Thursday, March 13, 2003
NATIONAL HUNT FESTIVAL 2003
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, THURSDAY, MARCH 13
THIRD RACE RESULT
3.15pm TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
Class A, Grade One, £350,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+. 3m 2 1/2f. Weights 5yo 11st 4lb; 6yo+ 12st. Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £203,000; 2nd: £77,000; 3rd: £38,500; 4th: £17,500; 5th: £8,750; 6th: £5,250
1) BEST MATE (Jim Lewis) Henrietta Knight 8-12-00 Jim Culloty 13/8F
2) TRUCKERS TAVERN (Mrs M B & Ray Scholey) Ferdy Murphy t8-12-00 Davy Russell 33/1
3) HARBOUR PILOT (Kays Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE b8-12-00 Paul Carberry 40/1
4) VALLEY HENRY (Paul Barber) Paul Nicholls 8-12-00 Barry Geraghty
5) BEHRAJAN (The Behrajan Partnership) Henry Daly 8-12-00 Richard Johnson
6) COMMANCHE COURT (Dermot Desmond) Ted Walsh IRE 10-12-00 Ruby Walsh
7 CHIVES (Trevor Hemmings) Henrietta Knight 8-12-00 Richard Guest
8) SEE MORE BUSINESS (Paul Barber & Sir Robert Ogden) Paul Nicholls 13-12-00 Joe Tizzard
9) YOU'RE AGOODUN (Jeff Lammiman) Martin Pipe v11-12-00 Tony McCoy
10) COLONEL BRAXTON (Sue Magnier) Dessie Hughes IRE 8-12-00 Kieran Kelly
11) MARLBOROUGH (Sir Robert Ogden) Nicky Henderson 11-12-00 Mick Fitzgerald
12) MODULOR (Fergus Wilson) Martin Pipe v1 11-12-00 Rodi Greene
13) FIRST GOLD (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR 10-12-00 Thierry Doumen
F3) BEEF OR SALMON (Joe Craig & John McLarnon) Michael Hourigan IRE 7-12-00 Timmy Murphy
PU) HUSSARD COLLONGES (Nick Bannister) Peter Beaumont 8-12-00 Russ Garritty
15 ran Non-Runner: Keen Leader (Vet’s Certificate)
Distances: 10, 2 1/2, nk, 1 1/2, 1 1/2, 4, 17, 3/4, 12, 10, 10, 1/2
Breeder: Jacques Van’t Hart Breeding: b g Un Desperado (FR) - Katday (FR) (Miller’s Mate)
Tote Win: £2.60 Places: £1.60; £8.10; £11.80 Exacta: £131.70
Winning trainer: HENRIETTA KNIGHT Date of birth: 15/12/46 Trains at West Lockinge Farm, Wantage Previous occupation: Ran successful livery yard breaking in horses for Nicky Henderson, Michael Dickinson, Oliver Sherwood and Tim Forster Date of first trainers licence: July 1989 First winner: The Grey Gunner (Bangor, 18/8/89) Cheltenham Festival winners: (6) Bonusprint Stayers Hurdle (1997 Karshi), Grand Annual Chase (1998 Edredon Bleu), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2000 Edredon Bleu), Royal & Sun Alliance Novices’ Chase (2000 Lord Noelie), Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup (2002, 2003 Best Mate) Aintree Festival Wins: Martell Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Best Mate) Other major wins: Peterborough Chase (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Edredon Bleu), Felttham Novices’ Chase (2001 Maximize), Tote Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle (2000 Heart), Championship Chase (2001 Edredon Bleu), Haldon Gold Cup (2001 Best Mate), Scilly Isles Novice Chase (2001 Best Mate) Wins (1990/91-2001/02): 24; 14; 37; 25; 44; 59; 47; 42; 32; 40; 39; 48 Number of Horses in training (1990-2002): 36; 45; 42; 36; 43; 47; 64, 69, 68, 57, 55, 75, 92 Other details: Finished 12th at 1973 Badminton Horse Trials; was judge at 1987 Burghley three-day event; has a Bachelor of Education (Oxford) degree in History & Biology, former teacher Wins This Season: 34
Winning Jockey: James Hugh Culloty Born: December 18, 1973 Racing Weight: 10st Cheltenham Festival Wins: (3) ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Lord Noelie), TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (2002, 2003 Best Mate) Big Race Wins: PETERBOROUGH CHASE (1998, 1999 and 2000 Edredon Bleu, 2002 Best Mate), NOVEMBER NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Best Mate), SCILLY ISLES NOVICES’ CHASE (2001 Best Mate), HALDON GOLD CUP (2001 Best Mate), MARTELL MERSEY NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Best Mate) Number of Wins (1995/96-2001/02): 40; 32; 31; 34; 42; 43; 51 Wins This Season: 47
RACE THREE TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
INITIAL COMMENTS FROM
Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Knight, became the first horse since L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971 and only the sixth horse ever to complete a Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup double, when he beat Truckers Tavern by 10 lengths in this afternoon’s renewal.
Owner Jim Lewis commented: “All day I’ve been saying to people ‘say your prayers.’ They really do love this horse and they love that Henrietta!”
“He’s some horse and he’s such an athlete with a wonderful action. He is a horse of a lifetime and Kempton [where he won the Pertemps King George VI Chase on Boxing Day] is not his course. You won’t see him again this season and he’ll have two more runs again before next year’s Gold Cup.
“The horse might think that he’s Arkle but he’s not there yet [referring to Arkle’s three victories in this race in 1964, 1965 and 1966].”
The Wantage handler went on to reveal that she had a lot more nerves than the horse.
“I was under a hell of a lot of pressure and I was nearly cracking. The horse’s temperament is brilliant and I’ve had no hitches and he’s a trainer’s joy - he eats, sleeps, goes out and does his work. His jumping was perfect wasn’t it?” she enthused.
“The last couple of weeks have been high pressure and I’ve had all of these statistics thrown at me. Mr McCririck will have to alter his statistic about horses winning the King George and the Gold Cup in the same season now, won’t he? [only Desert Orchid and Arkle have managed this feat before]
“I’ve done nothing different despite all the pressure - I’ve had television and radio down if they’ve wanted to come. Jackie [Jenner, Best Mate’s lad] has been very good - she hasn’t batted an eyelid.”
The trainer cares for her charges so much that she cannot bear to watch the race live.
“I had the same chair in the tent this year but there were more people there,” revealed the trainer.
“He was going so easily - he pricks his ears when he hears the crowd.”
RACE THREE TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
INITIAL COMMENTS FROM
Winning rider Jim Culloty was gaining his second Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup victory on the Henrietta Knight-trained Best Mate. Immediately afterwards he revealed that he did not suffer any pre-race nerves. “There was no pressure on me. I feel for Henrietta - all the pressure was on her,” he said.
He continued: “I was turning round to see where Timmy [Murphy, rider of Beef Or Salmon] was but I couldn’t see where he was.
“I was going to ride a race to suit my horse. Check the time of this horse - I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not the fastest of all time as they went some gallop.
“He was always travelling - I had no problems at all. I thought at the ditch, jesus how much more do I have left in the tank! I knew I was clear half-way up the run-in but then the crowd went mad and I thought crikey, there’s something coming!”
Asked what he was thinking as he came to the last obstacle, the Irishman replied: “Get over it in one piece and don’t deck him at the last.”
RACE THREE TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
INITIAL WIN QUOTES
BEST MATE WINS AGAIN
Terry Biddlecombe, husband of trainer Henrietta Knight, said: “I was very confident all along - the way he has improved.”
Owner Jim Lewis said: “I’ve got a heart here pounding so much that I could beat eggs. History has been made and I just couldn’t believe it.
“Henrietta is a weaver of dreams. All day people have been coming up to me and I kept saying ‘say your prayers’ - they do really like the horse. He is so fantastic - they also love Henrietta.”
Henrietta Knight, the trainer of the winner, said: “It was a pretty good reception - I came here once when Dawn Run won and I never thought I would witness such a cheer again. He cantered it. Terry is quite chuffed and Jim’s ride was immaculate - absolute perfection.
“I was very thrilled with Chives too - he ran a great race. I was very proud of the two of them coming down from the top of the hill together.”
Michael Hourigan, trainer of Beef And Salmon who fell at the third, said: “It is very unfortunate - a pity he didn’t get round but that’s racing. He is a young horse and we have him for next year and life goes on. I watched the rest of the race once I knew the horse and Timmy were OK”
Henry Daly, trainer of Behrajan who came fifth, commented: “We knew that the ground and the trip were not ideal today so I am delighted with how he ran. He stayed on and, all things being equal, he will go for the National.
Richard Guest, who rode Chives to be seventh, declared: “He was just outclassed but ran a tremendous National trial.”
Peter Beaumont, trainer of Hussard Collonges who was pulled up, said: “I am mystified by that run. I had been really happy with him right up to the race. He didn’t run his usual race and the jockey didn’t see why.”
PLACED QUOTES RACE THREE
TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
“WE’LL BE BACK NEXT YEAR,” SAYS MURPHY
“He has run a brilliant race and I am sure that he would have done better if it had been softer, he is a stone and a half better on soft ground,” enthused Ferdy Murphy after his 33-1 chance Truckers Tavern had run the race of his life to be ten lengths second to Best Mate.
“If you had asked me this morning I would have settled for second, but I hope we shall be back next year to try to beat Best Mate next time round. He is a seriously good horse, the best I have ever had and I have had a few really good horses over the years.
“He needs campaigning as he has really not had very little experience and I shall go home and look at the tape and decide then about running him again this season. He does want the experience and I am sure he will show what a good horse he is. He is not a National horse -- he is better than that.
“And don’t forget my jockey Davy Russell. He is a really fine rider with a huge future and I hope I can persuade him to stay with me. He is so good and getting better and I am worried that one of the big Southern yards will try to persuade him to go and ride for them.
“At the top of the hill he was about fifth but he has run on so very well to get second. I could not be more pleased with him. He has been trained all season with this race in mind and if only it had been softer.”
Noel Meade, trainer of third home Harbour Pilot, was another who would have liked softer ground. “I walked the course this morning and it was in beautiful condition, but I knew then that it would not be soft enough for him,” he said. “We tried slightly different tactics with him this time, holding him up a bit more than we have done.He made a couple of mistakes but basically he jumped better than he often has done, he was having a go at his fences.
“He really winged the last three and ran on really well. I shall think about running him at Punchestown but he does want soft ground.”
Paul Barber, whose Valley Henry was fourth, was very pleased with his eight-year-old. “The trouble was that the ground was not fast enough for him - he really wants it fast, and then it was not soft enough for See More Business.” See More Business raced in the front rank for a long way and finished eighth.
“On the right ground Valley Henry would have been closer, but I don’t know about him beating Best Mate.”
TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
After Best Mate became the first horse to win two Tote Cheltenham Gold Cups in successive years since L’Escargot (1970 and 1971), trainer Henrietta Knight said: “When he went to the second last, he was going so easily - I couldn’t believe it.
“It was unfortunate that Beef Or Salmon fell but he would have to have been very good to win.
“It almost frightens me that he finds it so easy because he might get a bit blase one day. Fortunately I don’t believe in statistics.
“You won’t see him again until next autumn, we have a choice of going to Exeter or Huntingdon then Kempton before coming back here. I know it’s a bit unimaginitive but this is what we want every year. If he gets there next year like he was this year then nothing will stop him.
“Jim (Lewis) is very good at discussing things, the singing in the winner’s enclosure is the only thing that I can’t abide, but I’ll put up with it for a Gold Cup. Luckily I’ve never joined in!
“Everywhere you walked in this place people were saying good luck and I couldn’t even go and look at the shops which pleased Terry!”
Jim Lewis added: “I was forbidden to sing before the race but I sang afterwards - I waited for Her Majesty to go.
“At Wantage the team is exactly what a team should be. I’ve got a brilliant trainer, whose husband is a three-time champion jockey who knows every blade of grass on every racecourse in the country.
“Jim (Culloty) said to me that the horse was all class and I told him he was all class. I’ll never see a horse like him in my yard again.”
Trainer’s husband Terry Biddlecombe added: “It was beautiful, I just loved the way he jumped the last. I believed in the horse, believed in the jockey and believed in the old girl. Jim knows the horse well and he is very sympathetic.
“Arkle was brilliant and this fellow is as good, or at least we’ll find out next year.”
Jim Culloty added: “They went very fast early on and I was thinking it was going to be a real test of stamina. I was trying to get him switched off and settled and luckily they helped the gallop go along. Going to the last ditch I thought I would let him have a quick blow.
“He was up for it and trained for the minute. People asked me if I was nervous and I said I wouldn’t like to be a trainer. She’s had two or three months, I was just nervous for five minutes - you just need to think everything through and make sure you are not brought down.
“People forget he’s about 16.3hh and he was still only a shell at seven, he may not come into his prime until he’s nine next year.
“It rode a far better race today than last year and I think this was a better performance. He jumped for fun.
“My one concern was that I was loooking around to see where Beef Or Salmon was and I could see the shadows of the horses behind and I knew he wasn’t coming up.”
Cheltenham Gold Cup Analysis
The Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup jinx on previous winners was finally beaten as the favourite, BEST MATE, powered home to win in emphatic fashion.
Always travelling easily, he moved up from mid-division climbing the hill and moved into contention on the heels of the leaders at the fourth-last. At the downhill fence, three from the finish, another effortless jump took him to the lead, and from there he simply stretched clear. Foot-perfect at the final two fences, he had an advantage of 10 lengths over Truckers Tavern at the finish, with Harbour Pilot another two and a half lengths further back.
Best Mate’s time of 6mins 39.1secs was just over 11 seconds quicker than last year, but nine seconds outside the record set by Looks Like Trouble in 2000.
The Henrietta Knight-trained winner is now hot favourite to match Arkle’s feat of three successes in this contest and, as an eight-year-old, he certainly has time on his side. He has been sympathetically handled by his trainer and two wins earlier this season, including in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, had shown that he had not been adversely affected by his efforts in this race 12 months ago.
Behind him were 14 horses who were comprehensively beaten on the day – or should that be 13, because the only obvious unlucky story concerned the novice, Beef Or Salmon, who fell at the third. He lives to fight another day and remains one horse who might take Best Mate’s title. He will have to be very good to do so on this evidence, and on a line through third-placed Harbour Pilot would have had to have improved again to beat Best Mate.
Truckers Tavern stayed on past tiring horses to take second, while Harbour Pilot, who has a habit of taking third, pipped Valley Henry in the shadow of the post.
Valley Henry would have liked ground with a little more bounce in it, and he tired on the run-in, but still confirmed recent Newbury running with Chives, who led the field at the top of the hill and was upsides with the winner three out. Chives seemed to get tired after that (seventh), but he showed he stays long distances in the Welsh National and did his Martell Grand National chances no harm.
A similar remark applies to Behrajan, who finished fifth after racing prominently throughout.
Commanche Court was clearly not in the same form which enabled him to finish second last year – he had to be content with sixth on this occasion – while See More Business ran honourably for a circuit until fading into eighth place. At 13 age was not on his side, and while softer ground would have helped slow his rivals down he would have struggled to repeat his third place of a year ago. Marlborough, who was fourth last year, is clearly not progressing at 11 and he never threatened to challenge for the prize, finishing 11th.
Colonel Braxton was disappointing – he had finished ahead of Harbour Pilot on his previous two starts on very soft ground, but was well behind on this livelier surface, while You’re A Goodun and Modulor were outclassed.
First Gold, once thought of as a serious Gold Cup horse, has not been as good since he missed a year through injury.
Hussard Collonges also ran poorly - his connections could give no reason for the poor display and claimed they were “mystified”.
GERAGHTY LANDS DAILY TELEGRAPH AWARD
Victory in the concluding Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle landed Barry Geraghty the Daily Telegraph Award for leading rider at the 2003 National Hunt Festival.
It was a fifth success at the meeting for Geraghty, who finished one clear of Richard Johnson.
Geraghty enjoyed a dream meeting with other victories coming aboard Moscow Flyer (Queen Mother Champion Chase), Inching Closer (Pertemps Final), Spectroscope (JCB Triumph Hurdle) and Youlneverwalkalone (Mildmay of Flete Chase).
“It’s unbelievable to have had five winners at a meeting like this,” said Geraghty, whose only previous Festival victory had been on Moscow Flyer in last season’s Irish Independent Arkle Chase.
“I have had remarkable luck and things just have to go your way like at the second last in the Queen Mother when those two horses fell so close to me.
“I had great rides and a lot of good chances coming into the meeting. I had a great week, win, lose and draw.
“I don’t know how I’ll celebrate tonight - I’ll have a bit of dinner and then we’ll see.”
Today’s sell-out attendance at Cheltenham was 53,929, up from 53,536 on the corresponding day last year.
Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s managing director, said: “It appears to have been a hugely successful Festival, not least for the punters, with exceptional racing and our congratulations go to everybody involved.
“Welcoming the Queen was an enormous honour for us all and it appears that she got properly involved with the racing and many of the Cheltenham characters.
“We now look forward to starting to plan ahead for next season and the 2004 Festival.”
GOING NEWS AT 10 AM
After another dry night the ground for the third and final day of the Festival remains
GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES.
“The good to soft places are on the two and a half mile loop and down the hill on the New Course, which is being used today as it always is for the third day of the meeting,” said clerk of the course Simon Claisse.
“The forecast is for another dry day, though it will be largely cloudy and quite cold.”
The Old Course was used for first two days of the Festival.
VISIT BY HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN ON THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2003
12 noon. Arrival by helicopter.
To be met by Henry Elwes, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Carolyn Elwes and Tim Brain, Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary and Elisabeth Brain.
The Queen will be met at the Royal Box by Lord and Lady Vestey. They will proceed into the Royal Box and the Queen will appear on the balcony facing the racecourse at which moment the National Anthem will be played and the Royal Standard will be raised.
12.20 p.m. The Queen, accompanied by Lord Vestey, Chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, will walk to the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure for the unveiling of the portrait bust of the Queen Mother.
The following will be presented to the Queen:-
Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham Racecourse’s Managing Director, who will then present:-
Martin Molony, Rider of Silver Fame, 1951 Gold Cup
Willie Robinson, Rider of Mill House, 1963 Gold Cup
Fred Winter, Only person to have both ridden and trained winners of the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup
Michael Dickinson, Trainer of first five in 1983 Gold Cup
Paddy Mullins, Trainer of Dawn Run, the only horse to have the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup
Martin Pipe, Champion Trainer
Anthony McCoy, Champion Jockey
Lord Vestey will present:
The Duke of Devonshire, Patron to Angela Conner
Angela Conner, Sculptor
The unveiling will be announced by Lord Vestey
Following the unveiling, Lord Vestey will present:-
Desert Orchid, Gold Cup winner 1989 and Janice Coyle, groom
Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course who will present:
Tim Holland-Martin, Chairman of the Stewards Panel
John Codner, Senior Veterinary Surgeon
John Disney, Senior Medical Officer
The Queen, accompanied by Lord Vestey, will return to the Royal Box.
After Race 2, Lord Vestey will accompany the Queen to the Parade Ring to see the runners for the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Lord Vestey will accompany the Queen to the Parade Ring for the presentation of the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and trophies to the winning connections
After Race 5, the Queen will depart by car from outside the Royal Box, returning to the Helicopter Landing Area.
TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP FACTS & MUCH MORE ABOUT TODAY’S BIG RACE
1. The Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain. The total prize money for the 2003 running will be a record £350,000, an increase of £50,000 on 2002.
2. The first Cheltenham Gold Cup was a three-mile Flat race in 1819, won by a Mr Bodenham’s Spectre. The chase as we now know it was introduced in 1924, and won that year by Red Splash. The winning prize money was just £700.
3. Golden Miller holds the record for the most Gold Cup victories, with five consecutive wins from 1932-36. The race is fiercely competitive - so much so that the last horse to win twice was L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971.
4. Golden Miller’s owner, Dorothy Paget, is also the most successful owner in the race, with an amazing seven victories, with Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952) adding to Golden Miller’s five wins.
5. The most successful trainer is Tom Dreaper, who won five Gold Cups with three separate horses, namely Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964-66) and Fort Leney (1968).
6. Tony McCoy’s Smurfit Champion Hurdle/Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup double in 1997 on Make A Stand and Mr Mulligan was the 11th time that the big-race double has been achieved by one jockey in the same year. The other jockeys to have achieved the feat were Dick Rees (1929), Tom Cullinan (1930), Ted Leader (1932), Bill Stott (1933), Gerry Wilson (1935), Aubrey Brabazon (1949 and 1950), Tim Molony (1953), Fred Winter (1961) and Norman Williamson (1995).
7. Alderbrook and Master Oats in 1995 enabled Norman Williamson and Kim Bailey to join a very select group of jockey and trainer partnerships who have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in the same year. The other partnerships were Tom Cullinan and Jack Anthony in 1930, Ted Leader and Basil Briscoe in 1932, Bill Stott and Basil Briscoe in 1933, and Aubrey Brabazon and Vincent O’Brien in both 1949 and 1950.
8. Dawn Run is the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. She was successful in 1984 and 1986 respectively.
9. The longest-priced winner of the Gold Cup is Norton’s Coin, who started at 100/1 in 1990, while the shortest-priced winner was Arkle, the 1/10 favourite in 1966.
10. The last grey Gold Cup winner was Desert Orchid in 1989.
11. The Tote have sponsored the Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1980 and the present contract includes the 2005 running.
12. In the Gold Cup's history only five horses have won more than once, and the most recent of them was L'Escargot in 1970 and 1971. The others were Easter Hero (1929/30), Golden Miller (1932/33/34/35/36), Cottage Rake (1948/49/50) and Arkle (1964/65/66). Their successes were all in consecutive years.
13. The last 21 runnings have seen seven 9-year-olds, six 8-year-olds, five 10-year-olds and three 7-year-olds be successful. The last horses over the age of 10 to win was 12-year-old What A Myth in 1969.
14. Only four of the last 21 favourites in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup have justified the market confidence - Master Oats in 1995, Desert Orchid in 1989, Dawn Run in 1986 and Bregawn in 1983. Three of the last four favourites have reached the frame - See More Business was fourth in 2000, Florida Pearl third in 1999 and Dorans Pride third in 1998 but Looks Like Trouble, last year’s 9/2 market leader, finished last of the 13 finishers after suffering a tendon injury.
15. The two Irish-trained winners in the last 21 runnings were Imperial Call in 1996 and Dawn Run ten years before that. Irish-trained horses did better between 1946 and 1977 when 16 successes were achieved. The only French–trained winner was The Fellow in 1994 while there has also been a Welsh-trained victor in Norton’s Coin (1990).
TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP RESULTS AND
ROLL OF HONOUR
2002-WINNER-BEST MATE 7-12-00 Owner-Jim Lewis; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP-7/1
2ND-Commanche Court 9-12-00 Owner-Dermot Desmond; Trainer-Ted Walsh IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-25/1
3RD-See More Business 12-12-00 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden and Paul Barber; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-40/1 18 ran, Time-6m 50.10s, Dist-1.75, 8 9/2 Fav Looks Like Trouble (13th)
2000-WINNER-LOOKS LIKE TROUBLE 8-12-00 Owner-Tim Collins; Trainer-Noel Chance; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-9/2
2ND-Florida Pearl 8-12-00 Owner-Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-9/2
3RD-Strong Promise 9-12-00 Owner-Exors of the Late Geoff Hubbard; Trainer-Chris Kinane; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-20/1 12 ran, Time-6m 30.3s, Dist-5, nk 9/4 Fav See More Business (4th)
1999-WINNER-SEE MORE BUSINESS 9-12-00 Owner-Paul Barber and John Keighley; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-16/1
2ND-Go Ballistic 10-12-00 Owner-Sheila Lockhart; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP-66/1
3RD-Florida Pearl 7-12-00 Owner-Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-5/2 Fav 12 ran, Time-6m 41.9s, Dist-1, 17
1998-WINNER-COOL DAWN 10-12-00 Owner-Hon. Dido Harding; Trainer-Robert Alner; Jockey-Andrew Thornton; SP-25/1
2ND-Strong Promise 7-12-00 Owner-Geoff Hubbard; Trainer-Geoff Hubbard; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-14/1
3RD-Dorans Pride 9-12-00 Owner-Tom Doran; Trainer-Michael Hourigan IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-9/4 Fav 17 ran, Time-6m 39.7s, Dist-1.75, hd
1997-WINNER-MR MULLIGAN 9-12-00 Owner-Michael and Gerry Worcester; Trainer-Noel Chance; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-20/1
2ND-Barton Bank 11-12-00 Owner-Jenny Mould; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-David Walsh; SP-33/1
3RD-Dorans Pride 8-12-00 Owner-Tom Doran; Trainer-Michael Hourigan IRE; Jockey-Shane Broderick; SP-10/1
14 ran, Time-6m 35.5s, Dist-9, .5 4/1 Fav Imperial Call (pu)
1996-WINNER-IMPERIAL CALL 7-12-00 Owner-Lisselan Farms Ltd; Trainer-Fergie Sutherland IRE; Jockey-Conor O’Dwyer; SP-9/2
2ND-Rough Quest 10-12-00 Owner-Andrew Wates and Lady Wates; Trainer-Terry Casey; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-12/1
3RD-Couldnt Be Better 9-12-00 Owner-Dick Whittle; Trainer-Charlie Brooks; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-11/1 10 ran, Time-6m 42.5s Dist-4,19 11/8 Fav One Man (6th)
1995-WINNER-MASTER OATS 9-12-00 Owner-Paul Matthews; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-100/30 Fav
2ND-Dubacilla 9-11-09 Owner-Henry Cole; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Dean Gallagher; SP-20/1
3RD-Miinnehoma 12-12-00 Owner-Freddie Starr; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-9/1
15 ran, Time-6m 56.20s Dist-15,15
1994-WINNER-THE FELLOW 9-12-00 Owner-Marquesa de Moratalla; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Adam Kondrat; SP-7/1
2ND-Jodami 9-12-00 Owner-John Yeadon; Trainer-Peter Beaumont; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Young Hustler 7-12-00 Owner-Gavin MacEchern; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-20/1 15 ran, Time-6m 40.6s Dist-1.5,4
1993-WINNER-JODAMI 8-12-00 Owner-John Yeadon; Trainer-Peter Beaumont; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-8/1
2ND-Rushing Wild 8-12-00 Owner-Hunt & Co (Bournemouth) Ltd; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-11/1
3RD-Royal Athlete 10-12-00 Owner-Garry & Libby Johnson; Trainer-Jenny Pitman; Jockey-Ben de Haan; SP-66/1 16 ran, Time-6m 34.7sDist-2, 7 5/4 Fav The Fellow(4th)
1992-WINNER-COOL GROUND 10-12-00 Owner-Whitcombe Manor Racing Stables Ltd; Trainer-Toby Balding; Jockey-Adrian Maguire; SP-25/1
2ND-The Fellow 7-12-00 Owner-Marquesa de Moratalla; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Adam Kondrat; SP-7/2
3RD-Docklands Express 10-12-00 Owner-R H Baines; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Mark Perrett; SP-16/1
8 ran, Time-6m 47.5s, Dist-sh, 1 Evens Fav Carvill's Hill(5th)
1991-WINNER-GARRISON SAVANNAH 8-12-00 Owner-Autofour Engineering; Trainer-Jenny Pitman; Jockey-Mark Pitman; SP-16/1
2ND-The Fellow 6-12-00 Owner-Marquesa de Moratalla; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Adam Kondrat SP-28/1
3RD-Desert Orchid 12-12-00 Owner-Richard Burridge; Trainer-David Elsworth; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-4/1
14 ran, Time-6m 49.8s, Dist-sh,15 5/2 Fav Celtic Shot (7th)
1990-WINNER-NORTON'S COIN 9-12-00 Owner-Sirrell Griffiths; Trainer-Sirrell Griffiths; Jockey-Graham McCourt; SP-100/1
2ND-Toby Tobias 8-12-00 Owner-Elizabeth Hitchins; Trainer-Jenny Pitman; Jockey-Mark Pitman; SP-8/1
3RD-Desert Orchid 11-12-00 Owner-Richard Burridge; Trainer-David Elsworth; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-10/11 Fav 12 ran, Time-6m 30.9s, Dist-.75,4
1989-WINNER-DESERT ORCHID 10-12-00 Owner-Richard Burridge; Trainer-David Elsworth; Jockey-Simon Sherwood; SP-5/2 Fav
2ND-Yahoo 8-12-00 Owner-Alan Parker; Trainer-John Edwards; Jockey-Tom Morgan; SP-25/1
3RD-Charter Party 11-12-00 Owner-Jenny Mould; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-14/1
13 ran, Time-7m 17.6s, Dist-1.5,8
1988-WINNER-CHARTER PARTY 10-12-00 Owner-Claire Smith and Jenny Mould; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-10/1
2ND-Cavvies Clown 8-12-00 Owner-Mrs J Ollivant; Trainer-David Elsworth; Jockey-Simon Sherwood; SP-6/1
3RD-Beau Ranger 10-12-00 Owner-White Bros (Taunton) Ltd; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Peter Scudamore;
SP-33/1 15 ran, Time-6m 58.9s, Dist-6,10 100/30 Fav Playschool (pu)
1987-WINNER-THE THINKER 9-12-00 Owner-T P M McDonagh Ltd; Trainer-Arthur Stephenson; Jockey-Ridley Lamb; SP-13/2
2ND-Cybrandian 9-12-00 Owner-Ian Bray; Trainer-Peter Easterby; Jockey-Chris Grant; SP-25/1
3RD-Door Latch 9-12-00 Owner-Jim Joel; Trainer-Josh Gifford; Jockey-Richard Rowe; SP-9/1
12 ran, Time-6m 56.1s, Dist-1.5,2.5. 5/4 Fav Forgive `N Forget(7th)
1986-WINNER-DAWN RUN 8-11-09 Owner-Charmian Hill; Trainer-Paddy Mullins IRE; Jockey-Jonjo O'Neill; SP-15/8 Fav
2ND-Wayward Lad 11-12-00 Owner-Shirley Thewlis; Trainer-Monica Dickinson; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-8/1
3RD-Forgive'N Forget 9-12-00 Owner-T Kilroe & Sons Ltd; Trainer-Jimmy FitzGerald; Jockey-Mark Dwyer;SP-7/2
11 ran, Time-6m 35.3s, Dist-1, 2.5
1985-WINNER-FORGIVE'N FORGET 8-12-00 Owner-T Kilroe & Sons Ltd; Trainer-Jimmy FitzGerald; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-7/1
2ND-Righthand Man 8-12-00 Owner-Muriel Haggas; Trainer-Monica Dickinson; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-15/2
3RD-Earls Brig 10-12-00 Owner-Billy Hamilton; Trainer-Billy Hamilton; Jockey-Phil Tuck; SP-13/2
15 ran, Time-6m 48.3s, Dist-1.5, 2.5. 4/1 Fav Combs Ditch (7th)
1984-WINNER-BURROUGH HILL LAD 8-12-00 Owner-Stan Riley; Trainer-Jenny Pitman; Jockey-Phil Tuck; SP-7/2
2ND-Brown Chamberlin 9-12-00 Owner-Coral Samuel; Trainer-Fred Winter; Jockey-John Francome; SP-5/1
3RD-Drumlargan 10-12-00 Owner-Michael Cuddy; Trainer-Edward O'Grady IRE; Jockey-Mr Frank Codd; SP-16/1
12 ran, Time-6m 41.4, Dist-3,8. 6/4 Fav Wayward Lad(pu)
1983-WINNER-BREGAWN 9-12-00 Owner-James Kennelly; Trainer-Michael Dickinson; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-100/30 Fav
2ND-Captain John 9-12-00 Owner-F Emami; Trainer-Michael Dickinson; Jockey-David Goulding; SP-11/1
3RD-Wayward Lad 8-12-00 Owner-Shirley Thewlis; Trainer-Michael Dickinson; Jockey-Jonjo O'Neill; SP-6/1
11 ran, Time-6m 57.6s, Dist-5, 1.5
1982-WINNER-SILVER BUCK 10-12-00 Owner-Christine Feather; Trainer-Michael Dickinson; Jockey-Robert Earnshaw; SP-8/1
2ND-Bregawn 8-12-00 Owner-M Kennelly; Trainer-Michael Dickinson; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-18/1
3RD-Sunset Cristo 8-12-00 Owner-Carol Hawkey; Trainer-Raymond Hawkey; Jockey-Chris Grant; SP-100/1
22 ran, Time-7m 11.2s, Dist-2,12 11/4 Fav Night Nurse (pu)
TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP ROLL OF HONOUR
(Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1980, Piper Champagne Cheltenham Gold Cup 1975-1979, no sponsor before 1975)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
2002 Best Mate 7-12-00 Jim Culloty Henrietta Knight Jim Lewis 7/1 18
2001 No Race (Foot and Mouth)
2000 Looks Like Trouble 8-12-00 Richard Johnson Noel Chance Tim Collins 9/2 12
1999 See More Business 9-12-00 Mick Fitzgerald Paul Nicholls Paul Barber/John Keighley 16/1 12
1998 Cool Dawn 10-12-00 Andrew Thornton Robert Alner Hon. Miss Dido Harding 25/1 17
1997 Mr Mulligan 9-12-00 Tony McCoy Noel Chance Michael & Gerry Worcester 20/1 14
1996 Imperial Call 7-12-00 Conor O’Dwyer Fergie Sutherland IRE Lisselan Farms Ltd 9/2 10
1995 Master Oats 9-12-00 Norman Williamson Kim Bailey Paul Matthews 100/30F 15
1994 The Fellow 9-12-00 Adam Kondrat Francois Doumen FR Marquesa De Moratalla 7/1 15
1993 Jodami 8-12-00 Mark Dwyer Peter Beaumont John Yeadon 8/1 16
1992 Cool Ground 10-12-00 Adrian Maguire Toby Balding Whitcombe Manor Racing Stables 25/1 8
1991 Garrison Savannah 8-12-00 Mark Pitman Jenny Pitman Autofour Engineering 16/1 14
1990 Norton’s Coin 9-12-00 Graham McCourt Sirrell Griffiths Sirrell Griffiths 100/1 12
1989 Desert Orchid 10-12-00 Simon Sherwood David Elsworth Richard Burridge 5/2F 13
1988 Charter Party 10-12-00 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Claire Smith & Jenny Mould 10/1 15
1987 The Thinker 9-12-00 Ridley Lamb Arthur Stephenson T P M McDonagh Ltd 13/2 12
1986 Dawn Run 8-11-09 Jonjo O'Neill Paddy Mullins IRE Charmian Hill 15/8F 11
1985 Forgive N' Forget 8-12-00 Mark Dwyer Jimmy FitzGerald T Kilroe and Sons Ltd 7/1 15
1984 Burrough Hill Lad 8-12-00 Phil Tuck Jenny Pitman Stan Riley 7/2 12
1983 Bregawn 9-12-00 Graham Bradley Michael Dickinson James Kennelly 100/30F 11
1982 Silver Buck 10-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson Christine Feather 8/1 22
1981 Little Owl 7-12-00 Mr Jim Wilson Peter Easterby Robin Wilson 6/1 15
1980 *Master Smudge 8-12-00 Richard Hoare Arthur Barrow Arthur Barrow 14/1 15
1979 Alverton 9-12-00 Jonjo O'Neill Peter Easterby Snailwell Stud Co Ltd 5/1JF 14
1978 Midnight Court 7-12-00 John Francome Fred Winter Olive Jackson 5/2 10
1977 Davy Lad 7-12-00 Dessie Hughes Mick O'Toole IRE Mrs Joe McGowan 14/1 13
1976 Royal Frolic 7-12-00 John Burke Fred Rimell Sir Edward Hanmer 14/1 11
1975 Ten Up 8-12-00 Tommy Carberry Jim Dreaper IRE Anne, Duchess of Westminster 2/1 8
1974 Captain Christy 7-12-00 Bobby Beasley Pat Taaffe IRE Mrs Jane M A Samuel 7/1 7
1973 The Dikler 10-12-00 Ron Barry Fulke Walwyn Mrs D W August 9/1 8
1972 Glencaraig Lady 8-12-00 Frank Berry Francis Flood IRE P Doyle 6/1 12
1971 L'Escargot 8-12-00 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE Raymond Guest 7/2JF 8
1970 L'Escargot 7-12-00 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE Raymond Guest 33/1 12
1969 What A Myth 12-12-00 Paul Kelleway Ryan Price Lady Weir 8/1 11
1968 Fort Leney 10-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Colonel John Thomson 11/2 5
1967 Woodland Venture 7-12-00 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell Harry Collins 100/8 8
1966 Arkle 9-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Anne, Duchess of Westminster 1/10F 5
1965 Arkle 8-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Anne, Duchess of Westminster 3/10F 4
1964 Arkle 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Anne, Duchess of Westminster 7/4 4
1963 Mill House 6-12-00 Willie Robinson Fulke Walwyn Bill Gollings 7/2F 12
1962 Mandarin 11-12-00 Fred Winter Fulke Walwyn Madame Peggy Hennessy 7/2 10
1961 Saffron Tartan 10-12-00 Fred Winter Don Butchers Colonel Guy Westmacott 2/1F 9
1960 Pas Seul 7-12-00 Bill Rees Bob Turnell John Rogerson 6/1 11
1959 Roddy Owen 10-12-00 Bobby Beasley Danny Morgan IRE Lord Fingall 5/1 11
1958 Kerstin 8-12-00 Stan Hayhurst Verly Bewicke George H Moore 7/1 9
1957 Linwell 9-12-00 Michael Scudamore Charlie Mallon David Brown 100/9 13
1956 Limber Hill 9-12-00 Jimmy Power Bill Dutton John Davey 11/8F 11
1955 Gay Donald 9-12-00 Tony Grantham Jim Ford P J Burt 33/1 9
1954 Four Ten 8-12-00 Tommy Cusack John Roberts A Strange 100/6 6
1953 Knock Hard 9-12-00 Tim Molony Vincent O'Brien IRE Mrs Harry Keogh 11/2 12
1952 Mount Tremblant 6-12-00 Dave Dick Fulke Walwyn Dorothy Paget 8/1 13
1951 Silver Fame 12-12-00 Martin Molony George Beeby Lord Bicester 6/4F 6
1950 Cottage Rake 11-12-00 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien IRE Frank Vickerman 5/6F 6
1949 Cottage Rake 10-12-00 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien IRE Frank Vickerman 4/6F 6
1948 Cottage Rake 9-12-00 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien IRE Frank Vickerman 10/1 12
1947 Fortina 6-12-00 Mr Richard Black Hector Christie Lord Grimthorpe 8/1 12
1946 Prince Regent 11-12-00 Tim Hyde Tom Dreaper IRE Jimmy Rank 4/7F 6
1945 Red Rower 11-12-00 Davy Jones Lord Stalbridge Lord Stalbridge 11/4F 16
1943/1944 No race
1942 Medoc II 8-12-00 Frenchie Nicholson Reg Hobbs Lord Sefton 9/2 12
1941 Poet Prince 9-12-00 Roger Burford Ivor Anthony D Sherbrooke 7/2 10
1940 Roman Hackle 7-12-00 Evan Williams Owen Anthony Dorothy Paget Evs 7
1939 Brendans Cottage 9-12-00 George Owen George Beeby Mrs Arthur Smith-Bingham 8/1 5
1938 Morse Code 9-12-00 Danny Morgan Ivor Anthony Lt Col Dealtry Part 13/2 6
1937 No race (flooded)
1936 Golden Miller 9-12-00 Evan Williams Owen Anthony Dorothy Paget 21/20F 6
1935 Golden Miller 8-12-00 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget 1/2F 5
1934 Golden Miller 7-12-00 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget 6/5F 7
1933 Golden Miller 6-12-00 Billy Stott Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget 4/7F 7
1932 Golden Miller 5-11-05 Ted Leader Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget 13/2 6
1931 No race (frost)
1930 Easter Hero 10-12-00 Tommy Cullinan Jack Anthony John Hay Whitney 8/11F 4
1929 Easter Hero 9-12-00 Dick Rees Jack Anthony John Hay Whitney 7/4F 10
1928 Patron Saint 5-11-05 Dick Rees Stanley Harrison F W Keen 7/2 7
1927 Thrown In 11-12-00 Hon Hugh Grosvenor Owen Anthony Lord Stalbridge 10/1 8
1926 Koko 8-12-00 Tim Hamey Alfred Bickley Frank Barbour 10/1 8
1925 Ballinode 9-12-00 Ted Leader Frank Morgan IRE J C Bentley 3/1 4
1924 Red Splash 5-11-05 Dick Rees Fred Withington Major Everard Wyndham 5/1 9
*Master Smudge finished second to Tied Cottage, who was subsequently disqualified for failing a post-race urine test
BEST MATE’S BIG TASK
Best Mate will be attempting to become the first horse since L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971 to win back-to-back renewals of the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Henrietta Knight’s stable star could not have been more impressive when taking the chasing championship a year ago and has done nothing wrong this season, with wins in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon and the Pertemps King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Below are the records of how Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup winners since L’Escargot have performed in the race the following year. As can be seen, in the 30 renewals since 1971, the winner from the previous year ran on 14 occasions and, while none have won, five were placed. The best performances came from The Dikler (1974) and Jodami (1994), who both came second.
Another horse - the veteran See More Business - is going for his second Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup success, having won for the first time back in 1999.
Year Previous Year’s Winner Finishing Position SP
1972 L’Escargot 4th 4/1
1973 Glencaraig Lady DID NOT RUN
1974 The Dikler 2nd 5/1
1975 Captain Christy Pulled Up 7/4F
1976 Ten Up DID NOT RUN
1977 Royal Frolic DID NOT RUN
1978 Davy Lad DID NOT RUN
1979 Midnight Court DID NOT RUN
1980 Alverton DID NOT RUN
1981 Master Smudge DID NOT RUN
1982 Little Owl DID NOT RUN
1983 Silver Buck 4th 5/1
1984 Bregawn 6th 10/1
1985 Burrough Hill Lad DID NOT RUN
1986 Forgive ’N Forget 3rd 7/2
1987 Dawn Run DID NOT RUN
1988 The Thinker DID NOT RUN
1989 Charter Party 3rd 14/1
1990 Desert Orchid 3rd 10/11F
1991 Norton’s Coin Fell 16/1
1992 Garrison Savannah DID NOT RUN
1993 Cool Ground 9th 50/1
1994 Jodami 2nd 6/4F
1995 The Fellow DID NOT RUN
1996 Master Oats DID NOT RUN
1997 Imperial Call Pulled Up 4/1F
1998 Mr Mulligan DID NOT RUN
1999 Cool Dawn DID NOT RUN
2000 See More Business 4th 9/4F
2001 No race - foot & mouth
2002 Looks Like Trouble 13th 9/2F*
2003 BEST MATE ???? ????
* Looks Like Trouble won the 2000 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup. As there was no race in 2001, he was attempting the back-to-back double in 2002.
BEEF OR SALMON ATTEMPTS
TO EMULATE CAPTAIN CHRISTY
Ireland’s leading Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Beef Or Salmon has to overcome the fact that no novice has won since Captain Christy, also trained in Ireland, triumphed in 1974.
Below can be found the record of novices in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup after his victory.
As can be seen, relatively few horses (17 since 1975) have attempted to win the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup in their first season of chasing.
The best effort form a novice in recent years was Dorans Pride, who finished third to Mr Mulligan in 1997. The interesting connection is that Dorans Pride was trained by Michael Hourigan - also the trainer of Beef Or Salmon.
Year Horse Finishing Position SP
1974 CAPTAIN CHRISTY WON 7/1
1975 NO NOVICES RAN
1976 NO NOVICES RAN
1977 Zarib Fell 12/1
Lanzarote Slipped Up 7/2
1978 NO NOVICES RAN
1979 Gaffer 6th 6/1
Night Nurse 7th 6/1
1980 Kas Pulled Up 100/1
Narribinni Pulled Up 100/1
1981 NO NOVICES RAN
1982 NO NOVICES RAN
1983 NO NOVICES RAN
1984 NO NOVICES RAN
1985 Drumadowney 4th 9/1
Boreen Prince 6th 20/1
1986 Von Trappe Fell 25/1
Castle Andrea Pulled Up 500/1
1987 NO NOVICES RAN
1988 NO NOVICES RAN
1989 Carvill’s Hill Fell 5/1
Slalom Unseated Rider 33/1
1990 NO NOVICES RAN
1991 NO NOVICES RAN
1992 NO NOVICES RAN
1993 NO NOVICES RAN
1994 NO NOVICES RAN
1995 NO NOVICES RAN
1996 NO NOVICES RAN
1997 Dorans Pride 3rd 10/1
Cyborgo 8th 12/1
Danoli Fell 7/1
1998 NO NOVICES RAN
1999 Unsinkable Boxer Pulled Up 14/1
2000 Gloria Victis Fell 13/2
2001 No race - foot & mouth
2002 NO NOVICES RAN
2003 BEEF OR SALMON ???? ????
THE FESTIVAL 2003 -
FACTS & FIGURES
Attendances at Cheltenham have been steadily rising since the Second World War. The Festival became all ticket for the first time in 2000 and 50,000 racegoers attend each day. Total attendance during the 2001/2002 season was 300,000 and Cheltenham's other leading race meetings include The Open in November which this year saw over 62,000 people visit the racecourse during the three days.
2000 marked the first year of The Festival becoming all ticket for the entire three days whereby no admittance was given to those who had not purchased pre-paid tickets in advance. The Festival has remained like this ever since and is the only National Hunt meeting to be able to erect the 'Sold Out' signs before the day.
RACE VALUES & SPONSORSHIP
Over £4 million in prize money is offered at Cheltenham's 16 race days, equating to a rise of 76% in just five years. Total prize money at The Festival has risen for the 15th consecutive year to £2,305,000 in 2003 with the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup increasing £50,000 in value to £350,000 this year.
Sponsors contribute over 40% of annual prize money at Cheltenham, and The Festival accounts for 53% of all prize money on offer during the season.
There are 11 individual race sponsors at The Festival and Guinness support the Guinness Village whilst Courage Best backs the Enclosure of that name.
The official estimate of total on-course betting turnover during The Festival is £40 million - an average of over £2 million per race. No returns are available from bookmakers operating at the Meeting, although Tote turnover is always a good indicator and last year was the Tote’s best yet with just under £9 million bet at the course. The Festival is the Tote's highest turnover meeting (including Royal Ascot), with Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Day their highest-turnover day in the entire racing calendar. The 2002 Festival accounted for 9% of the Tote Racecourse Division's annual turnover and during the three days over 900,000 transactions were taken by 650 operators at Cheltenham. The Smurfit Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup are ranked in the top 10 betting races of 2002.
There are 226 bookmaker's pitches at The Festival.
There were 411 runners in the 20 races at the 2002 Festival. Of those over 80 came from Ireland, 10 from France and two from America. This season there are also entries from Germany and Norway. Over 400 stable staff will be working at The Festival and over 80 jockeys will be riding each day.
PARADE OF CHAMPIONS
There will be a Parade of Champions:
Thursday Parade of Past Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Winners
Looks Like Trouble 2000
Cool Dawn 1998
Desert Orchid 1989
Each parade will take place in the paddock at approximately 12:45pm, with Ian Carnaby and Jonathan Powell interviewing connections, and the horses will also parade in front of the Grandstand before the feature race each day.
FESTIVAL RADIO, TELEVISION, NOTICE BOARD & INTERNET
Cheltenham is one of a number of major sports events to boast its own radio station. Festival Radio broadcasts within a five-mile radius of the Racecourse from 10am to 7:30pm and features news previews and features, race reports and commentaries, traffic updates, replays, reviews and form on frequency 87.7FM. Festival Radio is also available on www.cheltenham.co.uk including for the first time commentaries of all 20 races.
Once again, racegoers will be able to purchase Sounddec Earpiece Radios to help keep up with all the action on Festival Radio.
In addition, the Festival TV transmits from 11am on the Racecourse's CCTV leading into Channel 4's coverage of the Meeting which commences at 1.30pm each day and reaches an audience of 1.8 million, over 26% of the daytime audience.
In 2002 Cheltenham received 16 hours of terrestrial television coverage from Channel 4 excluding other transmissions from a further 25 television and documentary crews and representatives from over 160 British and Irish based radio stations. Approximately 180 photographers and over 500 members of the press are accredited to provide coverage of the Meeting.
Racenews issues many press releases and press packs prior to and throughout the Festival which will be displayed on noticeboards at key points around the Racecourse and also on Cheltenham's website www.cheltenham.co.uk
The majority of racegoers travel to Cheltenham by car and the Racecourse has the capacity to park 14,000 cars and 350 coaches per day. Typically 30,000 cars, 1,000 mini coaches and 1,000 coaches arrive and depart during the three days along with 220 helicopter movements. Around 8,000 people will travel by train to Cheltenham and, for the first time since the 1960s, a steam train will also be bringing guests to The Festival, resurrecting Cheltenham Racecourse’s own station.
Letheby & Christopher, the Racecourse caterer, will employ 3,000 staff to serve 27,000 meals, 14,000 bottles of champagne, 20,000 bottles of wine, 250,000 pints of draught beer, lager and Guinness and 24,000 bottles of beer, 60,000 bottles of minerals, 7,300 gallons of tea and coffee, 14,000 portions of chips, 20,000 beef burgers and hot dogs, 47,000 sandwiches and a further 10,000 packed lunches for staff.
The Tented Village alone will house between 6,000 - 8,000 guests each day and 100 private boxes in the Grandstand will cater for a further 2,000 guests.
In addition, 15 miles of construction materials will be erected for the three days.
THE IRISH INFLUENCE
The Irish influence at Cheltenham continues to grow each season at not only The Festival but also The Open Meeting in November. The last Irish-trained winner of the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup, Imperial Call, was in 1996 and the Irish also won the Queen Mother Champion Chase that season with Klairon Davis. They sent out seven winners in 1997 equalling their previous best total set in 1977.
In 2002 there were five Irish-trained winners, with Like-A-Butterfly getting them off to a terrific start by winning the first race, the Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Approximately 7,000 racegoers travel over from Ireland for The Festival and it is estimated that up to 20% of the entire crowd are Irish.
Ireland has long been associated with some of the most successful riders with seven of Britain's top 10 jockeys this season hailing from across the Irish Sea - Tony McCoy, Tony Dobbin, Mick Fitzgerald, Graham Lee, Ruby Walsh, Barry Fenton and Jim Culloty.
CHELTENHAM'S TOP FESTIVAL TRAINERS
The late Fulke Walwyn is still by far the most successful Festival trainer with 40 winners gained over a 40-year period. His nearest rival is record-breaking Martin Pipe who has saddled 28 winners since 1981, with Nicky Henderson following closely behind with 25 winners since 1985. Fred Winter trained 28 winners and Tom Dreaper trained 26.
CHELTENHAM'S TOP RIDERS
Richard Dunwoody is the only jockey to have ridden over 100 winners at Cheltenham - 109 in total. Other prolific riders include Peter Scudamore (94), John Francome (71), Fred Winter (67) and Terry Biddlecombe (60).
The most successful current rider is Tony McCoy who has won 62 races at Cheltenham.
Charlie Swan continues to head the list of most successful current Festival riders with 17 winners to his name at the Meeting, including three Smurfit Champion Hurdles aboard Istabraq. Next in line is Tony McCoy with 13 Festival winners and Mick Fitzgerald and Norman Williamson on 10 each.
Peter Scudamore won the Leading Festival Rider Award most often, on a total of three occasions in 1991, 1987 and 1986. If either Swan or McCoy win the 2003 award, they will equal that total.
TRADE STANDS & ENTERTAINMENT
A day at The Festival is not just about the 20 races which are the most hotly-contested in the entire racing calendar. There are a variety of other attractions including 70 trade stands selling everything from bags, binoculars and bronzes to wine and wicker baskets, suits and silver jewellery.
Other activities include live music in all Enclosures including the well-known Irish band The Dubliners, parades for the feature races led by local Huntsmen and interviews and book signings with racing personalities in and around the Paddock.
HOTELS & GUEST HOUSES
Approximately 5,000 people stay in hotels and guest houses in the immediate area during Festival week, with many more staying further afield in Stratford, Malvern, Birmingham and throughout Gloucestershire. Festival week heralds the beginning of a busy period for local hoteliers leading into the Spring and Summer months.
PHOTO CALL FOR UNVEILING OF BRONZE STATUE OF QUEEN MOTHER
A bronze statue of the Queen Mother is to be unveiled at Cheltenham Racecourse by Her Majesty the Queen on Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Day, Thursday, March 13, at 12.30pm.
The statue is a head study by the world-renowned sculptor Angela Conner, commissioned by her patron, the Duke of Devonshire. The statue will be unveiled in the winners' enclosure before racing and will be displayed permanently in a location close to the Royal Box.
The Queen Mother regularly attended the Cheltenham Festival , which hosts the race named in her honour, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, on the Wednesday of the meeting. The Princess Royal will be the Royal representative on the Wednesday this year and will present the trophy for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
THE RENEGADES PLAY ON SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE DAY
Rock group THE RENEGADES will be playing in the Guinness Village on Smurfit Champion Hurdle day.
The band saw off some strong competition to win a talent competition organised jointly by Cheltenham Racecourse, Guinness and The Express newspaper.
After playing at Cheltenham, The Renegades head to London to play at the London Irish - Harlequins rugby union match on Saturday.
GREYHOUND RACE BRINGS TUESDAY’S ACTION TO A CLOSE
Racegoers will have an extra race to look forward to on Tuesday - The Cheltenham Festival Greyhound Stakes - which will be run over 200 yards on the New Course at 5.45pm.
Six runners will line up for the inaugural running of this event, which will be sponsored by the publication Greyhound Monthly. Qualification for the event has been through a series of heats and winners of the heats will then run in three semi-finals at Cheltenham on Sunday, with the top two in each semi-final qualifying to run in Tuesday’s race.
The race will start from traps and the dogs will chase a drag hare. The winner will receive £1,000.
The opening times of the bars on the racecourse will be extended to cater for the racegoers who choose to stay behind and watch this unique event.
RACING AT CHELTENHAM
There has been racing at Cheltenham since 1815, when, 27 years after George III transformed Cheltenham from sleepy country town into fashionable Spa resort, the first meeting was held on Nottingham Hill, above Bishops Cleeve. It was an inauspicious affair, and three years passed before the first official meeting on nearby Cleeve Hill took place on August 25, 1818. Cheltenham's first recorded winner was Mr E Jones' five-year-old bay mare, Miss Tidmarsh.
Such was the popularity of that meeting that the following year the first Cheltenham Gold Cup was inaugurated. The three-mile weight-for-age Flat race for three-year-olds and upwards had a prize of 100 guineas and was won by Mr Bodenham's Spectre.
By the mid 1820s, Cheltenham races were as prestigious as Ascot, Epsom and Goodwood. But as always at Cheltenham, drama was never far away. A puritan streak began to appear in Cheltenham, led by a young and dynamic preacher called Francis Close. Some forceful oratory against the evils of betting and merrymaking began to affect attendances, and when in 1827, the Reverend Close was promoted to St Mary's Parish Church, his influence spread to the entire district. There were demonstrations on the course in 1829, and the grandstand was burnt to the ground a year later. By 1855, Flat racing had died out entirely.
A local benefactor, Lord Ellenborough, came to the rescue, offering to stage the races at Prestbury Park, to the north of the town. Not all of the meetings were held there, however, and the oldest race in the Calendar, the Grand Annual Steeplechase, was first run at Andoversford in April, 1834 and has since been run annually.
The latter half of the 19th century was an unremarkable time for racing at Cheltenham, and indeed for steeplechasing nationwide. Aside from the Grand National, there were precious few meetings at all. Francis Close, having done his work, had died, and despite the town harbouring many racing figures like Tom Oliver, William Archer, father of Fred, and George Stevens, racing was not resuscitated.
In 1902, the meeting that now dominates the jumping calendar was inaugurated on the current site. Lord Ellenborough's Prestbury Park had been sold several times in the intervening period, but was finally offered for racing by Mr W Baring Bingham. The people of Cheltenham gave the re-opening an enormous vote of confidence, and a huge crowd watched the racing.
In 1924, the first Gold Cup Steeplechase was run, won by Red Splash. This was swiftly followed by the Champion Hurdle, three years later. Now, 79 years on, the first buildings at Cheltenham have almost (but not entirely) given way to bigger and better grandstands, and the world's greatest racing Festival now attracts a capacity crowd of over 150,000 spectators, and a worldwide television audience.
THE HALL OF FAME
Until the most recent stage of redevelopment at Cheltenham, the sport had no means of portraying its heroes and history to the public. The Hall of Fame set out to rectify that fault, and provides a short but entertaining insight into the evolution of the sport, and its heroes past and present, both equine and human.
The Hall of Fame is open during weekdays from 10am-4.30pm and admission is free and will be open throughout the National Hunt Festival for racegoers.
THE NATIONAL HUNT FESTIVAL
The National Hunt Festival is the first major sporting event of the year, followed in the coming months by the Grand National, the Guineas, the FA Cup Final, Lord’s Test, Henley, Wimbledon et al. Since its inception in 1902, it has continued to grow in importance to be the single most important meeting in British jump racing.
The architect behind the dream was Frederick Cathcart, then Chairman of Cheltenham, who laid out the course and planned the first National Hunt Meeting with Alfred Holman. Both are immortalised at Cheltenham in races held during the season. Indeed, the Cathcart is one of the 20 races in Festival week.
During the early years, the most significant race was the Grand Annual Steeplechase, which took place at a variety of different venues before finally settling at Cheltenham. The principal races in the early years of this century were all handicaps, unlike in Flat racing, where level-weights contests were commonplace. It was in this light that the first Gold Cup was inaugurated in 1924. The winning prize money was £685, against £1,285 for the Grand Annual. The 2003 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup has a total value of £350,000.
Since Red Splash won the first Gold Cup on Wednesday, March 12, 1924, the winner of the "Blue Riband" has been recognised as the foremost steeplechaser of the year. It has proved itself as a Championship race in its own right, as results show. Since its inception, only two horses have won both the Gold Cup and the Grand National, and only one of those achieved the feat in the same season. That horse was Dorothy Paget's Golden Miller in 1934. L’Escargot won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1970 and 1971 and landed the Grand National in 1975.
The Champion Hurdle followed quickly on the heels of the premiership for steeplechasers. A race over two miles was started in 1927, but unlike the Gold Cup, statistics indicate that this is a race in which sequences of victories can mount up. Since its inception, no less than five horses have run up hat-tricks of wins, and 12 horses have won the race twice. Only five horses have won the Gold Cup twice, and only three have run up trebles.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a relative newcomer, having first started in 1959. First run as just the Champion Chase, it was named in honour of the Queen Mother in 1980 - the year of her eightieth bitrhday.
RACECOURSE HOLDINGS TRUST
Cheltenham is the flagship course owned by Racecourse Holdings Trust, a direct subsidiary of the Jockey Club. The group controls 13 of the country's 59 courses, and 50% of all gate receipts. Other courses within the Group include Aintree, Sandown Park, Epsom, Kempton Park, Haydock Park, Newmarket, Wincanton, Warwick, Huntingdon, Nottingham and Market Rasen. Carlisle is the group’s most recent acquisition.
IRISH SEEKING RECORD NUMBER OF WINS
The Irish will be hoping that they can beat their previous record of seven victories at the National Hunt Festival, achieved in both 1977 and 1996, having already gained five successes over the first two days of this year’s Festival.
Irish-trained horses got off to a magnificent start on Tuesday, with two victories equalling their total number of wins over the whole three days of the Festival in 1985, 1990, 1991 and 1992.
This first-day total of two also surpassed the number of Irish successes over the whole three days of the Festival in 1987 (when Irish-trained horses gained one win), 1988 (one) and 1989 (none).
Tuesday’s two successes for horses trained on the Emerald Isle equalled the two victories gained by Irish-trained runners on the first day of last year’s Festival.
The Irish got off to the best possible start to the 2003 Festival when the Edward O’Grady-trained Back In Front justified 3/1 favouritism in the opening Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to beat Kicking King by ten lengths. The runner-up is also trained in Ireland by Tom Taaffe.
The manner of victory by this Bob Back gelding was as emphatic as one is likely to see in a Grade One contest and the punter who placed a £50,000 bet on course to win £125,000 would hardly have raised a sweat. Other large bets won included a £30,000-£10,000, £55,000-£20,000, £15,000-£5,000 and £10,000-£5,000.
The Irish have now won the last three renewals of the Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Last year Like-A-Butterfly was victorious for Christy Roche and in 2000 Sausalito Bay provided Noel Meade with his first Festival success.
The other Irish-trained victory on day one of this year’s Festival came courtesy of the Christy Roche-trained Youlneverwalkalone, who triumphed in the famous green and orange colours of owner J P McManus to beat Haut Cercy by three-quarters of a length in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase.
If the nine-year-old’s trainer gets his way, the Montelimar gelding will now head to Aintree in April for an engagement in the Martell Cognac Grand National. The determined way in which he battled on under pressure from the runner-up could make him a serious contender for this marathon event.
Youlneverwalkalone’s Festival success came in a heat in which the Irish have not fared well in in recent years. The last time a horse from the Emerald Isle prevailed was in 1966, when Arkloin was a successful favourite for trainer Tom Dreaper.
Yesterday the Irish secured three further successes. They have now beaten the number of Irish victories over the full three days of the Festival gained on 16 occasions since 1977. They have already equalled the number of wins over the full three days a further four times during this period.
The Irish also took the first race yesterday, when the Dessie Hughes-trained Hardy Eustace was a length and a quarter too strong for Coolnagorna. The runner-up was disqualified and placed last for causing interference, meaning that Pizarro, trained by Edward O’Grady, was promoted to second to give Irish-trained horses a one-two in this heat.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Moscow Flyer then justified favouritsm in the main race of the day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The falls of Seebald and Latalomne two out meant that the winner was left clear, but take nothing away from him, he would probably have won anyway. Native Upmanship, trained by Arthur Moore, filled the runner-up position for the second year running, giving the Irish a one-two in this event as well.
The third winner for the Irish on Wednesday was provided by Tony Martin, who saddled Xenophon to take the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle under an enterprising ride from Mick Fitzgerald.
The Irish have plenty of chances of breaking their record today. In the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Beef Or Salmon is unbeaten in four outings over fences and is the best novice chaser to emerge from the Emerald Isle in many a year. It will be fascinating to see how he gets on against reigning champion Best Mate.
Limestone Lad is the most popular horse in Ireland. Once again we have a potential big-race extravaganza as he goes head to head against last year’s winner, Baracouda, in the Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle.
Golden Cross looks the pick of the Irish-trained runners in the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle. Michael Halford’s charge has won two Grade Three hurdles at Fairyhouse this term.
The Edward O’Grady-trained Sheltering has been the best hunter chaser in Ireland in recent seasons. A concern would be that Cheltenham has not been a lucky track for him and his handler reports that he might have been in better form at Leopardstown last time than he is at present.
Fadodal Du Cochet attempts to gain back-to-back victories in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase. He is 6lb higher in the weights than last year, but certainly cannot be ruled out coming from the yard of shrewd trainer Arthur Moore.
Christy Roche attempts to gain his second victory of the meeting courtesy of Le Coudray in the Cathcart Challenge Cup. The nine-year-old has not been beaten this season when he has completed the course.
The Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle, the last contest of the National Hunt Festival, is always a fierce betting heat. Irish racegoers will be hoping that the Jessica Harrington-trained Spirit Leader can gain her third big-race success in Britain this season, having won the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury on her last outing.
Irish-trained successes at the Cheltenham Festival
1989-0 1977-7* * (equal highest)
NON-RUNNERS UPDATE AT NOON
Race 1 2pm JCB Triumph Hurdle
No 3 Desert Air (vet’s certificate)
Race 2 2.35pm Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle
No 11 Sudden Shock (vet’s certificate)
Race 3 3.15pm Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup
No 10 Keen Leader (vet’s certificate)
Race 7 5.45pm Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle
No 11 Xenophon (vet’s certificate)
No 16 Holy Orders (vet’s certificate)
The very last horse on the racecard for the final day of the Festival has been the subject of a nationwide gamble this morning. This is the Irish-trained Mise Rafturai, the bottom weight of the 30 runners in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (5.45pm) His price has been cut from 20-1 to half those odds by the Tote, from 18-1 to 10-1 by Ladbrokes, who say he has been the gamble of the day so far, from 16-1 to 10-1 by Victor Chandler, from 14-1 to 10-1 by Coral and from 14-1 to as low as 7-1 by Paddy Power.
In the same race Chandlers have also had money for Monkerhostin from 14-1 to 12-1 and for the rank outsider Balapour, whose odds have been halved from 66-1 to 33-1. Balapour has also been cut from 50-1 to 25-1 by William Hill, and Coral have had interest in Direct Bearing from 10-1 to 7-1. Hills report money for Phardante Flyer, who has come in from 18-1 to 14-1 and Cashmans is another firm to have had inquiries about Monkerhostin, who has come in from 14-1 to 10-1.
Golden Cross, Red Wine and Starzaan have been popular in the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle (2pm). Golden Cross is in to 6-1 from 8-1 with Ladbrokes, to 13-2 from 7-1 with Powers and from 7-1 to 6-1 with Cashmans, Red Wine from 9-1 to 13-2 with Coral and from 10-1 to 8-1 with Cashmans, and Starzaan has been cut from 25-1 to16-1 by the Tote and from the same price to 20-1 by Chandlers.
The outsider Araminta has been in demand with Coral for the Christie’s Foxhunters’ Chase (4pm) and her price has come in to 40-1 from the morning 100-1.
Money in the Grand Annual Chase (4.35pm) has involved Native Scout, who is in to 8-1 from 10-1 with Chandlers and from the same price to 15-2 by Hills
La Landiere, widely regarded as the banker of the day in the Cathcart Challenge Cup (5.10pm), is in to 11-10 with Ladbrokes from the morning 11-8 and from 11-8 to 6-5 with Cashmans. There is, though, some opposition to the mare as Iznogoud, who came to grief here on Tuesday, has been cut from 25-1 to 16-1 by Hills and from 28-1 to the same price by Coral.
Powers have laid a bet of £8,000 at 7-4 about Best Mate for the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.15pm), in which the Tote have brought Behrajan in to 14-1 from 20-1, and Cashmans have trimmed Commanche Court from 9-1 to 8-1.
QUEEN UNVEILS BUST OF THE QUEEN MOTHER
The Queen, paying her first visit to Cheltenham for 50 years, unveiled a portrait bust of the Queen Mother in the unsaddling enclosure before racing.
The Royal helicopter landed at 12 noon, and The Queen, wearing a dark and royal blue check coat and a blue hat, was accompanied by Cheltenham’s chairman, Lord Vestey, to the unsaddling enclosure 20 minutes later.
Edward Gillespie, the racecourse’s managing director, then presented to her Martin Molony, who won the Gold Cup on Silver Fame in 1951, to Willie Robinson, successful on Mill House 12 years later, former champion jockey and trainer Fred Winter, the only man to have ridden and trained winners of the Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle, and another hero in Michael Dickinson, who had the amazing first five to finish in 1983.
And from the current era Paddy Mullins, whose Dawn Run is the only horse to have won the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup and the champion trainer and jockey Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy, were also presented.
After the unveiling, Desert Orchid, who won the Gold Cup in 1989, and Janice Coyle, who always looked after the noble grey, were also presented.
THE SPEECH OF LORD VESTEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE STEEPLECHASE COMPANY
Your Majesty, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today is a very special occasion for Cheltenham as we welcome you to the Festival for the first time in 50 years.
Much has happened in that time and we have witnessed the achievements of many wonderful horses and riders. National Hunt Racing has grown immensely in popularity and that is due, to a great extent, to the very close association the sport enjoyed with Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother over so many years.
The Queen Mother’’s love of Cheltenham touched the lives of many people, in moments of victory and disappointment.
Your Majesty, may I invite you to unveil this sculpture by Angela Connor, which has been most generously commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire, both of whom we are delighted are able to be here today, and to wish you a most enjoyable visit to the Cheltenham Festival
BEST MATE (IRE) FACTFILE
8 b g Un Desperado (FR) - Katday (FR) (Miller’s Mate)
Form: 11221/1112/1221-11 Owner: Jim Lewis Trainer: Henrietta Knight
Jockey: Jim Culloty Breeder: Jacques Van’t Hart
Bred by Jacques Van’t Hart in Ireland, Best Mate was sold as a foal for just Ir2,500gns at Tattersalls (Ireland) in 1995, passing into the care of Tom Costello, the famed Irish horse dealer from Newmarket-On-Fergus in County Clare, who has sold five Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in addition to Best Mate - The Thinker, Cool Ground, Imperial Call and Cool Dawn. Best Mate’s mother Katday, who is now owned by Vincent O’Brien’s son-in-law Philip Myerscough, has proved an outstanding broodmare, being the dam of useful novice hurdler Inca Trail, impressive Newbury bumper winner Cornish Rebel and Inexorable, a winner of an Irish point-to-point in January for trainer David Wachman having been bought for 185,000gns at Doncaster last year.
Best Mate himself was first seen in a point-to-point at Lismore when spotted by Henrietta Knight and Terry Biddlecombe but Tom Costello insisted the horse win between the flags - which he duly did at Tuam in Galway - before heading to Britain.
His record under Rules is outstanding, having been in the first two on all his 15 starts. In his first season in Britain, 1999/2000, he landed a bumper at Cheltenham on his first start, a Sandown novices’ hurdle and finished runner-up to Sausalito Bay in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle and landed the Grade 2 Martell Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. There followed three straight novice chase victories, including the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown, before reverting to the smaller obstacles for his final run when 14 lengths runner-up to Barton in the Grade 1 Martell Aintree Hurdle.
Last season began with a success in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, was followed by second place in Ascot’s First National Gold Cup and Best Mate had to again settle for the runner-up spot behind Florida Pearl in the Pertemps King George VI Chase. He was then put away until Cheltenham when proving himself one of the most exciting chasers of recent years when landing the 2002 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup by a length and three quarters from Commanche Court. He has run twice since - beating Douze Douze by eight lengths in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in November and then landing the Pertemps King George VI Chase at Kempton by a length and a half from Marlborough.
Race Record: Starts: 15; 1st: 10; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 0; Win & Place prize money: £484,353
There have been few more fortuitous owners in recent years than ‘Lucky’ Jim Lewis, the former managing director of the Silentnight bed company, whose maroon and light blue stripes colours reflect his love of Aston Villa FC. Best Mate, winner of the both the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and Pertemps King George VI Chase in 2002, is the best horse he has owned but there have been several other stars, including Edredon Bleu, winner of the 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase and 1998 Grand Annual Chase, and Nakir, who was trained by Simon Christian to take the 1994 Arkle Chase. Lewis, 69, is only allowed to the West Lockinge yard of his trainer Henrietta Knight in the summer when the horses are away due to the trainer’s superstitions and exchanges faxes with her for news on his horses. Before selling his farm in Worcestershire a couple of years ago, he and wife Valerie had all their horses home for the summer. He became an owner with Knight after reading an article in ‘The Tatler’ about the trainer, entitled ‘Queen of the Point-To-Points’ and wrote to ask if she would train a horse for him.
Previous Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup wins: 2002 BEST MATE
Born December 15, 1946, Knight is a former school mistress, three-day eventer - she finished 12th at Badminton in 1973 and was later a judge at Burghley - and point-to-point trainer who ran a livery yard breaking in horses for the likes of Nicky Henderson, Michael Dickinson, Oliver Sherwood and Tim Forster.
In the last few years her operation on the family farm at West Lockinge in Oxfordshire, still with a menagerie of other animals, has blossomed into one of the country’s top National Hunt stables. Best Mate’s success in the 2002 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup was the highlight of her training career but there have been many other big days including when Edredon Bleu won the 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase and Lord Noelie won the same year’s Royal & SunAlliance Chase. Knight, whose sister Cece is married to Cheltenham’s chairman Lord Vestey, is married to the former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe, who assists at the stable.
Previous Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup runners: 2002 BEST MATE (WON), Lord Noelie (10th), Go Ballistic (PU)
Culloty, the son of an accountant, was born in Killarney, Ireland, on December 18, 1973. He is unlikely to forget last year when he joined a select band of riders to have won the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and Martell Grand National in the same season. The Cheltenham victory came aboard Best Mate and the Aintree success was on Bindaree, a chance ride following an injury to regular rider Jamie Goldstein.
Culloty is stable jockey to Henrietta Knight, having rapidly risen to prominence in the 1995/6 season as an amateur rider, with 40 winners. Having ridden for John Jenkins in his school holidays, Culloty came over to Britain on a more permanent basis in 1993, riding first for David Bloomfield’s point-to-point yard, also partnered a winner at Les Landes in Jersey during the 1994/5 season, and rode for Jackie Retter before joining Knight. Culloty turned professional at the start of the 1996/7 season and his big-race victories include the 2000 Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Lord Noelie. A suspension meant that he had to miss the winning ride on Best Mate in this season’s Pertemps King George VI Chase but the partnership is reunited today.
Previous Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup win: 2002 BEST MATE
HOURIGAN LOOKING FORWARD
TO BEEF OR SALMON
Less than three hours before the 15 contestants line up for the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup, Michael Hourigan, trainer of Beef Or Salmon, looked as calm and collected as his charge as he discussed the seven-year-old.
He said: “Beef Or Salmon travelled well and is a very laid back horse - nothing seems to bother him.
“He couldn’t have done much more than he has done on a racecourse [four wins from four outings over fences]. The plan from early in the year was to train him for the Gold Cup.
“He has raced on all kinds of ground and I think that he’ll be better suited to better ground. We’ll see what happens.”
Fellow Irish trainer, Dessie Hughes, successful yesterday with Hardy Eustace in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’Hurdle, is also looking forward to running Colonel Braxton in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He commented: “Everything is fine with Colonel Braxton - he’s a 100%.”
The eight-year-old will be Hughes’s first contestant in chasing’s blue riband. Asked if he was nervous, he laughed and said: “I’m alright.”
FIRST RACE RESULT
2.00pm JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
Class A, Grade One, £100,000 guaranteed. For 4yo. 2m 1f. Weights 11st. Allowances: fillies 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £58,000; 2nd: £22,000; 3rd: £11,000; 4th: £5,000; 5th: £2,500; 6th: £1,500
1) SPECTROSCOPE (Gay Smith) Jonjo O'Neill 4-11-00 Barry Geraghty 20/1
2) WELL CHIEF (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 4-11-00 Tony McCoy 7/1
3) GOLDEN CROSS (Mrs H Johnson) Michael Halford IRE 4-11-00 Charlie Swan 11/2F
4) LILIUM DE COTTE (R Fougedoire) Guillaume Macaire FR 4-11-00 Bernard Gicquel 25/1
5) MUGHAS (B Winfield, A Longman, C Fenton, P McAdam) Alan King 4-11-00 Robert Thornton
6) LE DUC (Judy Stewart) Paul Nicholls 4-11-00 Ruby Walsh
7) NEWLANDS GOLD (Sean Mulryan) Michael O'Brien IRE 4-11-00 David Casey
8) MUTINEER (Seven To Eleven Syndicate) Dessie Hughes IRE 4-11-00 Kieran Kelly
9) RED WINE (Paul Dixon) Jamie Osborne 4-11-00 Jimmy McCarthy
10) DASHING HOME (Mrs P Towey) Noel Meade IRE 4-11-00 Paul Carberry
11) KING SOLOMON (Seasons Holidays) Venetia Williams 4-11-00 Paul Flynn
12) FORTUNE ISLAND (John Brown & Michael Blackburn) Martin Pipe 4-11-00 Tony Dobbin
13) STARZAAN (Ben Arbib) Hughie Morrison 4-11-00 Mark Bradburne
14) LITTLE RORT (Mrs C Grassick) Michael Grassick IRE t4-11-00 Joey Casey
15 SAINTSAIRE (Anthony Speelman) Nicky Henderson 4-11-00 Mick Fitzgerald
16) OVERSTRAND (F F Racing Services Partnership IV) Mary Reveley 4-11-00 Alan Dempsey
17) ITS WALLACE JNR (Grand Day Out Partnership) Sheena West 4-11-00 Jamie Goldsten
18) TURBO (Peter Richardson) Venetia Williams 4-11-00 Graham Lee
19) DUKE OF EARL (Speedlith Group) Sylvester Kirk 4-11-00 Seamus Durack
20 TANIKOS (Studwell Two Partnership) Nicky Henderson 4-11-00 John Kavanagh
21) KEN'S DREAM (Michael Underwood) Alex Embiricos 4-11-00 Sean Fox
22) ANDY GIN (Terry Warner) Philip Hobbs 4-11-00 Richard Johnson
23) KENILWORTH (Rita Shah) Oliver Brady IRE 4-11-00 John Cullen
BD6) MONEYTRAIN (Tina Hamann) Christian Von Der Recke GER 4-11-00 Norman Williamson
BD6) DON FERNANDO (Lucayan Stud) Martin Pipe 4-11-00 Tom Scudamore
F6) OLD CALIFORNIA (Matt Archer & Jean Broardhurst) Martin Pipe 4-11-00 Rodi Greene
F7) NAS NA RIOGH (Brian Twojohns Partnership) Nicky Henderson 4-10-09 Marcus Foley
27 ran Non-Runner: Desert Air (Vet’s Certificate)
Distances: hd, 5, 1 1/4, 4, 3 1/2, sh, nk ,nk, 1 1/2, 4, 3, 3/4, 2, 1 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, 9, 3 1/2, 12, 1 3/4, 1, dist
Breeder: Mrs M Campbell-Andenaes Breeding: b g Spectrum (IRE) - Paloma Bay (IRE) (Alzao (USA))
Tote Win: £25.40 Places: £4.60; £2.50; £2.00; £7.60 Exacta: £247.70
Winning trainer: JONJO O’NEILL Born: April 13, 1952 Based: Jackdaws Castle, Gloucestershire Career: former National Hunt jockey Cheltenham Festival wins: (7) Pertemps Final (1991 Danny Connors, 2003 Inching Closer); National Hunt Chase (1995 Front Line, 2002 Rith Dubh, 2003 Sudden Shock); Vincent O’Brien County H’cap Hurdle (2000 Master Tern), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope) Aintree Festival wins: Martell V.S. Hcap Chase (2000 Radiation, 2002 Carbury Cross), Martell Handicap Hurdle (2002 Sudden Shock); Martell XO Anniversary 4YO Hurdle (2002 Quazar), Cordon Bleu Handicap Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon) Horses in Training (1996-2002): 53; 59; 59; 78; 78, 75, 98
Number of Winners (1995/96-2001/02): 18; 17; 32; 38; 44; 58; 113 Other Big Race Wins: Tripleprint Gold Cup (1999 Legal Right), Tote Silver Cup (2000 Legal Right), Tote Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle (2002 Native Emperor), Kingwell Hurdle (2003 Rhinestone Cowboy), Challow Hurdle (2002 Coolnagorna), Reynoldstwon Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Welsh National (2002 Mini Sensation) Wins this season: 102
Winning Jockey: Barry Geraghty Born: September 16, 1979 Background: one of six children from a “horse-mad” family in Drumree. His father Tucker was a useful amateur rider and trains a few horses in addition to his riding school and livery yard while his brothers Ross and Norman are both jockeys. The former won the 2002 Irish Grand National on The Bunny Boiler, while Norman is an amateur who doubles as a farrier. Barry has a background in pony racing, riding his last winner in that arena in September, 1996, before becoming apprenticed to Noel Meade that month and having his first ride the following month. He still rides mainly for Meade, but is also frequently used by Willie Mullins, Frances Crowley and Jessica Harrington. Based: Drumree, County Meath, Ireland First Winner: Stagalier (EBF Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, Down Royal, January 29, 1997) Achievements: Champion jockey in Ireland in 1999/2000 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (5) Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer), William Hill National Hunt Chase (2003 Youlneverwalkalone), Pertemps Final (2003 Inching Closer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003 Moscow Flyer), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope) Big Race Wins: MIDLANDS GRAND NATIONAL (1998 Miss Orchestra), ROYAL BOND NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Moscow Flyer), MARTELL SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Sackville); EVENING HERALD CHAMPION NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Moscow Flyer); STEEL PLATE & SECTIONS NOVICES’ CHASE (2002 Super Fellow), INTERVET TROPHY (2002 Stormez), THOMAS PINK GOLD CUP (2002 Cyfor Malta) Fourth win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival for Barry Geraghty - leading rider
WINNING QUOTES RACE ONE
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
ANOTHER TRIUMPH SURPRISE
The JCB Triumph Hurdle lived up to its reputation for shocks when 20-1 Spectroscope just got the better of long time leader Well Chief, getting in front halfway up the hill to win by a head
This was a fourth success at the meeting for Barry Geraghty, who has been described by one spectator this week as “having a smile to die for,” and that was even broader after this.
And it was a third triumph at the meeting for the winner’s trainer Jonjo O’Neill, who recalled riding Peterhof for Mick Easterby back in 1976. “I think that was my first ride at the Festival,” he said.
“He is a really tough horse and loves jumping, he is a great lepper,” he said. “He cost a lot of money as a yearling when Paul Shanahan bought him for Gay Smith for about 300,000gns, but he certainly looks worth that now.
“I don’t know if he will run again this season, we haven’t really looked beyond today.” There are races at Aintree and Punchestown which could come under consideration for the winner
Barry Geraghty echoed the trainer’s enthusiasm about the winner’s determination. “He is a really tough horse and fought on really well,” he said.. “I only narrowly avoided being brought down when Old California fell, but I was just outside him and managed to miss him.
“And then when it became a match between him and the second going to the last he really put his head down and battled. I was a bit concerned about the ground for him, but he settled well and was always travelling well.”
Gay Smith, the winning owner whose Coolnagorna was disqualified after having finished second in the opening Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle yesterday, is the wife of Derek Smith, for many years a mainstay of Ladbrokes’ racecourse operation, but now retired from that side of life.
FIRST RACE PLACED QUOTES
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
JOHNSON SORRY THAT CHIEF FORCED TO TAKE CHARGE
Owner David Johnson rued the fact that Well Chief was forced to make the running in the JCB Triumph Hurdle with the German-bred eventually beaten a head by Spectroscope.
“He was supposed to have been held up but he just got too keen and had to go on,” said Johnson. “You can’t complain about a second at the Festival but a winner’s always nicer.
“He’s difficult to settle and this wasn’t the game plan. He jumped for fun and I hope he might be a Champion Hurdle horse.”
Michael Halford was happy with the performance of 11/2 favourite Golden Cross, who finished third. “I was delighted with him, he just had a couple of traffic problems. If the ground had been a bit softer they might have come back to him.
“He was always a shade further back than he might have been. He stayed on well up the hill, but struggled to hold up with the pace.
“Charlie (Swan) thought in time he could make up into a Stayers’ Hurdle horse. He could improve, he’s still quite leggy and weak.
“The owners are from Naas, right by Punchestown racecourse, so it’s always been in the back of our minds to go there.”
RACE ONE JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
After today’s opening race, the following jockeys described the ground as:
Ruby Walsh, rider of Le Duc, said: “Nice ground.”
Mark Bradburne, rider of Starzaan, said: “Fairly good, maybe on the dead side of good - lot better than yesterday.”
Seamus Durack, rider of Duke Of Earl, said: “Fairly sticky, like glue and testing.”
Tony Dobbin, rider of Fortune Island, said: “A little bit better than yesterday, maybe a little bit dead.”
David Casey, rider of Newlands Gold, said: “Quicker, genuinely good ground, better than the last two days.”
Jimmy McCarthy, rider of Red Wine, said: “Very dead and a bit tacky in places, on the slow side of good.”
Richard Johnson, rider of Andy Gin, said: “Slow and tacky.”
Jamie Goldstein, rider of Its Wallace Jnr, said: “Tacky but drying up all the time.”
Today’s Tote Jackpot Pool is £304,422, with £150,581 carried forward from yesterday.
The Jackpot Pool last year at the same stage came to £248,437.
Old California died instantly when falling at the sixth in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
NORMAN WILLIAMSON GIVES UP REST OF HIS RIDES
Norman Williamson, who was brought down on Moneytrain in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, has stood himself down for the rest of the day.
He therefore gives up his ride on Colonel Braxton in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Kieran Kelly taking over.
The other rides Williamson will miss are Risk Accessor in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase and Turtleback in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle.
SECOND RACE RESULT
2.35pm BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE
Class A, Grade One, £140,000 guaranteed. For 4yo+. 3m. Weights 4yo 11st; 5yo+ 11st 10lb. Allowances: fillies & mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £85,260; 2nd: £32,340; 3rd: £16,170; 4th: £7,350; 5th: £3,675; 6th: £2,205
1) BARACOUDA (J P McManus) Francios Doumen FR 8-11-10 Thierry Doumen 9/4JF
2 IRIS'S GIFT (Robert Lester) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-10 Barry Geraghty 7/1
3) LIMESTONE LAD (James Bowe) James Bowe IRE 11-11-10 Paul Carberry 9/4JF
4) CLASSIFIED (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 7-11-10 Tony McCoy
5) LISS A PAORAIGH (Dottie Flynn) John Kiely IRE 8-11-05 Charlie Swan
6) DEANO'S BEENO (Axom) Martin Pipe 11-11-10 Rodi Greene
7) GALILEO (Sharon Nelson, Allan Stennett, Terry Warner) Tom George 7-11-10 Jason Maguire
8) BROTHER JOE (Sir Robert Ogden) Philip Hobbs b1 9-11-10 Ruby Walsh
9) PALUA (Mark Barrett & Partners) Emma Lavelle 6-11-10 Timmy Murphy
PU) NATIVE EMPEROR (R & E H Investments Ltd) Jonjo O'Neill 7-11-10 Liam Cooper
PU) CRAZY HORSE (Ashleybank Investments Limited) Len Lungo 10-11-10 Tony Dobbin
11 ran Non-Runner: Sudden Shock (Vet’s Certificate)
Distances: 3/4, 5, 13, 17, 5, 14, 1 3/4, dist
Breeder: R Dupuis Breeding: b g Alesso (USA) - Peche Aubar (FR) (Zino)
Tote Win: £3.70 Places: £1.50; £1.60; 1.50 Exacta: £19.00
Winning trainer: FRANCOIS DOUMEN Date Of Birth: 11/6/40. Date Of First Trainer’s Licence: 1977 Previous Occupation: Served apprenticeship (trainers) with father, Jean, who trained for James Hennessy at Maisons-Lafitte. Riding Career: Amateur 1956-70, rode more than 100 Flat winners including the Prix Georges Courtois, at Deauville in 1969/70. Big Race Wins Include: King George VI Chase (1987 Nupsala, 1991 & 1992 The Fellow, 1994 Algan, 2000 First Gold), Racing Post H’cap Chase (1995 Val d’Alene), Grande Steeplechase de Paris (1991 The Fellow, 1994 Ucello II, 1995 Ubu III), Grande Course De Haies D’Auteuil (1992 & 1993 Ubu III), Prix Heros XII (1992 The Fellow, 1993 Ucello II), Pertemps Recruitment Partnership Feltham Novices’ Chase (1997 Djeddah), Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (1997 Djeddah), Wragge & Co Finesse Four-Year-Old Hurdle (1999 Hors La Loi III), Axminster 100 Kingwell Hurdle (2000 Hors La Loi III), Voice Newspaper Adonis Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Snow Drop), Long Walk Hurdle (2000 Baracouda, 2001 Baracouda), Capel Cure Sharp Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Ben Ewar), Martell Cup Chase (2001 First Gold), The Glenlivet 4-y-o Novices’ Hurdle (2001 Bilboa) Cheltenham Festival wins: (4) Tote Gold Cup (1994 The Fellow), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2000 Snow Drop), Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle (2002, 2003 Baracouda) Horses in Training (1999-2002): 83; 104; 102; 119 Number of Winners in Britain (1998/99-2001/02): 3; 5; 9; 9
Winning Jockey: Thierry Doumen Cheltenham Festival wins: (3) JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE (2000 Snow Drop), BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE (2002, 2003 Baracouda) Aintree Festival wins include: MARTELL CUP CHASE (2001 First Gold), THE GLENLIVET 4-Y-O NOVICES’ HURDLE (2001 Bilboa) Big Race Wins: KING GEORGE VI CHASE (2000 First Gold), WRAGGE & CO CAPEL CURE SHARP NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Ben Ewar), LONG WALK HURDLE (2000, 2001 Baracouda), FINESSE FOUR-YEAR-OLD HURDLE (1999 Hors La Loi III), KINGWELL HURDLE (2000 Hors La Loi III) Other Details: Son of trainer Francois Doumen, to whom he is stable jockey. Turned professional on March 31, 1998. Number of Wins in Britain (1999/2000-2000/01): 4; 9
SECOND RACE WINNING QUOTES
BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE
DOUMEN ANSWERS CRITIC WITH BARACOUDA TRIUMPH
Baracouda landed the Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle for a second successive year when scoring by three quarters of a length from Iris’s Gift.
Jockey Thierry Doumen, who has come in for criticism in the English press, said: “He has proved today that he’s a true champion. All that criticism is useless and has no sense - it is being nasty for the sake of it and I don’t listen any more.
“It’s always the case with Baracouda that I am niggling. He is at his best on bottomless ground because he doesn’t need much effort. It had been so fast for two laps that I needed to niggle a bit just to keep in contact while at the same time not putting him under too much pressure.
“On the last bend I said ‘come on, give me some help’ to him, and he just picked up on the last bend.”
Winning owner J P McManus said: “It isn’t often we’re cheering for the French! The horse seemed to be in good form today and he loved the strongly-run race.
“This year Francois (Doumen) seemed particularly bullish about how he was working and his attitude. He said he wouldn’t put me off backing the horse and to be honest I had a little bit on him - but I’ve had more on horses before.”
Talking about the jockey, McManus said: “When you win, you’ve always done the right thing. The French have their own way of doing things but he handles the horse well and people forget this is not a straightforward ride.”
Baracouda is quoted at 3/1 by Cashmans to win a third Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle next year.
RACE TWO BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE
IRIS’S GIFT RUNS HIS HEART OUT
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Iris’s Gift found only reigning champion Baracouda three-quarters of a length too good in a cracking renewal of this championship contest.
Stable representative Robert Bellamy said: “Iris’s Gift has run his heart out - he travelled brilliantly throughout the race and Baracouda’s come and done him up the hill. He’s had a very successful winter [winning all five races this season] and the worry for us was the quicker ground.
“But he’s run by far his best race on this step up in class on the quickest ground that he has encountered. It’s absolutely brilliant and we’re over the moon - he can do no better than that bar winning and his form this year has been second to none.”
Limestone Lad would have been an enormously popular winner with his army of Irish fans. However he succumbed to the winner and Iris’s Gift after a brave front-running performance, coming home a further five lengths adrift in third position.
Michael Bowe, son of trainer James Bowe, said: “I’m delighted with him and I’ve never been disappointed with him.
“He was beaten by two better horses and he jumped great and gave it everything. Just getting a horse here sound and healthy is an achievement and getting him home sound and healthy is another achievement, never mind winning.
“Maybe its not the end yet. He’ll tell me - he did have a touch of the cough, and while I said it wasn’t a problem, it does have an effect. You ask yourself did I prepare him right for the race but there are no excuses, he was behind two good horses.”
Three years ago Limestone Lad finished one place higher than today behind Bacchanal.
“As soon as I took him out on to the course for the first time even though he hasn’t been here for three years, he remembered the place straightaway.
“Please God he’ll be another year older next year and so will I - I don’t know if we’ll be any wiser though. I feel sorry for the horse - he’s such a great trier and he deserves it.
“We’ll see how he is before we consider Aintree.”
OTHER QUOTES RACE TWO
BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE
GALILEO MAY TRY AGAIN THIS SEASON
Although Jason Maguire described himself as “disappointed” that last year’s Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle winner Galileo could finish no better than seventh in the Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle on his first appearance since his triumph of 12 months ago, his trainer Tom George has far from given up hope.
“The big thing is to hope that he will be alright in the morning,” he said. “I don’t think he has run too badly and I certainly have not given up hope of running him again this season.”
And part-owner Terry Warner, whose colours were carried to Smurfit Champion Hurdle success by Rooster Booster on Tuesday, said that “it would not be fair to condemn him on the evidence of just his first run back.”
Barry Simpson, racing manager to Sir Robert Ogden whose Brother Joe finished eighth, said “he has been such a frustrating horse but I had him nailed on to be in the first three with the ground and the strong pace all in his favour.
“We rode him more up with the pace than usual and apart from a mistake at the second he jumped well. But once more he did not produce what he looked like producing and he is such a frustrating horse to own and to train.
“We were thinking of going novice chasing with him this season until he won first time out over hurdles at Wetherby, and I can say one thing - he will certainly be going novice chasing on May 1.”
FOURTH RACE RESULT
4.00pm CHRISTIE’S FOXHUNTER CHASE CHALLENGE CUP
Class B, £40,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+, which since December 31, 2000 and before February 23, 2003, have been placed first or second in a hunters chase in Great Britain or Ireland or have won two opens at point-to-points (i.e. gentlemens, ladies or mixed open races). 3m 2 1/2f. Weights 5yo 11st 4lb; 6yo+ 12st. Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £23,200; 2nd: £8,800; 3rd: £4,400; 4th: £2,000; 5th: £1,000; 6th: £600
1) KINGSCLIFF (Arnold Sendell) Sally Alner 6-12-00 Mr Richard Young 11/4F
2) BRIGHT APPROACH (J H Burridge) Ollie Bush 10-12-00 Miss Polly Gundry 20/1
3 LAST OPTION (Robin Tate) Robin Tate 11-12-00 Mrs Fiona Needham 16/1
4) EARTHMOVER (Roger Penny) Paul Nicholls 12-12-00 Mr Christian Williams
5) COUNTY DERRY (G T Lever) Jeremy Scott 10-12-00 Mr Neil Harris
6) SPOT THEDIFFERENCE (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 10-12-00 Mr J T McNamara
7) ARAMINTA (Mrs A J Higgins) Laura Pomfret 9-11-09 Mr Matthew Mackley
8) SHELTERING (Adair Catherwood) Edward O'Grady IRE 11-12-00 Mr Gordon Elliot
9) JABIRU (Mary Sanderson) Mary Sanderson 10-12-00 Mr Richard Woollacott
10) POLARIS FLAME (Mrs M E Foster) Denise Foster IRE 10-11-09 Mr Peter Buchanan
11) OUR BOY (Denis Reddan) James Cromwell IRE t8-12-00 Mr Brian Hamilton
12) MR DOW JONES (Mrs L A Goldsworthy) Keith Goldsworthy 11-12-00 Mr Marc Barber
13) QUETAL (Miss K J Kitching) Laura Young 10-12-00 Mr James Young
14) VIADUCT (Ivor Kingstojn) Ivor Kingston IRE t7-12-00 Mr Paul Cashman
15) NAHTHEN LAD (John Danahar) John Danahar v14-12-00 Miss Tor Sturgis
BD2) FAMILY BUSINESS (Caroline Donnan & P J Finn) David Pipe v1 7-12-00 Mr Leslie Jefford
F14) GALWAY (The Yes - No - Wait Sorries) Marilyn Scudamore 10-12-00 Mr Richard Burton
F2) DORANS PRIDE (Tom Doran) Michael Hourigan IRE 14-12-00 Mr Richard Harding
F3) STORM CASTLE (Noel Cronin) Julie Wickens 11-12-00 Miss Julie Wickens
PU) FAIR WIND (Rachel Bartlett) Rachel Bartlett b1 11-12-00 Mr Michael Miller
PU) MR SMUDGE (C Marriott) Fran Marriott 11-12-00 Mr Andrew Martin
PU) FALSE TAIL (Mike Futter) Jim Lambe IRE 11-12-00 Mr Denis Cullen
PU) GAROLO (Susie Samworth) Georgina Browne b13-12-00 Miss Susie Samworth
PU) BACKSHEESH (Grant Tuer) Grant Tuer t8-12-00 Mr Grant Tuer
Distances: 2 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, 5, 15, 3, 3 1/2, 22, 3 1/2 , 6, 8, 11, 1/2, 5
Hunt: Weston & Banwell Harriers Breeding: b g Toulon - Pixies Glen (Furry Glen)
Tote Win: £3.60 Places: £2.20; £4.20; £4.20 Exacta: £52.70
Winning Trainer: Alner, Sally Cheltenham Festival Winners (1): Christie’s Foxhunter (2003 Kingscliff). Other Details: Wife of trainer Robert Alner. Took over responsibility for the yard’s hunter chasers from her daughter Louise.
Winning Jockey: Young, Mr Richard Cheltenham Festival Winners (1): Christie’s Foxhunter (2003 Kingscliff)
WINNING QUOTES RACE FOUR
CHRISTIE’S FOXHUNTERS’ CHASE
LONG RANGE PUNT PAYS OFF
In April of last year owner Arnold Sendell went into his local William Hill betting shop at Highbridge in Somerset and invested £100 at 100-1 that his then five-year-old Kingscliff would win the Christie’s Foxhunters’ Chase, so he can look forward to a five figure cheque winging its way to his home in North Petherton.
But when he was told that the same firm were offering 33-1 about his horse winning the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup next season, he swiftly replied that “it must be 33-1 about him getting there, let alone winning the race.”
There does seem every chance that Kingscliff will try his luck under rules next season, as his trainer Sally Alner said that it was “very probable” that he would give up the hunter chasing world and go on to bigger things.
“I bought him as a three-year-old store from Martin Cullinane in Co. Galway three years ago, there isn’t a better judge of a horse in Ireland than he is,” Sendell said. “There was another horse in the same field with Kingscliff at the same time, but I was told I could not have him as he was already spoken for. That was Stars Out Tonight.
“I started getting into pointing when I gave up playing rugby about 30 years ago, but I never rode in races. I may look a bloody fool but I am not that brave. I chose to have horses with the Alners because they are straightforward and honest people. There are plenty of people in racing prepared to dip their hands into your back pocket and not tell you the truth, but the Alners do everything right.”
Sally Alner, whose husband Robert won the Gold Cup with Cool Dawn in 1998, said that Kingscliff is a very good horse to deal with. “I can ride him, he is all very straightforward, and to win like that in only his fifth race at the age of just six is quite something. He definitely won’t run again this season.”
For Kingscliff’s rider, 25-year-old Richard Young from Castlederg in Co, Tyrone, this was a 16th winner under rules to go with about 20 points.
“My parents were not interested in horses, but my grandfather was and took me to a local riding school to learn.I had never ridden in a race when I came to England eight years ago.I had one season with Simon Earle and then when he moved I went to the Alners. They have been wonderful to me and Sally has really been like a second mother.”
FIFTH RACE RESULT
4.35pm 131st YEAR OF THE CHELTENHAM GRAND ANNUAL CHALLENGE CUP HANDICAP CHASE
Class A, Listed Race, £75,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+. 2m 1/2f. Penalties: after February 22, a winner of a Class C chase 3lb; of a Class A or B chase 6lb (no penalty to be incurred by horses originally handicapped at or above 11st 10lb, and no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 10lb (any horse rated above 155 shall initially be treated as having that rating and the highest weight allotted shall be 11st 10lb; subsequently the excess over 155 in any rating shall be added to the weight allotted). Penalty Values: 1st: £43,500; 2nd: £16,500; 3rd: £8,250; 4th: £3,750; 5th: £1,875; 6th: £1,125
1) PALARSHAN (Mrs A L Wood) Henry Daly 5-10-00 Mark Bradburne 8/1
2) RISK ACCESSOR (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE 8-10-01 Seamus Durack 20/1
3) DARK'N SHARP (Ascot Five Plus One) Richard Phillips 8-11-02 Richard Johnson 13/2
4) VOL SOLITAIRE (Barry Marshall) Paul Nicholls 5-10-08 Ruby Walsh 13/2
5) ROSS MOFF (Seamus Ross) Tony Martin IRE t10-10-00 Timmy Murphy 6/1F
6) RED ARK (Dorothy Mason) Richard Guest tp10-9-09 Mr Larry McGrath (5)
7) NATIVE SCOUT (Mark Sheasby) Donal Hassett IRE t7-10-08 Barry Geraghty
8) EXIT SWINGER (Sandicroft Stud I) Martin Pipe 8-11-00 Rodi Greene
9) KORAKOR (John & Barbara Cotton) Ian Williams 9-10-00 David Dennis
10) ROYAL JAKE (Gerald Callaghan) Noel Meade IRE b9-10-00 Paul Carberry
11) HARVIS (Peter Richardson) Venetia Williams 8-10-00 Graham Lee
12) LORD GREY (Barbara Marchant) Denis Kelly IRE 10-10-00 Jim Culloty
13) GOT ONE TOO (Sir Eric & Mary Anne Parker) Nicky Henderson 6-10-11 Mick Fitzgerald
13) TURGEONEV (David Sills) Tim Easterby 8-11-01 Russ Garritty
15) CASTLE PRINCE (Miss R Dobson) Ron Hodges 9-9-00 Tony Honeyball (5)
F12) WAVE ROCK (Sterling Racing Syndicate) Philip Hobbs b8-10-02 Tony Dobbin
F12) GOLDEN ALPHA (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 9-10-06 Tony McCoy
PU) BLEU SUPERBE (Peter Deal) Venetia Williams 8-10-04 Mr Alan O'Keeffe (5)
PU) FADOUDAL DU COCHET (Sir Anthony O’Reilly) Arthur Moore IRE 10-10-08 David Casey
PU) PASSEREAU (Sean Taylor) Chris Kellett 7-10-00 Tom Doyle
PU) ESKLEYBROOK (Victor Gethin) Victor Gethin 10-11-03 Mr David Mansell (7)
Distances: 3, 3/4, 3/4, 1/2, 1/2, 3 1/2, nk, 1 1/4, 7, 1/2, 3 1/2, 1,dh, 25
Breeder: Mrs A L Wood Breeding: b/br g Darshaan - Palavera (FR) (Bikala)
Tote Win: £9.80 Places: £2.10; £5.50; £2.30; £1.40 Exacta: £399.60
Winning trainer: HENRY DALY Based: Downton Hall Stables, Ludlow, Shropshire Horses in Training (1999-2002): 50; 50; 51; 50 Number of Winners (1998/99-2001/2): 35; 38; 25; 28 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (3) National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Novices’ Chase (2000 Relaxation), Mildmay Of Flete Challenge Cup Chase (2003 Young Spartacus), Grand Annual Chase (2003Palarshan) Big Race Wins Include: Sun ‘King of the Punters’ Tolworth Hurdle (1999 Behrajan), Mildmay & Cazalet Handicap Chase (2000 Lancastrian Jet), Tote Exacta Long Distance Hurdle (2000 Behrajan), cantorsport.co.uk Silver Cup Chase (2002 Behrajan) Wins This Season: 25
Winning Jockey: Mark Bradburne Cheltenham Festival Wins: (2) NATIONAL HUNT CHALLENGE CUP AMATEUR NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Relaxation), Grand Annual Chase (2003Palarshan) Number of Wins (2000/01-2001/02): 21; 38
RACE FIVE GRAND ANNUAL CHALLENGE CUP HANDICAP CHASE
NO SHOCK TO DALY
Palarshan’s three-length victory over Risk Accessor was no surprise to trainer Henry Daly, who was gaining his second success of the National Hunt Festival in the process.
“I’ve been saying all week that if I’m going to have a winner at Cheltenham then this would be it,” revealed the trainer.
“I’ve now had two winners, a second and a fifth in the Gold Cup, so I’m not moaning!”
Palarshan was jockey Mark Bradburne’s second success at the Festival, having earlier won the National Hunt Chase on Relaxation in 2000.
“Mark is unfortunate in that he is number two to Richard Johnson at my yard. He broke his collarbone two weeks ago and I’m delighted for him,” continued Daly.
The trainer then explained that he had earlier had another race at the Festival in mind for the five-year-old.
He said: “I thought that he might be an Arkle horse, but I lowered my sights a bit after a couple of defeats earlier. He’s much better on good ground and he’s run really well on soft ground.
“I took two horses to work at Bangor-On-Dee Racecourse last week. They were Young Spartacus [who won the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase yesterday] and Palarshan.”
Asked if his Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup fifth would go for the Martell Grand National at Aintree next month, Daly responded: “If he’s alright he will go for the National. Even if it’s good ground there they do go that little bit slower, although it’s still fast!”
SIXTH RACE RESULT
5.10pm CATHCART CHALLENGE CUP CHASE
Class A, Grade Two, £80,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+, which before April 29, 2001, had not won a chase. Weights: 5yo 10st 8lb; 6yo+ 11st. Penalties: a winner of a Class A to C chase 3lb; or before April 28, 2002, a winner of a Class B weight-for-age chase 7lb; or, before April 28, 2002, a winner of Class A weight-for-age chase 12lb (horses qualifying for more than one penalty will incur the higher penalty only). Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £46,400; 2nd: £17,600; 3rd: £8,800; 4th: £4,000; 5th: £2,000; 6th: £1,200
1) LA LANDIERE (Carol Skan) Richard Phillips 8-10-12 Richard Johnson 5/4F
2) IRISH HUSSAR (Major Christopher Hanbury) Nicky Henderson 7-11-00 Mick Fitzgerald 14/1
3) MACS GILDORAN (Margaret McManus) Willie Mullins IRE 9-11-03 Ruby Walsh 25/1
4) LE COUDRAY (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE t9-11-03 Barry Geraghty
5) POLIANTAS (Mark Tincknell) Paul Nicholls 6-11-07 Timmy Murphy
6) BARTON (Sir Stanley Clarke) Tim Easterby 10-11-12 Russ Garrity
7) REGAL EXIT (Brian Buckley) Nicky Henderson 7-11-00 Richard Guest
8) IZNOGOUD (County Stores-Avalon Surfacing) Martin Pipe 7-11-07 Paul Carberry
F5) TARXIEN (Brian Kilpatrick) Martin Pipe t9-11-03 Rodi Greene
Distances: 1 1/2, 5, 7, 4, 7, 3/4, dist
Breeder: Hubert Carion Breeding: b/br m Synefos (USA) - As You Are (FR) (Saint Estephe)
Tote Win: £2.00 Places: £1.20; £2.20; £5.40 Exacta: £16.20
Winning trainer: RICHARD PHILLIPS Born: September 19, 1963 Based: Coronation Yard, Cotswold Stud, Sezincote, Moreton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire Horses in Training (1996-2002): 21; 20; 21; 31; 31; 54; 45 Number of Winners (1995/96-2001/02): 8; 3; 5; 11; 4; 28; 10 Date of First Trainer’s Licence: April 1993 Big Race Wins: Timeform Novices Chase (2003 LA Landiere), Racing Post Chase (2003 La Landiere). Cheltenham Festival Wins (1): Catchcart Chase (2002 La Landiere) Wins This Season: 31
Winning Jockey: Richard Johnson Date of birth: 21/07/77 Wins (1993/94-2000/2001): 1; 12; 53; 102; 120; 133; 143; 161; 132 Cheltenham Festival wins: (9) BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE (1999 Anzum), MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP H’CAP CHASE (2000 Dark Stranger, 2003 Young Spartacus), TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (2000 Looks Like Trouble), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2002 Flagship Uberalles), COUNTY HURDLE (2002 Rooster Booster), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (2003 Rooster Booster), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2003 One Knight), Cathcart Chase (2003 La La Landiere) Other big race wins: JAMES NICHOLSON WINE MERCHANT CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Looks Like Trouble), WELSH NATIONAL (1999 Edmond), RACING POST TROPHY (2000 Gloria Victis, 2001 Young Spartacus, 2002 Gunter McBride), TOTE SILVER CUP (2002 Behrajan), BARTON & GUESTIER TOP NOVICES’ HURDLE (1997 Midnight Legend, 2000 Phardante Flyer), Belle Epoque Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1997 Forest Ivory), Martell Cup Chase (1998 Escartefigue), Heidsieck Monopole Mildmay Novices’ Chase (1999 Spendid, 2001 What’s Up Boys), Glenlivet Anniversary 4yo Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Lord Brex), John Hughes Trophy Chase (2001 Gower-Slave) Wins This Season: 131 Fourth win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival
SIXTH RACE QUOTES
PHILLIPS BREAKS FESTIVAL DUCK
Trainer Richard Phillips enjoyed a first National Hunt Festival triumph when La Landiere justified favouritism to take the Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase from Irish Hussar.
“This is what I’ve dreamed about since I was a small child,” said Phillips. “The reception is all for her, to win seven in a row is amazing and she just loves chasing.
“I’ve done nothing clever with her, she’s just come right. I’ve said it before but I can’t get a good woman but if La Landiere had two legs and could wash up I’d marry her.
“We were never that tempted to go for the Gold Cup as this race was ideal for her. The race was designed for her. She was possibly at her peak in the Racing Post Chase last time out but she’s an absolute legend.
“If Best Mate had bollocks they’d make great children together! She’s done her bit and I think I’ll put her away now for the season. We’ll have a few glasses of champagne tonight before thinking about anything else.”
Paddy Power quote La Landiere at 25/1 for next year’s Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Going into the last race, La Landiere’s rider Richard Johnson has had four wins, equalling Barry Geraghty’s tally.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of runner-up Irish Hussar, said: “He has grown up into a man today, he’s been a baby until now. We ran him here because I thought it would be a nicer race for him than the SunAlliance. He had a real go and made a proper fight of it against the winner. He might run again this season, we’ll look at the three mile novice at Liverpool but the thing about him is that he must have it soft.
“The horses have been running very well but being placed can never be as good as winning. Now I must go and fire the last cartridge (Non So in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle).
DOBBIN AND MCCOY BOTH TAKEN TO HOSPITAL
Jockeys Tony McCoy and Tony Dobbin have both been taken to Cheltenham General Hospital.
Tony McCoy, who fell on Golden Alpha in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase, has broken a collar bone.
Tony Dobbin, who fell on Wave Rock in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase, is suffering from chest injuries.
Dorans Pride, who fell in the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase, broke a hock and was humanely put down.
SEVENTH RACE RESULT
5.45pm VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE
Class A, Grade Three, £65,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+, which before February 9 had been placed first second or third in a hurdle. 2m 1f. Minimum weight 10st. Penalties: after February 22, a winner of a Class A to C hurdle 7lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £37,700; 2nd: £14,300; 3rd: £7,150; 4th: £3,250; 5th: £1,625; 6th: £975
1) SPIRIT LEADER (Dil Thompson) Jessica Harrington IRE 7-11-07 Barry Geraghty 10/1
2) BALAPOUR (Rita Shah) Oliver Brady IRE t5-10-00 Martin Mooney (5) 25/1
3) THROUGH THE RYE (Nice To See You Euro-Racing) Edwin Tuer 7-10-09 Graham Lee 66/1
4) NON SO (ROA Dawn Run Partnership) Nicky Henderson 5-11-05 Michael Fitzgerald 10/1
5) JABOUNE (Carol Skan) Alan King 6-10-08 Richard Johnson
6) DIRECT BEARING (Dr Michael Smurfit) Dermot Weld IRE b1 6-10-05 Paul Carberry
7) TURTLEBACK (Dermot Desmond) Edward O'Grady IRE 5-10-11 Davy Russell
8) POLAR RED (Lady Hilda Clarke) Martin Pipe v6-11-12 Russ Garrity
9) IDAHO D'OX (The Dionysius Partnership) Martin Pipe v7-10-07 Tom Scudamore
10) NEVER (Sir Peter O’Sullevan) Francois Doumen FR 6-11-09 Thierry Doumen
11) FULL IRISH (D Stronach) Len Lungo 7-11-01 Mark Bradburne
12 MONKERHOSTIN (Martin St Quinton) Oliver Sherwood 6-10-12 Timmy Murphy
13) MISS COOL (Nick Mills) Martin Pipe v7-9-12 Mr Jamie Moore (7)
14) WARJAN (Grame Love) Richard Phillips 6-10-07 Warren Marston
15) JOE CULLEN (Mark Sheasby) Ian Williams 8-10-00 Wayne Hutchinson (3)
16) IMAGE DE MARQUE II (David Johnson) Martin Pipe t711-01 David Casey
17) THE GATHERER (J P McManus) Arthur Moore IRE 9-11-05 Conor O'Dwyer
18) BELLE D'ANJOU (Newtork Training) Philip Hobbs 6-10-05 Seamus Durack
19) CASTLESHANE (W Hobson, J King, G King, P Winfrow) Steve Gollings 6-10-05 Robert Thornton
20) PHARDANTE FLYER (Karola Vann) Philip Hobbs 9-10-11 Paul Flynn
21) SAY AGAIN (Sean Duggan) Paul Nolan IRE 7-11-02 John Cullen
DNF) TACTFUL REMARK (Professor David & Heather Silk) Martin Pipe 7-10-05 Rodi Greene
DNF) MISE RAFTURAI (Donal Patrick O’Gorman) Paul Nolan IRE 5-10-02 Charlie Swan Fav
DNF) MARAGUN (Stuart Mercer & Emlyn Hughes) Martin Pipe 7-10-04 Gerry Supple
DNF) NATIVE NEW YORKER (Ann & John Symes) Richard Rowe 8-10-11 Leighton Aspell
F3) COMEX FLYER (Neil Smith) Paul Nicholls t6-11-02 Ruby Walsh
F7) MIXSTERTHETRIXSTER (Tracey Ide) Tracey Ide 7-10-02 Mr Geoff Barfoot-Saunt (5)
F7) HAWADETH (Nick Viney) Victor Dartnall 8-10-06 Jim Culloty
28 ran Non-Runners: Holy Orders, Xenophon (both vet’s certificate)
Distances: nk, sh, 5, sh, 3/4, sh, 2 1/2, 3/4, hd, 2 1/2, 7, 1/2, 1/2, 4, 3/4, 1 3/4, 11, 12, 16, dist
Breeder: Elizabeth Kennedy Breeding: b/br m Supreme Leader - That’s The Spirit (Mandalus)
Tote Win: £9.30 Places: £2.30; £9.30; £21.20; £2.50 Exacta: £979.60
Winning Trainer: JESSICA HARRINGTON Based: Commonstown Stables, Moone, County Kildare, Ireland Cheltenham Festival Wins (4): Grand Annual Hcap Chase (1999 Space Trucker), Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003 Moscow Flyer), County Hurdle (2003 Spirit Leader) Big Race Wins: Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle (1999 Moscow Flyer), Evening Herald Champion Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Moscow Flyer), Morgiana Hurdle (2000 Moscow Flyer), William Hill Handicap Hurdle (2002 Spirit Leader), Tote Gold Trophy (2003 Spirit Leader)
Winning Jockey: Barry Geraghty Born: September 16, 1979 Background: one of six children from a “horse-mad” family in Drumree. His father Tucker was a useful amateur rider and trains a few horses in addition to his riding school and livery yard while his brothers Ross and Norman are both jockeys. The former won the 2002 Irish Grand National on The Bunny Boiler, while Norman is an amateur who doubles as a farrier. Barry has a background in pony racing, riding his last winner in that arena in September, 1996, before becoming apprenticed to Noel Meade that month and having his first ride the following month. He still rides mainly for Meade, but is also frequently used by Willie Mullins, Frances Crowley and Jessica Harrington. Based: Drumree, County Meath, Ireland First Winner: Stagalier (EBF Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, Down Royal, January 29, 1997) Achievements: Champion jockey in Ireland in 1999/2000 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (6) Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer), William Hill National Hunt Chase (2003 Youlneverwalkalone), Pertemps Final (2003 Inching Closer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003 Moscow Flyer), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), County Hurdle (2003 Spirit Leader) Big Race Wins: MIDLANDS GRAND NATIONAL (1998 Miss Orchestra), ROYAL BOND NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Moscow Flyer), MARTELL SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Sackville); EVENING HERALD CHAMPION NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Moscow Flyer); STEEL PLATE & SECTIONS NOVICES’ CHASE (2002 Super Fellow), INTERVET TROPHY (2002 Stormez), THOMAS PINK GOLD CUP (2002 Cyfor Malta) Fifth win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival for Barry Geraghty - Wins Daily Telegraph Trophy
WINNING QUOTES RACE SEVEN
VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE
TWO OUT OF TWO FOR HARRINGTON
Jessica Harrington followed up her victory with Moscow Flyer in the Queen Mother Champion Chase yesterday when Spirit Leader got the best of a thrilling finish to the closing Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle, beating Balapour and Through The Rye by a neck and a short head.
“Quite amazing to have been able to have just two runners and win with both of them,” she said. “I had only three entries but the other one went wrong.
“I really thought she had too much to do with 11st 7lb, she stands only 15.2hh and I was worried that the weight would be too much for her. She has never won a handicap with much more than 10st 7lb, but she is so brave.
“I worked her with Moscow Flyer in the week before they came over here and she went really well, much better than she had worked before she won the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury. I knew she had improved but I did not know she had improved that much.
“I don’t know what will happen with her now, but she might go to Punchestown for the Shell Hurdle.
“It is quite an achievement to have won those three big handicap hurdles in a season (the other is the William Hill Hurdle at Sandown), and I wonder if any other horse has ever done that.
“I did my best to drink Nicky and Diana Henderson’s cellar dry last night, but as I am going home tonight and shall have to do some work tomorrow, I shan’t be able to do that again.”
Barry Geraghty, who clinched the Daily Telegraph award for top jockey at the meeting with this fifth success of the week, shared the trainer’s enthusiasm about the mare’s courage.
“She is only little, but she has the heart of a lion. I was very worried about the weight but she is just so brave.”
Despite going down by a neck to Spirit Leader in the concluding race of the National Hunt Festival, the connections of Balapour were in jubilant mood with the celebrations being led by trainer Oliver Brady.
An Irish tricolor was raised above the trainer’s head as he exchanged jokes with the crowd, started a sing song and switched hats with someone else in the entourage.
“I have to go because the stewards will be looking for me,” shouted Brady.
The horse had been backed from 66/1 in the morning to 25/1 at the off, and the trainer revealed that he had enjoyed quite a touch.
“I told you all,” he said. “I fancied this horse surely. In fact I thought that I would have a double with Kenilworth in the Triumph, but he just got stopped and the jockey said that he would have been involved [in the finish].
“It’s a big achievement for a small trainer like me with five horses but I can take the big boys on. This horse was a 100-1 last year here when he finished fourth.
“We’ll have a party on the way home.”
Comex Flyer broke his back and had to be humanely put down after falling at the third flight in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle.
Native New Yorker, another faller, later got up and was able to walk into the horse ambulance. He was taken to the stable yard for further assessment.
LEADING JOCKEYS AT THE END OF DAY THREE
Jockey 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Barry Geraghty 5 2 1 3
Richard Johnson 4 1 3 -
Mick Fitzgerald 1 2 2 2
Norman Williamson 1 1 1 -
Jim Culloty 1 1 - -
Tony McCoy 1 1 - 1
Ruby Walsh 1 - 3 1
Thierry Doumen 1 - - 1
Mark Bradburne 1 - - -
Mr Denis Cullen 1 - - -
Kieran Kelly 1 - - -
Mr Saul McHugh 1 - - -
Mr Richard Young 1 - - -
Seamus Durack - 2 - -
Davy Russell - 1 1 -
Mr Larry McGrath - 1 - 1
Mr Jamie Moore - 1 - 1
David Casey - 1 - -
Dominic Elsworth - 1 - -
Rodi Greene - 1 - -
Miss Polly Gundry - 1 - -
Martin Mooney - 1 - -
Conor O’Dwyer - 1 - -
Jacques Ricou - 1 - -
Paul Carberry - - 2 -
Graham Lee - - 1 -
Mr R Loughran - - 1 -
Warren Marston - - 1 -
Mrs Fiona Needham - - 1 -
Mr Julian Pritchard - - 1 -
Charlie Swan - - 1 -
Mr Andrew Tinkler - - 1 -
Noel Fehily - - - 2
Fran Berry - - - 1
Benoit Giquel - - - 1
Barry Keniry - - - 1
Timmy Murphy - - - 1
Robert Power - - - 1
Tom Scudamore - - - 1
Andrew Thornton - - - 1
Mr Christian Williams - - - 1
LEADING TRAINERS AT THE END OF DAY THREE
Trainer 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Jonjo O’Neill 3 1 1 1
Martin Pipe 2 4 - 3
Henry Daly 2 1 - -
Philip Hobbs 2 - 2 -
Jessica Harrington IRE 2 - - -
Henrietta Knight 1 1 - 1
Christy Roche IRE 1 1 - 1
Edward O’Grady IRE 1 1 - -
Paul Nicholls 1 - 2 3
Dessie Hughes IRE 1 - 1 -
Richard Phillips 1 - 1 -
Sally Alner 1 - - -
Francois Doumen FR 1 - - -
Tony Martin IRE 1 - - -
Nicky Henderson - 3 3 2
Ferdy Murphy - 1 1 -
Guillaume Macaire FR - 1 - 1
Tom Taaffe IRE - 1 - 1
Oliver Brady IRE - 1 - -
Ollie Bush - 1 - -
Albert Ennis - 1 - -
Arthur Moore IRE - 1 - -
Sue Smith - 1 - -
Victor Dartnall - - 2 -
James Bowe IRE - - 1 -
Michael Halford IRE - - 1 -
Noel Meade IRE - - 1 -
Tony Mullins IRE - - 1 -
Willie Mullins IRE - - 1 -
Robin Tate - - 1 -
Edwin Tuer - - 1 -
Thierry Doumen FR - - - 1
David Elsworth - - - 1
Emma Lavelle - - - 1
Charlie Mann - - - 1
Kevin Morgan - - - 1
Paddy Mullins IRE - - - 1
Seamus Mullins - - - 1
Today’s sell-out attendance at Cheltenham was 53,929, up from 53,536 on the corresponding day last year.
Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s managing director, said: “It appears to have been a hugely successful Festival, not least for the punters, with exceptional racing and our congratulations go to everybody involved.
“Welcoming the Queen was an enormous honour for us all and it appears that she got properly involved with the racing and many of the Cheltenham characters.
“We now look forward to starting to plan ahead for next season and the 2004 Festival.”
TOTE TURNOVER DOWN AFTER PHONE PROBLEMS
Today’s Tote on-course cash turnover of £2,406,990 was down on last year’s figure of £3,311,196 because there were intermittent problems after the fourth race with the line delivering bets to the Tote’s Wigan headquarters.
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink