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Tuesday, March 13, 2001


Godolphin have outlined on ther website, godolphin.com, their plans for the $2-million 12 furlong Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba on March 24.

Last year's Emirates World Series Champion Fantastic Light is likely to line up along with Mutafaweq .Frankie Dettori will probably partner the former with Richard Hills on the latter.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's Racing Manager commented: "He (Fantastic Light) has had a good winter in Dubai since returning from Hong Kong. He had a very busy schedule at the end of the last year.

"Fantastic Light went from the Breeders' Cup to the Japan Cup and then on to Hong Kong. He was a little bit unlucky in the Japan Cup and the Breeders' Cup - both those races were slow-run events and he had a bit of catching up to do in the straight.

"Frankie had him right up with the leaders in Hong Kong and that suited him with the pace not being that fast and the drop back to a mile and a quarter.

"He seems to be settled here and has had a good lead-up towards this race.

"Fantastic Light has a big international campaign ahead of him. He was the Emirates Worls Series winner last year and we will be trying to do the same with him this year.

"When he goes to Europe, he could start off in the same race as last year, the Group One Vodafone Coronation Cup at Epsom, with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot his big summer target.

Commenting on Mutafaweq, Crisford commented: "Mutafaweq has been a terrific horse for Godolphin, having won the King Edward VII Stakes, the St Leger, a German Group One and the Canadian International.

"He's retained all his entusiasm and has been really pleasing in his work this winter.

"He will not have a run beforehand, the trip seems good for him and he's a very genuine robust type who basically is worth his weight in gold for us as he can compete in the top races around the globe.

"And every year Mutafaweq seems to pull off a big one. After running in the Dubai Sheema Classic, he will have a European campaign, probably followed by travelling back to America for some of those Grade Ones over a mile and a half on turf."

Other possibles starters for Godolphin include last year's Tote Ebor victor Give The Slip and the useful former French performer Kutub.

Meanwhile in the $2 million 6f Dubai Golden Shaheen Godolphin could have three potential starter - Bertolini, Sampower Star and Three Points.

Simon Crisford commented: "Bertolini had a frustrating season last year as he did not manage to win for us but he ran some smashing races.

"We were anxious to keep him in training as we felt strongly that he is capable of winning a big race.

"He was disappointing in Hong Kong on his last run of 2000 and we may well step him up to seven furlongs later this season.

"But he will start in the Shaheen, in which he ran very well last year to finish second. It is a straight six furlongs and he likes working on the sand. He has really pleased us going into this race and he would be the best chance of our possible runners here. He deserves to win a big race."

"Sampower Star is a specialist soft-ground horse at around six furlongs. He is much more of a European type and it is possible we may wait until we get back to Europe before running him."

Of Three Points Crisford said: "He has really come to hand in the last couple of weeks and has put himself into the picture as a possible runner. He has pleased us as his work has been very encouraging.

"We have not definitely decided that he will run yet but he seems to be giving us the right signals at the moment. Later on he will run in Europe over six and seven furlongs. He has not raced on sand yet."


Saturday's meeting at Market Rasen is far from certain to go ahead due to the ongoing foot and mouth crisis.

A racecourse statement issued yesterday said the course was considering "the difficult issues durrounding the question of racing."

The statement went on to say: "The racecourse apologises for the apparent indecision and is aware of the inconvenience it may be causing to some, but it is essential that the appropriate consultation takes place.

"However, at present, the meeting is still on and the appropriate precautions and measures are being put in place."


Dubai World Cup organisers and connections of brilliant New Zealand mare Sunline have strenuously denied media claims that $1 million appearance money has been offerered for the Desert Sun mare to line up in Dubai.

Thayne Green, part owner of Sunline told the New Zealand Sunday Star-Times newspaper: "To make a statement like that without any foundation is ridiculous.

"We haven't ever had one single offer - nobody has ever approached us at all."


The 45th running of the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown Park on 28 April 2001 has attracted its second largest entry ever and all the top chasing names from England, Ireland and France are among the 97 horses entered. The 2001 Whitbread Gold Cup is worth a record £125,000, with prize money extending to sixth place.

Champion trainer Martin Pipe has the most entries with ten horses entered including the David Johnson owned Cyfor Malta and Take Control. Paul Nicholls has nine entries including dual Pertemps King George VI Chase and 1997 Gold Cup Winner See More Business, the Robert Ogden owned Ad Hoc and Storm Damage.

Ferdy Murphy has four entries including the improving Narrow Water while Nicky Henderson has only the one entry with William Hill National Chase winner Marlborough. Nigel Twiston-Davies has entered last year's run away winner Beau and the talented Frantic Tan as well as Bindaree. Venetia Williams has the trio of Crocadee, Jocks Cross and Arctic Camper.

The Irish have a strong hand with the Mouse Morris trained Foxchapel King, the Ted Walsh trained trio of Rince Ri, last year's Martell Grand National winner Papillon and Irish National winner Commanche Court. Willie Mullins has two entries, Micko's Dream and See Just There.

France has two possible invaders in the Francois Doumen trained Djeddah and the J Totain trained Gadz'art.

The weights for this year's Whitbread Gold Cup will be released on Thursday 15 March.

Andrew Cooper, Group Racing Manager, commented: " I am delighted with the strength and depth of the entries for this year's renewal and the race should be a real spectacle for racegoers."

He added "Sandown Park Finale Day is one of the few opportunities where racegoers have the opportunity to watch a Martell Grand National winner and a potential Vodafone Derby winner on the same card."

Any horse finishing in the first four in the Martell Grand National on 7 April is eligible for a £100,000 bonus if they go on to win the Whitbread Gold Cup.

As well as the very best in Flat and National Hunt racing there will added entertainment which will include The Saw Doctors playing live after racing, National Hunt racing's "Finale Day" Awards Ceremony, a Parade of former Whitbread Champions and a Flat vs Jump Jockey Challenge Race.

Racegoers who book in advance can take advantage of a discount by calling 01372 47 00 47. Club Badges cost £27 and Grandstand £18.


Sandown Park will officially mark the end of the 2000/2001 jumps season on Saturday 28 April 2001 with Sandown Park Finale Day featuring the 45th running of the Whitbread Gold Cup. Added entertainment will include, The Saw Doctors playing live after racing, National Hunt racing's "Finale Day" Awards Ceremony, a Parade of former Whitbread Champions and a Flat vs Jump Jockey Challenge Race.

The "Greats of National Hunt Racing" will be honoured after racing at the Finale Awards Ceremony. Awards will be made to the Champion Trainer, Owner and Jockey, the top amateur and conditional jockey and there will be an award for a racing personality as voted for by the Channel 4 viewers.

The Champion Trainer and Jockey awards are all but sealed, with Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy dominating. Martin Pipe has won over a £1,000,000 with Paul Nicholls as his nearest pursuer on £733,430. Tony McCoy leads the jockey championship with 178 winners, 31 winners in front of Richard Johnson. The Jockey's Championship is sponsored by the Daily Telegraph.

The contest for Champion Owner is much closer with Robert Ogden in first place, David Johnson in second and J P McManus in third. So far Fadalko has earned the most money for Robert Ogden, Take Control for David Johnson and Go Roger Go for J P McManus.

The award for Champion Conditional jockey is being led by the talented Neil Fehily with David Dennis in second and last year's leading amateur, Paul Flynn, in third. The Champion Amateur award is led by Ben Hitchcott with Tom Scudamore in second place.

Leading national journalists will vote for the Best Newcomer of the Year award. The Racing Post are sponsoring a new award allocated to Performance of the Year which could be human or equine.

The awards ceremony will take place after the Flat vs Jump Challenge with The Saw Doctors and fireworks concluding the day. Racegoers are welcome to remain behind after racing for all the extra entertainment.

In order to book your tickets in advance please call 01372 47 00 47. Club badges booked in advance cost just £27 and Grandstand badges £18.

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

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