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Monday, January 18, 2010


Meeting: Festival Trials Day
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Gates Open: 11am
First Race: 12.55pm
Admission prices from £10. Accompanied children aged under 18 are admitted FREE of charge, while FREE parking is available.

Go to www.cheltenham.co.uk for further information

After bearing the brunt of the big freeze in recent weeks, Roxburghshire trainer Willie Amos is hoping that stable star Lie Forrit can continue his rise through the hurdling ranks with victory in the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Cleeve Hurdle (3.45pm) on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 30, at Cheltenham.

The progressive six-year-old has taken the spoils on four of his six starts over hurdles, including victory at Cheltenham in the Listed Jardine Lloyd Thompson Handicap Hurdle at The Open on November 14, when he stormed up the famous hill to beat Earth Planet by three-quarters of a length. He followed up that success by comfortably landing a Pertemps qualifier at Newbury 13 days later.

Amos reported this morning: “We are hoping to get Lie Forrit ready in time for the Betfair Cleeve Hurdle. We have been using the indoor school with him but I won’t know what I have gained or lost with him until we get him out on the gallops, which will hopefully be tomorrow - I have a JCB clearing them at the moment.

“I need to get three gallops into him before deciding whether to go down to Cheltenham with him. He has only been trotting and cantering inside but he was fit before we had all of the snow, so we will try to get him ready for next weekend. He certainly looks tremendous but I need to get all three pieces of work into him.

“We always knew that he wanted a trip and that the step up to three miles would play to his strengths, but we didn’t expect him to progress quite as much as he has so far this season. He was carrying a fair bit of weight at Newbury and he was still idling in front - he is certainly a bit quirky but he keeps finding more.

“We have entered him in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and I don’t think that we have any alternatives with him - if he ran in the Pertemps Final he would be lumbered with top-weight. Everybody seems to be running scared of Big Buck’s but you can’t be afraid of one horse and nothing fazes Lie Forrit - he hits a flat spot in his races but he stays all day.“

Since being increased to three miles in 2005, the Betfair Cleeve Hurdle has become the leading trial for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Inglis Drever was second on Festival Trials Day in 2007 before landing the stayers’ crown for a second occasion two months later. The Howard Johnson-trained gelding completed an unprecedented hat-trick of Ladbrokes World Hurdle victories the following season, having previously landed the Betfair Cleeve Hurdle in fine style.

Last season, a fantastic renewal saw Big Buck’s defeat odds-on favourite Punchestowns by four lengths. The pair filled the same positions when renewing rivalry in the Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival.

Festival Trials Day offers horses the final chance to race at Cheltenham prior to The Festival and a superb seven-race card boasts just under £300,000 in prize money.


Connections are reminded that entries for the £70,000 Blue Square Handicap Chase, run at Doncaster on Saturday, February 6, close at noon tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19.

Run over an extended two miles, the Blue Square Handicap Chase was won last year by the Paul Nicholls-trained I’msingingtheblues while the first running in 2008 went the way of the Alan King-trained Howle Hill.

Adam Waterworth, Managing Director at Doncaster, commented: “I would just like to remind connections that the race run as the Blue Square Handicap Chase on February 6 is an early closer this year.

“We have been fortunate that the first two renewals of this race have produced two cracking races and, with £70,000 on offer in 2010, we are once again eagerly anticipating another top-quality event.

“Doncaster also races on Saturday, January 30, with the fabulous £90,000 Sky Bet Chase the highlight of the programme. This day also features the first running of the £35,000 Grade Two skypoker.com Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster and I would like to remind connections that this exciting new addition to Doncaster’s jumps programme closes for entries next Monday, January 25.”

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

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