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Saturday, January 5, 2002


Lingfield and Southwell (in place of Wolverhampton) race today with all-weather Flat cards but no jump action is taking place with for fixtures off due to frozen tracks.


There is no Value Betting Column today because of the demise of jump racing.


All badges and tickets for Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup day, Thursday, March 14, 2002, have now sold out.

Badges and tickets for all enclosures, Club-£60, Tattersalls-£30 & Courage Best-£15, on the first two days of the National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 12, 2002, and Wednesday, March 13, 2002, are currently still available.

The Festival is "all-ticket" and booking at the earliest opportunity is advised to avoid disappointment.

The easiest way to book tickets is to phone 01242 226226 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and pay by Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Switch.

Edward Gillespie, Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said today, "With over nine weeks to go to the 2002 National Hunt Festival, we are delighted that there has been such strong demand for Gold Cup Day.

"Those who have yet to book for the other two days of the National Hunt Festival are urged to do so soon."


Two competitions - one open, the other <26

£10,000 in prizes

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its awards and to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Martin Wills (an amateur jockey, point-to-point rider, racing enthusiast and journalist who died in April, 1992, aged 39), the Martin Wills Memorial Trust, a UK registered charity, is announcing its biggest ever awards in 2002, with prize money totalling £10,000.

Not only will there be a competition open to those under 26, as in other years, with an increase in the already substantial prize money, but there will also be a one-off award open to all ages, including journalists in the national and racing press (who are excluded from the under 26 competition). In both cases, entrants must be resident in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland.

Both competitions will be for journalistic articles (fact or fiction) on, or with background in, any aspect of horseracing, with particular importance attached to originality, use of language and entertainment. Articles on racing politics/the future of racing are unlikely to be well received.

Both awards will be announced and presented at Newmarket on 17 April 2002 (Free Handicap and Earl of Sefton Stakes day at the Craven Meeting), at a reception in a private luncheon room made available through the generosity of the Racecourse.


Those aged under 26 at 1 January 2002 (other than employees of the national and racing press and previous winners in their category, who are not eligible) are invited to submit a single typewritten article of under 1,000 words (which must not be published prior to the announcement of the winners of the awards) by 28 February 2002 to the Trustees, Martin Wills Memorial Trust, Henley Knapp Barn, Fulwell, Chipping Norton, Oxon (fax: 01608-678 052) or by e-mail to willsct@ukonline.co.uk. A detailed knowledge of racing is not essential. Name, date of birth, address and telephone number should be stated. No correspondence will be entered into, entries will not be returned and the judges’ decision is final.

The prizes will be £2,000 to the winner and £1,250 to the runner-up, with £750 for the best other entry from someone aged under 19 at 1 January 2002. In addition, the winning article will be published in the Racing Post and Irish Field, and the winner will retain for a year a bronze trophy of two galloping horses by the talented animal sculptress, Gill Wiles.

On 17 April 2002, those successful will additionally be given a tour of two leading stables and an expenses paid day’s racing.

This year’s five judges are: John Oaksey of The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 Racing (Chairman); Claude Duval, racing correspondent of The Sun since 1969 and The Horserace Writers’ Association Journalist of the Year in 1998; Jonathan Powell of the Mail on Sunday and BBC Racing; Robert Hall of RTE; and Catherine Wills, art historian sister of Martin Wills.

The 2001 under 26 competition was won by Chris O’Brien, 20, from Stansted, Essex, who was in his third and last year reading Latin and Management at Leeds University, with Jason Devoy, 25, from Hendon, London NW4, who is a graduate of Warwick University in Comparative American Studies, as runner-up. The 2001 under 19 prize was won by Joanne Bott, 18, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, who was in her first year reading Law at Leicester University.


A single typewritten or printed article of over 1,500 and under 5,000 words, which may not have been published before 1 January 2001, should be submitted by 28 February 2002 to the Trustees, Martin Wills Memorial Trust, Henley Knapp Barn, Fulwell, Chipping Norton, Oxon (fax: 01608-678052 or by e-mail to willsct@ukonline.co.uk). Name, address and telephone number should be stated. No correspondence will be entered into, entries will not be returned and the judges’ decision is final.

The prizes will be £4,000 to the winner (to include the value of a trophy) - perhaps the UK’s and Ireland’s biggest-ever prize for racing journalism - and £2,000 to the runner-up.

The five judges are: John Oaksey of The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 Racing (Chairman); Michael Harris, Chief Executive of The Racehorse Owners’ Association and formerly Chief Executive and Editor of the Racing Post and Editor of Pacemaker; Valentine Lamb, Editor of the Irish Field; Chris Brasher, Olympic Gold Medallist in 1956, Sports Writer of the Year in 1968, Founder of the London Marathon in 1981 and racehorse owner; and Catherine Wills, art historian sister of Martin Wills.


Group One race on all five days of Royal Ascot 2002

Prize money tops £3 million with two new Listed races

Following the announcement that the 2002 Royal Meeting has been extended to five days to celebrate The Queen's Golden Jubilee, Ascot Racecourse is pleased to announce that the Golden Jubilee Stakes, formerly the Cork and Orrery, has been promoted to Group One Status.

There will now be a Group One race on all five days of the Royal Meeting and the Golden Jubilee Stakes, which becomes the first top flight sprint of the European Flat racing season, forms the centerpiece of Saturday's card.

In keeping with its new status, prize money on offer for The Golden Jubilee Stakes has more than doubled to £250,000 and the total prize fund over the five days this year tops £3 million for the first time.

Total prize money at last year's Royal Meeting was £2,578,500 and this year the figure has soared to £3,041,000 with the enhanced five day card now including two additional Listed events.

In 2002 only, the Saturday card will open with The Henry Carnarvon Stakes, a £40,000 Listed race for two-year-old fillies, honouring The Queen's late Racing Manager. The Friday programme will begin with The Wolferton Stakes, a ten furlong Listed Handicap worth £50,000.

The remaining additional races for Royal Ascot 2002 are The Balmoral Stakes (5F Handicap, Tuesday), The Hampton Court Stakes (10F Listed, Thursday), The Buckingham Palace Stakes (7F Handicap, Friday) and The Sandringham Stakes (One Mile Handicap, Saturday).

In 2003, the six Jubilee races will be replaced with the regular Heath Day card on Saturday and the running order for the Royal Meeting will revert to normal. The Golden Jubilee Stakes will remain the permanent name for what was the Cork & Orrery Stakes, however, and will continue to be run as a Group One race when it returns to its Thursday slot.

"We have always had Group One races between a mile and two-and-a-half miles at the Royal Meeting so being able to stage a championship sprint as well is a tremendous boost and completes the portfolio," said Nick Cheyne, Clerk of the Course at Ascot.

"Some of the six additional races at this year's meeting take the roots of the existing Saturday card, such as the Sandringham (registered as the Fern Hill) and the Hampton Court (registered as the New Stakes), and have been enhanced in terms of status and value. However, two races are Listed for the first time and the 7f Buckingham Palace Stakes is completely new. This programme provides a full range of opportunities for owners and trainers."

The King Edward VII Stakes reverts to its Friday slot, having been provisionally moved to Saturday, following advice from the Irish Turf Club that its original position is preferable with regards to the Irish Derby. The Hardwicke Stakes will now be run on Saturday.

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