Tuesday, March 10. 2009
THE FESTIVAL, CHELTENHAM
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
FIRST DAY, TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2009
GOING UNCHANGED OVERNIGHT
The going at the conclusion of day one of The Festival 2009 remains:
GOOD TO SOFT, SOFT IN PLACES (Old Course)
Racing will take place on the Old Course once again tomorrow, with the action moving on to the New Course for the racing on Thursday and Friday.
Simon Claisse, Clerk of the course and Director of Racing at Cheltenham, commented: “We will be leaving the going unchanged overnight at good to soft, soft in places.
“The forecast is for a dry night, with the chance of light showers tomorrow.”
Today’s crowd came to 49,450 - this represents a 5 percent decrease on the 2008 figure of 52,069.
Edward Gillespie, Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said: “We are very satisfied with the level of today’s attendance, given the economic situation.
“It’s very pleasing that so many people want to come to the first day of The Festival which had tremendous racing and we look forward to three more successful days.”
Today’s on-course tote turnover came to £2,028,971. This is 15.6 percent down on the 2008 figure of £2,404,193.
Today’s totejackpot was won to a 50p line with one lucky punter bagging £35,500.
LATEST totesport PRICES ON THE CITROËN LEADING RIDER AWARD
11/10 Ruby Walsh
5/2 Tony McCoy
11//4 Barry Geraghty
14/1 Robert Thornton
20/1 Paul Carberry
IRISH SUCCESS ON FIRST DAY
There were four Irish-trained winners on the first day of the 2009 Festival.
Irish-trained successes at the Cheltenham Festival
* record, although The Festival was previously three days up until 2005
FIRST RACE WINNING QUOTES
WILLIAMHILL.COM SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE
NATIVE GIVES FIRST BLOOD TO IRELAND
The Noel Meade-trained Go Native brought success for Ireland in the opening williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle under a powerful ride from Paul Carberry, who held off a late challenge from Medermit by a neck.
It was the winning jockey’s first ride since being sidelined through injury at the end of February although Meade watched the action from home having suffered from a bad back.
“I can’t think of a better way to start the meeting - I’ll just have to get a few more on board now,” said Carberry. “We always fancied the horse coming here but it was not my intention to take up the running so early today but turning in I thought I was going to get stopped.
"I probably kept telling everybody that I fancied him, which usually puts the mockers on them.
"He travelled great the whole way and he has jumped super. He took the second last flight really well and I he was too going so well that I had to kick. It was fly or die at the last when he put down. He heard the other horse coming back at him so he has battled on to the line.
"I had a week off with injury and it's really nice to come back with a winner. It's brilliant for Noel - he's probably running around the yard at the moment!"
Meade’s partner Gillian O’Brien added: “It’s a dream start. Noel has always been superstitious about coming here and I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to face here again after this.
“We fancied the horse quietly all the time and he travelled over very well, it was all very straightforward.
“He came out of his last race at Naas very well and has grown up and got stronger as the season has gone on. Paul said that he had to go for it too soon because he thought he’d be cut off otherwise. It’s a long way up that hill!”
Meade, speaking by telephone on Channel 4 Racing, said: "I don't think that did my back much good because there was a few yips and yahoos coming up that straight and jumping around but it's pretty good at the minute! There's every possibility of a few celebrations tonight.
"He got well beat at Christmas (Leopardstown) by probably an exceptional horse of Willie's, Hurricane Fly. He made a mistake at the last that day which would have left him a got bit closer but it wouldn't have made him the winner. He made a bad mistake which certainly would left him a bit closer than he was.
"He's done everything very well since. When he got beat at Galway last summer, he pulled a ligament high up in the back of his knee and it gave him a lot of trouble for quite a while so it's probable that he's improving still.
"I'm sure that Paul thought that he got to the front too soon and I thought he did as well but it's just the way the race has worked out. He got the run around the bend which he had to take and the next thing, he's landed in front. It's the longest run-in I can ever remember coming up that straight but he got there anyway."
First race place quotes - williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
MEDERMIT A KING HIT
Trainer Alan King proclaimed before racing that he felt relaxed perhaps, “because I don’t know where the winners are coming from”.
King almost found a surprise winner in the opener, the williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, when Medermit stormed up the hill to finish just a neck behind Go Native.
“I thought coming up the hill that he might get third, but I think the winner was idling a bit,” said King.
“He’s in great form. That was just a tremendous performance,” added the trainer.
Somersby belied his 40/1 starting price to finish a fine third in the opening williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, less than three lengths behind the winner Go Native.
The five-year-old’s handler Henrietta Knight commented: "I was delighted with that performance.
"The horse is big baby and is still learning. We are just waiting to go over fences with him next season. We haven’t decided if he will run again this season."
Philip Hobbs could not hide a degree of disappointment with Copper Bleu’s performance. Though the seven-year-old was fourth is a very competitive opener, Hobbs had quietly fancied the horse’s chances.
Race 1: williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
VINNY NEEDS FURTHER, SAY MULLINS CAMP
One of Ireland’s banker-bets this week proved a winner for the bookies, when 9/4 favourite Cousin Vinny could do no better than fifth in the opening williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Jockey Patrick Mullins, whose father Willie trains the six-year-old, said: “Two miles is too short for him - he was outspeeded.”
Willie Mullins confirmed that view, and said: “Patrick felt he just lacked a bit of speed on that ground, but we’ll be looking to run him over a longer trip at Punchestown.
“His pedigree suggests he will stay further.”
Reports that Cousin Vinny had not been at his best since arriving in Britain for The Festival were confirmed by Mullins, although he said the horse had given him no concern immediately before the race. He said: “He travelled over here all right, but once he arrived at Cheltenham he just didn’t settle - he wouldn’t eat or drink. He wasn’t himself yesterday or the day before, but he was grand today.”
Cousin Vinny’s stablemate Kempes also ran in this contest, although the gelding finished out of the money in 12th under Ruby Walsh. Mullins said: “He stood off at the first, frightened himself and was never going after that.”
GOING AFTER THE FIRST
Paul Carberry, rider of the 12/1 winner Go Native, said: "It is on the slow side."
Robert Thornton, rider of second placed Medermit, described the ground as "Very dead."
Dominic Elsworth, rider of third placed Somersby, thought the ground "Good to soft, but a little on the dead side."
Richard Johnson, rider of fourth placed Copper Bleu, said: It is good to soft and tiring."
Mr Patrick Mullins, rider of fifth placed Cousin Vinny, said: "It is good Irish ground."
AP McCoy, rider of Ainama, reported the ground as "Good to soft."
Jamie Moore, jockey of Alarazi, said: "Good to soft."
Paddy Brennan, jockey of Leamington Lad, said: "Good to soft."
Tom Scudamore, jockey of Leo's Lucky Star, said: "It is a bit dead."
Mark Grant, rider of Micheal Flips, thought the ground "On the slow side."
Denis O'Regan, rider of Red Moloney, said: "It is tacky."
Wilson Renwick, rider of Shoreacres, described the going as "Soft and a bit dead."
TWO JOCKEYS CAUTIONED OVER WHIP IN FIRST
FROM PAUL STRUTHERS’ BLOG ON WWW.BRITISHHORSERACING.COM
Paul Struthers is Media Relations Manager of the British Horseracing Authority
14.34 - Stewards’ Room Update
Both Paul Carberry (on the winner Go Native) and Mr Patrick Mullins (on the 9/4 favourite and fifth) are given cautions by the Stewards for their use of the whip in the opener (williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle). Carberry had his whip taken off him because, even though it was an approved whip, it was very worn at the end.
Race 2 cleared and no riding offences.
15.06 - Stewards’ Room Update
No concerns with the third race either.
Race 2 - The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy - Winning Quotes
PADY PLASTERS THE WINNER’S ENCLOSURE RED AND WHITE
The winner’s enclosure was a sea of red and white following the victory of Forpadydeplasterer in the Grade One £170,000 The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy, the two-mile champion novice chase.
Owned by the Sunderland-supporting Goat Racing Syndicate and sporting the red and white colours of the aforementioned Premiership football team (Sunderland shareholder Charlie Chawke is a syndicate menber), the seven-year-old was always in a handy position and stayed on resolutely after the last under jockey Barry Geraghty to hold off the strong finishing surge of Kalahari King by a short-head.
Successful trainer Tom Cooper said: “The Arkle has always been the plan for this horse and it is always great when it all comes together.
“Barry Geraghty really is the man for the moment at Cheltenham and his record here is just amazing. He is a genius and a man for the big days.
“That’s my second Grade One at Cheltenham (Cooper handled the 2003 Weatherbys Champion Bumper heroine Total Enjoyment) so I’m catching him up!
“The horse has lots of courage and the way everything worked out today was unbelievable.
“He had a hold-up over Christmas which meant he missed around 12 days work before the Irish Arkle and the second day he ran at Leopardstown the ground was just too sticky for him.
“He could maybe go to Punchestown now.”
Paying tribute to the winning syndicate of owners Cooper added: “You would maybe think that training for a syndicate could be a problem with so many people involved but there has never been a problem. The owners have been an unbelievable bunch and supportive all the way.”
Successful jockey Barry Geraghty added: “I enjoyed that. He was very good. He's flown the second last and was out through the wings again at the last. There was probably not a whole lot in front then and he was on his own but then Kalahari King came. He's a lovely horse.
“It was tight enough at the third last and I didn't want to set him racing early unless I popped the third last but I was riding on him at the second last and he's stayed on.”
Paddy Power rate for Padydeplasterer at 16/1 for the 2010 Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase while he is 10/1 for the same race with Boylesports.
Second race place quotes - Irish Independent Arkle Chase
KALAHARI NOT QUITE THE KING
Kalahari King could hardly have come closer to winning the Irish Independent Arkle Chase, grinding away at the lead of Paddydeplaster up the final hill, but just failing by a short-head.
“What was it, about a quarter of an inch?” said the trainer Ferdy Murphy.
“Graham [Lee] said Kalahari King has jumped absolutely fantastically. We got away with the ground, would have been better if it had been better ground. We couldn’t have done much more,” added the trainer.
“He’s a good horse, we like to think we’ve done the job right with him. We haven’t over-pressurised him, but we’ve also got the experience into him and he’s coped. It was a rough race and he’s coped with it. There’s no hiding place here,” said Murphy.
For the second successive race, the Philip Hobbs team found themselves in the winner’s enclosure. Charles Lloyd-Baker, owner of the third placed Planet Of Sound and a director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said that the trainer had had high hopes for the horse, but Richard [Johnson] reported that he was still very green and needed space at his fences.
Made In Taipan, trained by Tom Mullins and ridden by Davy Russell, made much of the running and was still second at the final fence. He tired on the run-in and eventually finished fourth.
Mullins said: "For a moment we thought there might be an Irish one-two [the winner, Forpadydeplasterer, is trained in Ireland by Tom Cooper], but it wasn’t to be.
"Our horse ran well - I’m not disappointed, because to finish in the first four is very good and we think there’s more to come. He probably wasn’t fast enough over this trip, so we’ll be looking to run him over further, probably at Aintree if he comes out of this okay.
"Davy said the horse was a bit buzzy going to the start, so he decided to jump him out handy in a bid to get him to settle."
Paul Nicholls, whose horse 4/1 favourite Tatenen fell at the second, said: “There’s not a lot we can say about Tatenen. Star de Mohaison won’t run in the William Hill Trophy Handicap chase because the ground is too soft and Ruby has switched to Dear Villez.
Third race win quotes - The William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
WICHITA LINEMAN TRIUMPHS NEAR LINE
For about three miles of the three miles and half a furlong of the William Hill Trophy Chase, Wichita Lineman looked a very unlikely winner. “We may have given up,” said trainer Jonjo O’Neill to the owner J P McManus, “But Tony won’t have.”
And if ever perseverence paid off it did for McCoy, who was there on Wichita Lineman when the Nick Williams-trained Maljimar, having looked to have the race in the bag wilted in the final 110 yards, being caught close home to go down by a neck.
For McManus, the winner’s enclosure turned into a private party as the crowd sung “Happy Birthday” to celebrate the owner’s 58th birthday today. “What a lovely way to celebrate, it’s the biggest crowd to have ever sung happy birthday for me!” he said.
It was hardly surprising that McManus was generous with his compliments for McCoy, who had kept Wichita Lineman up to his work despite the horse being under considerable pressure from early on. “Words can’t describe his dedication to the game and his will to win, and the other side of him, his sympathetic nature. As long as he kept asking the horse, the horse kept responding to his urgings.”
Wichita Lineman was competing in his first handicap and McManus admitted that he didn’t think that the William Hill Trophy was necessarily the right race for the horse at The Festival.
“Jonjo persuaded me to go for this race. I thought the four-miler might be a better option, but in his own way he [Jonjo] wasn’t having any of it.”
Trainer Jonjo O'Neill also enthused about the jockey’s performance. “That's what McCoy is all about. He was just magic, brilliant”
“The horse made a few mistakes throughout the race which didn't help him but I knew when he gave him a few belts at the top of the hill that there was a bit left in the tank - AP wouldn't be doing that if he thought that he didn't have a chance - and I thought that they had gone a fair gallop and there was every chance that they might come back a little bit. Even going to the last I thought that he had too much to make up but he's a magic man and it's a magic horse.”
Jockey Tony McCoy said: "I knew at the bottom of the hill at the second last that there was loads left in him. I lost my pitch on the first circuit a little bit but this is Jonjo's winner, not mine.
Race 3: William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
MALJIMAR MUGGED BY McCOY
A brilliant ride by Tony McCoy meant Wichita Lineman got up in the final strides of the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, denying Maljimar what had looked certain victory.
The Nick Williams-trained Maljimar was two lengths clear at the last, and not stopping under jockey Daryl Jacob, but McCoy’s powerful assistance meant Wichita Lineman cut into the lead and forged to the front when it mattered by a neck.
Jacob was distraught when walking back to the weighing room, while Williams said: “I thought we had that - I’m gutted. Gutted. We’ve had a year of seconditis. Cornas was just touched off [in a Grade 2 chase] at Sandown last month and that’s how it has gone.
“Daryl did nothing wrong. He had to be where he was at the last. He’d come through from the back and couldn’t have waited any longer. To me it was a perfect ride in a big, competitive handicap.”
Maljimar has not been seen in public since the Paddy Power Gold Cup at this track in November, and Williams said: “He’s had every problem under the sun - just niggly problems, mainly with his feet. I ducked out of a race in the mud at Chepstow because I didn’t want to ruin his chance for this.
“It’s ironic, neither he nor Cornas [unplaced in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy] wanted rain, yet the horses we have later in the week wouldn’t mind it.”
Those horses include Diamond Harry, strongly-fancied for tomorrow’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, who Williams reported as: “Fine and in good shape, but we’re on a bad run, aren’t we.”
Of Maljimar he added: “He’s in the [John Smith’s] Grand National, and this race isn’t a bad stepping stone for it. He’s got 9st 11lb so he’ll need a few to come out.”
Trainer Alan King said of third-placed Nenuphar Collonges: “His jumping was very good and I was thrilled with him, he has run his race. I’ll let the owners decide where he goes next - they do a better job placing him than me!”
14.32 - Jockey Change
Following the withdrawal of Star De Mohaison, Ruby Walsh will ride Dear Villez. As top-weight in a race of this nature, the Stewards will enquire into the horse’s withdrawal.
15.06 - The Starter (one failed attempt to get away the third race)
I spoke to Sean McDonald and he said that the reason he let them 'break away' (as opposed to a false start) was because the jocks in the front rank were too keen and some of those further back weren't ready. Sometimes what looks like bad starting is quite the opposite. None of the jockeys were reported but I think Sean might have another word.
RIDE OF THE SEASON
15.04 (after Tony McCoy’s persistence on Wichita Lineman to win the William Hill Trophy)
Our handicappers were unanimous - one of the best rides they have ever seen. Ride of the Season for sure - just amazing.
FOURTH RACE WINNING QUOTES
SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE
PUNJABI IS CHAMPION AFTER EPIC BATTLE
Trainer Nicky Henderson saddled the red-hot 6/4 market leader Binocular in the Smurfit Kappa Champion but while the favourite ran a gallant race to finish third, it was his 22/1 stablemate Punjabi who took the honours.
There was an epic battle up the Cheltenham hill as Barry Geraghty drove Punjabi to beat Celestial Halo by a neck with Binocular just a head behind him in third.
Henderson, who saddled See You Then to win the same race three times from 1985 to 1987, said: “This race is special. It goes back to the great days of See You Then, which were very, very special, and it's nice to be back with horses that can do this sort of thing.
"He's always been a very talented horse and Barry gets on with him very well. Both Punjabi and Binocular have run tremendous races. It's very special to see them both there. Binocular is a year younger and I still think he’s a horse with a big future - AP said he might just have had a bit of a blow from the horse. But the horse is young and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has his day.
"It was desperate when Celestial Halo was between them because you think that you have two chances but you still have one to beat. They were three tough horses, I’d got two of them but didn’t like the fact the other one was there!”
Betting exchange WBX offered a £1 million bonus for any horse winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Smurfit Kappa Champion and - but for a fall at Kempton - Punjabi would have landed the prize.
“We’ve had no problems since he fell at the second last at Kempton and I fear that cost him £1 million - it was probably the most expensive fall in the history of racing although I’m not saying he would have won,” added Henderson, the leading current Festival trainer with 32 successes.
“It then looked a funny prep that he had at Wincanton but we warned everybody beforehand that the ground wouldn’t be ideal and he needs an awful lot of work but by last week we were fairly confident we were where we needed to be with him. He’s still only a six-year-old and probably improving.
“I’m delighted for Ray (Tooth), he’s been with us since the year dot and needless to say this is the best he’s had.”
Geraghty, who had won The Irish Independent Arkle Chase on Forpadydeplasterer, added: ”Happy days, happy days. It was a great performance. I thought that I had Ruby well covered turning in and I didn't go for all until after the last but Celestial Halo ran on really well and my horse was all out. I rode out Punjabi during the week and he felt brilliant.
"I tipped a Nicky Henderson one-two and Ruby's got in the middle but it's great. It's brilliant and it's my first winner for Nicky at The Festival as well.
“When I went through the race, I thought he was the forgotten horse on this ground and at this trip. Champion Hurdles and Gold Cups are what it’s all about and it’s nice to do this in my first year with Nicky. He’s a lovely little horse, he’s so good and passive.”
Owner Raymond Tooth, one of the country’s leading divorce lawyers, said: “It's unbelievable, I couldn't believe it. It was like slow motion in the last 100 yards and I didn't think that we were going to do it but he's just held on. It's unbelievable.
"It's my first winner at The Festival and I hope that there will be many more but this is a fantastic draw. I'm sure I will wake up in a minute!
"He was a forgotten horse but he would have won £1million if he hadn't fallen at Kempton and he would have won there - he was cantering. This makes up for it.
"Nicky told me on Friday that Punjabi was going terribly well and people seemed to have forgotten about him but he had an excellent chance. There was all the talk of Binocular but there you are."
Bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley, not only bought the winner Punjabi but also Celestial Halo and Binocular.
“I’ve never bought a Champion Hurdle winner before, let alone having the first three home,” said Bromley. “They came from very different places - Punjabi ran on the flat for Geraldine Rees (whose father John Wilson bred the horse) and we bought him for 42,000 guineas at the 2006 Horses In Training Sale at Tattersalls.”
Press Conference - Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle
PUNJABI - A CUT ABOVE
Punjabi, who brought trainer Nicky Henderson his first Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle win in 22 years, had anything but a straightforward preparation for this year’s race.
“He had a history of being perhaps sharp, he was only really a miler when he came to us and we did have a little spin on the flat and win a couple of races as a miler last year. But enough was enough. We had to treat him like a Champion Hurdle contender,” said the trainer.
Henderson scheduled just three outings before the Champion Hurdle, but in the second of those, in the Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, he came down at the second last. “He got a cut in his hind leg and was in his box for three weeks. It was just right on the front of his joint and if you didn’t leave him motionless every time he was going to walk he would open it,” said Henderson.
The injury was followed by snow-storms which put the horse behind schedule. In his pre-Cheltenham race, the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, the lack of work told, the horse finishing only third to Ashkazar. “It didn’t look awe-inspiring, it was desperate ground, but we had to do it and the race did its job,” explained the trainer.
““He’s a very pleasant person, very talented. We don’t school him [now] because he knows what he’s doing blindfold,” added the trainer.
Barry Geraghty, who is having a dream first season as the stable jockey, described his race tactics. “I always had Celestial Halo in front of me and Binocular alongside me, so I knew where my two main dangers were. It was just a case of when I took it up. He jumped the last better than Celestial halo and I had to commit and he battled all the way. The last 50 yards were touch and go,” said Geraghty.
Henderson also trained the third-placed Binocular, who started a very warm favourite at 6/4. “We have to be pleased with the way that Binocular run. When we were in the snow and and we really were in the snow, that’s when we should have been working him. You have to be 110% fit for these races and when you’re only 99%... I have a sneaky feeling that he took a blow coming to the last,” said Henderson.
Race 4: Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle - Placed Quotes
HALO OVER CELESTIAL AFTER GALLANT SECOND - BERRY OFFERS NO BINOCULAR EXCUSES - LAVELLE THRILLED
Paul Nicholls came within a neck of training his first Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle when Celestial Halo finished runner-up to Punjabi.
Twelve months ago Celestial Halo provided owner Andy Stewart with an initial Festival win when taking the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He said: “That was great. We thought Nicky Henderson would train the winner, but we got the wrong horse [Binocular was favourite], so well done to Punjabi’s owner Raymond Tooth.
“Our horse never shirked it and Ruby [Walsh] said that if he’d flown the last the neck might have gone the other way, but that’s racing. He was my first Festival winner and my first [Smurfit Kappa] Champion Hurdle runner - he’ll be back next year.”
Paul Nicholls had considered Celestial Halo a chaser of the future, but after today’s effort that plan is on hold. Nicholls said: “If he’d finished sixth today we’d have been going chasing, because he’s schooled over a fence, but after that we’ll be sticking to hurdles.
“I knew that at Sandown [when second to Binocular] we had him where we wanted him and there would be plenty of improvement. We had him ready today.
“The rain helped, but he jumped well, he travelled and he’s getting stronger. He got tight to the last and I thought ‘we’re in trouble’, but then he got going again. It’s a huge run from a five-year-old. It’s gutting to get beaten after a run like that.”
Stewart was thinking of Aintree for his horse, but Nicholls is less sure. He said: “We ran him at Aintree last year and he was beaten after a hard race here. He’s had a hard race today so we’ll see how he is, but we might call it a day for the season.”
The 6/4 favourite Binocular was a further head back in third, but Frank Berry, racing manager to owner J P McManus, offered no excuses.
He commented: “I don’t think the ground made any difference today. The horse jumped great and has stayed on. He is only five and will be back for another day. We couldn’t be happier without winning.”
J P McManus commented himself: “There is always a bit of disappointment but there was no hard luck story. He got a good run throughout the race and you cannot have any excuses - he was beaten fair and square. But he is in one piece and hopefully we will back next year.”
Last year’‘s Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle victor Crack Away Jack took fourth place and his trainer Emma Lavelle was very satisfied.
The Andover handler commented: “I am absolutely thrilled. Better ground would have helped him today but that’s probably about the same for some of the other horses today.
“He will be going over fences next season - that’s was always going to be his game and it is absolutely fantastic what he has achieved over hurdles.”
Pointing to the number one spot in the winner’s enclosure, Lavelle said: “Hopefully, that is where we will be after the Arkle next year!”
OSANA “FELT FLAT”
KATCHIT “STILL A RACEHORSE” BUT MAY NEED FURTHER
Last year’s runner-up Osana proved a disappointment, trailing in 11th place. The seven-year-old faded quickly after racing prominently early on.
His jockey Andrew McNamara said: “We were always under pressure. He wasn’t travelling well enough. It was not surprise when he fell away.”
Trainer David Pipe added: “Andrew said he felt flat out all the way. He’s one we may step up in trip.”
The 2008 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle hero Katchit took sixth place this time around and his rider Robert Thornton remarked: “He’s run well to be honest with you. I’ve finished sixth and probably only beaten five or six lengths. He’s still a racehorse, but he’s probably not a two-miler now.”
WALSH & CASEY RECEIVE 3-DAY WHIP BANS IN CHAMPION
FROM PAUL STRUTHERS’ BLOG ON WWW.BRITISHHORSERACING.COM
Paul Struthers is Media Relations Manager of the British Horseracing Authority
16.00 - Stewards’ Room Update
Ruby Walsh picked up a 3-day suspension for excessive frequency with his whip on the runner-up, Celestial Halo (in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle).
David Casey also picked up three days for using his whip when out of contention on Jered (in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle).
Race 5: Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase
IT’S ONE-TWO-THREE FOR JP
Birthday boy JP McManus enjoyed a unique moment at Cheltenham today when horses he owns filled the first three places in a Festival race.
It is believed to be the first time an owner’s colours have finished in that order at the meeting.
McManus’s Garde Champetre (7/2), ridden by Nina Carberry, carried top weight of 11st 12lb to victory - last year he won the prize under 10st 13lb.
The runner-up was L’Ami (7/4 fav), the mount of JT McNamara, while Drombeag (7/1) took third carrying Robbie Power. It will surprise no one that the trio were saddled by Enda Bolger, the Limerick-based trainer who monopolises cross-country races.
Since this event was introduced at the Festival in 2005 Bolger has won four of the five runnings. Only Philip Rothwell has broken his stranglehold, thanks to Native Jack in 2006.
In typical style Bolger attributed the victory by Garde Champetre to Carberry, and said: “I’m delighted, but Nina is the factor. She gets on so well with the horse - he’s a different animal when she’s on his back.
“He was a high-class horse in his youth, but lost his way. I do the training, but Nina is the difference. I’m also very fortunate having the man [JP] behind me, but I just love watching horses jump so it suits the way I train.”
Asked if he would be celebrating tonight, Bolger said: “We won’t miss it,” and when asked about Garde Champetre’s effort under top weight, he added: “He must have been a certainty last year. We were scared about the weight because he’s not the most robust horse.
“He’s really getting the hang of this game and seeing out the trip. I think he’ll be a better horse on better ground because he has a real daisy-cutting action.”
Garde Champetre is in the John Smith’s Grand National with a weight of 10st 2lb, and while Bolger said McManus would have the final word on a challenge, he said: “There’s only one National so I’ll be pushing for it.”
McManus, 58 today, had earlier seen his Wichita Lineman win the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, while Binocular carried his colours into third in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
Race 5 - Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase - Winning Jockey
NINA CARBERRY ON GARDE CHAMPETRE
Nina Carberry won the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase over Cheltenham’s unique Cross Country course for the third time aboard Garde Champetre. Carberry was also in the saddle when Garde Champetre won this contest last year and scored aboard Heads Onthe Ground in 2007.
Carbbery commented: "He's a great little horse and he absolutely loves this race. I thought L'Ami had me turning in because I gave my fella a squeeze and he wasn't really picking up. I didn't want to help L'Ami coming up the straight so I pulled wide and it helped my lad a bit - it just gave me a chance to get at him without bringing L'Ami on. He did it great.
"It was my plan to follow L'Ami round the course because my lad has just a bit more boot. He's a class horse.”
Carbery was enjoying her fourth winner in total at The Festival and remarked: "It gets better as you get older!
“It was great to come back and win on this horse again. There was a bit more pressure this year as we were trying to win the race for a second time.
“I love riding in these cross country races. I first became involved about four years ago when I started working for Enda (Bolger, winning trainer). I started by schooling horses for him and it is great that Enda now has so many good horses from Mr McManus to go for these races.”
Carberry, who was recently named as the winner of the 2009 Cheltenham ladies award (which goes to a woman who has contributed significantly to Jump racing), concluded: “You never get tired of winning at The Festival. It has been a great day for the family with Paul (her brother) winning the first race and I am very pleased for all the team at Noel Meade’s yard.”
J P McMANUS REFLECTS ON THE DAY
Owner J P McManus has enjoyed a great first day to The Festival, with Wichita Lineman winning the William Hill Handicap Chase, while Garde Champetre, L’Ami and Drombeag gave him a fantastic 1-2-3 in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase. Binocular was the one that got away, with the 6/4 favourite finishing a close third in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
McManus remarked : "Binocular ran a great race and just found two that were better than him on the day. He's only five and I am sure that he will be back. You couldn't have any complaints because he got the run of the race and there is still much to look forward to.
"AP gave Wichita Lineman a great ride but he gives so many horses great rides and he doesn't have to be seen to be so forceful. He makes up their mind for them and gets them concentrating on the job. I think that horses love having AP on board because he teaches them.
"It was nice to see all of the horses run well in the Cross Country Chase. I didn't know which of the two, L'Ami and Garde Champetre, to fancy but thankfully the right one won because I had a few quid each way on Garde Champetre. I thought that it was a bet to nothing but the problem is that I didn't have enough on!
"Enda lives where I used to live and he's made these races his life. He's given those horses a new lease of life and they have found another vocation.
"It's great that Cheltenham have these races and that these horses are not forgotten about. I am very much in favour of them.
"Nina has wonderful hands and horses run for her. She's a bit special."
Jockey Ken Whelan was suspended for six days for his use of the whip aboard Wonderkid in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
Whelan, whose ban takes place from March 24 to 29 inclusive, was banned after the vet reported that his mount had been wealed.
SIXTH RACE QUOTES
DAVID NICHOLSON MARES’ HURDLE (GRADE 2)
The Willie Mullins-trained Quevega completed a brilliant opening day of the Cheltenham Festival for Irish raiders in the concluding David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle when justifying 2/1 favouritism to romp home by 14 lengths under Ruby Walsh.
Quevega was the fourth Irish-trained winner of the day and Mullins said: “I thought we (the Irish) might have had five winners all week so four on the opening day is pretty amazing.
“I was a bit depressed after the earlier races - Kempes stood at the first hurdle and the race was over after that while Cousin Vinny didn’t travel in his race, which you can’t do here.
“I did think Quevega was my best chance of the week but I didn’t think she could win by that far. I thought the time she ran in France against Hurricane Fly was different class to this. If he had been running he would have been 1/4 and she is only a length or so behind him. I guess the plan willl be to go to Punchestown and then maybe back to Paris.”
Walsh added: “She is a special mare, she’s as game as a pebble and I was probably actually in front too soon, but that didn’t matter. She is a proper little mare with a real engine and bolted in.”
Lucy Wadham, trainer of the runner-up United, said: “We were beaten by a better horse in the day and we’re thrilled, she actually did well to hold on for second. She might well go for the Aintree Hurdle now and the owners have been having so much fun that they are keen to keep her going for another season.”
IRISH SUCCESS ON FIRST DAY
There were four Irish-trained winners on the first day of the 2009 Festival.
Irish-trained successes at the Cheltenham Festival
* record, although The Festival was previously three days up until 2005
THE FOCUS IS ON BINOCULAR
The absence of any significant rainfall - just 2mm fell at around 6.30am - has encouraged punters to keep faith with Binocular in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (3.20) on the opening day of The Festival. Ladbrokes report that Binocular is a rock-solid 7/4 favourite, with sizeable single bets of £60,000 and £40,000 having been laid. William Hill and Victor Chandler also report that the Nicky Henderson-trained 5-year-old has been strongly supported.
In the Festival opener, the williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1.30), the unbeaten hurdler Red Moloney, trained by Howard Johnson, has been supported with totesport, shortening to 12/1 from 14/1.
Totesport also report some interest in Tartak in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy (2.05), which is hardly surprisingly given the season that trainer Tom George is having. Tartak is now 11/1 from 12/1.
Wichita Lineman, who disappointed last year in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, has shortened to 6/1, from 7/1, with Paddy Power for the William Hill Trophy (2.40). It will be a handicap debut for the Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding. In what could be a very difficult race to call, totesport have seen support for the Nick Williams-trained Maljimar, 14/1 from 18/1, and the perennial favourite Lacdoudal, from the Philip Hobbs stable, has come in to 28/1 from 40/1.
Irish trainer Tony Martin has yet to train a winner in Ireland or Britain since the beginning of the year, which may explain the lack of interest in Wonderkid in the Glenfarclas Handicap (4.30). Paddy Power report that the horse has behaved like the proverbial barge, drifting from 9/1 to 14/1.
DECLARATIONS FOR THE RYANAIR CHASE AND THE LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE ON THURSDAY
THE RYANAIR CHASE
1) Gwanako (FR) 6-11-10 The Stewart Family/Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh
2) Imperial Commander (IRE) 8-11-10 Our Friends in the North/Nigel Twiston-Davies/Paddy Brennan
3) Knight Legend (IRE) 10 11 10 Tongue Strap Martin St Quinton/Jessica Harrington IRE/Andrew Leigh
4) L'Antartique (FR) 9-11-10 Mary Durkan/Ferdy Murphy/Graham Lee
5) Mister McGoldrick (GB) 12-11-10 Richard Longley/Sue Smith/Dominic Elsworth
6) Monet's Garden (IRE) 11-11-10 David Wesley Yates/Nicky Richards/Davy Condon
7) Our Vic (IRE) 11-11-10 Blinkers David Johnson/David Pipe/Timmy Murphy
8) Schindlers Hunt (IRE) 9-11-10 Tongue Strap Slaneyville Syndicate/Dessie Hughes IRE/Paddy Flood
9) Tidal Bay (IRE) 8-11-10 Andrea & Graham Wylie/Howard Johnson/Denis O'Regan
10) Voy Por Ustedes (FR) 8-11-10 Sir Robert Ogden/Alan King/Robert Thornton
THE LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE
1) Afsoun (FR) 7-11-10 Trevor Hemmings/Nicky Henderson
2) Big Buck's (FR) 6-11-10 The Stewart Family/Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh
3) Blazing Bailey (GB) 7-11-10 Blinkers Three Line Whip/Alan King/Robert Thornton
4) Fair Along (GER) 7-11-10 Alan Peterson/Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson
5) Kasbah Bliss (FR) 7-11-10 Henri de Pracomtal/Francois Doumen FR/Christophe Pieux
6) Mighty Man (FR) 9-11-10 Joss Hanbury/Henry Daly/Sam Thomas
7) Mobaasher (USA) 6-11-10 Blinkers, Tongue Strap Seasons Holidays/Paul Nicholls/ Christian Williams
8) No Refuge (IRE) 9-11-10 Andrea & Graham Wylie/Howard Johnson/Denis O'Regan
9) Pettifour (IRE) 7-11-10 J B Pettifer/Nigel Twiston-Davies/Paddy Brennan
10) Powerstation (IRE) 9-11-10 Fat Frog Syndicate/Eamon O'Connell IRE/Andrew McNamara
11) Punchestowns (FR) 6-11-10 Judy Wilson/Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty
12) Shakervilz (FR) 6-11-10 Thomas Gilligan/Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend
13) Tazbar (IRE) 7-11-10 The Supreme Partnership/Keith Reveley/James Reveley
14) Whatuthink (IRE) 7-11-10 Blinkers Cavan Developments Bloodstock/Oliver McKiernan IRE/Davy Russell
ANDREW MCNAMARA, PAUL NOLAN AND MOUSE MORRIS LOOK FORWARD
Jockey Andrew McNamara is looking forward to partnering the well-touted Alexander Severus in tomorrow’s Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
“He’s by Montjeu and, as with a lot of horses by that stallion, can get a bit wound up but he has stayed calm coming over,” said McNamara, speaking at a Horseracing Ireland press conference this morning. “He has had three runs and he should go well tomorrow, although we won’t know about his stamina until the race. We are a tiny bit worse off at the weights with some of the Irish horses but not bad.”
Looking to his other mounts this week, McNamara continued: “I ride Tranquil Sea for Edward O’Grady in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase and he has been disappointing of late and I’m not sure why. But if he came back to himself he’d have a good chance.
“Powerstation, who runs in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, seems to up his game every time he comes here and if did on Thursday then he’d have a chance of a place.
“Jumbo Rio, who I ride in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, won the best juvenile hurdle in Ireland at Leopardstown and I think that will put him in with a good chance on Friday. We made a bad mistake at the second last at Leopardstown but within two strides he was back up and travelling and I wouldn’t be swopping him.”
Trainer Paul Nolan believes Shinrock Paddy, who runs in tomorrow’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper, heads to the race with a leading chance. The five-year-old, who will be ridden by his owner Barry Connell, scored by eight lengths at Cheltenham in November.
“Barry has ridden the horse twice and won on him both times and he’ll also ridden out at home on him,” said Nolan. “He’s not a difficult ride and is very fresh and well because he has not run since November
“I think he will give Barry a good spin and is the best bumper horse I’ve had. He works all over Listed-type horses at home and I hope he will be rated 140 or 150 when he runs over hurdles. I think he’ll run a cracker tomorrow although it will be hard to beat Willie (Mullins)’s and I think Rite Of Passage is very good.”
Nolan runs Alpha Ridge in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and gives the seven-year-old a big chance. “He’s in great shape,” said Nolan. “I made a mistake running him at Navan in November when he was beaten by Pandorama because he was not right. He had won on very heavy ground before that and I should have given him longer to recover, I think he could turn the form around with Pandorama if they met again. He’s in cracking shape and I rate him very highly - I’m very confident he’ll be in the first three.
“I’d have even more confidence with more rain, simply because we know he goes on softer ground. But he’s not raced or worked on a good surface and there’s nothing to say in his pedigree that he won’t go on it.”
Maucaillou will represent Nolan in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle and the trainer added: “Ruby (Walsh) advised that we step him up in trip. He had looked just an ordinaryish sort of horse at home then we took him over here in November and he ran a blinder to be second, then came back here to be third in December. He likes this place and it would be great for his owner if he could make the frame.”
War Of Attrition may be missing the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup but his trainer Mouse Morris will still have two representatives this week - China Rock in tomorrow’s Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle and Browns Baily in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on Friday.
“I’ve only the two runners, I don’t like bringing them here just for the fresh air,” said Morris. “China Rock’s form is rock solid, he beat Go Native at Punchestown, who has won since and I’d be disappointed if he’s not there or thereabouts. You’ll see a big difference with him on good ground.
“Browns Baily would be serious on good ground but still very good on soft ground. He a very big noble horse and we’ve tipped away quietly with him.”
CURTIS OPTS FOR A BAPTISM OF FIRE TOMORROW
In January, Rebecca Curtis decided against running Marodima in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot. The 28-year-old felt that taking on Master Minded might be asking too much of the six-year-old gelding. “We just thought that it was too big a race for him first time out,” said Curtis.
Second time out; well’s that another matter.
Tomorrow afternoon, Curtis, who has had just five winners under rules, will saddle up Marodima in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Chase against Master Minded, the hottest Festival favourite for years. A victory for the unsung Welsh trainer only a year after gaining her licence and with only 14 horses in the stable (though 12 more are on the way) with her first runner at The Festival (currently a 250/1 shot on the exchanges) would be the stuff of dreams. But is she dreaming? No.
“Of course it’s a massive ask. I’d be stupid if I thought he would even get placed,” she admitted.
Marodima will, though, have his moment of glory as jockey Nick Scholfield will be under instruction to go to the front. “In the last few weeks, we’ve got him settled and we will front-run him, though there are a few other front-runners in the race,” said Curtis.
Curtis, who is based on the west-Wales coast, bought the gelding from Paul Nicholls’ stable in October. "I was at Chepstow one day and Paul came up to me and asked me if I was interested in a horse, as he had a particular one in mind that could run in some of the better races. Paul felt he might benefit from a change of scene and Marodima can be quite a hard horse to settle,” she said.
The horse was bought for Mark and Lavinia Sherwood; they had emailed Curtis when they saw on television how well one of her other horses had run.
Marodima’s first outing for the stable came at Uttoxeter in February when he was placed third to the Ferdy Murphy trained Tidal Fury in a two-mile handicap chase, his 10th chase and arguably his best performance. The Racing Post notes for that race state: “If another small race can be found, there still look to be options with him.”
Curtis, from a family of dairy farmers, is unapologetic about apparently over-facing her horse. She knows that it will be a “good day for everyone” just being at The Festival. And you have to start somewhere. Curtis had two years with Peter Bowen and four and a half years in the USA, mostly at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, before setting up on her own last year with five horses. Now, the only way is up.
PIPE GOES TO THE WELL ONCE MORE
The Pipe family has seldom struggled to find winners at The Cheltenham Festival; Martin amassed 34 over a 25-year period before retiring on the final day of the 2006 Festival and David has won three races in the two Festivals since he took over.
One race above all, though, has eluded the Pipes - the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase - and not for the want of trying.
Cyphrate came closest for the Pipes, going down by just three-quarters of a length to Deep Sensation in 1993. Five years later, Or Royal was second to One Man, and in 2005, Well Chief occupied the same placing behind the imperious Moscow Flyer.
Well Chief came back two years later and started the race as the evens favourite, but it was not to be, the horse crashing out early and Voy Por Ustedes going on to win.
Well Chief has run only once since, finishing third in the John Smith’s Melling Chase, one month after the 2007 Festival. That makes it almost two years without a run, but should the 10-year-old show a glimpse of his best form - and he was rated 178 in 2005 - he could be the horse to chase home Master Minded. But winning?
Only two trainers in this year’s race have enjoyed success previously; Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls. Henderson saddled Remittance Man in 1992 and Nicholls, as well as last year’s victory with Master Minded, has tasted success with Azertyuiop in 2004 and Call Equiname in 1999.
EARLY RAIN EASES GOING SLIGHTLY
Cheltenham did not receive the amount of rain overnight that some predicted, but there was just enough to ease the going.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse described the going on all three courses today as: “Good to soft and soft in places.”
He added: “Our forecast was for five to six millimetres of rain, but it was never for the amount the Met Office forecast in the Racing Post. We ended up with two millimetres, but it all came at once between 6.30am and 6.45am, which just eased the ground in places.”
The going yesterday afternoon on the Old (Tuesday & Wednesday) and New (Thursday & Friday) was good to soft. It was good to soft, soft in places on the Cross-Country Course.
Claisse admits The Festival, which last four days, “passes by in a whirl” and added: “I watch the races from the side-on stewards’ box where we control operations in terms of groundstaff, doctors and vets, but I don’t really get a chance to absorb the races until the weekend when I sit down and review them all.”
Asked for his view of the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, Claisse said: “I wouldn’t go against Binocular. Harchibald won a fantastic Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, but this won’t be his ground. It would have been better for him if the rain had not come.”
CARBERRY LEAVES IT LATE
Paul Carberry’s sense of timing has been a feature of his career in the saddle, and it has been spot-on in terms of this year’s Festival.
Carberry took a kick above the knee at Navan late last month and has been on the easy list since, but he is ready for the off today, and said at a Horseracing Ireland press conference today: “I’m back right on time - now I just want to stay off the ground. I could have ridden at the weekend, but didn’t want to damage the injury again.
“I just want to get through the next few days, so haven’t really looked too far ahead this week, but regarding Harchibald [in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle] we’d rather the rain hadn’t come. On the other hand Go Native [his ride in the williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle] goes on any ground and could go close with the run of the race.
“I’m looking forward to riding Casey Jones in the RSA Chase tomorrow. We always thought he’d be a good chaser, but it took him a while to get going because he hated heavy ground. I pulled him up at Fairyhouse in November because he just didn’t feel right, but he was much better next time when winning at Leopardstown.”
Of Realt Dubh, his ride in tomorrow’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, he said: “I’d expect to see his best work late on - he’ll love the track and will gallop on up the hill. I also ride Larkwing for Eric McNamara in the Coral Cup and he’d have a bit of a chance.”
At the same Horseracing Ireland conference, trainer Colm Murphy spoke of his Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle winner Brave Inca, who is back for another crack at the prize today. Murphy said: “He seems very well, although we would have liked to see more rain to inconvenience the other runners. He’s 11 now, not eight or nine, but we had him out for exercise this morning and he seems as fresh now as he did a few years ago.”
Murphy has booked Choc Thornton for the ride on Big Zeb in tomorrow’s Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, and said: “Matthew [O’Connor] has done nothing wrong on the horse, but experience round here is a big help, and we couldn’t leave Choc in the weighing room.
“We’d have liked to run the horse again after his fall at Punchestown, but we ran out of time. It was a hiccup we could have done without. He’s a good lepper normally, but he made a novicey, stupid mistake, so we have fingers crossed there are no ill effects.
“On paper it’s a one-horse race [dominated by Master Minded], but with luck I hope we can beat the rest.”
Murphy’s other key hope this race, Clew Bay Cove, runs in the Festival’s closing contest, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase. The nine-year-old ran third at Doncaster on his latest outing, and Murphy said: “He was outpaced by I’msingingtheblues in that race, but this track will suit better and he’ll be staying on up the hill. He’s exposed, but fresh.”
SAVE SOME FOR WAR, SAYS IRISH HANDICAPPER
Debate about the differences in handicapping on either side of the Irish Sea was given an airing at today’s Horseracing Ireland press conference, held before racing at Cheltenham.
Irish handicapper Noel O’Brien said: “It’s unfortunate if this subject should detract from the championship races, but Irish trainers would like transparency. It’s difficult for the Irish system to work with the British one, but it’s the same for British horses when they come over to Ireland.
“We have met with Phil Smith and the British handicappers, and for horses rated above 140 we have agreement. Below that we have no agreement, but we’re not fighting all the time.
“After [the Michael Hourigan-trained] Dancing Tornado ran a blinder at Ascot [in a handicap hurdle on February 14] I thought the system was working okay, but then [the Arthur Moore-trained] Native Clan was well beaten at Sandown on Saturday in the Imperial Cup.”
Regarding the handicapping of Irish horses at the Festival, O’Brien acknowledged the British handicappers face a tough challenge. “Some horses will adapt to Cheltenham better than others,” he said, adding: “Take a horse like Cooldine [who runs in tomorrow’s RSA Chase]. He’s rated 150 and whether it is our opinion or the British we’re not far apart. Then you get a horse like Casey Jones [also in the RSA Chase] who can run to 148 on a good day, but on a bad day it’s not worth him being there.”
Asked which handicaps might throw up an Irish winner, O’Brien said: “We will win the [Glenfarclas] Cross Country Chase, but that race has separate handicap ratings for cross-country races, not park races. Other than that it is hard to pick any Irish bankers - nothing jumps out at me as being well handicapped.
“Macaillou [trained by Paul Nolan] does not look well handicapped in the Pertemps Final [on Thursday] but he’s run well here in the past, while Alexander Severus [trained by Edward O’Grady and a runner in tomorrow’s Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’] is a few pounds higher over here, but only a few pounds.”
Looking at Irish horses running in conditions races this week, O’Brien said: “The rain woke me this morning, but it will have thrilled the Willie Mullins’ team responsible for Mikael D’Haguenet [a runner in tomorrow’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle]. To me he gives the Irish as good a chance if not better than Cousin Vinny in today’s [williamhill.com] Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Our novice hurdlers are a decent bunch.”
For any punters who still have cash in their pocket after The Festival, O’Brien has spotted a blot on the handicap in a well-known race next month.
He said: “Looking ahead to the [John Smith’s] Grand National, War Of Attrition looks very well treated as a former [totesport] Gold Cup winner on a mark of 157.”
CITROËN LEADING JOCKEY
STANDINGS AFTER DAY ONE
Jockey 1st 2nd 3rd
Barry Geraghty 2 - -
Ruby Walsh 1 1 -
Tony McCoy 1 - 1
Miss Nina Carberry 1 - -
Paul Carberry 1 - -
Robert Thornton - 1 1
Graham Lee - 1 -
Daryl Jacob - 1 -
Mr J T McNamara - 1 -
Dominic Elsworth - 1 1
Alain Cawley - - 1
Richard Johnson - - 1
Robbie Power - - 1
CITROËN LEADING TRAINER
STANDINGS AFTER DAY ONE
Trainer 1st 2nd 3rd
Enda Bolger IRE 1 1 1
Nicky Henderson 1 - 1
Tom Cooper IRE 1 - -
Noel Meade IRE 1 - -
Willie Mullins IRE 1 - -
Jonjo O’Neill 1 - -
Alan King - 1 -
Ferdy Murphy - 1 -
Paul Nicholls - 1 -
Lucy Wadham - 1 -
Nick Williams - 1 -
Philip Hobbs - - 1
Alan King - - 1
Henrietta Knight IRE - - 1
Paul Nolan - - 1
1.30pm WILLIAMHILL.COM SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE (GRADE ONE)
GO NATIVE (Docado Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE 6-11-7 Paul Carberry 12/1
2.05pm IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY (GRADE ONE)
FORPADYDEPLASTERER (Goat Racing Syndicate) Tom Cooper IRE 7-11-7 Barry Geraghty 8/1
2.40pm WILIAM HILL TROPHYHANDICAP CHASE (GRADE THREE)
WICHITA LINEMAN (J P McManus) Jonjo O’Neill 8-10-9 Tony McCoy 5/1 fav
3.20pm SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE (GRADE ONE)
PUNJABI (Raymond Tooth) Nicky Henderson 6-11-10 Barry Geraghty 22/1
4.00pm GLENFARCLAS HANDICAP STEEPLECHASE (CROSS COUNTRY)
GARDE CHAMPETRE (JP McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 10-11-12 Miss Nina Carberry 7/2
4.40pm DAVID NICHOLSON MARES’ HURDLE (GRADE TWO)
QUEVEGA (Hammer & Trowel Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-3 Ruby Walsh 2/1 fav
FIRST RACE RESULT
1.30pm Williamhill.com SUPREME NOVICES' HURDLE (GRADE ONE)
£120,000 guaranteed, 2m 1/2f Old Course, 4yo+ Weights 4yo 10st 13lb; 5yo+ 11st 7lb Allowances fillies and mares 7lb Entries 112 pay £130 1st Forfeit Stage 68 pay £260 Confirmed 30 pay £130 Penalty Value 1st £68,412; 2nd £25,668; 3rd £12,852; 4th £6,408; 5th £3,216; 6th £1,608
1 GO NATIVE (IRE) (Docado Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE 6-11-7 Paul Carberry 12/1
2 MEDERMIT (FR) (The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership) Alan King 5-11-7 Robert Thornton 12/1
3 SOMERSBY (IRE) (Camille Radford) Henrietta Knight 5-11-7 Dominic Elsworth 40/1
4 COPPER BLEU (IRE) (Alan Peterson) Philip Hobbs 7-11-7 Richard Johnson
5 COUSIN VINNY (IRE) (Festival Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 6-11-7 Mr Patrick Mullins 9/4f
6 RED MOLONEY (USA) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 5-11-7 Denis O'Regan
7 SHOREACRES (IRE) (David Nash) Brendan Powell 6-11-7 Wilson Renwick
8 AINAMA (IRE) (J P McManus) Nicky Henderson 5-11-7 Tony McCoy
9 TORPHICHEN (Thomas Barr) David Pipe 4-10-13 Andrew Mcnamara
10 MICHEAL FLIPS (IRE) (M Tedham) Andrew Turnell 5-11-7 Mark Grant
11 GOLAN WAY (WRB Racing 58) Sheena West 5-11-7 Jamie Goldstein
12 KEMPES (IRE) (Three Cheers Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 6-11-7 Ruby Walsh
13 SHAMARI (FR) (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 5-11-7 Christian Williams
14 LEO'S LUCKY STAR (USA) (Sheila Brookhouse) David Pipe 7-11-7t Tom Scudamore
15 KANGAROO COURT (IRE) (N Mustoe) Emma Lavelle 5-11-7 Jack Doyle
16 GLOUCESTER (S Smith & Keith Hunter) Michael Scudamore 6-11-7 John Kington
17 BEE STING (D Goulding) Lisa Williamson 5-11-7 Derek Laverty
18 INTENSIFIER (IRE) (G Morgan) Dai Williams 5-11-7 Seamus Durack
P ALARAZI (IRE) (Johnny Eddis) Terry Mills 5-11-7 Jamie Moore
P LEAMINGTON LAD (IRE) (Three Off The Tree) Nigel Twiston-Davies 6-11-7b Paddy Brennan
Non-runner: 1 Aachen (ground)
Distances: nk, 2 3/4, hd, 1 1/2, hd, 7, 3, 1, 1 1/4, 6, 4, 2 3/4, 6, 4, 16, 22, 29
Time: 4m 0.8s
Breeder: P Murphy
Breeding: br g Double Eclipse (IRE) - Native Idea (IRE)
Totes: Win: £11.80; Places: £3.40; £3.40; £16.70; Exacta: £108.80
Winning Trainer: NOEL MEADE Born: January 2, 1951 Based: Tu Va Castletown, Navan, Co Meath, Ireland Cheltenham Festival Wins (3): williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Sausalito Bay, 2009 Go Native), Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Nicanor) Aintree Festival Wins (1): John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2005 Definate Spectacle) Date of First Trainer’s Licence: 1972 Big Races Won: Greenlands Stakes (1992 Street Rebel); Drinmore Novices’ Chase (1995 Johnny Setaside, 2004 Watson Lake); Gain National Trial Chase (1996 Johnny Setaside); Ericsson Chase (1996 Johnny Setaside); Morgiana Hurdle (1996 and 1997 Cockney Lad, 1998 Nomadic, 2006 Iktitaf); Lismullen Hurdle (1992 & 1993 Novello Allegro, 1997 Cockney Lad, 2003 & 2006 Rosaker); AIG Europe Champion Hurdle (1997 Cockney Lad); Midlands Grand National (2002 The Bunny Boiler); Irish Grand National (2002 The Bunny Boiler); Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (2004 Wild Passion, 2007 Muirhead); vcbet.com Champion Novice Hurdle (2005 Wild Passion, 2008 Jered); Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2004 Harchibald, 2007 Harchibald), Stan James Christmas Hurdle (2004 & 2008 Harchibald, 2007 Jazz Messenger); John James McManus Memorial Hurdle (Harchibald 2005) totesport Bula Hurdle (2005 Harchibald); Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (2005 Sir Oj), Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2006 Mr Nosie, 2007 Aran Concerto); Red Mills Chase (2007 Watson Lake); Byrne Group plc Novice Hurdle (2007 Orbit O’Gold), Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (2007 Aimatov); Wins in Britain (2001/2-2007/08): 1; 0; 0; 3; 3; 1; 1
Winning Jockey: Paul ‘Alice’ Carberry Date of Birth: 09/02/1974 Background: Paul Carberry has inherited a wealth of riding talent from his father Tommy, who won the 1975 Grand National on L'Escargot. He followed in his father's footsteps when partnering Bobbyjo, trained by Tommy, to a popular victory in the 1999 Grand National. His brother Philip is also a successful rider, while his sister Nina is a leading amateur. Carberry rides principally for Noel Meade in Ireland since ending a three-year retainer with leading British owner Sir Robert Ogden in May, 1998. Cheltenham Festival Wins: (11) Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2008 Crack Away Jack), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1993 Rhythm Section, 2006 Hairy Molly), William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase (1998 Unguided Missile, 2002 Frenchmans Creek), Royal & Sunalliance Novices’ Chase (1999 Looks Like Trouble); Williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Sausalito Bay, 2009 Go Native), Pertemps Final (2005 Oulart), Grand Annual (2005 Fota Island), Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Nicanor) Other Big Race Wins: Grand National (Bobbyjo 1999); Bula Hurdle (2005 Harchibald); woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle (2005 Rosaker); Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (2005 Wild Passion); Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2004 Harchibald, 2007 Harchibald); Hatton’s Grace Hurdle 2001 Limestone Lad); Kevin Mcmanus Bookmakers Champion Stayers’ Hurdle (2002 Limestone Lad); Lexus Chase (1998 Dorans Pride, 2004 & 2005 Beef Or Salmon); Morgiana Hurdle (2006 Iktitaf); Paddy Power Dial-a-bet Chase (2004 Central House); Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (2005 Sir Oj); Sporting Index Cross Country Chase (1998 Linden’s Lotto); Stan James Christmas Hurdle (2004 & 2008 Harchibald) Wins In Britain (2001/02-2007/08): 2; 1; 2; 7; 4; 0; 2
SECOND RACE RESULT
2.05pm IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY (GRADE ONE)
£170,000 guaranteed, 2m Old Course, For 5yo+ Weights 11st 7lb Allowances mares 7lb Entries 52 pay £195 1st Forfeit 38 pay £390 Confirmed 19 pay £195 Penalty Value 1st £96,917; 2nd £36,363; 3rd £18,207; 4th £9,078; 5th £4,556; 6th £2,278
1 FORPADYDEPLASTERER (IRE) (Goat Racing Syndicate) Tom Cooper IRE 7-11-7 Barry Geraghty 8/1
2 KALAHARI KING (FR) (Mrs J Morgan) Ferdy Murphy 8-11-7 Graham Lee 8/1
3 PLANET OF SOUND (Charles Lloyd-Baker) Philip Hobbs 7-11-7 Richard Johnson 10/1
4 MADE IN TAIPAN (IRE) (Mrs Paul Duffin) Tom Mullins IRE 7-11-7 Davy Russell 20/1
5 TARTAK (FR) (Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd) Tom George 6-11-7 Paddy Brennan
6 GAUVAIN (GER) (J McDougall) Charlie Mann 7-11-7p Noel Fehily
7 CORNAS (NZ) (The Gascoigne Brooks Partnership) Nick Williams 7-11-7 Daryl Jacob
8 I'MSINGINGTHEBLUES (IRE) (John Hales) Paul Nicholls 7-11-7 Christian Williams
9 FOLLOW THE PLAN (IRE) (Cavan Developments Bloodstock) Oliver McKiernan IRE 6-11-7 John Cullen
10 CALGARY BAY (IRE) (Camille Radford) Henrietta Knight 6-11-7 Tony McCoy
11 PANJO BERE (FR) (Paul Chapman & Elizabeth Kiernan) Gary Moore 6-11-7 Jamie Moore
12 COOL OPERATOR (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 6-11-7 Denis O'Regan
13 CHEATING CHANCE (IRE) (M Tedham) Andrew Turnell 8-11-7 Mark Grant
14 GOLDEN SILVER (FR) (Violet O’Leary) Willie Mullins IRE 7-11-7 Paul Townend
15 BRINGBACKTHEBIFF (NZ) (Thomas Barr) Edward O'Grady IRE 7-11-7 Andrew McNamara
F TATENEN (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 5-11-7 Ruby Walsh 4/1F
P ORIGINAL (FR) (Edward Walsh) Marcel Rolland FR 7-11-7 James Davies
Non-runner: 11 I’m So Lucky (ground)
Distances: sh, 5, 3 1/4, 1 3/4, nse, 1, nk, 2 3/4, 10, 9, 1, 1, 4 1/2, 18
Breeder: John Broderick
Breeding: b g Moscow Society (USA) - Run Artiste
Totes: Win: £8.30 Places: £2.60; £3.80; £4.10 Exacta: £72.60
Winning Trainer: THOMAS COOPER Based: Cahermoneen, Tralee, Co Kerry, Ireland Background: Held permit for two seasons before becoming a full-time trainer in 1998. First Festival triumph came with Total Enjoyment in the Champion Bumper in 2004. Also a dentist. Cheltenham Festival Wins (2): Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2004 Total Enjoyment), Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy (2009 Forpadydeplasterer). Big Race Wins: Edmond Whelan Memorial Handicap Hurdle (2005 Owennacurra Bobby), Ballygarry House McGillicuddy Cup Handicap Hurdle (2005 Owennacurra Bobby) paddypower.com Future Champions Novice Hurdle (2007 Forpadydeplasterer), Deloitte Novice Hurdle (2008 Forpadydeplasterer)
Winning Jockey: Barry Geraghty Born: September 16, 1979 Background: Barry Geraghty is one of six children from a "horse-mad" family that hails from Drumree in Co Meath. His father ‘Tucker' was a useful amateur and trains a few horses in addition to his riding school and livery yard while his brother Ross, who won the 2002 Irish National on The Bunny Boiler, and sister Jill, an amateur, are both jockeys. Geraghty has a background in pony racing, riding his last winner in that sphere in September, 1996, before becoming apprenticed to Noel Meade that month and having his first ride in October, 1996. He has twice been champion jump jockey in Ireland in the seasons 1999/2000 and 2003/04. He crowned the 2002/03 season with victory in the John Smith's Grand National aboard Monty's Pass, something which contributed to him being voted RTE Sports Personality of the year by Irish television viewers. Took up the offer of becoming Nicky Henderson’s number one jockey following the retirement of Mick Fitzgerald at the end of the 2007/08 season, and he now divides his time between Britain and Ireland. 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 and 2003/04 Cheltenham Festival Wins (14): Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (2008 Finger OnThe Pulse), Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer, 2009 Forpadydeplasterer), William Hill Trophy Chase (2003 Youlneverwalkalone), Pertemps Final (2003 Inching Closer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003, 2005 Moscow Flyer), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), County Hurdle (2003 Spirit Leader), bonusprint.com Stayers’ Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (2005 Kicking King), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2006 Star de Mohaison), Coral Cup (2006 Sky’s The Limit), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2007 Cork All Star) Leading Rider at The Festival: 2003 (5). Other Big Race Wins: Grand National (2003 Monty’s Pass); AIG Europe Champion Hurdle (2005 Macs Joy), Betdaq.com Champion Chase (2004 Moscow Flyer), December Festival Hurdle (2004 Macs Joy), Durkan New Homes Juvenile Hurdle (2006 Lounaos), Evening Herald Champion Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Moscow Flyer), John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase (2004 Kicking King, 2006 In Compliance), King George VI Chase (2004, 2005 Kicking King), Midlands Grand National (1998 Miss Orchestra), paddypower.com Johnstown Novice Hurdle (2007 Kazal), Pierse Hurdle (2005 Essex), Punchestown Guiness Gold Cup (2005 Kicking King), Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle (1999 Moscow Flyer), Steel Plate & Sections Novices’ Chase (2002 Super Fellow), Thomas Pink Gold Cup (2002 Cyfor Malta), Tied Cottage Chase (2005 Moscow Flyer), Tingle Creek Chase (2003, 2004 Moscow Flyer) Wins in Britain (2001/02-2007/08): 4; 26; 13; 10; 8; 1; 1; Wins in Britain this Season: 41
THIRD RACE RESULT
2.40pm WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE
£90,000 guaranteed, 3m 1/2f Old Course, For 5yo+, Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after February 22; a winner of a chase 5lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above11st 12lb) Star De Mohaison’s Handicap Mark 159 Entries 93 pay £110 Confirmed 44 pay £330 Penalty Value: 1st £51,309; 2nd £19,251; 3rd £9,639; 4th £4,806; 5th £2,412; 6th £1,206
1 WICHITA LINEMAN (IRE) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 8-10-9 Tony McCoy 5/1F
2 MALJIMAR (IRE) (Jane Williams) Nick Williams 9-10-5 Daryl Jacob 14/1
3 NENUPHAR COLLONGES (FR) (Top Brass Partnership) Alan King 8-10-9b Robert Thornton 17/2
4 DEAR VILLEZ (FR) (John & Barbara Cotton) Paul Nicholls 7-11-3 Ruby Walsh 16/1
5 THE SAWYER (BEL) (D Fear) Bob Buckler 9-10-3 William Kennedy
6 LACDOUDAL (FR) (Carol Skan) Philip Hobbs 10-10-8 Richard Johnson
7 COMPLY OR DIE (IRE) (David Johnson) David Pipe 10-11-5b Timmy Murphy
8 OLLIE MAGERN (Roger Nicholls) Nigel Twiston-Davies 11-11-0 Tom Molloy (5)
9 WIND INSTRUMENT (IRE) (Elizabeth Pearce) Alan King 8-10-2 Wayne Hutchinson
10 TOT O'WHISKEY (Boundary Grange (Bury) Ltd) Malcolm Jefferson 8-10-3 Phil Kinsella
11 REVEILLEZ (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 10-10-13 Noel Fehily
12 GOLDEN FLIGHT (FR) (Mr & Mrs J Cotton) Nicky Henderson 10-10-12 Barry Geraghty
13 OEDIPE (FR) (Bill Brown) Nicky Henderson 7-10-5p Andrew Tinkler
14 CAILIN ALAINN (IRE) (Dewdrop Racing Syndicate) Charles Byrnes IRE 10-10-13 Davy Russell
15 BILLYVODDAN (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Henry Daly 10-10-6 Seamus Durack
16 POSSOL (FR) (Neville Statham) Henry Daly 6-10-12p Mark Bradburne
17 MILLENIUM ROYAL (FR) (Jan Vasicek) Francois Doumen FR 9-11-1 Barry Keniry
F PATSY HALL (IRE) (Thomas Mooney Partnership) Tony Martin IRE 9-10-3b1 Paul Carberry
P FUNDAMENTALIST (IRE) (Colin Cornes) Nigel Twiston-Davies 11-10-12 Paddy Brennan
P SIMON (Mercy Rimell) John Spearing 10-10-12 Andrew Thornton
P HOT WELD (Simon Hubbard Rodwell) Ferdy Murphy 10-10-8p Graham Lee
Non-runners: 1 Star De Mohaison (ground), 6 Hobbs Hill (vet’s certficate), 23 Lothian Falcon (vc)
Distances: nk, 1/2, 6, 13, 3/4, 4, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 1/4, 7, 7, 2, 6, 3, 1 3/4, 21
Breeder: Pat Tobin
Breeding: b g King’s Theatre (IRE) - Monumental Gesture
Totes: Win: £4.70 Places: £2.10; £3.20;£2.90; £5.00 Exacta: £92.10
Winning Trainer: JONJO O’NEILL Born: April 13, 1952 Based: Jackdaws Castle, Gloucestershire Background: Jonjo O’Neill was a highly successful jump jockey In spite of an appalling list of injuries, he was champion jockey on two occasions (1977/78 and 1979/80), and he set a then record for a season of 149 winners in his first championship year. The most sensational moment of his riding career came when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Dawn Run in 1986 as the mare became the only horse to win that trophy after having previously taken the Champion Hurdle (1984), also with O’Neill in the saddle. retired from the saddle at the end of the 1985/86 season and, having survived lymphatic cancer not long after that, started training near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1987. He moved to his present base at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire when the yard was bought by owner J P McManus in 2001. Cheltenham Festival Wins (16): Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2008 Alberta’s Run), Pertemps Final (1991 Danny Connors, 2003 Inching Closer, 2004 Creon); National Hunt Chase (1995 Front Line, 2002 Rith Dubh, 2003 Sudden Shock, 2004 Native Emperor, 2007 Butler’s Cabin); Vincent O’Brien County H’cap Hurdle (2000 Master Tern), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Black Jack Ketchum, 2007 Wichita Lineman), Christie’s Foxhunter Chase (2007 Drombeag), William Hill Trophy (2009 Wichita Lineman) Number of Winners (1995/96-2007/08): 18; 17; 32; 38; 44; 58; 113; 114; 102; 96; 105; 126; 106; Wins this Season: 88
Winning Jockey: Anthony Peter McCoy MBE Date of Birth: 04/05/74 Background: Tony McCoy started out with Billy Rock before trying his luck as a Flat jockey with Jim Bolger. Since growing too heavy and turning to jump racing he has not looked back. He was champion conditional rider in Britain in 1994/5 when attached to Toby Balding's Hampshire yard and took his first senior title the following season with 174 wins. His domination has brought 13 consecutive jump jockey's titles McCoy broke Peter Scudamore's record of 221 wins in the 1997/8 season with 253 successes and broke his own record for the fastest 200 winners in the 1999/2000 season, ending up with 245 successes. In 2001/02 he beat by 20 the record of 269 winners in any season set by Sir Gordon Richards. He has passed the double century mark five times. In April, 2004, he left Martin Pipe's stable to ride for J P McManus. McCoy cracked a vertebra in a terrible fall Warwick in January, 2008. His wife Chanelle gave birth to their daughter Eve in late 2007. Tony was awarded an MBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours. 1000th Win Over Jumps In Britain: Majadou, Cheltenham, December 11, 1999 2000th Win Over Jumps In Britain: Corporate Player, Wincanton, January 17, 2004 3000th Win Over Jumps In Britain: Restless D’Artaix, Plumpton, February 9, 2009 First Winner: Thurles, 26/03/92, Legal Steps (First winner in Britain: 07/09/94, Exeter, Chickabiddy) Cheltenham Festival Wins: (21) William Hill Trophy (2009 Wichita Lineman), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2008 Alberta’s Run), Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (1996 Kibreet, 1998 Edredon Bleu), Irish Independent Arkle Chase (1997 Or Royal, 1998 Champleve, 2004 Well Chief), Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (1997 Make A Stand, 2006 Brave Inca), Totesport 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), Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1999 Hors La Loi III), Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup Hcap Chase (1999 Majadou), Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase (2000 Edredon Bleu), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2003 Liberman), Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (2006 Reveillez), Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Black Jack Ketchum, 2007 Wichita Lineman) Leading Rider at The Festival: 1997 (3), 1998 (5) Winners 1994/5-2007/08: 74; 175; 189; 253; 186; 245; 191; 289; 257; 209; 199; 178; 184; 140; Wins this season: 166
FOURTH RACE RESULT
3.20pm SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE (GRADE ONE)
£370,000 guaranteed, 2m 1/2f Old Course, 4yo+ which are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including March 3; horses which are not qualified a rating in GB, Ireland or France may also be enetered; such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including March 3 would merit a minimum rating of 130; the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. Weights 4yo 11st 2lb; 5yo+ 11st 10lb Allowances fillies and mares 7lb Entire 34 pay £430 1st Forfeit 29 pay £860 Confirmed 24 pay £430 Penalty Value 1st £210,937; 2nd £79,143; 3rd £39,627; 4th £19,758; 5th £9,916; 6th £4,958
1 PUNJABI (Raymond Tooth) Nicky Henderson 6-11-10 Barry Geraghty 22/1
2 CELESTIAL HALO (IRE) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 5-11-10 Ruby Walsh 17/2
3 BINOCULAR (FR) (J P McManus) Nicky Henderson 5-11-10 Tony McCoy 6/4F
4 CRACK AWAY JACK (Gdm Partnership) Emma Lavelle 5-11-10 Noel Fehily 16/1
5 MUIRHEAD (IRE) (Mrs Pat Sloan) Noel Meade 6-11-10 Davy Condon
6 KATCHIT (IRE) (DSJP Syndicate) Alan King 6-11-10 Robert Thornton
7 SNAP TIE (IRE) (Diana Whateley) Philip Hobbs 7-11-10 Richard Johnson
8 JERED (IRE) (J P McManus) Noel Meade IRE 7-11-10 David Casey
9 HARDY EUSTACE (IRE) (Lar Byrne) Dessie Hughes IRE 12-11-10 Paddy Flood
10 WON IN THE DARK (IRE) (Gerard Crehan) Sabrina Harty IRE 5-11-10 Davy Russell
11 OSANA (FR) (Thomas Barr) David Pipe 7-11-10b1 Andrew McNamara
12 WHITEOAK (IRE) (Brendan Rchardson) Donald McCain Jnr 6-11-3 Jason Maguire
13 BLUE BAJAN (IRE) (Dr John Hollowood) Andrew Turnell 7-11-10 Graham Lee
14 SENTRY DUTY (FR) (Peter Spiller) Nicky Henderson 7-11-10 Andrew Tinkler
15 SUBLIMITY (FR) (Bill Hennessy) Robert Hennessy IRE 9-11-10 Philip Carberry
16 ALPH (Andy Chard, Boris Thompson, Alan Jackson) Roger Teal 12-11-10 Colin Bolger
17 HARCHIBALD (FR) (Des Sharkey) Noel Meade IRE 10-11-10 Paul Carberry
18 BRAVE INCA (IRE) (Novices Syndicate) Colm Murphy IRE 11-11-10 David Elsworth
19 ASHKAZAR (FR) (David Johnson) David Pipe 5-11-10b1 Timmy Murphy
20 EBAZIYAN (IRE) (Peter Garvey) Willie Mullins IRE 8-11-10 Paul Townend
21 RIVER LIANE (FR) (Valerie Courtney) Tom Cooper IRE 5-11-10 Niall Madden
P OTHERMIX (FR) (Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd) Tom George 5-11-10 Paddy Brennan
P CYBERGENIC (FR) (Judith Wilson) Paul Murphy 11-11-10 Keith Mercer
23 ran Non-runner: 20 Sizing Europe (vet’s certificate) Time:4m 0.9s
Distances: nk, hd, 2 1/4, 2 3/4, nk, 8, 3 1/4, 1/2, 3, 3/4, 3 1/4, 3 1/4, 5, 14, 7, 3/4, 5, 14, 7, 3/4, 3 1/4, 2 1/2, 2 3/4, 10
Breeder: Capt. J Wilson Breeding: b g Komaite (USA) - Competa Totes: Win: £25.80; Places: £6.20; £3.00; £1.60; Exacta: £247.90
Winning Trainer: NICHOLAS (NICKY) JOHN HENDERSON Based: Seven Barrows, Lambourn, Hungerford, Berkshire Date of birth: 10/12/50 Background: The son of financier and amateur jockey John Henderson MBE, Nicky attended Eton before working in the City for stockbrokers Cazenoves. Ended up in their Sydney office and rode out each morning prior to work before deciding to study farming at Cirencester. Also spent six years as an amateur, riding 78 winners including the Imperial Cup and the Foxhunters Chase at Liverpool. He was assistant to the legendary Fred Winter from 1974 to 1978. In July 1978 he first took out a trainer's licence and trained from Windsor House in Lambourn. He moved to Seven Barrows in 1990. Cheltenham Festival wins (32): County (1997 Barna Boy, 1993 Thumbs Up), Kim Muir (1990 Master Bob, 2002 The Bushkeeper, 2005 Juveigneur), Mildmay (1985,1986 The Tsarevich, 2005 Liberthine), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (1989 Rustle, 2000 Bacchanal), Cathcart (1994 Raymylette, 1990 Brown Windsor, 1999 and 2000 Stormyfairweather), Supreme Novices H (1986 River Ceiriog, 1992 Flown), Queen Mother (1992 Remittance Man), Arkle (1991 Remittance Man, 1993 Travado, 2000 Tiutchev), Smurfit Champion Hurdle (1985, 1986, 1987 See You Then, 2009 Punjabi),Triumph (1985 First Bout, 1987 Alone Success, 1999 Katarino), William Hill National Hunt H’cap Chase (2000 Marlborough), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2005 Trabolgan), Ryanair Chase (2006 Fondmort), Racing Post Plate (2006 Non So), Grand Annual Chase (2006 Greenhope) Number of Winners (1982/83-2007/08): 40, 43, 40, 46, 67, 40, 43, 41, 49, 52, 53, 48, 45, 47, 58, 54, 73, 67, 81, 92, 69, 79; 53; 85; 74; 83; Wins this Season: 85
Winning Jockey: Barry Geraghty Born: September 16, 1979 Background: Barry Geraghty is one of six children from a "horse-mad" family that hails from Drumree in Co Meath. His father ‘Tucker' was a useful amateur and trains a few horses in addition to his riding school and livery yard while his brother Ross, who won the 2002 Irish National on The Bunny Boiler, and sister Jill, an amateur, are both jockeys. Geraghty has a background in pony racing, riding his last winner in that sphere in September, 1996, before becoming apprenticed to Noel Meade that month and having his first ride in October, 1996. He has twice been champion jump jockey in Ireland in the seasons 1999/2000 and 2003/04. Voted RTE Sports Personality of the year by Irish television viewers in 2003. Took up the offer of becoming Nicky Henderson’s number one jockey following the retirement of Mick Fitzgerald at the end of the 2007/08 season, and he now divides his time between Britain and Ireland. 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 and 2003/04 Cheltenham Festival Wins (15): Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (2009 Punjabi), Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (2008 Finger OnThe Pulse), Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer, 2009 Forpadydeplasterer), William Hill Trophy Chase (2003 Youlneverwalkalone), Pertemps Final (2003 Inching Closer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003, 2005 Moscow Flyer), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), County Hurdle (2003 Spirit Leader), bonusprint.com Stayers’ Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (2005 Kicking King), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2006 Star de Mohaison), Coral Cup (2006 Sky’s The Limit), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2007 Cork All Star) Other Big Race Wins: Grand National (2003 Monty’s Pass) Wins in Britain (2001/02-2007/08): 4; 26; 13; 10; 8; 1; 1; Wins in Britain this Season: 42
FIFTH RACE RESULT
4.00pm GLENFARCLAS HANDICAP CHASE
£50,000 guaranteed, 3m 7f cross-country course, For 5yo+ Minimum weight 10st Penalties after February 22, a winner of a chase 5lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb) Garde Champetre’s Handicap Mark 150 Entries 43 pay £60 Conformed 27 pay £180 Penalty Value 1st £31,310; 2nd £9,250; 3rd £4,625; 4th £2,315; 5th £1,155; 6th £580
1 GARDE CHAMPETRE (FR) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 10-11-12 Miss Nina Carberry 7/2
2 L'AMI (FR) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 10-11-8 Mr J T McNamara 7/4f
3 DROMBEAG (IRE) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 11-10-7 Robbie Power 7/1
4 A NEW STORY (IRE) (Storey’s Over Syndicate) Michael Hourigan IRE 11-9-11 Jack Doyle (3) 14/1
5 DIX VILLEZ (FR) (Gigginstown House Stud) Paul Nolan IRE 10-11-1 Davy Russell
6 HEADS ONTHE GROUND (IRE) (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 12-10-2 Paul Carberry
7 WONDERKID (Bill Moffett) Tony Martin IRE 9-10-11 Ken Whelan
8 BENEFIT NIGHT (IRE) (Mary-Rose Cooney) Daniel O'Sullivan IRE 9-10-6 Barry Cash
9 JASPERS DREAM (IRE) (Denis Cusack) Philip Dempsey IRE 9-10-1 Niall Madden
10 IVOIRE DE BEAULIEU (FR) (Ferdy Murphy & Lord Leigh) Ferdy Murphy 13-10-0 Keith Mercer
P HE'S THE GAFFER (IRE) (Mrs D La Trobe) Bob Buckler 9-10-8 Daryl Jacob
P CRYSTAL D'AINAY (FR) (Tony & Jeni Fisher) Alan King 10-10-8p Robert Thornton
P DREUX (FR) (Valerie Courtney) Tom Cooper IRE 7-10-0 Davy Condon
P PASS ME BY (Paul Beck) Suzy Smith 10-11-1 Aidan Coleman
P FLORIDA DREAM (IRE) (Mrs S Goodman) Nigel Twiston-Davies 10-10-0 David England
P PUNTAL (FR) (Terry Neill) David Pipe 13-10-6tp Tom Scudamore
Distances: 1 3/4, 14, 24, 4, 8, 9, 16, dist, 21
Breeder: Olivier Delegue
Breeding: b g Garde Royale - Clementine Fleurie (FR)
Totes: Win: £4.50 Places: £1.70; £1.30; £1.60; £2.20 Exacta: £6.20
Winning Trainer: ENDA BOLGER Born: April 21, 1963 Based: Howardstown House, Bruree, Co Limerick, Ireland Background: rode many winners for the legendary P P Hogan including five renewals of the Champion Hunters Chase at the Punchestown Festival with Under Way in 1984 being the first of them while he also was successful on Ah Whilst in 1986, 1987 and 1990 with Howyanow in 1998 completing the quintet. Also trained and rode Risk Of Thunder (who was owned by Sean Connery) to win seven La Touche Cups and Elegant Lord to glory in the 1996 Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham and the 1999 Foxhunters Chase at Aintree. Retired form the saddle after Risk Of Thunder’s seventh La Touche Cup victory in 1999 and decided to concentrate on training, most notably on the point-to-point circuit. Cheltenham Festival Winners (5): Christies Foxhunter (1996 Elegant Lord), Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (2005 Spot Thedifference, 2007 Heads Onthe Ground, 2008 & 2009 Garde Champetre) Aintree Festival wins: John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase (1999 Elegant Lord) Big Race Wins Include: BGC Cross Country Chase (2004, 2005 & 2006 Spot Thedifference), paddypower.com Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (2006 Darby Hall) Winners in Britain in (2003/2004-2007/08): 0; 3; 2; 4; 2 Wins in Britain this season: 2
Winning Jockey: Nina Carberry Born: July 21, 1984 Background: father Tommy, trainer of John Smith’s Grand National winner Bobbyjo, is a former champion Irish jump jockey. Brothers Paul, one of the biggest names in Ireland, and Philip are also both jockeys. Mother Pamela is the daughter of Dan Moore, trainer of dual totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup hero and John Smith’s Grand National winner L’Escargot, and sister of former jockey and successful trainer Arthur Moore. Became the first women since Gee Armytage to ride a winner in a professionals’ race at the Cheltenham Festival when guiding Dabiroun to victory in 2005. Primarily associated with Noel Meade’s yard, but is always in great demand with British trainers when she rides in the UK. First Win Under Rules: Sabrinsky, The Curragh, July 15, 2001 (Masterchef Ladies Derby). First Bumper Win: Pretty Native, Tipperary, August 21, 2002 (Cashel ladies INH Flat Race). First Win Over Hurdles: Prince Among Men, Uttoxeter, June 5, 2003 (Box Telematics Lady Riders’ Summer Champion Handicap Hurdle). Big Race Wins include: totesportcasino.com Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (2005 Karanja) Cheltenham Festival Wins (4): Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2005 Dabiroun), Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (2007 Heads Onthe Ground, 2008 & 2009 Garde Champetre) Wins in Britain (2003/04-2007/08): 1; 2; 0; 1; 2 Wins in Britain this season: 2
SIXTH RACE RESULT
4.40pm DAVID NICHOLSON MARES' HURDLE (GRADE TWO)
£100,000 guaranteed, 2m 4f Old Course, 4yo+ Weights 4yo 10st 5lb; 5yo+ 11st Penalties after September 30, 2007, a winner of a Class 2 weight for age hurdle or Class 1 handicap hurdle 3lb; of a Class 1 weight for age hurdle 5lb; Entries 33 pay £125 Confirmed 22 pay £330 Penalty Value 1st £56,330; 2nd £21,220; 3rd £10,620; 4th £5,310; 5th £2,660; 6th £1,330, 2m 4f
1 QUEVEGA (FR) (Hammer & Trowel Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-3 Ruby Walsh 2/1F
2 UNITED (GER) (R Holt) Lucy Wadham 8-11-5 David Elsworth 100/30
3 AURA ABOUT YOU (IRE) (Jim Mernagh) Paul Nolan IRE 6-11-0 Alan Cawley 28/1
4 OVER SIXTY (Mr & Mrs Christopher Harris) Alan King 6-11-0 Robert Thornton 25/1
5 GASPARA (FR) (P McMahon) David Pipe 6-11-0 Tom Scudamore
6 HOW'S BUSINESS (Group Clean Ltd) Charlie Mann 5-11-0 Noel Fehily
7 CHOMBA WOMBA (IRE) (Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes) Nicky Henderson 8-11-5 Barry Geraghty
8 SWEETHEART (Ron Huggins) Jamie Poulton 5-11-0 Matthew Batchelor
9 ISSAQUAH (IRE) (Mr & Mrs J Davenport) Malcolm Jefferson 7-11-0 Phil Kinsella
10 GIVE IT TIME (John Harrington) Jessica Harrington IRE 6-11-5 Andrew Leigh
11 CAROLE'S LEGACY (Carole Skipworth & Paul Murphy) Nicky Henderson 5-11-0 Tony McCoy
12 AMBER BROOK (IRE) (The Yes No Wait Sorries) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-11-0 Paddy Brennan
13 MEGANS JOY (IRE) (Glenview House Stud) Colm Murphy IRE 7-11-5 Matthew O'Connor
14 WYCHWOODS LEGEND (Kevin & Anne Glastonbury) Martin Keighley 6-11-0 Warren Marston
15 OSCAR REBEL (IRE) (William Fitzgerald) Liam Burke IRE 7-11-5 Paul Carberry
16 SHENANIGAN (Rol Construction Ltd) Keith Goldsworthy 8-11-0 Bernie Wharfe
17 GALLILEO FIGARO (USA) (Across The Pond Partnership) Neil King 6-11-0 Alex Merriam
P HELENS VISION (W Morris) Tim Vaughan 6-11-3t Seamus Durack
P PAGAN STARPRINCESS (Richard Phizaclea) George Moore 5-11-5 Barry Keniry
P PURELY BY CHANCE (Lady Green) Jeff Pearce 4-10-5 Wayne Hutchinson
P DANSIMAR (Let’s Live Racing) Venetia Williams 5-11-0 Aidan Coleman
Distances: 14, sh, 3/4, hd, 6, 2, 3/4, 1 1/4, 3/4, 3/4, 9, 1 1/4, 1 3/4, 2 3/4, 17, 13
Breeder: Pierre Rives Breeding: b m Robin Des Champs (FR) - Vega IV (FR) Totes: Win: £3.00 Places:£1.70, £1.90, £6.30 Exacta: £7.80
Winning Trainer: WILLIE MULLINS Date of Birth: 15/9/56 Based: Closutton, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow Background: Born September 15, 1956, Willie Mullins was six-times amateur champion rider in Ireland and his major successes in the saddle included the 1983 John Smith’s Fox Hunters' Chase at Aintree on Atha Cliath, before taking out a training licence in 1988. He is a son of Paddy Mullins, the now retired outstanding all-round trainer, whose most famous star was Dawn Run, winner of the 1984 Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup two years later. His best horse to date has been Florida Pearl, who was placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups, won the 1998 Royal & SunAlliance Chase, the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold Cups in Ireland as well as the 2001 King George VI Chase and the 2002 totesport Bowl at Aintree. He was crowned both Champion and Leading Trainer in Ireland for the first time in the 2007/08 season. Cheltenham Festival wins (13): David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (2009 Quevega), Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle (2008 Fiveforthree), Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1995 Tourist Attraction, 2007 Ebaziyan), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (1998 Florida Pearl, 2004 Rule Supreme), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1996 Wither Or Which, 1997 Florida Pearl, 1998 Alexander Banquet, 2000 Joe Cullen, 2005 Missed That, 2008 Cousin Vinny), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2002 Scolardy) Number of Winners in Britain (2001/02-2007/08): 4; 1; 1; 2; 0; 1; 2; Wins in Britain this season: 1
Winning Jockey: Ruby Walsh Born: May 14, 1979 Background: Ruby (short for Rupert) is associated with the powerful stables of Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland. He is the son of 11-times Irish amateur champion jockey, Ted Walsh, now a trainer and television pundit. Ruby is the second of Walsh's four children and his younger sister Katie is a successful amateur. He followed in his father's footsteps when capturing the Irish amateur riders’ championship (1996-97) at the age of 19 while still studying for his Leaving Certificate. He was crowned champion Irish National Hunt jockey in his first season as a professional (1998/99) and has taken the title a further five times (2000/2001, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/7 and 2007/08). Walsh has won the John Smith's Grand National twice aboard Papillon (2000) and the Willie Mullins-trained Hedgehunter (2005). His John Smith's Grand National success aboard Hedgehunter was augmented by wins in the Welsh National (Silver Birch) and Irish Grand National (Numbersixvalverde). Chase. First Winner: Siren Song, Gowran Park, July 25, 1995 Cheltenham Festival Wins (18): David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (2009 Quevega), Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle (2008 Fiveforthree), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2008 Celestial Halo), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1998 Alexander Banquet, 2005 Missed That), Mildmay Of Flete (2002 Blowing Wind), Irish Independent Arkle (2003 Azertyuiop), Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase (2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 Master Minded), Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene, 2006 Desert Quest), Ryanair Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother, 2007 Taranis) Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland), William Hill Trophy (2006 Dun Doire), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2007 Denman), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (2007 Kauto Star) 1,000th Winner in Ireland: Rare Article, Smirnoff (Mares) Maiden Hurdle, Thurles, May 4, 2008 (became only the second jockey to complete the feat after Charlie Swan) Number of Wins in Britain (1998/99-2007/08): 1; 1; 5; 13; 77; 62; 81; 69; 73; 69; Wins in Britain This Season: 57
For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink