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Wednesday, January 27, 2010



WESTLIN’ WINDS LOOKING TO BLOW HOT ON FESTIVAL TRIALS DAY




- FRENCH RAIDERS OUT TO GIVE DOUMEN MORE CHELTENHAM GLORY

Meeting: Festival Trials Day
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Gates Open: 11am
First Race: 12.55pm
Admission prices from £10 in advance & £15 on the day. Racegoers aged under 18 are admitted FREE of charge, while FREE parking is available.

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

Trainer Charles Egerton is hoping that Westlin’ Winds can continue his preparation for the JCB Triumph Hurdle with victory in the £27,000 Grade Two Betfair Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (12.55pm) on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham this Saturday, January 30.

The four-year-old son of Montjeu went down by two and a quarter lengths when conceding 7lb to current JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Mille Chief, a winner again at Huntingdon this afternoon, in a juvenile novices’ hurdle at Kempton on December 27.


He had previously made a faultless start over hurdles, recording an emphatic 10-length success on his debut at Hereford in November and following up with another wide-margin victory at Plumpton in December, beating the well-regarded Anak by nine lengths.

Egerton reported today: “We are hoping to run Westlin’ Winds in the Betfair Finesse Hurdle. I was happy with his run at Kempton - he hit the last flight but I don’t think that it would have made any difference to the result. We were giving Mille Chief 7lb on that occasion and the penalty meant that he had too much to do against a horse like that.



“His form has worked out and he certainly deserves to take his chance in a race like this. He didn’t show the greatest form on the Flat but he is improving all of the time and I hope that we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

“We will obviously see how he gets on over the weekend but I would like to think that we can aim for the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He seems to go on any ground but I want to see how he runs at Cheltenham before finalising any plans for The Festival.”

An entry of 13 for the Betfair Finesse Hurdle also includes the Francois Doumen-trained Good Lord, who was seventh behind leading JCB Triumph Hurdle contender Advisor on his British debut in a juvenile hurdle at Newbury on December 16.

The four-year-old, who is owned by leading jump owner J P McManus, had previously posted some promising efforts over hurdles in France, taking second in a Grade Three juvenile contest at Enghien in November and going down by a head in a Listed event at Auteuil in September.

Doumen, whose six victories at the Cheltenham Festival include Snow Drop in the 2000 JCB Triumph Hurdle, commented: “We gave Good Lord an entry in the Stellar Football Handicap Hurdle (4.20pm) on the same card because I wanted to find out the rating of the horse but he will run against his own age in the Betfair Finesse Hurdle instead.

“I am a bit concerned about running him on soft ground - it was very soft when he ran at Newbury and I don’t think that he coped with it very well. I like the horse but I would ideally like to run him on faster ground.

“He has some good form in France but he would need to improve to enter the picture for the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He really needs to show his true French form before I can run him in a championship race at The Festival.”

The Grade Two Betfair Finesse Hurdle is one of the leading trials for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, which is run on Friday, March 19, the final day of The Festival. Subsequent Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle victor Katchit scored in the race before going on to take the championship juvenile hurdle, while the last two winners on Festival Trials Day, Franchoek and Walkon have both gone on to be second at The Festival.

This year’s race is also set to feature Pistolet Noir, who is on course to make his debut for Paul Nicholls having triumphed in the Grade Two Prestbury Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting in November for former trainer Nick Williams.

Apart from Good Lord, Doumen is also planning to send over progressive novice chaser Doctor Pat, who holds an entry in the £22,500 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.30pm).

The six-year-old, whose dam Bilboa was third in the 2002 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle for Doumen, is chasing a hat-trick of victories in novice handicap chases, having kept on strongly to win at Newbury on December 29 and got up on the line to take a Sandown contest earlier the same month.


Doumen added: “Doctor Pat seems be improving nicely and he is a decent horse. We have to face a bit of weight punishment after his latest victory but he is very well in himself, despite the difficulties we have had with the weather recently.

“I have given him an entry in RSA Chase and the National Hunt Chase but I will have to discuss with J P and Frank Berry as to whether he will take either of them up. He is certainly going the right way, like his mother did, and he goes to Cheltenham in good form.”

Festival Trials Day, the last day’s racing at Cheltenham prior to The Festival, also features the £100,000 Grade Two Argento Chase (2.35pm), which could see the 2008 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Denman make his final appearance prior to the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the £50,000 Grade Three Betfair Trophy Chase (2.05pm).

Some of the leading contenders for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle are set to clash in the £50,000 Grade Two Betfair Cleeve Hurdle (3.40pm), while some of the top novice hurdlers will be out to advertise their Cheltenham credentials in the £27,000 Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (3.10pm).

GROUND

The going at Cheltenham is currently Soft, Good to Soft in Places.


Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Director of Racing, reported today: “After a dry night, the going is now soft, good to soft in places.


“The forecast remains the same - small amounts of rain are expected over the next three days and temperatures will become colder towards the end of the week with a frost expected on Friday night.


“In light of the forecast, frost covers will be put down on the chase and hurdles course tomorrow.”



BLUE SQUARE GOLD CUP IS “PLAN A” FOR LE BEAU BAI




- HIGH-CLASS 49 ENTERED FOR HAYDOCK PARK FEATURE
Le Beau Bai has developed into an exciting staying chaser for trainer Richard Lee and the Herefordshire handler is keen to run his Welsh National third in the £100,000 Grade Three Blue Square Gold Cup (3.30pm) over three and a half miles at Haydock Park on Saturday, February 20. Blue Square rate Le Beau Bai a 12/1 chance.


The seven-year-old, owned by the Glass Half Full partnership that includes Aintree Racecourse chairman Lord Daresbury, is one of 49 high-class entries, up from 39 in 2009, for the prestigious handicap chase.


Lee revealed today: “The Blue Square Gold Cup is definitely Le Beau Bai’s target at the moment - hopefully it will rain enough for him. He is also in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown but he is unlikely to run in that because I see that Money Trix is in there and it doesn’t seem terribly sensible to take him on at level weights.

“Haydock is a good, stiff track that should play to Le Beau Bai’s strengths and is very much plan A.”

Ridden by his usual partner, the smart amateur Oliver Greenall - Lord Daresbury’s son - Le Beau Bai finished less than eight lengths behind Dream Alliance (12/1) when sent off favourite for the Welsh National at Chepstow on December 28, and could line up for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree in April after running at Haydock Park.

Lee continued: “We were absolutely thrilled with him in the Welsh National because he’s only a pony, he’s tiny and I thought he ran a tremendous race.

“Lord Daresbury is very keen for Le Beau Bai to be entered in this year’s John Smith’s Grand National. The horse is very short on experience but he is the sort that would jump around there. For all he is only little, he is very careful and clever as a cat.


“Oliver would ride him as he gets on very well with the horse. His father has horses in the yard but I use him because he is a very good rider. He is a great horseman and I am lucky to have him.”

Big race veteran Our Vic (20/1) won the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on January 23, and is one of three horses entered by trainer David Pipe. The others are his fellow David Johnson-owned horses The Package (10/1) and Comply Or Die (20/1), winner of the 2008 John Smith’s Grand National.


The Blue Square Gold Cup could see another John Smith’s Grand National hero in the field as Venetia Williams has engaged last year’s winner, Mon Mome (20/1), alongside Miko de Beauchene (10/1), successful in the 2008 renewal of the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup, as well as that season’s Welsh National.

Philip Hobbs has entered this season’s Welsh National victor Dream Alliance, while another winner of that Chepstow contest also engaged at Haydock is the Alan King-trained Halcon Genelardais (16/1), successful in 2006. The Lucinda Russell-trained Silver By Nature was runner-up in this season’s renewal and currently heads the market with Blue Square at 8/1.


Hello Bud (20/1) landed the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has also entered Beat The Boys (20/1), Ballyfitz (16/1), Irish Raptor (25/1) and Knowhere (25/1).

The Nicky Henderson-trained Trabolgan (12/1) won the Grade One RSA Chase at The Festival in 2005, while the Martin Todhunter-trained Star De Mohaison (25/1) won that same contest in 2006, when in the care of champion trainer Paul Nicholls.


Nicholls has engaged Nozic (20/1) and Tricky Trickster (10/1), winner of last season’s National Hunt Chase at The Festival and currently at the head of the market for the John Smith’s Grand National.


The Donald McCain-trained Cloudy Lane (16/1) has notched five successes at Haydock, including the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase in 2009, while Air Force One (25/1), trained by Charlie Mann, has plenty of talent and is being aimed at the John Smith’s Grand National.


Character Building (14/1) won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival for trainer John Quinn, while the Ferdy Murphy-trained New Alco (25/1) was runner-up in the Grade Three William Hill Trophy at the 2008 Festival and the Jeremy Scott-trained Gone To Lunch (16/1) filled the same berth in the Grade Three Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April.


There are eight Irish-trained entries, headed by a quartet from the Willie Mullins yard. The trainer has engaged Troytown Handicap Chase winner Beroni (14/1), Ballytrim (20/1), Arbor Supreme (20/1) and Pomme Tiepy (20/1). Noel Meade has engaged Grade Two winner Parsons Pistol (20/1), while Tony Martin has entered Newbay Prop (20/1), Hold The Pin (14/1) and Lochan Lacha (25/1).

Others of note include Cappa Bleu (14/1), Snoopy Loopy (40/1), Companero (14/1), Belon Gale (16/1), Abbeybraney (12/1), Chief Dan George (20/1), According To Pete (16/1) and last season’s Blue Square Gold Cup runner-up Coe (14/1).


Weights for the Blue Square Gold Cup will be released on Wednesday, February 3. The maximum number of runners for the Grade Three contest is 20, with two reserves.


The excellent seven-race card at Haydock Park on February 20, also features the £45,000 Grade Two Joseph Heler Cheese Hurdle (2.20pm) over three miles and a furlong, and the £30,000 Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.55pm) over the same distance.


Dickon White, Managing Director at Haydock Park, commented: “The entries for the Blue Square Gold Cup this year are very strong.


“To have two Grand National winners and several proven Haydock Park performers among the entries is very pleasing while we are also delighted to have received such a strong entry from Ireland.”

Opening prices from Blue Square:
8/1 Silver By Nature, 10/1 Miko De Beauchene, 10/1 The Package, 10/1 Tricky Trickster, 12/1 Abbeybraney, 12/1 Dream Alliance, 12/1 Le Beau Bai, 12/1 Trabolgan, 14/1 Beroni, 14/1 Cappa Bleu, 14/1 Character Building, 14/1 Coe, 14/1 Companero, 14/1 Hold The Pin, 16/1 According To John, 16/1 According To Pete, 16/1 Ballyfitz, 16/1 Belon Gale, 16/1 Chiaro, 16/1 Cloudy Lane, 16/1 Gone To Lunch, 16/1 Halcon Genelardais, 16/1 Jass, 16/1 L’Aventure, 20/1 Arbor Supreme, 20/1 Ballytrim, 20/1 Beat The Boys, 20/1 Chief Dan George, 20/1 Comply Or Die, 20/1 Hello Bud, 20/1 Kornati Kid, 20/1 Mon Mome, 20/1 Mumbles Head, 20/1 Newbay Prop, 20/1 Nozic, 20/1 Our Vic, 20/1 Parsons Pistol, 20/1 Pomme Tiepy, 25/1 Air Force One, 25/1 Eric’s Charm, 25/1 Irish Raptor, 25/1 Knowhere, 25/1 Lochan Lacha, 25/1 New Alco, 25/1 Oscar Park, 25/1 Out The Black, 25/1 Sherwoods Folly, 25/1 Star De Mohaison, 40/1 Snoopy Loopy

Each-way 1/4 - 1,2,3,4

All quoted

THE BLUE SQUARE GOLD CUP
Class 1, Grade 3. £100,000 total prize fund. 3.30pm, Haydock Park, Saturday, February 20. Three and a half miles. For 5yo+. Penalties after January 31, a winner of a chase 5lb. No penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed January 26, entries revealed January 27 (49 entries). Weights revealed February 3. Final declaration stage, 10.00am, Thursday, February 18. Form figures are supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, January 26.


Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
23/32-31 ABBEYBRANEY (IRE) 9 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
5/44-U33 ACCORDING TO JOHN (IRE) 10 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Richards
114-553 ACCORDING TO PETE 9 Peter Nelson Malcolm Jefferson
22506- PAIR FORCE ONE (GER) 8 Brian Walsh (Co. Kildare) Charlie Mann
330-30U ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 8 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE
2P-4P15 BALLYFITZ 10 F J Mills & W Mills Nigel Twiston-Davies
P01-1U0 BALLYTRIM (IRE) 9 Violet O'Leary Willie Mullins IRE
FP-1P1P BEAT THE BOYS (IRE) 9 New Club Ladies Nigel Twiston-Davies
31F4-22 BELON GALE (IRE) 7 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
5-31110 BERONI (IRE) 8 Margaret O'Rourke Willie Mullins IRE
1-3F CAPPA BLEU (IRE) 8 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams
143301- CHARACTER BUILDING (IRE) 10 E Wright John Quinn
53414-0 CHIARO (FR) 8 Andrew Cohen Philip Hobbs
2115-30 CHIEF DAN GEORGE (IRE) 10 Maurice Chapman James Moffatt
31FU-36 CLOUDY LANE 10 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain Jnr
2F0-226 COE (IRE) 8 Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith
1/1113-2 COMPANERO (IRE) 10 W Black Howard Johnson
1/P002-0 COMPLY OR DIE (IRE) 11 David Johnson David Pipe
PUPP/-21 DREAM ALLIANCE 9 The Alliance Partnership Philip Hobbs
02P5-01 ERIC'S CHARM (FR) 12 Martin St Quinton & Peter Deal Oliver Sherwood
P2-205P GONE TO LUNCH (IRE) 10 Grant Lever Jeremy Scott
232P-40 HALCON GENELARDAIS (FR) 10 Ian Payne & Kim Franklin Alan King
11-035B HELLO BUD (IRE) 12 Seamus Murphy Nigel Twiston-Davies
3-P0365 HOLD THE PIN (IRE) 11 Plus Fours Syndicate Tony Martin IRE
U01-4U5 IRISH RAPTOR (IRE) 11 Caroline Beresford-Wylie Nigel Twiston-Davies
1P-4465 JASS 8 The Scarth Racing Partnership Keith Reveley
0P-3PP4 KNOWHERE (IRE) 12 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
4116-6P KORNATI KID 8 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
36-0215 L'AVENTURE (FR) 11 C Harriman Nick Williams
1P1-013 LE BEAU BAI (FR) 7 Glass Half Full Richard Lee
1-601U4 LOCHAN LACHA (IRE) 9 M Bailey Tony Martin IRE
3F-FP44 MIKO DE BEAUCHENE (FR) 10 Andrew Wiles Venetia Williams
001-P34 MON MOME (FR) 10 Vida Bingham Venetia Williams
30-0123 MUMBLES HEAD (IRE) 9 Karen Bowen Peter Bowen
0/1P025/- NEW ALCO (FR) 9 D McGowan & S Murphy Ferdy Murphy
30-0P00 NEWBAY PROP (IRE) 11 Billy Moffett Tony Martin IRE
1P00-60 NOZIC (FR) 9 Sam Mcvie Paul Nicholls
10/PU-40 OSCAR PARK (IRE) 11 George Ward David Arbuthnot
4-61r01 OUR VIC (IRE) 12 David Johnson David Pipe
23-P435 OUT THE BLACK (IRE) 12 James Drummond Philip Hobbs
1F-051F PARSONS PISTOL (IRE) 8 R Bagnall Noel Meade IRE
45-0600 POMME TIEPY (FR) 7 S Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
P0-P413 SHERWOODS FOLLY 8 Trevor Hemmings Henry Daly
3FU-512 SILVER BY NATURE 8 G Brown Lucinda Russell
0PP5-PP SNOOPY LOOPY (IRE) 12 Walters Plant Hire Ltd Egan Waste Ltd Andrew Boxhall
0240UP- STAR DE MOHAISON (FR) 9 Sir Robert Ogden Martin Todhunter
03-0231 THE PACKAGE 7 David Johnson David Pipe
1/1///P6-4 TRABOLGAN (IRE) 12 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
22121-2 TRICKY TRICKSTER (IRE) 7 Chris Giles Paul Nicholls

49 entries
8 Irish-trained



LONGSDON TO GIVE CREEK A JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL ENTRY BY TUESDAY




Entries for the John Smith’s Grand National close at noon on Tuesday, February 2, and trainer Charlie Longsdon is hoping to chase the dream of a first triumph in the world’s greatest steeplechase with Palypso De Creek.

This year’s renewal of the famous handicap chase over four and a half miles and 30 fences takes place at Aintree on Saturday, April 10 - the culmination of the three-day John Smith’s Grand National meeting.


The race is worth a record £925,000 and over £520,000 of that lucrative purse - the biggest by far in jump racing - goes to the victor.


Palypso De Creek, a French import who made his British debut with a smooth victory in a Towcester novice hurdle in October, has already sampled the unique Grand National course.

The seven-year-old handled the big spruce fences when fourth to Vic Venturi under Tom Siddall in the totesport.com Becher Chase over three and a quarter miles at Aintree on November 22.

He won a valuable handicap chase, the Grade Three Prix Du President De La Republique, over just short of three miles at Auteuil in April, 2008, on heavy ground.


Now owned by Lancastrian businessman Alan Halsall, Palypso De Creek showed that he is a horse to note when runner-up to Our Vic in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase, run in testing conditions at Haydock on January 23, a race in which last year’s John Smith’s Grand National hero Mon Mome was a pleasing fourth under top-weight.


Oxfordshire-based Longsdon revealed today: “Palypso De Creek will get a John Smith’s Grand National entry.

“We are very pleased with his Haydock run at the weekend. He has come back extremely well and we won’t run him again until the weights come out (Tuesday, February 16).


“We always thought he was a good horse and I don’t think he has improved particularly since he came to us. He was given a mark of 134 and then the handicapper dropped him for no real reason after the Becher Chase. That meant that we thought he was well handicapped for his run in the Peter Marsh Chase.

“He has made progress and is in fantastic form but I think everything was always there with him and he has just proved that he is the horse we thought he was.


“He likes testing ground but he won his novice hurdle on what was almost quick ground. It wasn’t a great race but he beat Lord Generous, who is now rated 130, by almost five lengths, giving him 7lb. I would think he would be just as good on good ground - I wouldn’t let him go on fast ground.


“He loved the Grand National fences when he ran in the Becher Chase. He pulled a front shoe off right at the beginning of the race, which made him slightly careful over those fences, but he jumped well. He is a tidy, economical jumper, which I presume is what you need round there anyway.

“He would certainly run once more before the John Smith’s Grand National, possibly twice more. He will get entries in plenty of races and could go to Cheltenham and then on to Aintree. We will enter him in races like the William Hill Chase and the Kim Muir, but it is too early to say for certain where he will run.”

The entries are announced at noon on Wednesday, February 3. Weights for the 2010 John Smith’s Grand National, which has a safety limit of 40 runners, are unveiled at the Grand National Launch lunch in London on Tuesday, February 16.




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