Brooklyn Breeze heads to the £110,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, the feature event of The Open at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 12, with his entire season resting on how he performs.
Len Lungo's eight-year-old, an 8/1 chance with sponsors Paddy Power for the extended two and a half mile contest, is one of the most exciting prospects in the north, having won seven of his 13 starts.
Brooklyn Breeze made a winning seasonal debut in a handicap hurdle at Aintree last month to put him on course for a tilt at the Grade Three chase.
Lungo revealed: "The horse is well. He's come out of the Aintree race fine and we're happy with him. He's going to jump a few fences in the next week with Tony Dobbin and we're hoping to run at The Open. Tony will ride him in the Paddy Power."
Brooklyn Breeze went to the lead three fences from home in the two mile five furlong Mildmay of Flete at last season's Festival, but was headed approaching the last and finished fourth behind Liberthine as he wilted up the Cheltenham hill.
He subsequently landed a two and a half mile handicap chase at Ayr before having a wind operation during the summer and Lungo is hoping to learn something at Cheltenham.
His Scottish handler said: "It may have been that his wind was a problem at The Festival. He travelled well and jumped well but he obviously didn't get up the hill. Although we've done his wind since, it could be that he still won't get up that hill. We don't know, but it might be that he's more suited to a flat track so we're going to try and find out.
"We can't make plans until after the Paddy Power because if he doesn't get up the hill and he makes a noise then we'll be looking to a race on a flat track but if he did get up the hill there's the other big chase at Cheltenham a few weeks later, the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup, at around the same trip."
Lungo, who is happy to run his gelding on any going ranging from soft to good, is content with the weight allotted his charge but is under no illusions regarding the task at hand saying: "10st 6lb is a weight you can carry and Tony can do it without having to diet hard so from Tony's point of view and ours it's a handy weight.
"What's more relative is that he's running off a mark of 143, which is a higher mark than he failed off at The Festival, but we can only try and we're happy with the horse.
"If he runs his usual race, he's normally a good jumper and he's a good horse. What is an absolute guess is whether or not the wind operation he's had will help him to get up that hill. We won't know until we get there."
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the seventh of the 63 races involved in the British Horseracing Board's Order of Merit competition. The overall winner with the most points throughout the season will receive £200,000 - 75% to the owner, 12.5% to the trainer and the same again to the stable staff.
The winner will score 10 points while horses placed second to eighth will be allocated points on a sliding scale down to one point for eighth.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the feature event during the three days of The Open at Cheltenham, Friday November 11 to Sunday November 13.
The Open heralds the moment when jump racing takes centre stage and people gather to celebrate top quality steeplechasing and hurdle racing. Each day has its own character and together they form an irresistible package. In recent years horses have travelled over from Ireland and Cheltenham has welcomed international challengers from France, Norway and the Czech Republic.
Friday, November 11 is Countryside Day, Saturday, November 12 is Paddy Power Gold Cup Day, Cheltenham's first great occasion of the season with a crowd of over 25,000 expected to witness the £110,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, while Sunday, November 13 features the £50,000 Greatwood Hurdle.
Advance booking discounts finish at the close of business tomorrow - Saturday, November, 5, 2005.
Friday/Sunday admission prices are Club/Tattersalls: £20 (£18 in advance, £16 if booked online); Group Rate (15 or more): £16; 16-24s: £12; Best Mate: £8 (£6.40 if booked online); Rooster Booster Raceday Package: £46 and Best Mate Raceday Package: £25.
Saturday's admission prices are Club: £30 (£25 in advance, £24 if booked online, 16-24s £20); Tattersalls: £20 (£18 in advance, £16 if booked online); Group Rate (15 or more): £16; Tattersalls seat: £15; Best Mate: £10 (£8 in advance); Group Rate (15 or more): £7; Rooster Booster Raceday Package: £46 and Best Mate Raceday Package: £25.
ATR DELIGHTED WITH RESPONSE TO BREEDERS' CUP COVERAGE
At The Races, the UK and Ireland's most watched dedicated horseracing channel, is pleased to announce that its live racing coverage on Saturday, October 29, which included the 21st Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships from Belmont Park, attracted 360,000 unique viewers. This represents the broadcaster's highest daily audience reach of the year so far.
ATR was the only UK channel to broadcast live from Belmont Park, New York with a top presenting team covering the event - John McCririck, Mike Cattermole, Jim McGrath and Zoey Bird combined with a direct link back to ATR's studio based team of US racing experts, Dave Compton, Jason Weaver and Dale McKeown.
In addition, Saturday's racing attracted well over one million page impressions on www.attheraces.com just beating the previous record set on Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot at York.
Due to the broad distribution the Breeders' Cup received in the UK and that a significant number of UK bookmakers have now signed up to TRNi's FastBet commingling software, ATR also received commission on a record number of pools bets placed on US racing by UK punters. An estimated $2 million was bet into the US pools through UK bookmakers linked to the system.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive, At The Races said: "We received a tremendous response to Saturday's action from viewers and punters alike which fully vindicated our decision to increase our live on-course presence from Belmont Park. The viewing figures speak for themselves and demonstrate the ongoing value ATR offers to advertisers and sponsors wanting to target a very specific and valuable demographic."