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Tuesday, January 27, 2004



CHANGE OF TACTICS AWAITS TOM COSTALOT IN SATURDAY'S SKY BET CHASE AT DONCASTER




Sky Bet offer valuable incentives to stable staff at Doncaster on Friday and Saturday

Susan Nock revealed today that she is "hoping" to run Tom Costalot, for the second year running, in the £50,000 Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday (January 31).


Last year Tom Costalot came sixth to Barryscourt Lad after travelling with the leaders for much of the way in the valuable three-mile handicap chase, carrying10st 8lb.


The nine-year-old chaser was the length runner-up to Waterlaw in a handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and is in good form according to his permit trainer, who has decided to employ different tactics at Doncaster on Saturday.


"Tom Costalot has come out of his Cheltenham race brilliantly - he's absolutely fine," said Nock. "We're going to try and experiment and ride him a bit differently than we did last year when he ran very free.

"He's a devil in deep blue sea, as one has to admit that he doesn't quite get three miles and they're always go too quick for him over two and a half miles. We just think that if we can settle him in and not waste quite so much energy fighting to get up the front that might help."

Tom Costalot, with experience of Aintree's Grand National fences after running in last year's Martell Cognac Topham Chase, has been entered for the 2004 Grand National.


"Personally, I haven't always thought of Tom Costalot as a Grand National type of horse but Mick Fitzgerald and all of the jockeys who have ridden him say he's a Becher Chase/Grand National horse because he hasn't got much speed and his forte is his jumping," declared the trainer.


"I have reservations as last year, when he ran in the Topham, he was nearly brought down at the first and it just took so much out of him trying to catch up. He didn't catch them until he got to Becher's, by which time the petrol was starting to run out a bit.

"He completed the course - he's such a brave, very genuine horse that he'll do his best every time he goes anywhere. I suppose I don't want to ask him too much really so everything really rather depends on how he runs this weekend at Doncaster as to whether we go on with the Grand National in mind."

Tom Costalot has been placed on each of his last two starts, running third to Kelami in a three-mile handicap chase at Kempton four days before his Cheltenham second.

"Tom Costalot seems to be taking his racing very well at the moment. He had those two runs at Kempton and Cheltenham within five days of each other and he's bounced out of both of those," enthused Nock. "If we were going to go to Liverpool [for the Grand National], we would have to have a run in March as well."

Her chaser was allocated 10st 2lb in the Sky Bet Chase weights which were announced today. The top-weight is Lord Noelie on 11st 12lb.

Should Tom Costalot, who has been given a 14/1 quote by the sponsors for the Sky Bet Chase, prevail at the weekend, his groom will be the beneficiary a prize offered by the sponsors.


Dale Tempest, Public Relations Director for Sky Bet, commented today: "Sky Bet are delighted to be sponsoring 12 of the 13 races at Doncaster on Friday and Saturday. For every race, there will be a £100 prize for the best turned-out horse as well as a £100 prize for the winning groom. The groom of the Sky Bet Chase winner will receive £200."

Sky Bet have seen support for both Magical Bailiwick and Rodalko in the Sky Bet Chase, with them both shortening to 5/1 joint favourites (from 11/2 and 13/2 respectively). Magical Bailiwick, who is after a five-timer, has been given 10st 3lb while Rodalko, seeking a fourth victory this season, gets in with 10st 1lb. Jaloux D'Estruval (10st 5lb) has also been backed and the seven-year-old is now 14/1 from 16/1.


A fuller list of betting from Sky Bet is: 5/1 Magical Bailiwick and Rodalko, 7/1 Irish Hussar, 8/1 World Wide Web, 10/1 Lord Noelie, 12/1 Jimmy Tennis, Take The Stand, 14/1 Gottabe, Royal Atalza, Tom Costalot and Jaloux D'Estruval, 16/1 bar

Steven Clarke, General Manager of Doncaster Racecourse, said today: "The going remains Good, Good to Firm in Places on the Chase course, Good on the Hurdle course. We've got pleasant weather at present - it's a nice, sunny day, albeit a bit cool."



JOCKEY CLUB CALLS FOR INCREASED TRANSPARENCY IN BLOODSTOCK TRANSACTIONS




The Jockey Club today reaffirmed its position regarding its concern about a lack of transparency in bloodstock transactions.


Christopher Foster, the Jockey Club's Executive Director, said: "In March last year we took steps to address this issue in the areas we regulate by introducing a Code of Conduct designed to increase transparency in dealings between trainers and owners. The code made particular reference to the dissatisfaction which can arise from undisclosed commissions or other financial benefits in connection with the purchase or sale of horses.


"Since its introduction, the attention of all owners coming in to racing has been drawn to the Code of Conduct. Owners are entitled to ask for full disclosure of the financial details of a purchase or sale.


"The Jockey Club has no regulatory jurisdiction over the bloodstock industry but we are calling a meeting of the relevant organisations to discuss how to increase transparency in sales transactions. Allegations of malpractice in areas which relate to racing can reflect poorly on the sport itself."

The organisations which the Jockey Club intends to invite to attend a meeting include the Federation of Bloodstock Agents, the Racehorse Owners' Association, National Trainers' Federation, Thoroughbred Breeders' Association as well as representatives of the Sales Companies. The Jockey Club has briefed BHB of its intention to host a meeting to address this matter.


With regard to the remarks made by the judge about the alleged actions of the parties involved in the civil dispute hearing between Foodbrokers Ltd and Charlie Gordon-Watson, the Jockey Club is awaiting legal advice having passed a copy of the transcript to its lawyers for their consideration. In addition, the Jockey Club will discuss the matter at a meeting this week with a Senior Detective from the City of London's Specialist Crime Operations Group (Economic Crime Unit). The meeting was scheduled some time ago and is not as a result of concern about this matter.


Christopher Foster added: "In the light of the outcome of that meeting together with the legal advice we receive, we will determine the appropriate course of action to take in relation to the case. We will have to bear in mind the fact that the sale itself did not take place and the incident predates the introduction of our Code of Conduct.


"In this day and age all deals should be transparent. Football has had to tackle the question of transfer deals and the roles agents play, now the bloodstock industry needs to take a close look at its agency arrangements."


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