Racenews - uk horseracingRacenews Newslink Archive click here for...


Tuesday, January 6, 2004


See More Business, the winner of countless major jump races across the UK, is to retire. Owners Sir Robert Ogden and Paul Barber made the decision following the 14 year old gelding's recovery from a short illness.

See More Business's major victories include the Gold Cup in 1999, two King George VI Gold Cups, three Rehearsal Chases, two Country Gentleman's Chases, a Martell Cup and the AON Chase with total prize money over £700,000.

Paul Barber said today: "We will always remember winning a Gold Cup but the reception he received when winning the Country Gentleman's Chase at Wincanton last year was something that made the body tingle. He will never be forgotten."

Sir Robert added: "We have many fond memories of See More Business and have taken great pleasure from the way he has captured the hearts of the racing public."

"See More Business has always been a real thrill for the crowds to watch and a pleasure to train," commented trainer Paul Nicholls. "For the last nine years he's proved himself a top class horse, and helped to make my stable what it is today. Last year he won two good races and despite his age we had hoped he'd go on to win more races this season and retire on a high. However, the decision has been made jointly between Paul Barber, Sir Robert Ogden and myself that, following his recent illness, now is the right time for him to be retired."

To mark his retirement, the racing public can pay tribute to See More Business when he will parade at the Wessex Racing Festival at Wincanton on 21 February 2004.


Philip Freedman, chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, today declared that the British-bred Owners' Premiums, introduced late last year, would prove the biggest boost to breeders for a decade.

Speaking at the TBA's Annual General Meeting today at London's Churchill Hotel, Freedman declared: "I believe that in the long run the introduction of the Owners' Premium Scheme will be the single most important measure to assist the breeding industry since the introduction of the VAT scheme in 1993."

But he added that with Breeders' Prizes now set to continue and agreement reached on the Owners' Premium Scheme to include pinhooked foals who are subsequently exported as well as the prospect of imminent agreement between the BHB lawyers and sales companies over the guarantees necessary for eligibility to be shown on catalogue pages, Owners' Premiums should be easier to market in 2004.

But Freedman warned that the future of Breeders' Prizes would be examined next year. He continued: "It was always the intention of the Racing Review Committee that once the Owners' Premium Scheme was up and running the future of Breeders' Prizes would be reviewed, and it is intended that this review will take place in 2005.

"While the outcry over the decision to remove them may have made the BHB aware of their importance to breeders, the rest of the industry remain hostile towards them."

Other features of Freedman's address included a welcome for the number of newly-upgraded fillies' Pattern races, including six new Group 1 events in Europe this year.

But Freedman added: "For those of you who may be concerned that this could lead to a decline in the quality of the British pattern, and may undermine confidence in the quality of our product, I would hope that you will be reassured by the proposal that these races should only be treated as special cases for three years, after which they will be subject to the same criteria as any other Pattern race."

Freedman also announced that the British Horseracing Board had agreed in principle to fund the Equine Fertility Unit from January 1, 2005, for an initial five-year period when the TBA's core funding comes to an end.

Freedman expanded on his concerns, raised in the TBA's Annual Report, about the lack of concern for breeding shown by the Office of Fair Trading during its enquiry into racing.

"Breeders are both producers of the raw material required by racing and, in many cases, the ultimate consumer when the racehorse's career is over," said Freedman.

"As such it is quite remarkable that only 18 months after their enquiry began, after they had issued their Rule 14 notice and once the oral hearings were completed, did the OFT make any effort to take any account of the role of breeding within racing.

"This is all the more reprehensible given their presumption that racing should take the shape of whatever the consumer wants.

"Breeders want quality even if the OFT does not believe the quality of British racing is a legitimate concern for the BHB to pursue because it does not matter to the off-course betting industry."

He added: "Quality is important to breeders not just as an abstract concept, but also in financial terms as we rely on the comparatively few profitable animals we sell to cover the losses we make on the majority.

"Breeding, like racing, is aspirational, and both are based on the dream of success and the pursuit of excellence. It is this aspiration which leads to more being spent on yearlings and on training fees than could ever be recovered by prize money and subsequent sales, without which there would be no breeding industry.

"Take away the rewards and the opportunities for excellence and the dumbing down which would result would undermine a market that could never be sustained by the pursuit of mediocrity. We sell a dream - and breeders will have nothing to sell if the nightmare that would emerge from the abandonment of quality as a legitimate objective of the governance of racing becomes reality."

He continued: "Quality is not our only concern - we also have particular concerns with race planning in terms of a balanced programme by distance, age and sex, as well as providing opportunities on both the Flat and over jumps, which the absence of a strong central governing authority could undermine."

He concluded his speech by saying: "Racing and breeding are at a crossroads; the next few months will show if we are to be allowed to follow 250 years of history during which the development of British racing has been synonymous with the improvement of the breed, or if, based on a fundamentally flawed analysis of who is the customer for racing's product, we are made to sacrifice the quality product on which British racing and breeding has been based. Rest assured that this Association will do all that it can to fight this threat to the future of breeding in Britain."


Caterers Letheby & Christopher are to sponsor the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004.

The Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices' Hurdle is the novice championship for hurdlers over two miles. The Grade One race, with £100,000 in prize money, opens the three-day Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 16, 2004.

The Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices' Hurdle has seen plenty of outstanding horses who have often contested the Smurfit Champion Hurdle the following year.

Winners have gone on to success in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Smurfit Champion Hurdle. L'Escargot won the novice hurdle championship in 1968, before consecutive Gold Cup triumphs in 1970 and 1971 and success in the 1975 Grand National.

Bula won in 1970 and then secured Champion Hurdle victories in 1971 and 1972, while the 2002 Smurfit Champion Hurdle winner Hors La Loi III took the novices' event in 1999.

Commenting on the Letheby & Christopher sponsorship, Peter McNeile, Cheltenham's Commercial Manager, said today: "We are delighted to secure this new sponsorship at the Cheltenham Festival. The Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices' Hurdle is always a terrific race."

Letheby & Christopher have had a long association with Cheltenham Racecourse, providing the catering at the home of National Hunt Racing for well over 30 years.

Bob Reeves, Managing Director of Letheby & Christopher, commented today: "The Cheltenham Festival is unique and we are delighted to take this opportunity to sponsor at the meeting.

"The Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices' Hurdle is a cracking race and sponsorship is part of our philosophy."


The Tote Classic Chase will be run on Saturday, 10th January 2004.

This year
- The distance has been increased to 3m 5f, from 3m 2f in previous years.

- There has been a significant increase in prize money making it one of the most valuable staying handicap chases. The race is now worth £110,000. This is nearly 40% more than the Welsh Grand National (£80,000) and the same as the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup.

Last year's race with identical value had to be abandoned because of frost. Andy Clifton, PR Director of the Tote said: "This is the first year that such a valuable race will be run over this distance at Warwick. We are hopeful that over the next two or three years owners and trainers will target this race with some of their best horses."

The Race Conditions
The Tote Classic Chase (A Handicap) (Class A) is for six-years-old and upwards over 3 miles about 5 furlongs.

Total prize fund: £110,000. £63,800 to the winner. The second to receive £24,200, the third £12,100, the fourth £5,500, the fifth £2,750 and the sixth £1,650.

Penalties, after 13th December 2003, a winner of a steeple chase, 6lb.

1 The Tote will pay £600 towards travelling costs for any runner from outside the UK that does not finish in the first four.

2 A novice horse shall only be qualified to run in this race if it has run a minimum of three times in Steeple Chases in Great Britain or Ireland.

History of the Tote Classic Chase
The Tote first sponsored at this early January meeting in 1994. There have been the following changes in title and distance. All the statistics in this Guide relate to the longer distance chases since 1995.

Title Distance Value to winner (£)
1994 Tote Trio Handicap Chase (0-145) 2m 4f110y 5,183
1995 Tote National Handicap Chase (0-135) (Class C) 3m5f 7,493
1996 Tote National Handicap Chase (0-140) (Class B) 3m5f 10,748
1997 Abandoned (Frost)
1998 Tote National Handicap Chase (0-140) (Class B) 3m5f 10,952
1999 Abandoned (Waterlogged)
2000 Tote Scoop6 Warwick National Handicap Chase (0-145) (6yo+) (Class B) 3m5f 14,014
2001 Tote Scoop6 Warwickshire Gold Cup Chase (Handicap) (0-150) (6yo+) (Class B) 3m2f 27,391
2002 Tote Scoop6 Warwickshire Gold Cup Chase (Handicap) (6yo+) (Class B) 3m2f 43,407
2003 Abandoned (Frost)
2004 Tote Classic Steeple Chase (Handicap) (6yo+) (Class A) 3m 5f 63,800

Facts and Figures
Size of field:
Largest: 16 (1998 and 2001)
Smallest: 7 (1997)
Average: 12
Safety limit: 20

Weight carried
Highest weight to win: 10st 13lbs Browjoshy (2001)
Lowest weight to win: 9st 7lbs Full of Oats (1996)

Winning margin
Widest: A distance A N C Express from Martell Boy (1998)
Smallest: Half a length Full of Oats from Maamur (1996)

Winning favourite
No winning favourite to date

Winner's Starting Price
Longest: 25/1 The Last Fling (2002)
Shortest: 7/2 Willsford (1995)

Oldest: 12y-o. Willsford (1995) and The Last Fling (2002)
Youngest: 8y-o. Browjoshy (2001)

Warren Marston has won the race twice (Willsford (1995) and The Last Fling (2002))

No owner or trainer has won the race more than once.

2003: Saturday 11th January Abandoned (Frost)

2002: Saturday 12th January Distance: 3m 2f (20fncs) Going: Soft
Horse Trainer Jockey Age-Weight SP
1 The Last Fling (IRE) Mrs S J Smith W Marston 12-10-4 25/1
2 Earthmover (IRE) P F Nicholls T J Murphy 11-11-3 14/1
3 Royale De Vassy (FR) Miss Venetia Williams N Williamson 8-10-6 3/1F
12 runners Time: 6m 48.40s Favourite: Third

2001: Saturday 13th January Distance: 3m 2f (18fncs, 2 omitted) Going: Soft
1 Browjoshy (IRE) M Pitman T J Murphy 8-10-13 12/1
2 Royale De Vassy (FR) Miss Venetia Williams Mr F Windsor Clive 7-10-1 7/1
3 Supreme Glory (IRE) P G Murphy L Aspell 8-10-5 15/2
16 runners Time: 7m 6.50s Favourite: Lakefield Rambler (5th at 5/2)

2000: Saturday 15th January Distance: 3m 5f (22 fncs) Going: Soft
1 Choisty (IRE) H E Haynes Mr P Flynn5 10-10-0 20/1
2 Golden Drum Ian Williams S Durack 10-10-0 9/1
3 Forest Ivory A King W Marston 9-11-3 11/2
9 runners Time: 7m 36.2s Favourite: Kingdom of Shades (5th at 2/1)

1999: Saturday 16th January Abandoned (Waterlogged)

1998: Saturday 17th January Distance: 3m 5f (22 fncs) Going: Soft
1 A N C Express J S King T Jenks 10-10-11 12/1
2 Martell Boy (NZ) Miss Venetia Williams T J Murphy 11-11-2 6/1
3 Ceridwen T R Greathead W Worthington 8-10-0 11/2F
16 runners Time: 7m 55.3s Favourite: Third

1997: Saturday 11th January Abandoned (Frost)

1996: Saturday 13th January Distance: 3m5f (22 fncs) Going: Good to soft
1 Full of Oats Miss H C Knight Mr J Culloty7 10-9-7 11/2
2 Maamur (USA) Capt T A Forster A Thornton 8-10-11 6/4F
3 Gold Cap (FR) Miss J Bower J F Titley 11-11-4 25/1
12 runners Time: 7m 43.1s Favourite: Second

1995: Saturday 7th January Distance: 3m 5f (22 fncs) Going: Soft
1 Willsford Mrs J Pitman W Marston 12-10-7 7/2
2 Vicompt de Valmont P F Nicholls J R Kavanagh 10-10-4 100/30F
3 Judges Fancy N A Twiston-Davies T Jenks3 11-9-13 8/1
7 runners Time: 7m 44.1s Favourite: Second


Sir Rembrandt 4/1
Akarus 5/1
Bindaree 11/2
Behrajan 6/1
What Odds 7/1
Gunner Welburn 9/1
Kings Mistral 9/1
World Wide Web 9/1
Southern Star 12/1
Ad Hoc 14/1
Artic Jack 14/1
Montifault 14/1
Take Control 14/1
Ardent Scout 16/1
Lucky Bay 16/1
Jurancon II 20/1
You're Agoodun 20/1
Carbury Cross 25/1

3 places at 1/4 odds


Panel: Andrew Merriam (Chairman), Tim Bell and Nicholas Wrigley

Patrick Brennan, James Davies, Antony Evans, Marcus Foley, Gabriel Hannon, Timmy Murphy (attended) and Mark Nicolls (in absence).

The Disciplinary Panel of the Jockey Club on 6th January 2004 considered appeals lodged by James Davies, the rider of SERAPH, Antony Evans, the rider of DIAMOND ORCHID (IRE), Gabriel Hannon, the rider of GOLDEN FIELDS (IRE), Timmy Murphy, the rider of BLUE SAVANNA, Mark Nicolls, the rider of CRAIGMOR, Marcus Foley, the rider of TRIUMPH OF DUBAI (IRE) and Patrick Brennan, the rider of SIGWELLS CLUB BOY against the decision of the Stewards at Ludlow on 18th December 2003, following the running of the Tanners Claret Juvenile Novices' Selling Hurdle, to find them guilty of taking the wrong course and suspend each of them for 12 days; and to further find them guilty of continuing in the race having taken the wrong course and to suspend each of them for a further 7days.

The Panel considered evidence from the jockeys, with the exception of Nicolls who was ill, all of whom were legally represented. It also examined a copy of the racecourse map and other relevant notices which were exhibited in the Weighing Room, and also viewed video recordings of the race.

The Panel found that Evans, Hannon, and Davies had ignored the 'H' marker which denoted the hurdle course on entering the straight, resulting in them bypassing the third last hurdle on the wrong side. It therefore found them in breach of Rule 156(iii) of the Rules of Racing for taking the wrong course. The Panel found Mr Brennan, who also went the wrong side of the H marker, not to be in breach of Rule 156(iii) in that although he had also taken the wrong course this had been due to his horse cocking its jaw, and was beyond his control. The Panel found Evans, Hannon, Davies and Brennan all to be in breach of Rule 152(iii)(a) in that having taken the wrong course they had all failed to pull up.

The Panel found that Murphy, Foley and Nicolls had ignored the direction marker that had been inserted in the third last hurdle, resulting in them bypassing it on the wrong side contrary to Rule 152(v)(b).

The Panel upheld all of the jockeys' appeals in part and suspended each jockey as follows:

Evans, Hannon and Davies for 13 days - 10 days for Rule 156(iii) and 3 days for Rule 152(iii)(a)

Brennan for 3 days for Rule 152(iii)(a)

Murphy, Foley and Nicolls for 10 days for Rule 152(v)(d).

in all cases commencing on Wednesday 7th January on days when jump racing is scheduled to take place.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

©Racenews 2002
designed and produced by Racenews Internet Services