CHRIS WALL AIMING CIMYLA AND COUNSEL'S OPINION AT betdirect.co.uk WINTER DERBY
Newmarket trainer Chris reported today that both Cimyla and Counsel's Opinion are on course for a crack at the £100,000 Group Three betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby, the highlight of the all-weather season at Lingfield on Saturday, March 18.
Cimyla was successful at Lingfield and Wolverhampton this season before finishing a staying-on fourth behind Howard Le Canard at Cagnes-Sur-Mer on February 12 in the opening leg of the European All Weather Series (EAWS), the Listed Grand Prix de la Riviera Cote d'Azur at Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France, on February 12, his first run in the colours of owner Gary Tanaka, successful in the 2005 Winter Derby with Eccentric. Counsel's Opinion ran a good race when third to Grand Passion in the betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield on February 25 and was a winner over the course and distance in 2005.
Wall revealed today: "At this stage Cimyla and Counsel's Opinion are both on track for the betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby. Both are due to work at the weekend and we will see where we go from there.
"I thought Cimyla was a bit unlucky in France last time out. He was drawn very wide and never able to really get into contention. Once he got into his stride, he stayed on very well and was not beaten far at the finish. I certainly wouldn't be afraid of taking on the horses that finished in front of him again - the form book says he finished fourth but I know he is better than that.
"While I don't have any criticism of the jockey that rode Cimyla in France [Stephane Pasquier], he is a horse that takes a little bit of knowing and it was unfortunate that George Baker was not able to ride him. I don't know if George will ride him in the betdirect.co.uk as he also has the choice of Counsel's Opinion. We will know more after the pair have worked at the weekend."
The betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby is the third leg of the EAWS, which consists of five races run between February and May. Both winners of the first two legs are among the 28 remaining entries for the 10-furlong contest. Howard Le Canard landed the opening leg of the EAWS, the Listed Grand Prix de la Riviera Cote d'Azur at Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France, on February 12 while the second leg, the Listed Stall Ampuria Neusser Sandbahn Grand Prix at Neuss in Germany on March 5, fell to Grantley.
A strong home-trained challenge for the betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby also includes Grand Passion, successful in the betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby Trial over the course and distance on February 25, Gerard Butler's duo of Nayyir and Compton Bolter.
RICHEST-EVER ALL-WEATHER RACEDAY AT LINGFIELD ON SATURDAY, MARCH 18 - betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby takes centre stage
Lingfield Park plays host to the richest-ever all-weather raceday ever staged in Britain on Saturday, March 18, 2006, with the £100,000 Group Three betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby (3.10pm) taking centre stage.
In total, there will be £277,500 on offer for the eight-race card with the main supporting action being the Listed £75,000 Betdirect 0800 211 222 Spring Cup (2.40pm) over seven furlongs for three-year-olds.
Betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby day is always a popular affair and the restaurant is already filling up with bookings while most of the boxes have been booked.
Channel 4 cameras will be present on March 18 for four races on the card:
2.10pm £30,000 betdirect.co.uk Sprint
2.40pm £75,000 Betdirect 0800 211 222 Sprint Cup
3.10pm £100,000 betdirect.co.uk Winter Derby
3.40pm £25,000 Play Now At betdirectpoker.com Handicap
Saturday, March 18 is also the final day of the 2005/06 all-weather season and in the evening the Arena Leisure and Bet Direct All Weather Championships awards will be presented in the Pavilion at Lingfield Park.
The event will be hosted by Zoey Bird and Derek Thompson and attended by 250 invited guests including jockeys, trainers, owners and friends plus industry figures, racing media and ATR.
Currently leading the race for jockeys' championship is Eddie Ahern, who looks to be far enough in front of Neil Callan to claim the title, worth £12,000 to the winner. The find of the season has been James Doyle, and he is likely to claim the apprentices' title and a £6,000 prize. Mr Simon Walker is the leading amateur of the season.
Nick Littmoden is currently out in front in the battle for the trainers' championship with Karl Burke in second and Kevin Ryan third. The winning handler will gain £15,000 for himself with £7,500 going to his stable staff.
Nigel Shields has always been a tremendous supporter of all-weather racing and it appears at this stage he will be rewarded with the award for leading all-weather owner.
Readers of the Racing Post get their chance to vote for the all-weather horse of the season. The six contenders are Cimyla, Fyodor, Graze On, Kingsgate Prince, Les Arcs and Prince Charlemagne. Votes can be made by phone, text or email before midnight on Tuesday, March 14. Full details can be found in today's Racing Post or online at www.racingpost.co.uk.
Kate Hills, Head of Marketing and Public Relations for Arena Leisure Racecourse Division, commented: "We are delighted to host such a popular annual event along with our sponsors Bet Direct. It has been another fabulous season at the three all-weather courses.
"It is a delight to end the season in such style and reward so many deserving people, particularly stable staff who work so hard throughout the winter."
SKY BET OFFERS UNIQUE 2 HOUR 15 MINUTE INTERACTIVE RED BUTTON PRICEWISE GUARANTEE DURING THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL FOR SECOND SUCCESSIVE YEAR
Sky Bet will once again be guaranteeing Sky Bet prices via the interactive red button on Racing Post Pricewise races for 2 hours and 15 minutes on each day of the Cheltenham Festival next week. The guarantee will run from 8am, through Channel 4's "Morning Line" programme starting at 8.30am and finish at 10.15am. The guarantee is available on Channel 4, ATR and all sky digital channels.
The bookmaker is taking this bold step during jump racing's most eagerly anticipated meeting for the second year in succession.
Dale Tempest, the Sky Bet PR Director, commented: "We are delighted to be back behind Channel 4 as their early morning coverage is a must for all Cheltenham race fans and to have the ability to guarantee an early price without leaving the comfort of your home has to be a major attraction for viewers.
"No other bookmaker in the country will guarantee to hold prices on all Pricewise races during the Cheltenham Festival for such an extended period of time.
"Interactive betting is now quicker and easier to access than ever before and hopefully this offer will encourage Sky Digital viewers to press there red buttons.
"This guarantee will be effective on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, March 14-17 and is exclusive to Sky Bet customers using Channel 4, ATR and Sky Digital interactive services."
Racing Post Pricewise is the very influential tipping column in the Racing Post, racing's daily newspaper.
Sky Bet will also be offering customers several other special offers during the Cheltenham Festival:
* 1/4 odds on all Festival races *
* 5 places on selected Festival races *
* 15 minute Pricewise guarantee for Telephone and Internet customers from 8.30am every day *
* Pricing 1 Festival race per day to 110% margin *
totescoop6 BONUS BONANZA
A massive 269 players will be looking to pick the winner of the Sunderlands Imperial Cup at Sandown and hopefully a share of £120,192. With three favourites and three second favourites winning the six legs last weekend it was no real surprise that there were so many winners and each collect just £199. Although it is likely all horses will be covered off, the last time so many people were playing for the bonus was back in 2002 when only 10 winners out of 257 shared the bonus, so there is still the possibility of a big win.
Races this weekend are divided between Sandown and Wolverhampton
Paul Petrie, totescoop6 spokesman commented, "Short of a massive shock we would expect the bonus to be claimed this weekend. Bonus players will have to decide whether they want to go for an outsider and hopefully win a large chunk or go with the favourite and be in a situation where they will have to share with many people."
The totedistance race this Saturday will also be the Sunderlands Imperial Cup.
totescoop6 TV Legs
Leg 1 2.10 Sandown
Leg 2 2.25 Wolverhampton
Leg 3 2.45 Sandown
Leg 4 3.20 Sandown
Leg 5 3.35 Wolverhampton
Leg 6 3.55 Sandown