expenditure. Owners' losses are £200 million in the current financial year and the BHB's proposals are the minimum that we believe the industry will find acceptable. Since the owners of British racehorses inevitably fund the shortfall that currently exists, we intend to remain at the forefront of any decisions regarding the financial condition of the racing industry.


"The ROA Council would also like to thank all those members up and down the country who wrote to their MPs to support a Fair Deal for Racing. It is a measure of the depth of feeling regarding the persistent under-funding of racing that our request for members to write to their MPs received such an overwhelming response."




NEW WINCANTON TRIAL FOR
THE NATIONAL HUNT FESTIVAL


Wincanton has adopted new race conditions for its feature novice hurdle on Thursday, February 7, 2002, when an exciting seven-race programme is staged.


The £12,000-added DICK REYNOLDS ‘NATIONAL HUNT’ NOVICES’ HURDLE (2.50pm), over two miles and six furlongs, used to be an auction event but is now open to all novices aged five and upwards who have not run in a Flat race or more than four Irish National Hunt Flat races.


The conditions have been changed to allow novices, being prepared for a crack at the Cheltenham Festival in March, to have their prep race at Wincanton. The maximum penalty is 8lb, which means that previous winners do not have to give much weight away, and, in addition, there is £300 in appearance money for each runner who qualifies for it.


The feature chase is the £15,000-added K J PIKE & SONS RACING IN WESSEX CHASE (3.20pm), over two miles and five furlongs, and two seasons ago was won by the Seamus Mullins-trained The Land Agent, who proved too good for Strong Promise in a thrilling finish. Just over a month later, the runner-up went on to contest the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup in which he ran extremely well to finish third, beaten five lengths, by Looks Like Trouble.


The quality of the K J Pike & Sons Racing In Wessex Chase is also illustrated by the names of some of the past winners - Desert Orchid, Garrison Savannah and Challenger Du Luc, a trio of horses who would not be out of place in a jump racing hall of fame.


The racing action starts at 1.50pm with the EBF / CRANDON PARK MARES ONLY ‘NATIONAL HUNT’ NOVICES’ HURDLE, with the final race at 4.50pm.


Stephen Higgins, Racecourse Manager at Wincanton, commented: “The February 7 fixture at Wincanton should provide plenty more clues for the Cheltenham Festival next month and follows on from our very successful new Saturday raceday on January 19 which saw Looks Like Trouble make a successful comeback.

“The list of past winners of the K J Pike & Sons Racing In Wessex Chase shows that it is a race worth witnessing, while the new conditions of the Dick Reynolds ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle should ensure that a Cheltenham Festival contender comes out on top.”

Admission prices are £15 for the Club Enclosure, £10 for Tattersalls and £5 for the Course Enclosure. Students (with ID) are admitted to Club for £7.50 and Tattersalls for £5, while Juniors (aged 17-22, with ID) can enjoy both the Club and Tattersalls Enclosures for £7.50.

Accompanied children aged 16 and under are admitted FREE to all enclosures, while car and coach parking is also FREE (except for cars going inside the Course Enclosure where there is a £5 charge). Advance bookings can be made by telephoning 01963 32344 or by logging on to wincantonracecourse.co.uk.


Wincanton also races on Thursday, February 21, 2002, and the brilliant card then features the £35,000 AXMINSTER CARPETS HURDLE (registered as the Kingwell Hurdle) and the £25,000-added COUNTRY GENTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION JIM FORD CHASE.


Local trainer Paul Nicholls has already confirmed that the 1999 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup winner See More Business will run in the Country Gentlemen’s Association Jim Ford Chase en route to a possible attempt to win a second Gold Cup.



Dubai World Cup  the Olympic Games of Horse Racing


Representatives from South Africa and Norway are expected to join horses
from at least 18 other countries for the 2002 Dubai World Cup programme, the
world’s richest racemeeting, following the announcement of the second
entries in Dubai on Tuesday night.


The US$6,000,000 Group I Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline,
highlights a night of racing at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday March 23 worth
US$15,250,000 and described by the Dubai World Cup Committee Chairman, Mr
Les Benton, as the “Olympic Games of Horse Racing”.


Three horses from South Africa, INGLESIDE, TRADEMARK and NHLAVINI have been
invited to compete at the Dubai World Cup meeting as has SAGITTARIUS from
Norway and indications are that connections of all four will accept.


These horses were among those nominated at the second entry stage for the
Dubai World Cup meeting, the Committee receiving a total of 1,181 entries
for the seven races, an increase of 12 per cent on the total amount received
in 2001.


“It is very rewarding to see the amount of entries and from where they have
come and our aim for the 2002 Dubai World Cup to be the best ever is a step
closer to being achieved,” Mr Benton said.


“It is phenomenal the interest from around the world that the Dubai World
Cup has generated and this will be the Olympic Games of Horse Racing,” Mr
Benton said.


“We have horses from 25 different countries entered and we envisage that we
will have representatives from at least 20 of them.”

“The number of entries we have received is again up on last year which
proves the increasing popularity of the Dubai World Cup within the
international racing community.”

“There is also a greater number of countries with representatives in the
entries which we are extremely happy about, this means that the word about
the Dubai World Cup continues to spread.”

“There is an increase in the number of horses from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and
Bahrain while South Africa and Norway are new to the Dubai World Cup and we
hope they are the first of many to come and experience this great event.”

“The Dubai World Cup will again set the standard for which other meetings
around the world will strive to reach.”

Ingleside has been accepted to run in the US$2,000,000 Group I Dubai Sheema
Classic, sponsored by Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, Trademark in
the US$2,000,000 Group I Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free,
while Nhlavini is expected to run in the US$2,000,000 Group I Dubai Golden
Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News.


“While we have quantity we also have quality and that will be evident on
March 23,” Mr Benton said, “Already the best horse in the world SAKHEE is
scheduled to run in the Dubai World Cup while the responses we have received
from others around the world suggest this will again be a meeting of sheer
class.”

Already the Dubai World Cup Committee has received positive responses from
the connections of SQUIRTLE SQUIRT, XTRA HEAT and CALLER ONE as well as VAL
ROYALE, JIM AND TONIC, NAYEF, DASH FOR CASH, CAPTAIN RIO and CACIQUE BAR.


“The first three over the line in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, the runaway
winner of a Breeders’ Cup Mile as well as the reigning Dubai Golden Shaheen
and Dubai Duty Free champions are all expected at Nad Al Sheba on March 23,”
Mr Benton said.


“Cacique Bar is the leading sprinter in Brazil, she has won seven out of
eight races and her connections have accepted our invitation for the filly
to run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.”

DASH FOR CASH, an Australian three-year-old and winner last Saturday of the
Group Three Australia Day Vase at Caulfield, will run in the US$1,000,000
Group II Godolphin Mile, sponsored by the Jebel Ali Hotel & Golf Resort.


CAPTAIN RIO, an eighth length winner of the Group II Criterium de
Maisons-Laffitte and crowned as the top sprinting male on the International
Classifications for two-year-olds last year, has accepted the invitation to
run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.


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