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Tuesday, March 14, 2006



THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14



GROUND

The ground remains:

GOOD TO SOFT

on all courses at the end of the first day of The Festival 2006.


Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, said: “The going was changed to good to soft after the second race and remains that way.


“The forecast is for a dry night and for a dry day tomorrow.”

CROWD

Today’s crowd figure was 55,426, up from 55,184 in 2005.

Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s Managing Director, commented: “We are very pleased with today’s crowd figure, which includes 2,000 tickets sold on the gate.


“There was a real buzz around the racecourse today and we are set up nicely for another three days of brilliant jump racing.”



TOTE TURNOVER

Today’s on-course cash totepool turnover came to £2,376,114, just up from last year £2,370,279.


There was record placepot turnover for the first day of Cheltenham of £652,021 - the dividend paid £1,564.





THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

First Race - Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle - Winning Quotes

FIRST BLOOD TO NICHOLLS TEAM

The Festival 2006 got off to the most thrilling start possible when Noland came with a superb late run to deny Straw Bear close home by a neck in the opening Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.


The five-year-old, bought for 70,000 guineas at the DBS Sale at Cheltenham Racecourse in December, 2004, looked to have plenty to do at the top of the hill and it seemed as if Straw Bear had the race at his mercy. However, the winner is clearly not short of stamina and overhauled Nick Gifford’s charge in the shadow of the post.


Winning owner John Hales, successful at past Festivals with greats such as One Man and Azertyuiop, commented: afterwards: “To be honest, I thought we had had it as he came down the hill the final time as he looked to be struggling.


“However, we know he has stamina and he has kept going all the way to the line.

“We look forward to bringing him back for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy next year and we will hopefully have Azertyuiop back for next year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase.”

Paul Nicholls, registering his 11th Frestival victory, commented: “That was a great start to the week.

“His strong point is at the finish as he always finishes his races so strongly.

“The rain we had earlier today has probably just slowed the ground down a bit which has helped him.


“Ruby [Walsh] has given him a superb ride. He’s given him time to get into his stride and hasn’t rushed him at all.”

Looking ahead to the future, Nicholls added: “He’s a chaser in the making and is not a Champion Hurdle horse.


“He will go over fences next year and will be an Arkle Horse. I think he may get two and a half over fences but don’t think he will be a three-mile horse over fences.”

Bookmaker reaction for next year’s Irish Independent Arkle was 6/1 (Cashmans), 8/1 Ladbrokes), 10/1 (Paddy Power) and 12/1 William Hill.



MORE ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE QUOTES - NOLAND

PAUL NICHOLLS (TRAINER)
“It’s brilliant. He just stayed on strongly, didn’t he? He wants two and a half as you can see. I said to him (Ruby) - never, never give up because he’‘ll just keep finding. He wants two and a half miles and he wants fences - but he got away with it!”

JOHN HALES (OWNER)
“To be honest, I really thought we’d had it coming down the hill, because the commentator said he was struggling, but we all knew if he kept within distance coming round that last bend, his stamina and speed up the hill would be fantastic.

“I thought we’d lost it until he came up the hill - this is something special. I don’t actually know what happened after the last - I got caught up in hundreds of people and couldn’t see the screen, I hadn’t got a clue who had won the race. He won by a head didn’t he? All I know is he came up the hill, it’s absolutely fantastic.

“You have to remember he’s one of the few horses you’ll see at Cheltenham bred to go for the Derby. He looked like chaser when we bought him - we’re not really into the hurdling game, but we’ll take this as a bonus! I though Ruby Walsh rode a brilliant race. His tactics were perfect.”


FIRST RACE PLACED QUOTES
ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE

GIFFORD PHILOSOPHICAL IN DEFEAT

Nick Gifford came within inches of a first Festival success when Straw Bear, sporting J P McManus’s colours and ridden by Tony McCoy, was caught on the finishing line by the flying Noland.


“When he kicked for home I was thinking ‘here we go’ but you have to get there,” said Gifford. “I thought the one thing he would do would be to stay up the hill but he ran out of gas and although he jumped a bit flat at the last, I wouldn’t really have any excuses.


“It’s great to be in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham with a second and I’m over the moon at the moment although I suspect I might be bitterly disappointed tonight.”

Straw Bear received a 14/1 quote for next year’s Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle with Cashmans and a more generous 25/1 from William Hill and that event is very much the target.


“He’s proved he’s as good as we thought today and, God willing, I’d love to be back here for the Champion Hurdle. This was only his third run over hurdles and you’d like to think he would improve again with more experience and his attitude is his forte. We’ll think about Aintree and Punchestown but a lot would depend on the ground,” added Gifford.


The 5/2 favourite Sweet Wake finished fifth and his trainer Noel Meade said: “He’s having a very good blow. He just didn’t seem to get home. At the second last he was going well and at the last we still thought he had a great chance but he found very little and I don’t know why.”


Jockeys in first race say going is on slow side of good

Jockeys who rode in the opening race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival tended to describe the going as ‘dead’ and on the ‘slow side of good’.


Ruby Walsh, who rode the winner, Noland, said: “It’s good to soft.”

Barry Geraghty: “It’s dead ground.”

Conor O’Dwyer: “I’d call it dead ground.”

Tony Dobbin: “It’s on the easy side of good.”

Graham Lee: “It’s on the soft side of good.”

Mark Bradburne and JP McNamara both said: “It’s on the slow side of good.”

Denis O’Regan: “It’s riding tacky and will get worse as the day goes on.”

Leighton Aspell: “It’s good ground - nice.”


FIRST RACE RESULT

2pm ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE
Grade 1 (class1), 2m 110y, Old Course £100,000 guaranteed For 4yo+ Weights: 10st 13lb; 5yo+ 11st 7lb Allowances fillies and mares 7lb Entries 113 pay £110 1st Forfeit 61 pay £220 Confirmed 33 pay £110 Penalty value 1st £57,020 2nd £21,390 3rd £10,710 4th £5,340 5th £2,680, 6th £1,340
1 NOLAND (John Hales) Paul Nicholls 5-11-07 Ruby Walsh 6/1 2f
2 STRAW BEAR (USA) (J P McManus) Nick Gifford 5-11-07 Tony McCoy 11/1
3 BUENA VISTA (IRE) (Matt Archer & The Late Jean Broadhurst) Martin Pipe 5-11-07 Timmy Murphy 14/1
4 SUBLIMITY (FR) (W Hennessy) John Carr IRE 6-11-07 Philip Carberry
5 SWEET WAKE (GER) (High Street Ceathar Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE 5-11-07 Paul Carberry 5/2f
6 NATAL (FR) (Monica Hackett) Paul Nicholls 5-11-07 Christian Williams
7 JAZZ MESSENGER (FR) (R S T Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE 6-11-07 Niall Madden
8 WHISPERED PROMISES (USA) (Mrs S Brookhouse) Roger Brookhouse 5-11-07 J P McNamara
9 RASHARROW (IRE) (Ashleybank Investments Ltd) Len Lungo 7-11-07 Tony Dobbin
10 O'MUIRCHEARTAIGH (IRE) (Mrs W O’Grady) Edward O'Grady IRE 6-11-07 Barry Geraghty
11 QUATRE HEURES (FR) (John Mc’s Winchester Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 4-10-13 David Casey
12 CROW WOOD (Marie Taylor) John Quinn 7-11-07 Russ Garritty
13 ORCADIAN (Jeff Smith) James Eustace 5-11-07 Mark Bradburne
14 PATRIXPRIAL (P Betts) Mark Tompkins 5-11-07 Leighton Aspell
15 BLUEBERRY BOY (IRE) (Joseph Keeling) Paul Stafford IRE 7-11-07 Denis O'Regan
16 KALDERON (GER) (Miss M Masterson) Tom Hogan IRE 6-11-07 Conor O'Dwyer
17 MUNTAMI (IRE) (Dermot Owens) John Harris 5-11-07 Andrew Tinkler
18 MASAFI (IRE) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 5-11-07 Graham Lee
19 NIKOLA (FR) (Graham And Alison Jelley) Nigel Twiston-Davies 5-11-07 Carl Llewellyn
F PABLO DU CHARMIL (FR) (Joe Moran) Martin Pipe 5-11-07 Rodi Greene
Non-runner: Zaiyad
20 ran
Distances: nk, 11/4, 2, hd, 11/4, nk, sh, 5, 3, 3, 1, 21/2, 12, 3/4, 21/2, sh, 16, 21/2
Breeder: The Niarchos Family
Breeding: b g Exit To Nowhere (USA) - Molakai (USA)
Tote: Win; £6.30 Places; £2.60, £3.20, £4.40 Exacta; £63.10

Winning Trainer: PAUL NICHOLLS Date of birth: 17/05/62 Based: Heighes House, Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset Date of first trainer’s licence: 01/11/91 Previous Occupation: Professional jockey 1980-89. Rode 130 winners including Hennessy Gold Cup (1986 & 87), Irish Gold Cup (1988), Welsh Grand National (1987) Cheltenham Festival Wins: (11) Irish Independent Arkle Novices’ Chase (1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2003 Azertyuiop), Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business), Christie’s Foxhunter Chase (2004 Earthmover, 2005 Sleeping Night), Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene), Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother), Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland) Other big race wins: Desert Orchid H’cap Chase (2000 Fadalko, 2002 Valley Henry), Mitsubishi Shogun Ascot Chase (2000 Rockforce),Game Spirit Chase (2000 Flagship Uberalles, 2005 Azertyuiop), Aon Chase (2000 See More Business, 2001 Shotgun Willy, 2003 Valley Henry), Scottish Champion Hcap Hurdle (1999 Fadalko), Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1995 Captain Khedive, 1999 Fadalko, 2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother) William Hill Haldon Gold Cup Chase (1998 Lake Kariba, 1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2004 Azertyuiop), Charlie Hall Chase (1999 and 2000 See More Business), King George VI Chase (1997, 1999 See More Business), Rehearsal Chase (1996 Belmont King, 1997 and 1998 See More Business), Scottish Grand National (1997 Belmont King), Pillar Chase (1998, 2001 See More Business), Feltham Novices’ Chase (1993 See More Indians), attheraces Gold Cup (2001 & 2003 Ad Hoc), Greatwood Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole), totesport Bula Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole), Peterborough Chase (2004 Le Roi Miguel), Challow Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Cornish Rebel, 2006 Denman), Coral Welsh National (2004 Silver Birch, 2005 L’Aventure), Tingle Creek Chase (2005 Kauto Star), Tolworth Hurdle (2006 Noland), totescoop6 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Be Be King), totesport Classic Chase (2006 Eurotrek), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Neptune Collonges), Pendil Novices’ Chase (2006 Napolitain), Vodafone Gold Cup (2006 Cornish Sett) 1000th Domestic Winner: Noble Action (Bumper, Folkestone, November 15, 2004) First Trainer to Saddle Six Winners on One Card: Saturday, January 21, 2006, at Wincanton Horses in Training (1997-2005): 52; 60; 66; 65; 78; 105; 106; 121; 126 Number of Winners (1992/03-2004/05): 20; 29; 28; 53; 56; 82; 110; 71; 83; 136; 152; 127; 152 Wins this Season: 128

Winning Jockey: Ruby Walsh Born: May 14, 1979 First Winner: Siren Song, Gowran Park, July 25, 1995 Cheltenham Festival Wins (9): Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1998 Alexander Banquet, 2005 Missed That), Mildmay Of Flete (2002 Blowing Wind), Irish Independent Arkle (2003 Azertyuiop), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2004 Azertyuiop), Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene), Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother) Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland) Leading Rider at The Festival: 2004 (3) Other Big Race Wins: HEINEKEN GOLD CUP (1999 Imperial Call, 2000 Commanche Court); IRISH GRAND NATIONAL (2000 Commanche Court, 2005 Numbersixvalverde); TINGLE CREEK TROPHY (2002 Cenkos); INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER NOVICES’ CHASE (2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother); HENNESSEY COGNAC GOLD CUP (2003 Strong Flow); FELTHAM NOVICES’ CHASE (2003 Strong Flow); GREATWOOD HURDLE (2003 Rigmarole); CHALLOW NOVICES’ HURDLE (2003 Cornish Rebel, 2006 Denman); BETFRED GOLD CUP (2003 Ad Hoc); RACING POST CHASE (2004 Marlborough); KINGWELL HURDLE (2004 Rigmarole); HALDON GOLD CUP (2004 Azertyuiop); PETERBOROUGH CHASE (2004 Le Roi Miguel); GAME SPIRIT CHASE (2004, 2005 Azertyuiop); CORAL WELSH NATIONAL (2004 Silver Birch);DIPPER NOVICES’ CHASE (2005 My Will); WAYWARD LAD NOVICES’ CHASE (2005 Hoo La Baloo); STAN JAMES CHRISTMAS HURDLE (2005 Feathard Lady); LEAMINGTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (2006 Be Be King); totesport CLASSIC CHASE (2006 Eurotrek) Number of Wins in Britain (1998/99-2004/05): 1; 1; 5; 13; 77; 62; 81 Other Details: Son of Ted Walsh, former leading Irish amateur rider who is now a trainer and broadcaster in Ireland. Divides his time riding for Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland. Wins in Britain This Season: 50



THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

SECOND RACE WINNING QUOTES
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE

VICTORY FOR VOY

Voy Por Ustedes extended his unbeaten run over fences to five in the highest possible company when capturing The Irish Independent Arkle Chase, billed by many as the race of The Festival beforehand, by one and a quarter lengths from Monet’s Garden

“I have always wanted a decent two-mile chaser, we had a lot when I was with the Duke (David Nicholson) and it’s great to have one now,” said winning trainer Alan King.


“I said to Choc (jockey Robert Thornton) last night that the danger was Monet’s Garden, the grey horse, but he said that he wouldn’t be quick enough. The first thing he said when he came in was ‘I told you so’!

“My conditional Gina Carenza has done a lot of the work with the horse so he must take a lot of credit because this is a difficult horse, he’s very volatile. When the race he was due to run in at Warwick was abandoned, I’m very thankful they rescheduled it at Wincanton, we’d have been in deep trouble otherwise.


“The horse has just progressed all season, this looked a very strong race beforehand, it was his biggest test and he has proved himself.


“I’m just happy to enjoy today but I suppose we could think of Aintree, I’ll talk to his owner Sir Robert Ogden.”

Ogden bought Voy Por Ustedes from the Million In Mind dispersal at Doncaster’s May Sale last year for 106,000 guineas and the owner’s racing manager Barry Simpson said: “Alan King trained him for Million In Mind and he put the horse up to us so there was massive pressure on him for it to perform so all credit to Alan.


“We came very close to winning this race with Squire Silk and it’s a race we’ve always wanted to land, the only sadness is that Sir Robert is away and so was not able to be here.”

Winning rider Robert Thornton said: “He’s brilliant. He actually missed one at the top of the hill, but it just got him to take a blow - turning the bend, he was running away with me again. His jumping was very good - very efficient. He’s a bold jumper - early on he was a little bit too bold maybe. But he seems to have got the measure of things now. At the last [where he made a mistake] I just had to keep pressing - it happens. I got to the other side and he won.”


Race 2 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
Placed quotes

Flat-out Monet’s does Richards proud

After Monet’s Garden had finished second in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, his trainer, Nicky Richards, said: “He’s a grand horse. He was probably going as fast over the first as he was at the last. He went as fast as he could for two miles, but when the other fellow [winner Voy Por Ustedes] nicked a couple of lengths on the final bend he couldn’t pull it back.

“He jumped great and ran up the hill very well. He doesn’t take a great deal of racing - I doubt he’ll go to Aintree, but I might take him to Ayr for a three-mile novices’ chase to end the season a high note. He wants three miles.

“If he were to come back here next year it wouldn’t be for the Champion Chase - it would more likely be the Ryanair Chase [2m5f].”

Thierry Doumen, trainer of third-placed Foreman, said: “I’ve nothing to say against him. He ran a great race, considering it was his first time over the Cheltenham fences. He never lost any ground at the fences, but the two horses who made the running [winner and second] never gave up and made such a strong gallop that it gave little chance to the back runners.

“The only one going forward in the home straight was Foreman, so he ran a very good race. I’ll see him at home in his box and how he recovers, but we would have to consider bringing him back for Aintree.”

Noel Meade, trainer of fourth-placed Wild Passion, said: “He stumbled at the second last and it may have cost him a place, but he wouldn’t have beaten the first two. The race for him could be the Power’s Gold Cup, a Grade 1 chase at Fairyhouse over two and a half miles on Easter Sunday.”


Race Two - Irish Independent Arkle Trophy - Beaten Favourite

DEMON NEEDS FURTHER

Racing Demon, the 9/2 Favourite, could only finish seventh seventh in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy under Sam Thomas, with trainer Henerietta Knight stating afterwards that she believes the two miles was too short for her charge.


The West Lockinge handler commented: “He didn’t do anything wrong and he’s jumped well.


“I just think that it was too quick for him today on this ground. I think he is really a three-miler for the future.

“It was probably a mistake to run him in this race rather than in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase tomorrow, but he had been winning his races over two miles so well we thought we would let him take his chance. Certainly his run in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle last year suggested he is a stayer.


“He looks fine and lives to fight another day. I don’t know if he will run again this season, it depends if we can find a race for him on suitable ground.


“He will never be another Best Mate but is a good horse for the future.”

GOING CHANGE

Following the running of the second race, the going is now:

GOOD TO SOFT

on all courses.



SECOND RACE RESULT

2.35pm IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY CHASE
Grade 1 (class 1), 2m Old Course £140,000 guaranteed For 5yo+ weights 5yo 11st 2lb; 6yo+ 11st 7lb Allowances mares 7lb Entries 57 pay £175 1st forfeit 40 pay £350 Confirmed 23 pay £175 Penalty Value 1st £79,828 2nd £29,946 3rd £14,994 4th £7,476 5th £3,752 6th £1,876

1 VOY POR USTEDES (FR) (Sir Robert Ogden) Alan King 5-11-02 Robert Thornton 15/2
2 MONET'S GARDEN (IRE) (David Yates) Nicky Richards 8-11-07 Tony Dobbin 8/1
3 FOREMAN (GER) (J P McManus) Thierry Doumen FR 8-11-07 Tony McCoy 5/1
4 WILD PASSION (GER) (Des Sharkey) Noel Meade IRE 6-11-07 Paul Carberry
5 DON'T BE SHY (FR) (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 5-11-02 Timmy Murphy
6 MISSED THAT (Violet O’Leary) Willie Mullins IRE 7-11-07 Ruby Walsh
7 RACING DEMON (IRE) (Mrs T Radford) Henrietta Knight 6-11-07 Sam Thomas 9/2f
8 ARTEEA (IRE) (Michael O’Flaherty) Michael Hourigan IRE 7-11-07 Andrew McNamara
9 TAMARINBLEU (FR) (The Arthur White Partnership) Martin Pipe 6-11-07 Tom Scudamore
10 CERIUM (FR) (B Fulton, T Hayward, S Fisher, L Brady) Paul Nicholls 5-11-02 Paddy Brennan
11 COAT OF HONOUR (USA) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 6-11-07 Graham Lee
12 MID DANCER (FR) (Sean Mulryan) Arnaud Chaille-Chaille FR 5-11-02 Conor O'Dwyer
F CROSSBOW CREEK (Mrs M Rimell) Mark Rimell 8-11-07 Jamie Moore
F ACCORDION ETOILE (IRE) (Banjo Syndicate) Paul Nolan IRE 7-11-07 Barry Geraghty

14 ran
Distances: 1 1/4, 5, 2, 3, 6, 3/4, 1, sh, 11, 18, sh
Breeder: Ecurie Macaire Guillaume and Frances Picoulet
Breeding: b g Villez (USA) - Nuit D’ecajeul (FR)
Tote: Win; £8.90 Places; £2.80, £2.70, £2.50 Exacta; £62.30

Winning Trainer: ALAN KING Born: December 13, 1966 Based: Barbury Castle Stables, Wroughton, Wiltshire Cheltenham Festival Wins (3): William Hill National Trophy Handicap Chase (2004 Fork Lightning), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2005 Penzance), Irish Independent Arkle Trophy (2006 Voy Por Ustedes) Big Race Wins: Bula Hurdle (1999 Relkeel), Long Walk Hurdle (1999 Anzum, 2005 My Way De Solzen), Jim Ford Challenge Cup (2000 Spendid), Cleeve Hurdle (2004 Crystal d’Ainay), Kingmaker Novices’ Chase (2006 Voy Por Ustedes), National Spirit Hurdle (2006 My Way De Solzen) Horses in Training (2000-2005): 65; 51; 56; 74; 85; 123 Number of Winners (1999/2000-2004/05): 27; 18; 34; 39; 47; 66 Wins this Season: 56

Winning Jockey: Robert Thornton Date of birth: 14/7/78 First Winner Under Rules: K C’s Dancer (Cheltenham, October 25, 1995) Background: Joined David Nicholson as an amateur in 1995 and was crowned Champion Conditional in 1998. Wins (1995/96-2004/05): 3; 30; 71; 37; 23; 40; 56; 50; 73; 97 Cheltenham Festival wins: (7) FULKE WALWYN KIM MUIR CHALLENGE CUP CHASE (King Lucifer 1997), PERTEMPS FINAL (Pharanear 1997), WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE (2004 Fork Lightning, 2005 Kelami), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2005 Penzance), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Moulin Riche), Irish Independent Arkle Trophy (2006 Voy Por Ustedes) Big Race Wins: VICTOR CHANDLER CHASE (1999 Call Equiname), CORALPOKER.COM KINGMAKER NOVICES’ CHASE (1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2005 Kadount, 2006 Voy Por Ustedes), RENDLESHAM HURDLE (1999 Pharanear, 2005 Crystal D’Ainay), SPORTING INDEX CHASE (2002 Famfoni), WRAGG & CO FINESSE JUVENILE NOVICES’ HURDLE (2003 Moneytrain), TOTE BULA HURDLE (2003 Rigmarole), ADONIS JUVENILE HURDLE (2004 Trouble At Bay), CLEEVE HURDLE (2004 Crystal D’Ainay), AGFA DIAMOND HANDICAP CHASE (2005 Innox), AGFA HURDLE (2005 Self Defense), TOTESPORT LONG WALK HURDLE (2005 My Way De Solzen), NATIONAL SPIRIT HURDLE (My Way De Solzen) Wins this Season: 66




THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

THIRD RACE WINNING QUOTES
SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE

MURPHY - INCA IS “SUPERSTAR”

Trainer Colm Murphy billed Brave Inca as a “superstar” after the eight-year-old battled up the Cheltenham hill under Tony McCoy to capture the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.


“It was so close last year when he was a second-season novice,” recalled Murphy, “But we’ve had a rollercoaster this year, winning the AIG and then this, which is very much the icing on the cake. This is what we really wanted.


“When I saw how he had developed after a summer at grass, there was never any chance that he would be going chasing, I thought in my heart that there was a Champion Hurdle in him. I think he’s too good to go over fences now.


“Everything has just gone to plan this year, then his rivals like Harchibald and then our own Feathard Lady dropped by the wayside.


“He’s too good to go over fences, Feathard Lady is back in light work again but there is a lot of water under the bridge before next year’s Champion - please God we have both here next year. He’s a superstar and she’s not far behind.


“Replacing his former rider Barry Cash with Tony McCoy wasn’t a decision you’d want to make. Barry made this horse, he did all the schooling and we wouldn’t be here today without him.


“Tony McCoy is as tough as old nails, just like this horse. As Ted Walsh said, the horse would have to be dead two days to stop battling and McCoy would carry on riding if he had no arms or legs.


“What makes it even sweeter is to have been involved with a horse like this since he was three, to know all his problems and go the long road with him.”

As for the future, Murphy added: “He’ll have an entry at Liverpool but he’s had a hard race today, I’d say it’s more likely that he’ll go to Punchestown.”

The winner is owned by the seven-person Novices’ Syndicate headed by racecourse bookmaker Ciaran O’Tierney.


“This is our first horse and when he won the Supreme Novices’ I thought it was a once in a lifetime occasion but now it’s twice in a lifetime,” said Tierney, who owns the horse with his brothers Eoin and Fionan as well as their father Fergus along with Tony Crean and his sons Oran and Ronan.


“We’ve awful lot of people to thank including Colm, especially Barry Cash, James Kirwan who has done all the work at home and P J Colville, who rode him in bumpers,” added Tierney.

“We had some very large offers for him but I think the fact that we are a syndicate means that they were easier to turn down.”


Race 3 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
Winner’s quotes

None but the Brave

After Tony McCoy had given Brave Inca a stunning ride to win the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, the horse’s trainer, Colm Murphy said: ;“It’s great to win this after getting so close last year [the horse was third under Barry Cash]. It’s something else. I was fairly happy from the top of the hill that it would take a good one to beat him. Tony was very strong on him - I’m sure the horse will lay down tonight!

“He’ll have a long summer’s grass, but more than likely he’ll be back here next year. He’ll have entries at Punchestown, but he probably won’t go to Aintree.


“To win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle here was special [with Brave Inca in 2004] but this is special. I’m delighted for the horse and everyone connected with him at home. They’ve all put so much into the horse - and it’s a big syndicate that owns him, and it’s growing!

“As they crossed the line I just felt relief. It’s been such a long year and this was always the plan. To pick up a Christmas Hurdle and an AIG Hurdle on the way was great, but this is the icing on the cake.


“I was afraid of the ground because he never seems to jump or gallop as well on it, but when it’s ding-dong down the hill it would be a good one to go by him. He sticks his head out and anything that went by would know he’s had a race. Hardy Eustace has run a cracker and beat us a couple of times last year so I was worried when he was alongside.”

Tony McCoy said: “When I left Leopardstown [after he and Brave Inca had won the AIG (Europe) Champion Hurdle) I was convinced he’d win this race.

“Conor [O’Dwyer on third-placed Hardy Eustace] was travelling well down the hill, but I didn’t want him to have it all his own way, so I thought if we get in a battle and get beaten at least we have no excuses.


“Brave Inca is a horse that waits for others to come to him - he never goes away from another horse without waiting, but he keeps pulling out more when you ask him.”

Bookmakers united in making Brave Inca favourite for next year’s race, but while Paddy Power went 7-2, Boylesports 4-1 and Ladbrokes 5-1, Cashman’s offered 12-1.


Race Three - Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

HARRINGTON AND HUGHES BOTH DELIGHTED

Both Jessica Harrington and Dessie Hughes expressed their satisfaction with Macs Joy and Hardy Eustace, second and third respectively in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.


Macs Joy, beaten a length by the winner in second, improved significantly on his effort in 2005, when he finished fifth.


Mrs Harrington commented: “I am absolutely thrilled by that and it was certainly a big improvement on last year. He’s come here a fresher horse this year and our horses have come back to form lately.


“Barry Geraghty produced him superbly and did well to sit and wait for so long. I thought briefly that we could maybe win going to the last but Brave Inca was always going to be a very difficult horse to pass.


“Macs Joy is a cracking little horse. He may now go to Punchestown.

“Hopefully, this augurs well for Moscow Flyer tomorrow.”

Hardy Eustace was seeking to become the sixth horse to win a third Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.


After racing prominently throughout, he eventually finished third, beaten four and a half lengths.


Trainer Dessie Hughes said: “He’s run another terrific race and while I don’t want to take anything away from the winner, who was brilliant, you would have to say he might well have finished closer with a better preparation.


“I’m pleased with him. At least now he is fit for Punchestown. He could also possibly go to Aintree - after we lost today we have to chase all the scraps!”


ARCALIS - BEST OF THE BRITISH

Graham Wylie, the owner of the fifth Arcalis, said: “Graham (Lee) thought he had a chance three out but when they quickened he could not go with them. It was probably the ground that was against but Arcalis has come out best of the British.”


MORE WINNER QUOTES - SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE - BRAVE INCA

TONY McCOY (JOCKEY)
“He’s an absolute machine in every way. He’s a bit lazy - but there’s a big difference between being lazy and slow! He was dying to hang in behind them, and I kept squeezing him alongside Conor. I got in a bit deep at the second-last, but he pricked his ears going to it, and I thought, ‘you’ve got loads left’. As Muhammad Ali said - you’ve got to have the will and the skill and the desire, and this lad’s got everything. I love him!”

COLM MURPHY (TRAINER)
“I’m relieved! It’s been such a long year and this has always been the plan. To pick up a Christmas Hurdle and an A.I.G. along the way is something else. I was afraid of the ground today - he never seems to jump or travel as well on this sort of ground. Our lad sticks his head out and stays at it really well. Whoever got by him today would have known they’d had a race. To win a Champion Hurdle here is the icing on the cake - it’s unreal.”

CONOR O’DWYER (JOCKEY OF THIRD HARDY EUSTACE)
“Take nothing away from the winner, my lad’s run his heart out, and I’m delighted. We were at it from three out really - both horses gave everything. I think my lad just on the day needed that run but that’s the way it goes. We’re delighted to be back here and he’s run a big race.”


THIRD RACE RESULT

3.15pm SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE CHALLENGE TROPHY
GRADE 1 (class 1), 2m 110y, Old Course £340,000 guaranteed For 4yo+ Weights 4yo 11st 2lb; 5yo+ 11st 10lb Allowances fiillies and mares 7lb Entries 35 pay £385 First Forfeit 23 pay £770 Second Forfeit 1 pay £17,000 Confirmed 19 pay £385 Penalty Value 1st £202,683.30 2nd £76,032.89 3rd £38,069.77 4th £18,981.56 5th £9,526.33 6th £4,763.16

1 BRAVE INCA (IRE) (Novices Syndicate) Colm Murphy IRE 8-11-10 Tony McCoy 7/4f
2 MACS JOY (IRE) (Mac’s J Racing Syndicate) Jessica Harrington IRE 7-11-10 Barry Geraghty 13/2
3 HARDY EUSTACE (IRE) (Laurence Byrne) Dessie Hughes IRE 9-11-10 Conor O'Dwyer 11/2 2f
4 AL EILE (IRE) (M Ryan) John Queally IRE 6-11-10 Timmy Murphy
5 ARCALIS (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 6-11-10 Graham Lee
6 BRIAREUS (Emma Lambourne) Andrew Balding 6-11-10 Mr Tom Greenall
7 KAWAGINO (IRE) (K Pike) Seamus Mullins 6-11-10 Jamie Moore
8 FAASEL (IRE) (Jim Ennis) Nicky Richards 5-11-10 Tony Dobbin
9 THE FRENCH FURZE (IRE) (Jim Ennis) Nicky Richards 12-11-10 Brian Harding
10 ROYAL SHAKESPEARE (FR) (J Webb) Steve Gollings 7-11-10 Tom Scudamore
11 INTERSKY FALCON (Interskyracing.com & Jacqui O’Neill) Jonjo O'Neill 9-11-10 Mick Fitzgerald
12 ADMIRAL (IRE) (Willie McKay) Richard Guest 5-11-10 Paul O'Neill
13 ASTONVILLE (FR) (Fergus Wilson) Phillippe Cottin FR 12-11-10 Ben Hitchcott
14 FIEPES SHUFFLE (GER) (Stall Jenny) Christian Von Der Recke GER 6-11-10 Paul Carberry
F PENZANCE (Elite Racing Club) Alan King 5-11-10 Robert Thornton
F ASIAN MAZE (IRE) (Mrs C Moore) Tom Mullins IRE 7-11-03 Ruby Walsh
P LEO'S LUCKYMAN (USA) (Mrs S Brookhouse) Roger Brookhouse 7-11-10 J P McNamara
P TURNIUM (FR) (Fergus Wilson) Phillippe Cottin FR 11-11-10 James Davies

18 ran
Time: 3m 50.31s
Distances: 1, 3.5, 6, 3/4, 9, sh, 3/4, sh, 8, 6, 15, dist, dist
Breeder: D W McCauley
Breeding: b g Good Thyne (USA) - Wigwam Mam (IRE)
Tote: Win;£2.70 Places;£1.30, £2.50, £2.40 Exacta; £12.00

Winning Trainer: COLM MURPHY Age: 30 Based: Ballinadrummin, Killena, Gorey, Co Wexford Other Details: Former amateur rider, has a degree in accountancy. First started training in 2000, having previously spent six years with Aidan O’Brien (at both Piltown and Ballydoyle) Cheltenham Festival Wins (2): Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Brave Inca); Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (2006, Brave Inca) Other major wins include: Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2004 Brave Inca); Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (2004 Brave Inca); Emo Oil Champion Hurdle (2005 Brave Inca); Morgiana Hurdle (2005 Brave Inca); December Festival Hurdle (2005 Brave Inca); Christmas Hurdle (2005 Feathard Lady), AIG Europe Champion Hurdle (2006 Brave Inca) Wins in Britain (2003/2004-2004/05): 1; 0 Wins in Britain this Season: 2

Winning Jockey: Anthony Peter McCoy Date of Birth: 04/05/74 First Winner: Thurles, 26/03/92 (First winner in Britain: 07/09/94, Exeter, Chickabiddy) Apprenticeship: Four years with Jim Bolger. Cheltenham Festival Wins: (16) GRAND ANNUAL CHASE (1996 Kibreet, 1998 Edredon Bleu), IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE (1997 Or Royal, 1998 Champleve, 2004 Well Chief), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (1997 Make A Stand, 2006 Brave Inca), TOTE GOLD CUP (1997 Mr Mulligan), CATHCART CHASE (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2002 Royal Auclair) Pertemps Final (1998 Unsinkable Boxer), VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE (1998 Blowing Wind), GERRARD SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Hors La Loi III), THE MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP HCAP CHASE (1999 Majadou), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Edredon Bleu), WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER (2003 Liberman) Leading Rider at The Festival: 1997 (3), 1998 (5). Other major wins: KING GEORGE VI CHASE (2002 Best Mate), SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL (1997 Belmont King), REHEARSAL CHASE (1996 Belmont King), PADDY POWER GOLD CUP (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001Shooting Light), PILLAR PROPERTY CHASE (1999 Cyfor Malta), TRIPLEPRINT GOLD CUP CHASE (1998 Northern Starlight), EXTRAMAN HENRY VIII NOVICES’ CHASE (1998 Dines), MILDMAY & CAZALET HCAP CHASE (1999 Eudipe), LONG DISTANCE HURDLE (1999 Galant Moss, 2003 Deano’S Beano, 2004 Baracouda), SCILLY ISLES NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Upgrade, 2003 Tarxien), FIRST NATIONAL GOLD CUP H’CAP CHASE (2000 Upgrade, 2001 Wahiba Sands), CHALLOW HURDLE (2001 Classified), GAME SPIRIT CHASE (2002 Lady Cricket), TOTE GOLD TROPHY (2002 Copeland), LONG WALK HURDLE (2002 Deano’s Beeno, 2004 Baracouda), RENDLESHAM HURDLE (2003 Deano’s Beano), RITZ CLUB ASCOT CHASE (2003 Tiutchev), CLEEVE HURDLE (2003 Classified), SUNDERLANDS IMPERIAL CUP (2003 Korelo), FINALE JUVENILE HURDLE (2004 Phar Bleu), POWERS GOLD CUP (2005 Like-A-Butterfly), SCOTTISH CHAMPION HURDLE (2005 Genghis), PETERBOROUGH CHASE (2005 Impek), FELTHAM NOVICES’ CHASE (2005 Darkness), DECEMBER FESTIVAL HURDLE (2005 Brave Inca), AIG EUROPE CHAMPION HURDLE (2006 Brave Inca) Winners 1994/5-2004/05:74,175, 189,253,186,245,191, 289, 257, 209, 199 Wins this season: 162


THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

Race Four - William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase - Winning Quotes

DUN DOIRE A SECOND WINNER FOR IRELAND

Dun Doire provided the Irish with their second winner of the day when landing the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase.


Tony Martin’s charge came from off the pace under Ruby Walsh to prevail by two lengths from Juveigneur record a memorable Festival triumph, the second for Martin following Xenophon in the 2003 Coral Cup.


The winning handler commented: “Touch wood, the drop of rain we had this morning came just in time.


“This horse has serious stamina - he’s a real old-fashioned chasing type.

“He had to come from off the pace today, he’s too slow to ride any other way.

“The original plan was to go for the four-miler with him this year but we thought he could go for this race after he won the Thyestes Chase at Gowran so well.

“As a novice, he was really weak but has really come to himself this year.


“I don’t know where we will go after this, he is in the Whitbread but it is too soon to make a decision yet.


“I have his full-brother at home who is a four-year-old.”



Race 4 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
Placed quotes


Henderson one-two in second and third

Nicky Henderson seemed likely to train the first and second in the William Tropy Handicap Chase, until Juveigneur and Irish Hussar were passed by Ireland’s Dun Doire inside the final 50 yards.


After Mick Fitzgerald had steered Juveigneur into the runner-up spot, and Marcus Foley had ridden into third on Irish Hussar, Henderson said: “I’m delighted with both of them. Irish Hussar has run an amazing race with 11st 12lb after he’s been missing all year, and Juveigneur’s been off all year. Just when you think, ‘ruddy hell, this is going to come off’, you go and get mugged.


“They’re both exposed horses and had a lot of weight so they’ve run great races - and if the Irish ever complain about handicapping again I’ll kill ‘em!

“You think you’ve done everything right and then this other flippin’ horse comes and does them, but they’ve done nothing wrong. We’ll look at Aintree and lots of other races, but the main thing is they’ve both come back and run great races.”

Patrick Haslam, trainer of fourth-placed Model Son, said: “We’re very pleased with the horse. He’s young and only a novice and it looks very good for the future. I’m not sure about plans at the moment - the Irish National has been mooted, but I’m thinking more of the Aintree meeting.”


WILLIAM HILL TROPHY - DUN DOIRE - WINNING JOCKEY


RUBY WALSH (JOCKEY)
“Tony [Martin] said to be the last one to arrive - he said take your time, don’t get him on his head, sneak away, and if it happens it happens.

“Horses do come home well here - there’s a big hill to get up. He stays really well and was just outpaced a bit early on.

“You take your chance and sometimes it works, more times than not you look like a fool, but it worked today!”



ANDREW THORNTON’S LEFT ARM


Andrew Thornton had a heavy fall in the William Hill Trophy Chase when A Glass In Thyne came down. He was stretchered off the course.

He has hurt his left forearm and is going for an X-ray on his way home.



ALICE PLUNKETT WINDED

Alice Plunkett, the Channel 4 presenter, was hit by a loose horse when going to interview a jockey on the course. She was winded and stood down from her duties for the rest of the day.


FOURTH RACE RESULT

4pm WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE
GRADE 3 (class 1) 3m 110y Old Course £80,000 guaranteed For 5yo+ Weights raised 3lb Minimum Weight 10st Penalties: after February 26, a winner of a class 3 chase 3lb; of a class 1 or 2 chase 6lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb) Irish Hussar’s handicap mark 146 Entries 104 pay £100 Confirmed 48 pay £300 Penalty Value 1st £45,616 2nd £17,112 3rd £8,568 4th £4,272 5th £2,144 6th £1,072

1 DUN DOIRE (IRE) (Dunderry Racing Syndicate) Tony Martin IRE 7-10-09 Ruby Walsh 7/1
2 JUVEIGNEUR (FR) (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Henderson 9-11-05 Mick Fitzgerald 16/1
3 IRISH HUSSAR (IRE) (Major Christopher Hanbury) Nicky Henderson 10-11-12 Marcus Foley 66/1
4 MODEL SON (IRE) (P J Hughes Developments Ltd) Pat Haslam 8-10-08 Paddy Merrigan (5) 14/1
5 BOB THE BUILDER (Mr & Mrs Peter Orton) Nigel Twiston-Davies 7-10-06 Antony Evans
6 FORK LIGHTNING (IRE) (Mr & Mrs F Welch) Alan King 10-11-02 Robert Thornton
7 ALDERBURN (Mrs D Flory) Henry Daly 7-10-10 Richard Johnson
8 DESAILLY (The Team) Jonathan Geake 12-10-05 Mark Bradburne
9 SEEBALD (GER) (The Macca & Growler Partnership) Martin Pipe 11-11-09 Tom Scudamore
10 MIXSTERTHETRIXSTER (USA) (Tracy Barfoot-Saunt) Tracey Barfoot-Saunt 10-10-06 Joe Tizzard
11 BLACK DE BESSY (FR) (Mrs Derek Fletcher) David Elsworth 8-10-06 Robert Walford
12 VA VAVOOM (IRE) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-10-01 Tom Siddall
13 MADE IN JAPAN (JPN) (Terry Evans) Philip Hobbs 6-11-05 Paddy Brennan
14 NO HALF SESSION (IRE) (R Murphy) Noel Meade IRE 9-10-06 Paul Carberry
15 SHARDAM (IRE) (Howard Parker) Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-10-09 Carl Llewellyn
16 CLASSIC CAPERS (Richard Collins) Malcolm Jefferson 7-10-07 Graham Lee
F A GLASS IN THYNE (IRE) (J Dale) Ben Pollock 8-11-03 Andrew Thornton
P KORELO (FR) (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 8-10-12 Timmy Murphy
P MOULIN RICHE (FR) (J Seroul) Francois Doumen FR 6-10-12 Tony McCoy 100/30f
P EUROPA (Trevor Hemmings) Ferdy Murphy 10-11-06 Jason Maguire
P DUNBRODY MILLAR (IRE) (Dundon Else Partnership) Peter Bowen 8-10-05 Tom Malone (3)

Non-runner: Little Big Horse
21 ran
Time: 6m 11.83s
Distances: 2, 1 1/4, 1.5, 4, 1.5, 3.5, 3/4, nk, 2,.5, 1, 1, 18, 1, 17
Breeder: Sarah Martin
Breeding: b g Leading Counsel (USA) - Yes Boss (IRE)
Tote: Win; £6.70 Places; £ 1.80, £3.90, £16.70, £2.80 Exacta; £240.40

Winning Trainer: TONY MARTIN Cheltenham Festival Wins (2): Coral Cup (2003 Xenophon); William Hill Trophy (2006 Dun Doire) Other major wins: The Sporting Index Cross Country Chase (1998 and 1999 Linden’s Lotto), Totesport Northern National Hcap Chase (1999 Hollybank Buck), Crowther Homes Swinton Hcap Hurdle (1999 She’s Our Mare), totesport Cambridgeshire (1999 She’s Our Mare), Thyestes Chase (2006 Dun Doire) Number of Winners in Britain (2001/02-2004/05): 1; 3; 0; 1 Wins in Britain this season: 5

Winning Jockey: Ruby Walsh Born: May 14, 1979 First Winner: Siren Song, Gowran Park, July 25, 1995 Cheltenham Festival Wins (10): Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1998 Alexander Banquet, 2005 Missed That), Mildmay Of Flete (2002 Blowing Wind), Irish Independent Arkle (2003 Azertyuiop), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2004 Azertyuiop), Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene), Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother) Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland), William Hill Trophy (2006 Dun Doire) Leading Rider at The Festival: 2004 (3) Other Big Race Wins: HEINEKEN GOLD CUP (1999 Imperial Call, 2000 Commanche Court); IRISH GRAND NATIONAL (2000 Commanche Court, 2005 Numbersixvalverde); TINGLE CREEK TROPHY (2002 Cenkos); INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER NOVICES’ CHASE (2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother); HENNESSEY COGNAC GOLD CUP (2003 Strong Flow); FELTHAM NOVICES’ CHASE (2003 Strong Flow); GREATWOOD HURDLE (2003 Rigmarole); CHALLOW NOVICES’ HURDLE (2003 Cornish Rebel, 2006 Denman); BETFRED GOLD CUP (2003 Ad Hoc); RACING POST CHASE (2004 Marlborough); KINGWELL HURDLE (2004 Rigmarole); HALDON GOLD CUP (2004 Azertyuiop); PETERBOROUGH CHASE (2004 Le Roi Miguel); GAME SPIRIT CHASE (2004, 2005 Azertyuiop); CORAL WELSH NATIONAL (2004 Silver Birch);DIPPER NOVICES’ CHASE (2005 My Will); WAYWARD LAD NOVICES’ CHASE (2005 Hoo La Baloo); STAN JAMES CHRISTMAS HURDLE (2005 Feathard Lady); LEAMINGTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (2006 Be Be King); totesport CLASSIC CHASE (2006 Eurotrek) Number of Wins in Britain (1998/99-2004/05): 1; 1; 5; 13; 77; 62; 81 Other Details: Son of Ted Walsh, former leading Irish amateur rider who is now a trainer and broadcaster in Ireland. Divides his time riding for Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland. Wins in Britain This Season: 51


THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

SPORTING INDEX HANDICAP CHASE

NATIVE JACK A FESTIVAL FIRST FOR ROTHWELL

This week has proved a week of firsts for Irish trainer Philip Rothwell. After the birth of his first child, daughter Kara, on Sunday morning, the 27-year-old enjoyed his first Festival success when Native Jack landed the Sporting Index Cross Country Handicap Case.


It looked as if the cross country specialist Spot Thedifference would win the race for the second year in succession, but a sustained duel after the last saw Native Jack prevail by two lengths, giving jockey Davy Russell his first Festival victory.


Rothwell commented: “This week has seen the birth of my first child and my Festival winner. Hopefully, there is more to come - Festival winners that is!

“The plan today was to drop him in behind and then come late, and that has come off perfectly, I’m also delighted with the way he has jumped.


“This race has always been the plan for him. He’s owned by a syndicate of four owners who each took a share when I telephoned them.


“He will now go for the La Touche Cup at Punchestown next month, where I hear there is a very nice bonus on offer (50,000 Euros). I had thought I might run him over the National fences in the Topham Trophy but I think we will now be going to Punchestown.


“John Cullen usually rides him and would have done today had he not been injured. He will probably be back on him at Punchestown. Davy has given him a superb ride today though - he and I go back a long way and were at college together.”



MORE QUOTES - SPORTING INDEX HANDICAP CHASE - NATIVE JACK

PHILIP ROTHWELL (TRAINER)
“I’m chuffed to bits - it’s absolutely unbelievable! To have a Cheltenham winner is amazing. It’s been a super week for me - I had a baby girl on Sunday morning, and I couldn’t have had a better week! I’m delighted the horse won - I always dreamt of having a winner here. I’m thrilled for Davy Russell - we’ve been friends since college, so it’s lovely the two of us have had a winner together. Davy rode him to perfection - I told not to get there too early, because he’s a funny old horse, and he got a lead up the hill. It’s fantastic, couldn’t be better.”

Race 5 Sporting Index (cross-country) Handicap Chase
Placed quotes


The difference is he was only second


The Enda Bolger-trained Spot Thedifference, who won the inaugural Sporting Index Handicap Chase in 2005, ran a brave race when attempting to defend his title, but had to settle for runner-up spot.


He finished second to Native Jack, but kept his stablemate, Buailtes And Fadas, back in third. Another member of Bolger’s stable, Good Step, who started 7-2 joint-favourite with the winner, was sixth.


Bolger said: “Spot has run a wonderful race - I’m more than happy to take the winner on again in the La Touche Cup [at the Punchestown Festival] because we’ll meet on level terms there. We were trying to give him 18lb here.


“Buailtes And Fadas will go for that race as well. Nina [Carberry] said he just didn’t like the tacky ground. He travelled well and was close enough on the final turn, but didn’t find much.”

Bolger said he had no explanation for Good Step’s effort, but said there were no plans to retire 13-year-old Spot Thedifference. “We’ve not talked about that, but when he runs as well as that why should we? He obviously still enjoys the job.”


FIFTH RACE RESULT

4.40pm SPORTING INDEX HANDICAP CHASE
(Class 2) 3m 7f cross-country course £40,000 guaranteed For 5yo+ (horses must be schooled over the cross-country course prior to running) Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after February 26; a winner of a chase 7lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb) Spot Thedifference’ds Handicap Mark 144 Entries 43 pay £50 Confirmed 26 pay £150 Penalty Value 1st £25,052 2nd £7,400 3rd £3,700 4th £1,852 5th £924 6th £464

1 NATIVE JACK (IRE) (Mrs J Rothwell) Philip Rothwell IRE 12-10-08 Davy Russell 7/2jf
2 SPOT THEDIFFERENCE (IRE) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 13-11-12 Mr J T McNamara 12/1
3 BUAILTES AND FADAS (IRE) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 11-9-11 Miss Nina Carberry (3) 6/1
4 IL DE BOITRON (FR) (Clonakilty Racing Club) Tom O'Leary IRE 8-10-06 Andrew McNamara 100/1
5 KOQUELICOT (FR) (Alan Peterson) Philip Hobbs 8-10-05 Richard Johnson
6 GOOD STEP (IRE) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 8-10-12 Paul Carberry 7/2jf
7 NEVER COMPROMISE (IRE) (Dermot Desmond) Ted Walsh IRE 11-9-11 Ms Katie Walsh (5)
8 COMANCHE WAR PAINT (IRE) (Tony Fear & Tim Hawkins) Paul Nicholls 9-10-09 Joe Tizzard
9 MRS BE (IRE) (J Burbidge) Grant Cann 10-9-11 Miss Polly Gundry (3)
10 JUST IN DEBT (IRE) (J Hazeldean) Martin Todhunter 10-10-13 Alan Dempsey
11 LORD JACK (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Richards 10-11-05 Brian Harding
12 TRIBAL VENTURE (FR) (Hill, Trembath, Bryan & Outhart) Ferdie Murphy 8-10-12 Alan O'Keeffe
13 WHEREAREYOUNOW (IRE) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-10-00 Carl Llewellyn
P COLOURFUL LIFE (IRE) (Andy Peake & David Jackson) Paul Nicholls 10-11-02 Christian Williams
U WHAT ODDS (IRE) (Dee Racing Syndicate) Tucker Geraghty IRE 10-10-01 Ross Geraghty
U I HEAR THUNDER (IRE) (Nick Elliott) Bob Buckler 8-10-07 Ben Hitchcott

16 ran
Time: 8m 29.99s
Distances: 2, 5, 5,.5, 6,.5, 3, 3, 10, 16, 4, 28
Breeder: Billy Carroll
Breeding: br g Be My Native (USA) - Dorrha Daisy
Tote: Win; £3.80 Places; £1.80, £2.90, £1.90, £21.50 Exacta; £66.90

Winning Trainer: PHILIP ROTHWELL Age: 27 Background: Took out first trainer’s licence aged 21 Based: Fairwood, Tinahely, County Wicklow, Ireland Cheltenham Festival Wins (1): Sporting Index Handicap Chase (2006 Native Jack) Big race wins: Woodlands Park 100 Johnstown Novice Hurdle (2005 Black Apalachi), Paddy Power Chase (2005 Black Apalachi) Wins In Britain This Season: 1

Winning Jockey: Davy Russell Background: Learned trade on ponies and then competed in Irish point-to-points - in 2000 riding 36 winners on amateur circuit. Appointed stable jockey to Ferdy Murphy during 2002/03 season on retirement of Adrian Maguire but subsequently returned to Ireland Cheltenham Festival Wins (1): Sporting Index Handicap Chase (2006 Native Jack) First Cheltenham Festival Ride: Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir, Toni’s Tip (6th), March 14, 2000 Big Race Wins: Martell Champion Standard N.h. Flat Race (2000 Quadco) (first winner in Britain); John Smith’s Topham Trophy (2005 Cregg House) Wins in Britain 2002/3-2004/05: 22; 28; 2 Wins in Britain This Season: 1



THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

SIXTH RACE WINNING QUOTES
FRED WINTER JUVENILE HANDICAP HURDLE

SHAMAYOUN ENDS NINE-YEAR CHELTENHAM DROUGHT FOR EGERTON

The 40/1 chance Shamayoun ended a nine-year spell without a Festival winner for trainer Charles Egerton when landing the concluding Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle under Paddy Brennan, who was enjoying his first Festival success.


“It’s been too long and I thought that was never going to come,” said Egerton, whose initial Festival winner was Shadow Leader in the 1997 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.


“This horse’s first two runs were a disaster - the first time I ran him at Folkestone and the ground was against him and then I was just numb with surprise with how he ran at Hereford.


“We put blinkers onto him after that and they just made the difference but I don’t think he’s ungenuine.


“We’ll probably have to go to Liverpool with him now - I’ll have to see what the handicapper does.”

Brennan added: “Mr Egerton gave me plenty of confidence beforehand, he said the horse had lots of ability, and I looked up its form on the Internet last night and saw that it had a high Postmark figure, which always gives me confidence.”




MORE QUOTES - FRED WINTER JUVENILE NOVICES’ HANDICAP HURDLE - SHAMAYOUN

PADDY BRENNAN (JOCKEY)
“It was the idea to give him a positive ride. It was a marvellous ride to pick up and this is the best feeling of my life. Robert Thornton said to me at the top of the hill - and I’ve so much respect for him, he’s an absolute legend to all young jockeys - he said to me this is your’s Paddy!

“I was so happy with the way my horse was travelling down the hill, I thought I’d let him slip and get a few lengths, so I could turn in and maybe get a hold of him again. I never wanted to look round because I was scared of what I might see behind me!”

CHARLIE EGERTON (TRAINER)
“He’s had a soft-palate operation that has obviously helped him. He ran appallingly at Hereford so we put the blinkers on him to help him focus after that - he schooled very well in them and we kept them on at Southwell, and that’s been the making of him. I’ve always thought he had plenty of ability.

“He hasn’t had the ideal preparation, but there’s only one Cheltenham Festival, and the owners were keen to have a runner, so we came here. We went through the tactics beforehand and Paddy’s given him a fantastic ride.”





Race 6 Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
Placed quotes


Tony Evans to be Twiston-Davies’
new jockey


Tony Evans will take over as stable jockey at Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Naunton yard in Gloucestershire when Carl Llewellyn moves to Lambourn.

Llewellyn’s decision to take over as trainer at Weathercock House in place of Mark Pitman left a vacancy at Twiston-Davies’ stables, and Evans, who has been based there for a number of years, will move into the number one spot.

When asked who would replace Llewellyn, Twiston-Davies said: “Tony Evans. Why not? He’s riding plenty of winners.”
Evans, who celebrated his 27th birthday today, is the son of Welsh trainer David Evans. He was initially attached to David Nicholson’s stable, but rode his first winner in an amateur’s Flat race at Lingfield in 1996. His best season over jumps came in 2003/04 when he rode 23 winners, and he has partnered 12 this season, but those sorts of totals should rise dramatically when he replaces Llewellyn at Twiston-Davies’ successful yard.

Twiston-Davies was speaking after Patman Du Charmil, who he trains, had finished third in the final race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival.

“The horses are running well and hopefully we’ll have a winner tomorrow,” said Twiston-Davies. “We’ll take this horse to Liverpool.”
Ruby Walsh, who rode a double on the day, finished runner-up on Artist’s Muse, trained by his father, Ted Walsh, although the mare spoiled her chance of victory with a blunder at the last.

Walsh snr said: “She’s just not a natural jumper. She’s a classy mare, but if she had jumped the last three she’d have won. Some take to it, some don’t. I’ve no thoughts for her, but she’ll probably run in a Flat race in a month’s time.”


SIXTH RACE RESULT

5.20pm FRED WINTER JUVENILE NOVICES’ HANDICAP HURDLE
Listed Race (Class 1) 2m 110y Old Course £75,000 guaranteed For 4yo Weights raised 3lb Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after February 26, a winner of a hurdle 4lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb) Bold Fire’s Handicap Mark 133 Entries 87 pay £75 Confirmed 59 pay £225 Penalty Value 1st £42,765 2nd £16,042.50 3rd £8,032.50 4th £4,005 5th £2,010 6th £1,005

1 SHAMAYOUN (FR) (Ronald Brimacombe) Charles Egerton 4-11-03 Paddy Brennan 40/1
2 ARTIST'S MUSE (IRE) (Seamus Ross) Ted Walsh IRE 4-10-13 Ruby Walsh 12/1
3 PATMAN DU CHARMIL (FR) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 4-11-03 Carl Llewellyn 40/1
4 GARDASEE (GER) (A Helaissi) Tom Tate 4-11-03 Jason Maguire 33/1
5 PROPER ARTICLE (IRE) (Dr R Lambe) Dermot Weld IRE 4-10-11 Richard Johnson
6 MY IMMORTAL (The Betfair Million Partnership) Martin Pipe 4-11-05 Timmy Murphy
7 BOLD FIRE (Sue Craven) Paul Nicholls 4-11-07 Liam Heard (5)
8 DREUX (FR) (Valerie Courtney) Thomas Cooper IRE 4-11-07 Davy Russell
9 MARHABA MILLION (IRE) (J P McNamara) Eric McNamara IRE 4-11-03 Brian Byrnes (5)
10 KALMINI (USA) (W R B Racing 58(Wrbracing.com) Sheena West 4-11-02 Jamie Goldstein
11 MYSTERY LOT (IRE) (Four Mile Racing) Alan King 4-10-11 Robert Thornton
12 COUNT KEARNEY (IRE) (James Gough) Steve Mahon IRE 4-10-08 Tom Ryan (3)
13 CLEAR RIPOSTE (IRE) (Heritage Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 4-11-04 David Casey
14 DAN'S HEIR (Peter Tomlinson) Pat Haslam 4-10-13 Paddy Merrigan (5)
15 ROYALS DARLING (GER) (Paul Green) Nicky Henderson 4-11-05 Mick Fitzgerald 9/2f
16 ALFRED THE GREAT (IRE) (Les Buckley) Pat Haslam 4-10-05 Mr Tom O'Brien (5)
F BAYARD (USA) (Mr & Mrs G Middlebrook/Mr & Mrs P Brain) James Fanshawe 4-10-12 Leighton Aspell - deceased
F OPERA MUNDI (FR) (Sir Robert Ogden) Paul Nicholls 4 -11-02 Christian Williams
P BRANDON MOUNTAIN (IRE) (Luck Five Syndicate) Graham Elliott IRE 4-10-13 Denis O'Regan
P ROSECLIFF (Michael Tabor) Andrew Balding 4-11-01 Barry Fenton
P LE CORVEE (IRE) (David Mason) Alan King 4-11-01 Wayne Hutchinson
P GRASP (Richard Green) Gary Moore 4-11-07 Jamie Moore
P OUSTE (FR) (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR 4-11-01 Tony McCoy
P VOX POPULI (USA) (James Gough) Steve Mahon IRE 4-11-00 Barry Geraghty

24 ran
Time: No official time
Distances: 2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 3/4, 1 1/4, 6, nk, 1 1/4, 7, 3, 6, 2.5, 7,.5, 4
Breeder: S A Aga Khan
Breeding: b c Kahyasi - Shaman
Tote: Win; £61.90 Places; £8.90, £2.50, £15.90, £6.60 Exacta; £1259.50

Winning Trainer: CHARLES EGERTON Based: Heads Farm Stables, Chaddleworth, Newbury, Berkshire Cheltenham Festival Winners (2): Anglo Irish Bank Sharp Supreme (1997 Shadow Leader); Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2006 Shamayoun) Big Race Winners: Totesport Sandown Hcap Hurdle (1999 Teaatral), Totesport Gold Trophy Handicap Hurdle (1999 Decoupage) Horses in Training (1992-2005): 10; 22; 41; 46; 44; 33; 31; 31; 46; 53; 41; 44; 24; 41 Number of Winners (1991/92-2004/05): 4; 15; 26; 15; 13; 17; 15; 20; 18; 15; 16; 14; 17; 23 Wins this Season: 18

Winning Jockey: Paddy J Brennan Born: Ardrahan, Galway, April 13, 1981 Riding Weight: 9st 7lb Based: c/o Phillip Hobbs, Sandhill Racing Stables, Bilbrook, Minehead, Somerset Background: Spent one summer at Gerry Stack’s Co. Kildare yard, aged 14. Apprenticed to Jim Bolger for five years, riding eight winners. Secured a position with Paul Nicholls, before moving to Philip Hobbs. Cheltenham Festival Wins (1): Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2006 Shamayoun) First Winner: Ivory Isle (Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap, Gowran Park, August 12, 1998) Number of Wins (2000/01-2004/05): 3; 9; 15; 19; 67* (*Champion Conditional Jockey) Wins This Season: 48 First Winner after riding out 3lb claim: French Executive (Sky Bet Sussex National, Plumpton, November 21, 2004) Last Winner with 3lb claim: Rollo (williamhill.com Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, Exeter, November 19, 2004) Big Race Wins: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (Ashley Brook 2005) Sea Pigeon Handicap Hurdle (2002 Benbyas); Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (2005 Hakim)





THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14

RACING POST FESTIVAL JOCKEYS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

AT THE END OF DAY ONE

JOCKEY1st2nd3rd

Ruby Walsh 2 1 -
Tony McCoy 1 1 1
Paddy Brennan 1 - -
Davy Russell 1 - -
Robert Thornton 1 - -
Tony Dobbin -1 -
Mick Fitzgerald - 1 -
Barry Geraghty - 1 -
J T McNamara - 1 -
Nina Carberry - - 1
Marcus Foley - - 1
Carl Llewellyn - -1
Timmy Murphy - - 1
Conor O’Dwyer - - 1







RACING POST FESTIVAL TRAINERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

AT THE END OF DAY ONE

TRAINER1st2nd3rd

Charles Egerton 1 - -
Alan King 1 - -
Tony Martin IRE 1 - -
Colm Murphy IRE 1 - -
Paul Nicholls 1 - -
Philip Rothwell IRE 1 - -
Enda BolgerIRE - 1 1
Nicky Henderson - 1 1
Nick Gifford - 1 -
Jessica HarringtonIRE - 1 -
Nicky Richards - 1 -
Ted Walsh IRE -1 -
Thierry Doumen FR - - 1
Dessie Hughes IRE - - 1
Martin Pipe - - 1
Nigel Twiston-Davies - - 1

















THE FESTIVAL 2006
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
CHELTENHAM, TUESDAY, MARCH 14



HARRINGTON AND GERAGHTY HOPEFUL FOR FLYER

Both jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Jessica Harrington go into tomorrow’s Queen Mother Champion Chase hopeful that Moscow Flyer can win the two-mile contest for a third time at the age of 12.


Speaking at a Horseracing Ireland press conference, Geraghty said: “If Moscow Flyer improves just a little bit on his last run he’d beat the best of them in Ireland, which I would say are headed by Central House. Kauto Star is the best of the British but I think he is a well over-rated horse. He just hasn’t done it on the track and I don’t think he’s that good - to me the Tingle Creek Chase that he won wasn’t that exciting a race.

There’s no Azertyuiop or Well Chief this year and I’d be very hopeful we’d be able to beat that lot.”

Ireland’s senior jumps handicapper Noel O’Brien guardedly backed up their optimism and said: “I think Moscow Flyer is a stone and the rest behind last year but to me this is the weakest Champion Chase we’ve had for 10 years. If I had to pick the winner my heart would say Moscow Flyer but my head would go for Central House.”

BARRY GERAGHTY said of his other rides:
Forget The Past (totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday)- “He won as well as he could when beating Jim and he’s untested really. He’s on 155 and War Of Attrition is on 157 so there’s not much between them. Beef Or Salmon has the best form but he’s 10 now and there’s one or two young ones, like mine and War Of Attrition, to give him a test. Of the others I think Monkerhostin was flattered to finish so close to Kicking king in the King George VI Chase and the winner was found to be wrong afterwards.


Zaiyad (Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle, Wednesday) - “I still haven’t seen the tape of his races in France but they think he’s very good and I know his trainer think he’s the best chance he has all week.”

Sky’s The Limit (Coral Cup, Wednesday) - “He’s ended up with top weight after the declaration stage which is not good news, we fancied him a lot otherwise.”

Lord Over (Weatherbys Champion Bumper, Wednesday) - “I think he has a very good each-way chance, there are no superstars in the race this year and he’s a decent horse. He finished second to Noel Meade’s Leading Run, who is a very nice horse.”

Ambobo (Ladbrokes World Hurdle, Thursday): “He was favourite for the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle but had to miss the race through injury and has done well in France since. He has every chance in an open race.”

Tumbling Dice (Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase, Thursday) - “He is wearing cheekpieces which should sharpen him up and she be another one with a shout.”

JESSICA HARRINGTON said of her other runners:
Green Belt Flyer (Racing Post Plate, Thursday) - “He won at Naas off 119, hasn’t scored again but has gone up to 139 so I fear he is a little high in the handicap but he’s entitled to take his chance.”

Breathing Fire (JCB Triumph Hurdle, Friday) - “I’d like the ground to be quick for him, that would help a lot. I know maidens don’t win the Triumph but I think he has a very good chance of a place.”

Strike Back (Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, Friday) - “He’s working well and gets in with a good racing weight. He wants quick ground.”

Studmaster (Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle, Friday) - “I think he’s an improving horse and he looks like he will be carrying top weight. But he is a big horse and an easy ride and I’m hoping for a big run because I’d like to turn him into a conditions hurdler as we did with Macs Joy.”


BEEF PRIMED TO GO FOR GOLD

Trainer Michael Hourigan dismissed as “a load of cobblers” suggestions that his stable star Beef Or Salmon didn’t like Cheltenham although he is taking nothing for granted going into Friday’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.


“I don’t think you can be confident going into a race like the Gold Cup but it’s a load of cobblers when people suggest he doesn’t like Cheltenham. Last year when he ran here I trained only four runners between January and June and Paul Carberry said he could have pulled the horse up after a couple of fences,” said Hourigan, speaking at a Horseracing Ireland press conference.


“But this year he has had a great preparation, nothing has gone wrong. I don’t know why people knock the horse, he has won a million euros in prize money and eight Grade 1s. They say he only goes well at Leopardstown but if the Lexus and Hennessy were run at other tracks in Ireland he’d have run there. They’ve come from England and further afield to try and beat him over the years. Paul (Carberry) said he blew a couple of times during the race when he finished second at Haydock in November and he was probably not quite ready.”

“He is the best horse in Friday’s race but I can’t forget when I brought over Dorans Pride for the race and he was beaten by Cool Ground, he wasn’t even good enough to win a point-to-point in Ireland.


Hourigan will also run Hi Cloy in Thursday’s Ryanair Chase and said: “I wanted to go for the Queen Mother Champion Chase because he’s never been better but he had a bruised sole last Friday so the extra day means he will go for the Ryanair Chase now. He went to the sea on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and worked at home this morning and was perfect. He’ll travel over today.”


LOOKING AHEAD - HERVE BARJOT, RACING MANAGER TO OWNER SEAN MULRYAN

Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle
“Zaiyad was due to run here before against Denman, to see how good he was, and if he would handle the track. Unfortunately that meeting did not happen, but he is in good form and we are looking forward to that race.”

Ladbrokes World Hurdle
“Ambobo was stopped for a good while, but he has had two races now, he is fit and ready, won easily last time out, and we are hopeful.”

totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup
“Forget The Past won his last two races easily and looks very well. Michael O’Brien’s horses are coming into form, it’s a competitive race, but it’s always fun to have a runner in the Gold Cup.”

LOOKING AHEAD - CARL LLEWELLYN

Queen Mother Champion Chase
“Fundamentalist has won here over hurdles and over fences. He would have a chance if he came back to his best - he gave me a good feel up to falling last time at Lingfield.”

totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup
“Ollie Magern started the season brilliantly winning the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, things haven’t gone right for him since, but if he comes back to his old form he’s got an outstanding chance in what is a very open Gold Cup.”


LORD VESTEY READY FOR THE OFF

Cheltenham chairman Lord Vestey was at the course bright and early for the first day of The Festival 2006.


Commenting on the ground, Lord Vestey said: “It’s so well drained here and we’ve had very little rain in the past two days, so we’ve got perfect ground.”

He stressed that tickets for the event are still on sale, and said: “Ninety-five per cent of tickets for the first three days are pre-sold, but it’s open for anyone who wants to come on the day to turn up and buy tickets at the gate. Friday is sold out.


“We work jolly hard to put this event on, and we’ve been lucky in some respects, but luck comes with preparation and hard work.”

This is the second year that the Festival has been held over four days, and Lord Vestey believes the format has been accepted by the customers. “Racegoers understand the way a four-day Festival works,” he said, and added: “We’ve lost some of the stars from the big races, but it’s made them more open and gives more betting opportunities, which is good for racing.”


NON-RUNNERS ON DAY ONE

Race 1 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Zaiyad (only declared because of administrative error)

Race 4 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
Little Big Horse (vet’s certificate)


Matey immortalised in bronze

A life-size bronze statue of the late triple totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate was unveiled at the course today.


Jim Lewis and Henrietta Knight, who owned and trained the great horse, were joined by members of their family, Cheltenham chairman Lord Vestey and his wife Cece, and former jockey and sculptor Philip Blacker, who created the piece.


Lewis said: “It is with immense pride and a deep sense of privilege that Henrietta and I unveil this statue today. This is a fitting tribute to a much-loved racehorse.


“He is here where he belongs, where everyone can gaze upon his beauty and his grace, and remember his three Gold Cup victories.”

Knight said: “It’s a very moving moment in the history of Cheltenham. We watched this bronze being made when Best Mate was alive. Philip Blacker has done a wonderful job.”

Best Mate won the totesport Gold Cup in 2002, 03 and 04, but missed last year’s race after breaking a blood vessel on Knight’s West Lockinge gallops. He later collapsed and died when making his seasonal reappearance, in Exeter’s Haldon Gold Cup, in November - his ashes were scattered at Cheltenham racecourse.


He is the fourth horse to be honoured in bronze at the racecourse. The others are triple Gold Cup winner Arkle, five-time Gold Cup hero Golden Miller, and the mare Dawn Run, the only horse to double up in the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.



GOING NEWS AT 10.00am

The going is currently:

GOOD - Chase & Hurdles Courses

GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES - Cross Country Course

Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, reported this morning: “Following no rain overnight, the going remains good on the chase and hurdles courses and good, good to soft in places on the cross-country course.


“There is some rain forecast to arrive later today.”


THE LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE DECLARATIONS -THURSDAY, MARCH 16

There are 22 declared runners for Thursday’s feature, the £230,000 Ladbrokes World Hurdle.


This equals the maximum number of runners seen in the race. There were 22 runners in both1990 and 1985.



BETTING NEWS

In the opening race of The Festival 2006, firms report money for Masafi, with Howard Johnson’s charge now 25/1 (from 40/1) with Stan James, 20/1 (from 33/1) with Coral and 22/1 (from 28/1) with totesport. Favourite Sweet Wake is proving weak with Stan James and is out to 3/1 (from 9/4). Cashmans report support for Crow Wood who is now 12/1 (from 14/1), as do Boylesports who have trimmed him into to 12/1 (from 14/1). Coral report some money for outsider Kalderon who is 66/1 (from 100/1). Other horses proving popular with totesport are Buena Vista 16/1 (from 20/1), Natal 18/1 (from 22/1) and Rasharrow 16/1 (from 20/1), while Boylesports report some each-way money for Sublimity, who is now 16/1 (from 25/1).


Last year’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper hero Missed That has been supported with Cashmans into 11/2 (from 6/1) for the Irish Independent Arkle Chase.


The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle has seen Arcalis in demand and he is now 7/1 (from 8/1) with Stan James. Macs Joy is not proving so popular and is out to 6/1 from 5/1 with the same firm. Cashmans and Boylesports have seen support for the mare Asian Maze who is steady at 12/1 with both firms while she is now into 12/1 (from 14/1) with Coral.


No Half Session is attracting plenty of supporters in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase and is 9/1 (from 10/1) with Stan James. French raider Moulin Riche is also attracting plenty of money and is 100/30 (from 4/1) with totesport, 7/2 (from 4/1) with Coral and 7/2 (from 4/1) with Boylesports.


Another mare who has been in demand is Mrs Be who is now 14/1 (from 16/1 ) for the Sporting Index Cross Country Handicap Chase with Cashmans.


Tuesday’s concluding race, the Fred Winter Novices’ Hurdle, has seen plenty of punters piling into today’s Pricewise selection Ouste who is 5/1 (from 6/1) with Cashmans, 11/2 (from 7/1) with totesport, 6/1 (from 17/2) with Coral and 11/2 (from 7/1) with Boylesports. Rosecliff (7/1 from 8/1) has also attracted support with Cashmans while Royals Darling at 13/2 (from 15/2) has been popular with Boylesports customers.



FURTHER BETTING NEWS

Paddy Power report the favourite in the opening Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Sweet Wake, to be on the drift and he is now 5/2 (from 9/4). In the same contest, Masafi has proved popular and is now 20/1 (from (33/1).


Paddy Power has seen some money for Foreman in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and he is now 6/1 (from 13/2). Accordion Etoile is on the drift in that contest with the Irish firm and is now 6/1 (from 11/2).

In the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, Paddy Power report Hardy Eustace, winner for the last two years, on the drift and he is out to 11/2 (from 5/1), as is Macs Joy. The popular horse with Paddy Power has been Arcalis, who is into 13/2 (from 8/1).


In the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, Paddy Power report support for the Francois Doumen-trained Moulin Riche, who is into 7/2 (from 9/2). Other horses proving popular with the same firm are No Half Session 8/1 (from 10/1) and Bob The Builder 16/1 (from 25/1) while Alderburn is on the drift at 8/1 (from 7/1).


The one horse supported with Paddy Power in the Sporting Index Cross Country Handicap Chase is Native Jack at 4/1 (from 9/2).


Ouste is proving popular with Paddy Power in the concluding Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and is into 11/2 (from 13/2) while Royals Darling is 6/1 (from 7/1) and Rosecliff at 8/1 (from 10/1).


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


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