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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Cheltenham Racecourse will hold a precautionary inspection at 8.00am tomorrow ahead of racing to confirm that racing can go ahead.

Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing at Cheltenham, commented: "The temperature is due to drop to -4 degrees tonight, but rise to 3 degrees by noon. We are more concerned about the Cross Country course than the Chase and Hurdle courses, on which the vulnerable areas have been covered since earlier this week. We have had temperatures down to as low as -4 degrees for the last two nights but could have raced on both Wednesday and Thursday. Should the Cross Country course prove to be unraceable, we will hold a six race card on Friday starting at 12.45pm and reschedule the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase to Saturday at 11.45am as part of an eight race card. Given the forecast temperatures overnight on Friday, there should be no frost issues at all for racing on Saturday."

The going at Cheltenham is currently:

Chase & Hurdle Course: Good to Soft, Soft in Places

Cross-Country Course: Soft, Heavy in Places


Meeting - Boylesports International, Cheltenham Racecourse
Dates - Friday, December 12 & Saturday, December 13
First race - 12.10pm Friday & 12.15pm Saturday
Tickets available from www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 08445 793 003.

ISDN facilities are available for radio interviews if required

Trainer Nicky Richards is set to be double-handed in the £100,000 Listed Boylepoker.com Handicap Chase (1.55pm), the highlight of day one of the Boylesports International at Cheltenham tomorrow, which has attracted a competitive field of 15. Stable jockey Davy Condon will partner the lightly-raced One Sniff, who has been successful on two of his three starts over fences, including a facile five-length victory on his latest start in an extended three-mile handicap chase at Bangor in April.

Richards commented: “One Sniff has had one or two niggling problems throughout his career and we’ve had to be patient with him. He seems in good form at the moment but he will improve for the run.

“He’s only had three starts over fences so he will also come on for the experience. I was hoping to get a run into him at Newcastle two weeks ago but that was abandoned. I want to get to a racecourse and the Boylepoker.com Handicap Chase looks like it’s going to be a competitive race.

“I think he’s certainly a horse with a bit of talent and I just want to further his education over fences.”

While One Sniff will be taking on the unique demands of Cheltenham for the first time, stablemate Harmony Brig will be returning to Prestbury Park following a creditable sixth on his seasonal debut in the IG Index Handicap Chase at The Showcase in October.

The nine-year-old, who will be partnered by Brian Harding, scored the biggest success of his career in December, 2007, when he took a three-mile Listed handicap chase at Newcastle.

Richards continued: “Harmony Brig is in good form as well and I thought he ran a nice race at Cheltenham in October. It was his first appearance for 10 months and he blew up a bit at the top of the hill but he still ran on up the final hill.

“He’s won a Listed race at Newcastle before and he’s no mug. I would be hopeful that he can run his race at Cheltenham.”

The weights for the Boylepoker.com Handicap Chase are headed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Star De Mohaison (11st 12lb), who was victorious in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at The Festival in 2006. The champion trainer has also declared Grade Two scorer Turko, while David Pipe and owner David Johnson will also be double-handed, with this year’s Grand National winner Comply Or Die and the unexposed Itsmyboy declared. Both horses will represent the same owner/trainer combination that triumphed in the Boylepoker.com Handicap Chase last season with Over The Creek.

Last year’s runner-up Simon will bid to go one place better for trainer John Spearing, and the nine-year-old is set to re-oppose the fifth from 12 months ago, Parsons Legacy, who triumphed in the IG Index Handicap Chase at The Showcase on his latest appearance.

The field is completed by Fundamentalist and Irish Raptor from the in-form local stable of Nigel Twiston-Davies, Grade Two winner Verasi, the progressive Trigger The Light, 2007 Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up Character Building, as well as Possol and Mon Mome, who fought out a thrilling finish in a valuable handicap chase at Haydock on November 22.

A maximum field of 16 has been declared for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase (1.20pm), with Irish trainer Enda Bolger, who has done so well with his Cheltenham Cross Country runners, being responsible for a quarter of the field as he searches for a third victory in the race. Garde Champetre will be bidding for a second triumph over the unique course following his win at The Festival earlier this year, while former course winner Heads Onthe Ground, the high-class L’Ami and 2007 Christie´s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup victor Drombeag will also represent the Co Limerick handler. Last year’s scorer Wonderkid, from the stable of Tony Martin, is also among a strong challenge of 10 from across the Irish Sea.


A field of 16 will line up for Saturday’s handicap highlight at the Boylesports International, the £150,000 Boylesports.com Gold Cup (2.30pm) following the final 48-hour declaration stage.

All eyes will be on Imperial Commander, the 7/4 market leader with Boylesports, who will be attempting to follow in the footsteps of Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006), by winning the Boylesports.com Gold and the Power Gold Cup in the same season following his impressive triumph at The Open last month. His trainer, Gloucestershire-based Nigel Twiston-Davies, also runs Patman Du Charmil.

The weights for the two mile and five furlong contest are headed by this season’s Galway Plate victor Oslot on 11st 12lb, one of three declared runners for champion trainer Paul Nicholls along with Silverburn, the mount of stable jockey Ruby Walsh, and Nozic.

Finger Onthe Pulse and Notable D’Estruval will both be trying to become the seventh Irish-trained winner of the Boylepsorts.com Gold Cup. Trained by Tom Taaffe, Finger Onthe Pulse can boast Cheltenham-winning form having taken the Listed Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase over half a furlong shorter at The Festival in March while Notable D’Estruval landed a competitive handicap chase at the Punchestown festival in April.

Nicky Henderson’s team has been in great form this season and is represented by the mare My Petra, an impressive winner at Ascot last time out and runner-up in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase at The Festival last season.

Private Be represents the Philip Hobbs stable, successful four years ago with Monkerhostin, and the nine-year-old finished third to Imperial Commander in the Paddy Power Gold Cup while Three Mirrors also caught the eye in that race when staying on from off the pace to finish fifth.

In 2007 Tamarinbleu provided trainer David Pipe with a shock 22/1 success in the Boylesports.com Gold Cup and this year the Pond House team run Abragante, who will be bidding to bounce back to form following a disappointing seasonal return at Ascot.

Alan King is doubly-represented with Il Duce, fourth behind Imperial Commander last time out and The Hairy Lemon.

The field is completed by Stan, successful over the same distance in the Grade Three Mears Group Silver Trophy at Cheltenham’s April meeting, Yes Sir and Nation State.

Latest Boylesports prices on the Boylesports.com Gold Cup
7/4 Imperial Commander
9/2 Silverburn
7/1 Finger On The Pulse
9/1 My Petra
9/1 Three Mirrors
12/1 Notable D'Estruval
14/1 Private Be
25/1 Nozic
25/1 Stan
25/1 Abragante
25/1 Oslot
25/1 Il Duce
33/1 Yes Sir
40/1 The Hairy Lemon
50/1 Patman Du Charmil
66/1 Nation State

Money Back Special - If Your Selection finishes second, Boylesports will refund your losing win single stake

Class 1, Grade 3, £150,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.30pm, Cheltenham, Saturday, December 13, 2008. For four-year-olds and upwards. Two miles and five furlongs (New Course). Penalties: after November 29, a winner of a chase 5lb - no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 2lb. Entries closed November 25, entries revealed November 26 (47 entries), weights revealed December 3. Five-day confirmation stage Monday, December 8 (19 remained). Final declaration stage 10.00am, Thursday, December 11 (16 declarations). Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including Wednesday, December 10.

Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer/Jockey
1) 121-164 OSLOT (FR) 6-11-12 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls/Nick Scholfield (5)
2) 22112/-U NOZIC (FR) 7-11-10t Sam Mcvie Paul Nicholls/Daryl Jacob
3) 03/114-1 IMPERIAL COMMANDER (IRE) 7-11-09 Our Friends in the North Nigel Twiston-Davies/Paddy Brennan
4) 2215-12 FINGER ONTHE PULSE (IRE) 7-11-07 Conor Clarkson Tom Taaffe IRE/Tony McCoy
5) 2PP2-P4 IL DUCE (IRE) 8-11-04b Liz Prowting Alan King/Robert Thornton
6) 22P0-11 MY PETRA 5-11-04 Mr & Mrs Richard Kelvin Hughes Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty
7) 06P21-5 THREE MIRRORS 8-11-02 Sean Murphy Ferdy Murphy/Graham Lee
8) 5114-2P STAN (NZ) 9-11-00 Paul Beck Venetia Williams/Aidan Coleman (3)
9) 6/2314-6 SILVERBURN (IRE) 7-11-00 Paul Green Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh
10) P6321F0 YES SIR (IRE) 9-10-13 Yvonne Hill & Tom Healy Peter Bowen/Seamus Durack
11) 1/B0P-432 PRIVATE BE 9-10-09 David and Daphne Walsh Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson
12) 14110-6 THE HAIRY LEMON 8-10-08b The Hairy Lemon Partnership Alan King/Charlie Huxley (5)
13) 34016-0 NOTABLE D'ESTRUVAL (FR) 7-10-05t P J McCarthy Arthur Moore IRE/Davy Russell
14) 2620-PP PATMAN DU CHARMIL (FR) 6-10-05b Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies/Johnny Farrelly (3)
15) 10P56-0 ABRAGANTE (IRE) 7-10-02 David Johnson David Pipe/Timmy Murphy
16) 3651-04 NATION STATE 7-10-00b J D Brownrigg Gary Moore/Eamon Dehdashti (5)

16 declarations
2 Irish-trained

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