Tuesday, March 1, 2011
NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES MEDIA STABLE VISIT BEFORE THE FESTIVAL - TUESDAY, MARCH 1
Nigel Twiston-Davies is in a confident mood ahead of The Festival which starts two weeks today.
He is expecting to saddle a team of 20-25 runners at Cheltenham over the best four days of the season - from Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18.
The trainer said during a media visit to his Gloucestershire base near Naunton today: “The horses all look absolutely fabulous - I am very pleased and everything is going right at the moment and let’s hope that carries on.
“Imperial Commander seems brimming with health and happiness. He was in great shape last year and we cannot say he is better than that this year. I think it would be foolish to say that but he is in very good nick.
“I very much hope he can win the Cheltenham Gold Cup again - no hugely worrying horse has turned up on the scene and he has to take on the old guard again, and let’s hope he can do so successfully.
“The standard of the Gold Cup is high - they are good Gold Cups at the moment and if we can win then Imperial Commander will be up there with the best of all time.
“We have got the best horse in the country and it is nice to be able to say that. Last year we were forgotten and nobody thought we had a chance and so to win the Gold Cup was brilliant. Now I have the champion and he has to beat them all off again.
“We were confident last year and we are confident again this year because we are expected to win.
“Imperial Commander is bouncing now. He looks great and had a very good racecourse gallop the other day, and I am more than happy.
“He hasn’t got many miles on the clock and I don’t think 10 is very old. These French horses start racing at three and he was doing nothing until he was five. I don’t think age is a problem. He is not difficult to get fit - he needs a lot of work but is very honest, kind and gentle.
“I could not be happier and I don’t want to change anything. I was pleased with both his racecourse gallops - at Warwick and Kempton The Warwick one was probably better and he worked there with a lovely horse called Oscar Magic who subsequently won a Kempton bumper very easily. Jockeys are hopeless work riders as they think they have to win everything. Imperial Commander wasn’t going to beat a very fast horse over two miles.
“I fear the old brigade of Denman and Kauto Star more than Long Run and Diamond Harry but he beat them last year. He seems a worthy favourite as I cannot think of a horse who deserves to be in front of him. He will win.
“I have Khyber Kim who was second in last year’s Champion Hurdle and we hope he can go one better. He had muck on his lungs when he ran at Kempton - he has had treatment and come back really well. I think he is very much the forgotten horse. He is the second or third top-rated hurdler in the country. If anybody fancies a fiver each-way, he is the one. We have Baby Run, whom my boy Willie rides, in the Foxhunter. We have got a lot of good chances.”
Last year, Twiston-Davies was winnerless after the first three days of The Festival and getting nervous but ended the fourth day with three victories - Imperial Commander in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, Baby Run in the Christie’s Foxhunter and Pigeon Island in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase. Imperial Commander is 7/2 market leader with the sponsors for the 2011 totesport Gold Cup.
“It is going to be very hard to top that - we will be trying to as we want to win every race, not just three. To win the Gold Cup again would be just superb, while to take the Foxhunter again would be even better and let’s hope we can win the Champion Hurdle or another good race. I must not be too greedy and the handicaps are never easy. All my best chances seem to be on the last day again.
“I am very happy with both my boys - Sam and Willie - and they are doing well. I am a very proud dad - their riding never fails to amaze me - where did they get it from?
“Baby Run, at the age of 11, appears to be better than ever, while I think Sybarite is an exceptional horse - a big, imposing, really good-looking horse. We think the world of him and I think he has a very good chance in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He could be the next Imperial Commander.
“Banjaxed Girl is an exceptional mare - she battles and battles and keeps coming back for more. I am very excited about her in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle and Sam gets on well with her, while Amber Brook deserves her chance in the same race and L’Accordioniste has only been beaten once when she wasn’t right and she has come back and I would expect a big run from her too.
“Oscar Magic is a very nice horse and worked very well with Imperial Commander at Warwick. I hope he keeps improving after bolting up at Kempton. Maybe he is my Cue Card. He was a cheap horse from Ireland who has blossomed and just got better and better. I think he could be exceptional. You cannot get too excited after one run - but he has really had two runs - he beat Imperial Commander in the Warwick gallop and won from a Henderson hotpot at Kempton.
“Major Malarkey must have a chance in the National Hunt Chase - the ground was too soft for him at Haydock.”
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE TRAINER
Imperial Commander’s victory from higher-profile rivals Denman and Kauto Star in last year’s totesport Gold Cup elevated Nigel Twiston-Davies into a rare band of trainers who have won both Cheltenham’s showpiece and the John Smith’s Grand National.
Twiston-Davies’ pair of Grand National triumphs came with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree four years later and he has come a long way since starting out in 1981 combining farming with a training permit.
Twiston-Davies was born on May 16, 1957, at Crickhowell near Abergavenny in Wales, where his father William farmed next door to the grandfather of Peter Scudamore.
He went to Radley school, alongside future trainers such as Kim Bailey, Oliver and Simon Sherwood and the late Mikey Heaton-Ellis. He then worked for trainers such as Richard Head, Fred Rimell, David Nicholson and Bailey while riding as an amateur, registering 17 wins under Rules and the same number in point-to-points.
Among those successes was Twiston-Davies’s first as a trainer when scoring on Last Of The Foxes in a maiden hunter chase at Hereford on February 3, 1982. The family-bred mare Mrs Muck was an early flagbearer and gradually Twiston-Davies became more trainer than farmer before taking out a full licence in 1989.
Babil gave him a first success as a fully-fledged trainer at Newbury in December, 1989, with Peter Scudamore in the saddle. The former champion jockey went on to join forces with Twiston-Davies at Grange Hill Farm near Naunton in Gloucestershire to build up the training operation although the pair parted company in 2002.
With a steep uphill gallop, from which the action can now be viewed from a double-decker bus, Twiston-Davies adopted and developed the pioneering techniques of Martin Pipe, such as interval training and regular blood tests for his string, enabling him to rapidly rise through the training ranks.
Bindaree’s Grand National success in 2002 marked a turning point for Twiston-Davies, who revealed afterwards that he had been intending to give up training, but despite "having a bigger debt than Argentina" after buying out Scudamore, the Aintree victory made him have a change of heart. Having jokingly told BBC frontman Des Lynam that “I don’t do interviews” after Earth Summit’s win, Twiston-Davies has subsequently become much more media friendly.
He is now assisted by his longstanding stable jockey and business partner Carl Llewellyn and the yard’s tally stands at 13 Festival wins after an unforgettable couple of hours on Friday, March 19, 2010. Firstly, Imperial Commander landed the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, then stablemate Baby Run - ridden by Twiston-Davies’ son Sam (then 17) - took the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase and Pigeon Island completed a three-timer for the yard in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap.
Sam Twiston-Davies, now 18, turned professional after last year’s John Smith Grand National meeting in April and is regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the weighing room, while his 16-year-old brother Willie has also enjoyed success in the saddle and the amateur rider is set to partner Baby Run in this year’s Christie’s Foxhunter Chase.
Twiston-Davies shared the Thomas Pink Award for leading trainer at the 1993 Festival with two wins.
Away from The Festival, his long list of big-race successes includes three Scottish Grand Nationals and two Coral Welsh Nationals. His 1,000th winner came at Stratford in October, 2006.
He is on the way to enjoying his best season in terms of numbers of British winners, with 84 (up to Monday, February 28) from a 100 horses in training as against 87 achieved in both 2007/08 and 1999/00.
NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES’ 13 WINNERS AT THE FESTIVAL
Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase: 1992 Tipping Tim
Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle: 1993 Gaelstrom, 2004 Fundamentalist
RSA Chase: 1993 Young Hustler
Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: 1994 Arctic Kinsman
JCB Triumph Hurdle: 1998 Upgrade
Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle: 2000 Rubhahunish, 2008 Ballyfitz
Ryanair Chase: 2009 Imperial Commander
National Hunt Chase: 2009 Tricky Trickster
totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup: 2010 Imperial Commander
Christie’s Foxhunter Chase: 2010 Baby Run
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase: 2010 Pigeon Island
MOST SUCCESSFUL CURRENT TRAINERS AT THE FESTIVAL
37 wins Nicky Henderson
27 Paul Nicholls
18 Edward O'Grady IRE
17 Willie Mullins IRE
17 Jonjo O’Neill
13 Philip Hobbs
13 NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES
11 Alan King
9 David Elsworth
9 Ferdy Murphy
NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES ENTRIES AT THE 2011 FESTIVAL
Tuesday, March 15
Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase - Beat The Boys, Billie Magern, Crescent Island, Mahogany Blaze, Pigeon Island, Razor Royale, Tramantano
Stan James Champion Hurdle - Khyber Kim
Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase - Cootehill, Frontier Dancer, Have You Seen Me, Swincombe Rock
*David Nicholson Mares Hurdle - Amber Brook, Banjaxed Girl, L’Accordioniste
Wednesday, March 16
141st Year of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup - Major Malarkey
Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle - Ackertac, Astracad
RSA Chase - Billie Magern
Coral Cup - Ackertac, Astracad
*Weatherbys Champion Bumper - Go All The Way, Oscar Magic, What A Warrior
Thursday, March 17
Jewson Novices’ Chase - Cootehill
Pertemps Final - Ackertac, Kayf Aramis, Made In Japan, South O'The Border, Viking Blond
Ryanair Chase - Mahogany Blaze
Ladbrokes World Hurdle - Khyber Kim
Byrne Group Plate - Crescent Island, Mahogany Blaze, Pigeon Island, Tramantano
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase - Billie Magern, Hunters Ploy, Pigeon Island, Rory Boy
Friday, March 18
Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle - Astracad
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Ackertac, L'Accordioniste, Swingkeel, Sybarite
totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup - Imperial Commander
*Christie’s Foxhunter Chase - Baby Run
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle - Ackertac, Astracad, L'Accordioniste, Platin Grounds,
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) - Pigeon Island, Tramantano
Likely runners in bold italics
*Entries close today for the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Christie’s Foxhunter Chase
6 ch g Anshan - Clonsingle Native (IRE) (Be My Native) (USA)
Form: 51622-115B02 Owner: Mark Aspey and Steve Catton Breeder: Jerry Capliss
Five starts last season yielded a Ludlow bumper win and this campaign began on a good note with novice hurdle successes at Uttoxeter in October and November. Came fifth to Cross Kennon in the Listed Jardine Lloyd Thompson Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on November 13 and most recently was a good second in a 3m 1f handicap hurdle at Doncaster on February 23. Likely to be aimed at the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle or Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Race Record: Starts: 11; Wins: 3; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 0; Win & Place Prize Money: £10,847
AMBER BROOK (IRE)
10 ch m Alderbrook - Me Grannys Endoors (IRE) (Tremblant)
Owner: The Yes No Wait Sorries Breeder: Larry Mealiffe
A great flagbearer for the stable whose five career wins include success in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) at Cheltenham on October 15. She made her debut over fences when third in an Exeter mares’ novice chase in December. She finished 12th to Quevega in the 2009 David Nicholson Mares Hurdle and fourth in the 2010 race at The Festival and is entered the 2011 race.
Race Record: Starts: 30; Wins: 5; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money: £98,011
5 br g Cadoudal (FR) - Astre Eria (FR) (Garde Royale)
Form: 2550-1131866 Owner: Raymond Mould Breeder: Charlotte Thoreau
French-bred who enjoyed handicap hurdle wins last year at Hereford in April and Aintree the following month. After a break, returned to finish third at Market Rasen in September and then win the sportingbet.com Sponsors The Conditional Jockeys Championship Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham by four lengths on October 15. His next three starts have also come at Cheltenham, finishing behind Menorah in both the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle in November and Grade Two Stan James International Hurdle in December, before finishing sixth to Bobs Worth in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle on New Year’s Day. Likely to be aimed at the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle or Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Race Record: Starts: 11; Wins: 3; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £20,762
BABY RUN (FR)
11 b g Baby Turk - Run For Laborie (FR) (Lesotho (USA))
Form: 3125/2212/1/3/2132/1211U-11 Owner: Nigel Twiston-Davies Breeder: Haras de Preaux
Bought by his original owner, the late Peter Orton, for 32,000 guineas as a three-year-old at Doncaster sales, Baby Run won one of his four bumper starts on his second outing at Exeter in December, 2003. He ran four times in novice hurdles the following season, winning over two miles at Haydock in December, 2004. He was sent chasing the next season but only had one start, when successful in an Aintree novices’ event in October, 2005. He was off for over a year before reappearing to finish third in the Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in December, 2006, and was then out of action for over two years. He reappeared in a Bangor hunter chase in February, 2009, finishing second in the trainer’s colours with his son Sam in the plate and went one better next time out that month at Ludlow. Hethird in the 2009 Christie’s Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham and finished second the following month at Prestbury Park before landing the Cox’s Cash & Carry Champion Hunter Chase at the Punchestown Festival. Last season, he won a Warwick hunter chase on his comeback before going on to land the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle less than an hour after stablemate Imperial Commander had won the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. After Sam turned professional, his brother Willie has taken over as Baby Run’s pilot this season and they head to The Festival on the back of hunter chase wins at Wetherby on February 5 and Haydock a fortnight later. Race Record: Starts: 21; Wins: 9; 2nd: 7; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £105,876
7 b m King’s Theatre (IRE) - Belle Magello (FR) (Exit To Nowhere (USA))
Form: 11211121-2201 Owner: Jill Scott, John Phillips, Sarah MacEchern
Breeder: Robert Chugg and John Fowler
Banjaxed Girl owes her unusual name to her joint-breeder, the late County Meath trainer John Fowler, who always warned guests at his house to take care because the bathroom lock was “banjaxed”. Under the guidance of trainer Fergal O’Brien, the King’s Theatre mare won the third of her three point-to-point starts at Ashorne in Warwickshire in May, 2009. She has not looked back since winning a Warwick mares’ bumper from Sparky May on her debut under Rules in November, 2009. She won another bumper at Wetherby that month before finishing second on her novice hurdling debut at Ludlow the following month. A victory at Ludlow and two successes at Southwell followed before she gained her first black type when second in the Listed EBF Mares’ Final at Newbury in March, 2010, and went on to win the Listedraceodds.com Mares Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham a month later. She finished second in handicaps on her first two starts this term before being well-beaten in the Grade Two Unicoin Homes Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on December 11 but returned to winning ways in a Listed mares’ hurdle at Sandown on January 8. Likely to be aimed at the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle.
Race Record: Starts: 12; Wins: 7; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 0; Win & Place Prize Money: £62,673
BEAT THE BOYS (IRE)
10 gr g Portrait Gallery (IRE) - Portia´s Delight (IRE) (The Parson)
Form: 6/4877/12311P1/3PFP/1P1PPP-572 Owner: New Club Ladies
Breeder: Denis Beary
A six-time winner over fences who enjoyed his biggest success in the Listed Rehearsal Chase over three miles at Newcastle in November, 2009. Has made three appearances so far this season, with a good performance on his most recent outing to go down by six lengths to Eric’s Charm in the totesport Masters Handicap Chase at Sandown on February 5. Entered in the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase.
Race Record: Starts: 25; Wins: 6; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £90,690
7 b g Alderbrook-Outfield (Monksfield)
Form: 95/2326P/3251111F77-F11113502 Owner/Breeder: Roger Nicholls
A full-brother to stable stalwarts Ollie Magern and Petite Margot, Billie Magern has also done his owner-breeder Roger Nicholls proud. It took him 11 starts to win but he rattled up a four-timer in novice hurdles between July and September, 2009, and again shone the following summer, when winning four consecutive novice chases between June and September, 2010. He most recently ran second, beaten six lengths, to Master Of The Hall in the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot on February 19. Likely to be aimed at the RSA Chase or Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
Race Record: Starts: 26; Wins: 8; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £53,491
7 b g Alflora (IRE) - Dancing Dove (IRE) (Denel (FR))
Form: 45339425/12110183506-11346 Owner: Felicity Griffin Breeder: B And I McCelland
Winning Irish point-to-pointer who has gone on to record six victories under Rules. Enjoyed his biggest career success in Listed Summer Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen in July, 2009. Sent chasing this season and won his first two starts at Ffos Las and Stratford. Last seen out when sixth to The Giant Bolster in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, January 29. Holds entries in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase and the Jewson Novices’ Chase.
Race Record: Starts: 24; Wins: 6; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £57,129
CRESCENT ISLAND (IRE)
8 b g Presenting - Island Crest (Jupiter Island)
Form: 1r613221/r313423P/15 Owner: Sarah Bays, Jill Scott, Sarah MacEchern
Breeder: Jane Lane & Cecily Purcel
Successful in a bumper, twice over hurdles and twice over fences. Finished third in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase at The Festival in 2009. Missed last season, but has bounced back this year by taking an extended two-and-a -half mile handicap chase at Wetherby on February 5 and was last seen out when fifth to Quinz in the Grade Three Racing Post Chase over three miles at Kempton on Saturday. Likely to be aimed at the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase..
Race Record: Starts: 18; Wins: 5; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £45,428
GO ALL THE WAY (IRE)
6 b g Milan - Kings Rose (IRE) (King´s Ride)
Form: -2 Owner: Ann & Alan Potts Breeder: Brian Gleeson
Bred by RTE racing pundit Brian Gleeson and his wife Claire, Go All The Way finished a good second on his only start to date in a Punchestown bumper in April, 2010, for former trainer John Kiely. The Milan gelding was subsequently sold to owners Ann and Alan Potts for £310,000 at Doncaster in May. Will be aimed at Weatherbys Champion Bumper. Race Record: Starts: 1; Wins: -; 2nd: 1; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £1,699
HAVE YOU SEEN ME (IRE)
8 b g Beneficial - Silent Supreme (IRE) (Supreme Leader)
Form: 100/4/331UP-1243 Owner: The Maple Hurst Partnership Breeder: Pat & Oliver McCarthy
Successful in a bumper, over hurdles and in a beginners’ chase at Towcester in October, 2010. Has run in three novice chases on his last three outings, including when fourth to Hell’s Bay in the Grade Two Tigmi Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Entered in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Race Record: Starts: 13; Wins: 3; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £14,387
IMPERIAL COMMANDER (IRE)
10 b g Flemensfirth (USA) - Ballinlovane (Le Moss)
Form: 146173/114/161/P251U-1 Owner: Our Friends In The North Breeder: Laurence Flynn
He was overlooked by many going into last year’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, but Imperial Commander heads into this year’s contest as the defending champion following his seven-length victory over Denman last year. His ownership partnership bought the Flemensfirth gelding through bloodstock agent Kevin Ross for a reported £32,000 after an insurance payout following the death of their previous horse Bobby Dazzler. Imperial Commander scored for his owners by eight lengths in a point-to-point at Summerhill in April, 2005, and made his debut for Nigel Twiston-Davies at Cheltenham in October, 2006, when he posted a convincing eight-length victory in an extended two-mile bumper. He returned to Prestbury Park the following month when fourth to Massini’s Maguire in a novice hurdle and made a third consecutive appearance at the course the following month when taking sixth in a Grade Two novices’ hurdle at The International. In January, 2007, he recorded a convincing 18-length verdict in a novices’ hurdle at Newcastle and, stepped up to Grade One company, finished seventh in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival and third in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in April. His three appearances in the 2007/08 campaign were all at Cheltenham, including wins over fences in October and November before finishing fourth of four the next month. Growing pains forced him to miss the rest of the season but he returned to Cheltenham in November, 2008, when powering to victory in the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup. He then failed to give his true running when sixth to Kauto Star in the Grade One King George VI Chase at Kempton but proved himself a chaser of the highest order with a two-length victory over Voy Por Ustedes in the Grade One Ryanair Chase at the 2009 Festival. He was pulled up in testing ground in the Punchestown Gold Cup before having a summer break. He returned last season in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, 2009, when losing out by a nose in an agonisingly close photo-finish with Kauto Star and was then a remote fifth to that rival in the King George VI Chase at Kempton. He was then given a break before landing his sixth, and most significant, victory at Cheltenham when the impressive winner of the Gold Cup, in which Kauto Star fell. He already looked beaten when unseating rider Paddy Brennan in the Grade One totesport Bowl at Aintree on his next start. His only run this season was when beating Tidal Bay by a length and a quarter in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 20, although he has recently had a couple of racecourse gallops, the latest at Kempton on Saturday. Race Record: Starts: 18; 1st: 8; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £684,698
9 b g Kayf Tara-Ara (Birthright)
Jump Form: P3/24262111P2/363452550-256483 Owner/Breeder: Isobel Phipps Coltman
A four-time Flat winner, Kayf Aramis had his biggest moment over hurdles when winning the 2009 Pertemps Final at The Festival when trained by Venetia Williams. He has not won over jumps since then but has been running creditably in good company over hurdles and most recently finished third to Cross Kennon in a Grade Two Hurdle at Haydock on February 19. Entered in the Pertemps Final.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 27; 1st: 3; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £99,619
9 b g Mujahid (USA) - Jungle Rose (Shirley Heights)
Jump Form: 1404/20500/51121-4 Owner: Caroline Mould Breeder: Mr & Mrs Peter Player
Originally trained by Henry Candy, Khyber Kim won twice as a three-year-old on the Flat and finished second in a Windsor Listed contest in August, 2006. He subsequently joined Nicky Henderson’s nearby Lambourn yard and made a winning jumping debut when beating Theatre Girl by three lengths in an introductory hurdle at Newbury in December, 2007. Stepping up to Grade Two company, he was fourth in the Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster the following month before taking 10th behind Captain Cee Bee in the Grade One Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival. He ended the 2007/08 season with a fourth in a Grade Two hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting before leaving Henderson’s stable that summer to link up with Nigel Twiston-Davies, to join the Moulds’ other jumpers. He was second in a Listed handicap hurdle at Newbury in November, 2008, and otherwise enjoyed a forgettable season that saw a return to smaller obstacles after he finished fifth in a Ludlow beginners’ chase on his only start over fences. He was a more promising fifth in the Grade Three Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in May, 2009, and went on to enjoy a great 2009/10 season. He returned with a two-length victory in the Grade Three Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November, followed up with an easy Grade Two success at the course a month later before having a break of over three months until the Stan James Champion Hurdle, in which he came three and a half lengths second to Binocular. Last season was rounded off with five-length success from Muirhead in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle. His only run this season was when fourth to Binocular in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on January 15. He returned to the Sunbury course on Saturday for a racecourse gallop. Jump Race Record: Starts: 15; 1st: 4; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 0; Win & Place Prize Money: £342,994
6 b m Tikkanen (USA) - Crystal Chord (IRE) (Accordion)
Form: 1-1116 Owner: David Maxwell Breeder: Jeremy Maxwell
Winner of four of her five starts with two victories in bumpers and two successes over hurdles, including under 11st 9lb in a handicap at Cheltenham in December. Stepped up in class to contest a Grade Two mares’ hurdle at Ascot in January but disappointed when finishing last of the six finishers. Holds entries in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Race Record: Starts: 5; Wins: 4; 2nd: -; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £12,661
MAHOGANY BLAZE (FR)
9 b g Kahyasi-Mahogany River (Irish River (FR))
Owner: Lorna Berryman Breeder: Le Thenney S A
Five successes include the 2007 Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton and a 2m 1f novices’ chase at Cheltenham in April, 2008. He has not scored since then although his efforts include sixth place behind Master Minded in the 2009 sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase, second to the same rival in last year’s Game Spirit Chase at Newbury and close third in the Grade Three victorchandler.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Likely to be aimed at the Byrne Group Plate or Ryanair Chase.
Race Record: Starts: 45; 1st: 5; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 7; Win & Place Prize Money: £196,165
MAJOR MALARKEY (IRE)
8 b g Supreme Leader - Valley (IRE) (Flemensfirth (USA))
Form: 8746141/020UF0/131P Owner: Baker Dodd & Cooke Breeder: Bill Ronayne
A dual handicap hurdle winner, he has shone in staying chases this season. He won a three-mile novices’ handicap chase at Chepstow on November 3 and a similar contest at Newbury on December 15. Most recently was pulled up, when hampered by his falling stablemate Jaunty Journey in the Grade Three totesport.com Grand National Trial at Haydock on February 19. Entered in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup.
Race Record: Starts: 17; 1st: 4; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £21,587
OSCAR MAGIC (IRE)
4 b/br g Oscar (IRE) - Just An Illusion (IRE) (Shernazar)
Form: -1 Owner: Mrs Lorna Berryman Breeder: Niall Radford
Bought for €16,000 at Goffs last June, Oscar Magic had already made an impression on a racecourse before his first start on Saturday. He had taken part in a racecourse gallop at Warwick with Imperial Commander last month and justified good support on his debut at Kempton on Saturday when easily beating 16 rivals by three and a quarter lengths in a bumper. Entered in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
Race Record: Starts: 1; 1st: 1; 2nd: 0; 3rd: 0; Win & Place Prize Money: £2,055
8 gr g Daylami (IRE) - Morina (USA) (Lyphard (USA))
Jump Form: 547423/212332211135135510F15/688/2F222F519-397
Owner: Raymond Mould Breeder: Sir Eric Parker
Pigeon Island failed to win in nine Flat starts for trainer Henry Candy, although he reached the frame on three occasions, including when third to subsequent St Leger winner Sixties Icon in a Windsor maiden. He made his debut for Nigel Twiston-Davies in November, 2006, but had to wait until the following June for a first success in a Worcester maiden hurdle. He enjoyed a productive summer of 2007, rattling up a hat-trick of wins, and went on to Grade Two glory in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton in February, 2008, recording another novice hurdle success at Cheltenham’s April meeting two months later. He was sent novice chasing last season and five consecutive visits to Cheltenham brought three seconds and two falls before landing the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase to complete a three-timer for the stable on the Friday of last year’s Festival. He has been beaten in three starts this season, most recently when seventh to Poquelin in the Grade Three Vote A P Gold Cup at Cheltenham on December 11. Likely to be aimed at the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 42; 1st: 8; 2nd: 9; 3rd: 6; Win & Place Prize Money: £186,848
RAZOR ROYALE (IRE)
9 b g Oscar (IRE) - Maypole Gayle (Strong Gale)
Jump Form: 12144476/F313/912471P4-0P6 Owner: Colin Cornes Breeder: Jeremiah Daly
Won a point-to-point at Dundrum in March, 2007, before making winning start for his new connections in a Perth bumper in September that year. Made a successful hurdling debut at Cheltenham two months later. Sent over fences in the 2008/09 season, he had a first success in Bangor beginners’ chase on February 25, 2009. He won an amateurs’ handicap chase at Cheltenham in November, 2009, and had his biggest success in last season’s Racing Post Chase at Kempton and went on to finish fourth in the Scottish Grand National. After being pulled up in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November, he returned on Saturday to finish sixth in the Racing Post Chase. Entered in the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase.
Race Record: Starts: 23 Wins: 5; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £145,793
RORY BOY (USA)
6 b g Aldebaran - Purr Pleasure (USA) (El Gran Senor (USA))
Jump Form: 21227934225/601123492-6556 Owner: Colin Cornes Breeder: John and Iveta Kerber
A $165,000 yearling, who was bought for 100,000 guineas as a two-year-old at the Breeze-Up Sale at Tattersalls, Rory Boy showed little in maidens won by Twice Over and Raven’s Pass on his two Flat starts for Ed Dunlop. His first hurdling success came as a three-year-old at Perth in July, 2008, and he scored on his debut over fences in a Wetherby novices’ handicap chase in October, 2009, and followed up in a four-year-old’s novices’ chase at Warwick the following month and went on to be third in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton. He has run four times this season and last time out finished sixth in a handicap chase at Kempton on Saturday. Entered in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 24; Wins: 3; 2nd: 7; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £42,546
6 ch g Double Trigger (IRE) - Soloism (Sulaafah (USA))
Form: 82291-114 Owner: Mills & Mason Partnership Breeder: M C And Mrs Yeo
Triumphed in one of his five outings over hurdles but has proved more proficient over fences with victories at Perth and Huntingdon in the autumn of 2010. However, was a well-beaten fourth behind Aiteen Thirtythree when last seen out at Newbury in November. Entered in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Race Record: Starts: 8; Wins: 3; 2nd: 2; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £18,270
5 b or br g Dark Moondancer - Haida III (FR) (Video Rock (FR))
Form: -1322 Owner: Raymond Mould Breeder: Mme Andre and Bruno Vagne
A French-bred AQPS horse (not a pure thoroughbred), Sybarite made an auspicious debut when sent off favourite for a Uttoxeter bumper on September 10 and strolled to a 12-length victory. He went on to be third in a bumper at Cheltenham the following month and - pitched in at the deep end on his hurdling debut - finished seven lengths second to Champion Court in the Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on November 14. He was a length second to Chablais in a novice hurdle at Kempton on January 14. Entered in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and galloped alongside Imperial Commander in a racecourse workout at Kempton on Saturday. Race Record: Starts: 4; 1st: 1; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £8,559
VIKING BLOND (FR)
6 ch g Varese (FR) - Sweet Jaune (FR) (Le Nain Jaune (FR))
Form: 4/6931212-P6230 Owner: Caroline Mould Breeder: Dominique Le Baron
Staying handicap hurdler who is suited by some give underfoot. Recorded victories at Exeter and Chepstow last season. Winless in five outings so far this season but put up a good performance to take second in the Listed Jardine Lloyd Thompson Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November. Entered in the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle. Race Record: Starts: 13; Wins: 2; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £18,526
WHAT A WARRIOR (IRE)
4 b g Westerner - Be Right (IRE) (Be My Native (USA))
Form: -301 Owner: Mr & Mrs Gordon Pink Breeder: James F Barry
Finished third on his debut in an Exeter junior bumper on December 5 and was then 10th behind Keys when stepped up in class for the Listed EBF High Sheriff of Gloucestershire’s Junior Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Was sent off at 50/1 when beating 15 rivals at Warwick on February 12. Entered in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
Race Record: Starts: 3; 1st: 1; 2nd: 0; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £1,999
THE FESTIVAL 2011
First Day - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - Centenary Day - (Old Course)
1.30 Stan James Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110y £100,000
2.05 The Irish Independent Arkle Chase (Grade One) 2m £130,000
2.40 Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase (Grade Three) 3m 110y £75,000
3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110y £370,000
4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase (Handicap) 3m 7f £40,000
4.40 David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle (Grade Two) 2m 4f £70,000
5.15 Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 110y £50,000
Second Day - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Ladies Day - (Old Course)
1.30 141st Year Of The National Hunt Chase (Amateurs) 4m £75,000
2.05 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 5f £100,000
2.40 RSA Chase (Grade One) 3m 110y £130,000
3.20 sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade One) 2m £320,000
4.00 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade Three) 2m 5f £70,000
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 110y £60,000
5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade One) 2m 110y £55,000
Third Day - Thursday, March 17, 2011 St Patrick’s Day - (New Course)
1.30 Jewson Novices' Chase (Grade Two) 2m 4f £90,000
2.05 Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) 3m £70,000
2.40 Ryanair Chase (Grade One) 2m 5f £260,000
3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £260,000
4.00 Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade Three) 2m 5f £75,000
4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateurs) 3m 1f 110y £50,000
5.15 St Patrick's Day Derby (Charity Flat Race) 1m 5f -
Fourth Day - Friday, March 18, 2011 Gold Cup Day - (New Course)
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 1f £100,000
2.05 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 1f £70,000
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £100,000
3.20 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (Chase) (Grade One) 3m 2f 110y £500,000
4.00 Christie's Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Amateurs) 3m 2f 110y £35,000
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 110y £45,000
5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110y £75,000
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY 2011 - £3,375,000 ( at an average of £125,000 per race)