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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Trainer Laura Mongan is optimistic that last year’s runner-up Alsadaa can get his head in front in The Ladbroke at Ascot on Saturday, December 20, after the weights for the £150,000 Listed contest were revealed today.

The five-year-old, who has been allotted 11st 4lb and is rated a 20/1 chance for Ladbroke glory by the race sponsor, found only Jack The Giant a length too strong in the race 12 months ago and returned to Ascot to finish fourth behind Sentry Duty over the same course and distance in a valuable handicap hurdle on November 1.

Alsadaa, who has been successful at Ascot in both a novice hurdle in November, 2007, and a Flat handicap for amateur riders in September, comes into The Ladbroke on the back of a pleasing second on the all-weather in a Lingfield Flat handicap on December 5.

Mongan revealed: “Alsadaa will definitely take his chance in The Ladbroke providing the ground is good. He absolutely relishes decent ground so we are just praying that there is not much rain between now and next weekend.

“He’s a front runner and he needs good going to be at his best. I was delighted with his run behind Sentry Duty at Ascot at the start of November, especially because the ground was on the easy side of good. He loves it round the course and I think he would be there or thereabouts if he took his chance.

“He will have no problem carrying 11st 4lb and I would be confident of his chances in the race following his good run last year. We were unlucky to come up against a horse like Jack The Giant and Alsadaa is in great form at the moment.

“We gave him a spin on the all-weather at Lingfield last Friday because he gets so bored at home that he was crying out for a run. He was a bit unlucky to get beaten on that occasion but it tuned him up nicely for a tilt at The Ladbroke. He has come out of that race bucking and kicking and we go to Ascot with every chance.”

The weights for The Ladbroke are headed Ashkazar, who is set to carry 11st 12lb and is currently the 6/1 joint favourite with the race sponsor. The David Pipe-trained winner of last season’s Listed Imperial Cup at Sandown is joined at the head of the market by the Gary Moore-trained Numide (10st 11lb) who recently got the better of Aigle D’Or (11st 11lb & 7/1) in a Grade Three handicap hurdle at Cheltenham. Pipe has also entered Acambo (11st 5lb & 25/1), successful in The Ladbroke in 2006, and Mamlook (11st & 25/1).

Apart from Aigle D’Or, in-form trainer Nicky Henderson may also bid for back-to-back victories in The Ladbroke with Sentry Duty (11st 9lb & 8/1), French Opera (11st 3lb & 25/1) and Blue Shark (10st 12lb & 33/1), while Numide could be joined by stablemate Wingman (10st 11lb & 20/1), who took a Grade Three handicap hurdle at Newbury in February.

The four entries from the stable of champion trainer Paul Nicholls includes Font (10st 9lb & 25/1), who beat Noble Alan (11st 5lb & 20/1) in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in October, and Take The Breeze (10st 9lb & 20/1). The Ditcheat handler has also entered Tchico Polios (10st 6lb & 25/1) and Five Dream (11st 10lb & 14/1), who finished a close third to Sunnyhillboy (10st 13lb & 10/1) and Spear Thistle (10st 5lb & 20/1) when carrying top-weight in a Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown on December 6.

A strong Irish challenge of nine entries includes Grade Three runner-up Psycho (11st 3lb & 10/1) and the unexposed Mourne Rambler (10st 7lb & 25/1) from the shrewd yard of Tony Martin, recent Listed scorer River Liane (11st 9lb & 12/1), as well as 2006 Galway Hurdle winner Cuan Na Grai (11st 2lb & 20/1). Recent Fairyhouse runner-up Sky Hall (10st 13lb & 14/1) is one of three horses engaged by six-time Irish champion jump trainer Noel Meade.

Other notable entries include Listed second Khyber Kim (11st 10lb & 14/1), course and distance winner Art Professor (10st 11lb & 20/1), and the Philip Hobbs-trained quartet of Hector’s Choice (10st 12lb & 40/1), Belcantista (10st 6lb & 20/1), Prince Taime (10st 6lb & 25/1) and Hibiki (10st 6lb & 25/1).

The Ladbroke - Latest prices from Ladbrokes
Ashkazar 6/1, Numide 6/1, Aigle D'Or 7/1, Sentry Duty 8/1, Psycho 10/1, Sunnyhillboy 10/1, River Liane 12/1, Five Dream 14/1, Khyber Kim 14/1, Sky Hall 14/1, Alsadaa 20/1, Art Professor 20/1, Belcantista 20/1, Cuan Na Grai 20/1, Gloucester 20/1, Noble Alan 20/1, Spear Thistle 20/1, Take The Breeze 20/1, Wingman 20/1, Acambo 25/1, European Dream 25/1, Font 25/1, French Opera 25/1, Hernando Royal 25/1, Hibiki 25/1, Mamlook 25/1, Mourne Rambler 25/1, Prince Taime 25/1, Tchico Polos 25/1, Blue Shark 33/1, Gay Sloane 33/1, Group Captain 33/1, Harry Tricker 33/1, Irish Legend 33/1, Sanglote 33/1, Sole Bonne Femme 33/1, Squadron 33/1, Folk Tune 40/1, Gringo 40/1, Hector's Choice 40/1, King's Revenge 40/1, Leamington Lad 40/1, Motive 40/1, Right Or Wrong 40/1, Weather Front 40/1, Approved Force 50/1, Red Admiral 50/1, Riguez Dancer 50/1, Songe 50/1, Stripe Me Blue 50/1, Annie's Answer 66/1, Arcalis 66/1, Hue 66/1, Matuhi 66/1, Cnoc Moy 100/1, Good Spirit 100/1

All quoted. 1/4 the odds 1, 2, 3, 4


The ground at Ascot is currently good to soft.

Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels commented: “We are due some rain over the weekend and into Monday. The long-range forecast is for high-pressure to return in the middle of next week and I would expect next weekend’s weather to be similar to the present cold and sunny conditions.

“I don’t anticipate the going to change significantly between now and then and expect ground similar to our first two meetings of the season."

Class 1, Listed Race, £150,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.15pm, Ascot, Saturday, December 20, 2008. For 4yo+ rated 0-150. Two miles. Penalties: after December 6, a winner of a hurdle 6lb. No penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed December 2, entries revealed December 3 (56 entries), weights revealed December 10, five-day confirmation stage December 15, final 48-hour declaration stage 10.00am, December 18. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, December 1.

Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
14112- ASHKAZAR (FR) 4-11-12 David Johnson David Pipe
110-2 AIGLE D'OR 5-11-11 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
31100-43 FIVE DREAM (FR) 4-11-10 Scott-Macdonald, Kilduff, Donlon & Doyle Paul Nicholls
465541/-6 ARCALIS 8-11-10 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
1404-2 KHYBER KIM 6-11-10 Caroline Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
3P210-1 RIVER LIANE (FR) 4-11-09 Valerie Courtney Tom Cooper IRE
4/100-1 SENTRY DUTY (FR) 6-11-09 Peter Spiller Nicky Henderson
1542-03 GROUP CAPTAIN 6-11-07 Peter Webb Hugh Collingridge
1421-12 NOBLE ALAN (GER) 5-11-05 Craig Bennett Nicky Richards
P6/1F6-P ACAMBO (GER) 7-11-05 David Johnson David Pipe
12560-4 ALSADAA (USA) 5-11-04 Mrs P J Sheen Laura Mongan
1/222-1F FRENCH OPERA 5-11-03 Judy Wilson & Martin Landau Nicky Henderson
61F20-6 PSYCHO (IRE) 7-11-03 Exors of The Late C McClure Tony Martin IRE
01-2145 SQUADRON 4-11-02 Tony & Jeni Fisher Alan King
1162P/-4 CUAN NA GRAI (IRE) 7-11-02 J J Brennan Paul Nolan IRE
140-63P SONGE (FR) 4-11-02 Alan Halsall Charlie Longsdon
110/140- ANNIE'S ANSWER (IRE) 8-11-00 R G Makin Jane Makin
1001-B0 MAMLOOK (IRE) 4-11-00 Peter Deal & G Lowe David Pipe
14-311 SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE) 5-10-13 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
1-00132 SKY HALL (IRE) 5-10-13 SPK Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
1214 HECTOR'S CHOICE (FR) 4-10-12 James and Jean Potter Philip Hobbs
23311//-0 BLUE SHARK (FR) 6-10-12 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
1140-1 NUMIDE (FR) 5-10-11 H R Hunt Gary Moore
11263-1 ART PROFESSOR (IRE) 4-10-11 Jeremy Hancock Venetia Williams
0/1310-65 WINGMAN (IRE) 6-10-11 Graham Gillespie Gary Moore
1/3040-1 TAKE THE BREEZE (FR) 5-10-09 Mr & Mrs G Calder Paul Nicholls
033-023 KING'S REVENGE 5-10-09 Ian, Jonny & Richard Kirkham Alan King
P440-11 IRISH LEGEND (IRE) 8-10-09 Irish Legend Racing Team Craig Roberts
42-1102 FONT 5-10-09 Mr & Mrs R Nevinson And Mr & Mrs G Mason Paul Nicholls
3320-010 EUROPEAN DREAM (IRE) 5-10-08 You Trotters Richard Guest
31213-2 RIGUEZ DANCER 4-10-07 Middleham Park Racing XII Patrick Haslam
212310 LEAMINGTON LAD (IRE) 5-10-07 Three Off The Tee Partnership Nigel Twiston-Davies
14114-0 MOURNE RAMBLER (IRE) 6 -10-07 Dewsweepers Syndicate Tony Martin IRE
2332-01 BELCANTISTA (FR) 6-10-06 J P McManus Philip Hobbs
42-110 TCHICO POLOS (FR) 4-10-06 Mark Tincknell & Chris Giles Paul Nicholls
111-3 PRINCE TAIME (FR) 5-10-06 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
2110-22 HIBIKI (IRE) 4-10-06 Richard Green Philip Hobbs
0203-20 RIGHT OR WRONG (IRE) 4-10-05 Neighbours Racing Club Noel Meade IRE
6/0P-4112 SPEAR THISTLE 6-10-05 Tony Hayward & Sue Head Charlie Mann
F3120/-P GOOD SPIRIT (FR) 6-10-04 P And Mrs G A Clarke Jennie Candlish
21501-0 MATUHI 5-10-04 Willsford Racing Incorporated Ben De Haan
23-20424 SANGLOTE (FR) 5-10-03 J J Brennan Eoin Griffin IRE
220-124 GAY SLOANE (IRE) 4-10-03 Wee County Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
1B430-0 HUE 7-10-02 Mike Ashton Brian Ellison
F414-10 SOLE BONNE FEMME (IRE) 6-10-02 E&T Fitzpatrick Partnership Arthur Moore IRE
05-622B GLOUCESTER 5-10-02 S M Smith & Keith Hunter Michael Scudamore
26210-4 STRIPE ME BLUE 6-10-01 Mrs A H Jones Peter Jones
414-200 CNOC MOY (IRE) 4-10-01 Mrs C Hardman Oliver Sherwood
310F-06 HARRY TRICKER 4-10-00 Richard Green Gary Moore
11050-40 APPROVED FORCE (USA) 4-09-13 Tim Wood Lucy Wadham
1/0053-2 GRINGO 6-09-13 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
0225-244 HERNANDO ROYAL 5-09-13 Paul Murphy Dr Richard Newland
341140 RED ADMIRAL (USA) 6-09-12 T A Swerling Charlie Mann
106-110 WEATHER FRONT 4-09-12 Mrs N Unsworth & R Greenway Nigel Twiston-Davies
0/0306-10 MOTIVE (FR) 7-09-11 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
50-00446 FOLK TUNE (IRE) 5-09-08 J N Blackburn Ferdy Murphy

56 entries
9 Irish-trained


Having fought out the finish of the past two renewals of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, connections of both State Of Play and Ollie Magern are aiming for another Wetherby rematch in the £65,000 Grade Three skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, run over three miles and a furlong on the first day of the Yorkshire course’s two-day Sky Bet Christmas Meeting, Friday, December 26.

State Of Play gained revenge over dual bet365 Charlie Hall Chase winner Ollie Magern in last month’s Grade Two contest with a hard-fought length victory and trainer Evan Williams is looking forward to seeing his star eight-year-old return to Wetherby as he bids for a course and distance double.

Williams commented: “We are definitely looking at running State Of Play in the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase. He’s entered in the Welsh National but we have been to Wetherby twice before and he seems to really enjoyed the place so I would prefer to see him line up there on Boxing Day.

“It’s obviously very special to win a race like the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase. I was over the moon with the way he battled in the run-in. I have such an enormous amount of respect for Ollie Magern, especially as he was carrying all that weight this year, but we were in the same situation 12 months earlier.

“We actually entered State Of Play in the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase last year but I got a little bit carried away and wanted to run him in Ireland, which was probably the cause of his downfall last season. A trip to Yorkshire seems far more appealing this year than a trip over the Irish Sea!

“He has had a break with his owners’, Mr and Mrs Rucker, and he seems a very happy horse at the moment. He looks very fresh, which is the key to him, and I think this season we will give him a break between each of his races.

“He’s a horse that doesn’t need to be rushed and we always wanted to run him in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase and then hopefully give him a race over the Christmas period and perhaps one or two runs in the spring. He’s won a Grade Two on his first run of the season and, obviously it’s a massive feather in his cap, so whatever he does from now on is a bonus.

“He’s very versatile in terms of ground. If we can get him to Wetherby in great shape then I am sure that he will run his race in the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase.”

After bet365 Charlie Hall Chase successes in both 2005 and 2007, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was disappointed that Ollie Magern was unable to gain a hat-trick in this year’s race, but the Naunton-based handler reckons that a return to handicap company will play into the hands of his course specialist, who was also victorious in the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby in February, 2005.

Twiston-Davies said: “Ollie Magern has been entered in the King George VI Chase but he is far more likely to contest the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase instead. He’s got fantastic form at Wetherby and I would prefer to run him there as opposed to Kempton.

“It was obviously disappointing to get beaten by State Of Play in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase but he still ran a good race, especially considering the amount of weight he was giving away.

“You would have to say that he would have more chance in the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase because it is handicap and I would be hopeful that he could beat State Of Play with a 3lb pull in the weights.

“I didn’t think he ran well in the Betfair Chase but he’s come out that race in fine shape and he goes well on most types of ground. At the moment, he’s a definite possible for the skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase.”

The skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase has a rich tradition of attracting some of the top staying chasers, previous winners include Gunner Welburn in 2003, who finished fourth in the Grand National the same year, and Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Truckers Tavern in 2004.

Sponsored by Sky Bet for the seventh year, the Sky Bet Christmas Meeting offers two days of superb racing action. Besides the Grade Three skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, the six-race card on Boxing Day, Friday December 26, also includes the £10,000 Merry Christmas From Sky Bet Handicap Hurdle (2.15pm) and the £12,000 skysports.com/super 6 Handicap Chase (2.50pm).

The second day of the Sky Bet Christmas Meeting hosts the prestigious £30,000 skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase (3.30pm), a two-mile contest which has stayed in Yorkshire for the past two seasons courtesy of the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Calatagan. The £12,000 skyvegas.com Novices’ Chase (2.25pm) and the £10,000 skypoker.com Introductory Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (3.00pm) also feature on the six-race card, with all three contests being shown live on Channel 4.

Advance bookings are selling well and racegoers are advised to book early to avoid disappointment, particularly for the Premier Enclosure, which is normally a sell-out. Tickets can be purchased at www.wetherbyracing.co.uk or by phoning 01937 582 035.

Admission Prices (December 26 & 27): Premier Enclosure £27, Paddock Enclosure £16, Pick of the Paddock £21 (includes admission to the Paddock Enclosure, £4 Refreshment Voucher, £2 Tote Betting Voucher and Racecard), Pick of the Premier £38 (includes admission to the Premier Enclosure, 2 x £4 Refreshment Voucher, 2 x £2 Tote Betting Voucher and Racecard).

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

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