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Monday, March 16, 2009


The inaugural running of the groundbreaking Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes takes place at Kempton Park this Wednesday, 18th March, and any one of the maximum field of 14 horses that have been declared would be eligible to line up in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in May, if they were to win the 1mile 1 furlong contest.

John Gosden has declared two in the race, Close Alliance and Mafaaz, the former having won his only start on the all-weather in October. Mafaaz is already a winner at Kempton Park, when winning his maiden on his debut and the colt went on to be fifth in the Tattersalls Millions Race, four places in front of Sohcahtoa, who will represent Richard Hannon in the race, along with Weald Park, seventh in last season’s Group 1 Racing Post Trophy.

John Best is no stranger to having runners in America, and Deposer, who had two starts at Keeneland in October, will line up with Steve Drowne on board. Spring Of Fame and Akhenaten have both been recent winners on the all-weather already this month for Mikael Magnusson and Mick Channon respectively. Karl Burke saddles two in the race, Markyg, who has won his last two starts, both at Kempton Park and Keeptheboatafloat, who has recently been running in Dubai as does his fellow Middleham trainer Mark Johnson. Haashed, unbeaten on his only start at Lingfield in November and Mastery, another winner on his debut will represent the trainer.

The race is worth £80,000, the most valuable race run at Kempton Park on the all-weather surface, and the winning horse is automatically guaranteed a berth in this year’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. A bonus of $100,000 is awarded to the connections of the winning horse if they run in the “Run for the Roses” on 2nd May. The race is an enhancement of a conditions race that was run on the same day last year, won by Group 2 winner Campanologist.

Brian Clifford, Director of Racing at Kempton Park commented, “I am thrilled by the quantity and quality of the horses that have been declared for the race, which has taken two years of planning. The race is unique and is the first step between establishing a long term link between European and American racing and I am very much looking forward to Wednesday.”

It is free entry for those racegoers attending the inaugural running of the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park on 18th March provided customers visit the Kempton Park website,www.kempton.co.uk and register for the voucher. Amy Starkey, Managing Director of Kempton Park added, “We are offering free entry to everyone who wants to come and watch this unique race as an extra incentive to give everyone, both fans of racing and new people to the sport, a taster of how exhilarating a visit to the races can be.”

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

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