Thursday, December 4, 2008
TAAFFE KEEPS HIS FINGER ONTHE PULSE AND OPTS FOR THE BOYLESPORTS.COM GOLD CUP
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
Finger Onthe Pulse will return to the scene of his greatest triumph when he lines up at Cheltenham for the £150,000 Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup (2.30pm) over two miles, five furlongs on Saturday, December 13.
Trainer Tom Taaffe saddled the gelding to victory in the Listed Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase over half a furlong shorter at The Festival in March and is keen to let the seven-year-old take his chance. Finger Onthe Pulse, a 12/1 shot with Boylesports, endured a wasted trip to Newcastle last weekend when icy conditions forced the cancellation of the Rehearsal Chase.
The gelding had previously chased home Noland in the Grade Three Kilultagh Properties Ltd Chase at Down Royal on November 1, having scored on his seasonal debut in the Grade Three PricewaterhouseCoopers Chase at Limerick the previous month.
Taaffe revealed today: “Finger Onthe Pulse will go to Cheltenham for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup. He will do his usual bits of work here tomorrow (Friday) and into next week. I’m very happy with him since he came back from his abortive trip to Newcastle. He has been extremely well since then so if I can get him to Cheltenham in the same form, I will be happy.
“He won the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase in March and I do not think that the extra half-furlong will pose a problem - I was prepared to run him over three miles at Newcastle the other day, so I have no worries about that.”
Taaffe had been considering a tilt at the Grade One King George VI Chase on Boxing Day but Finger Onthe Pulse is unlikely to go to Kempton now that the trainer has chosen the Cheltenham route.
He continued: “If he had run last weekend, that would have given me an extra week to make up my mind about the King George or the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. Now that we are getting closer, if everything goes to plan and he runs at Cheltenham, I think we would knock both those options on the head. It is a bit much to ask of him to travel back to England again on Boxing Day and I would not like to ask him to run in Ireland either just two weeks after going to Cheltenham.”
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Imperial Commander is the 3/1 market leader with Boylesports following his victory in the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup over half a furlong shorter at The Open last month.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer, successful in the 2006 Boylesports.com Gold Cup, currently heads the weights on 11st 12lb and is a 20/1 chance with the sponsor.
The Boylesports.com Gold Cup is race 18 in the Order Of Merit and takes place on the second day of the Boylesports International, which offers two days of fantastic racing. Saturday’s exciting seven-race card also features race 19 in the Order Of Merit, the £200,000 Grade Two Boylesports.com International (3.05pm), which is a premier trial for the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at The Festival in March. There is a £200,000 bonus payment offered by Boylesports for any horse winning both the Boylesports.com International and the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle in the same season. If won, this will be split £180,000 for the owner, £10,000 for the trainer and £10,000 for the successful yard's stable staff. Rooster Booster won both contests in the 2002/03 season, as did Salmon Spray (1965/66 season) and Comedy Of Errors (1974/75 season).
Also on the card are the £45,000 Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle (1.30pm), over an extended two and a half miles, and the £30,000 Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (3.35pm) over three miles.
Friday’s feature contest is the £100,000 Listed Boylepoker.com Handicap Chase (1.55pm) staged over three miles, one and a half furlongs. The action also includes the popular Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase, which takes place at 1.20pm.
CHELTENHAM INTRODUCES NEW MARKER ON CROSS COUNTRY COURSE
Cheltenham Racecourse today announced that an additional marker will be placed on its Cross Country Course to ensure that there is no confusion among racegoers and television viewers as to whether a horse has taken the correct route around the course. This move follows Davy Russell taking a ‘legal’ shortcut, but one which did not follow the normal racing line, when winning the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at The Open on Dix Villez.
The bushes which currently mark the natural racing line are not recognised as official course markers by the BHA, but as a result of the recent incident on the Cross Country course, Cheltenham and the BHA Inspectorate have agreed that an additional 'C' marker and running rail will be positioned on the course at the point where Davy Russell cut the corner. This will mean that a repeat of that manoeuvre in the future will result in disqualification of the horse concerned. ‘C’ markers are the officially designated method of directing jockeys around steeplechase courses and must always be kept on a jockey’s inside around a turn.
Cheltenham’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, said: “Our priorities are, of course, the safety of horses and riders but also our racegoers and the viewing public. The use of this extra ‘C’ marker and running rail will ensure that the confusion caused by Davy Russell’s route at our last meeting will not occur again.”
FESTIVAL ADVANCE BOOKING DISCOUNTS END NEXT MONDAY, DECEMBER 8
Cheltenham Racecourse would like to remind customers that the best deals for tickets to The Festival 2009 are only available until the close of business next Monday, December 8.
The Festival 2009 takes place from Tuesday, March 10 through to Friday, March 13, inclusive.
Advance booking prices are as follows:
Until December 8 After December 8
Tuesday, March 10 £60 £65
Wednesday, March 11 £60 £65
Thursday, March 12 £60 £65
Friday, March 13 £75 £80
Two-day ticket (Thursday & Friday) £125 £135
Until December 8 After December 8
Tuesday, March 10 £30 £35
Wednesday, March 11 £30 £35
Thursday, March 12 £30 £35
Friday, March 13 £50 £50
Two-day ticket (Thursday & Friday) £70 £75
Best Mate Enclosure
Until December 8 After December 8
Tuesday, March 10 £18 £20
Wednesday, March 11 £18 £20
Thursday, March 12 £18 £20
Friday, March 13 £30 £35
Two-day ticket (Thursday & Friday) £43 £45
All tickets subject to availability
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink