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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Meeting - The April Meeting, Dates - Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, April 14 - 16
First race -2.10pm (Wednesday & Thursday), 5.00pm (Friday)
Tickets available from www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 08445 793 003

John Smith’s Grand National hero Don’t Push It will parade alongside totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander during racing at Cheltenham this Friday evening, April 16.

Both horses have spearheaded an outstanding season for Gloucestershire-based trainers. Don’t Push It gave Temple Guiting handler Jonjo O’Neill an emotional first success in the Aintree feature on Saturday, while Imperial Commander powered to a seven-length victory over Denman at The Festival for Guiting Power-based Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Andy Clifton, Cheltenham's Communications Manager, said: "It has been a great season for many Gloucestershire trainers, but to have both the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and the John Smith's Grand National winner trained locally is a demonstration of the strength of racing in the county. We're delighted that the connections of both Imperial Commander and Don't Push It have agreed to parade their horses on Friday evening, which will give Cheltenham racegoers a chance to see the two local heroes and celebrate their wonderful achievements in the last few weeks."

In addition, there will also be two World Darts champions on show on Friday, with Dennis "The Menace" Priestley and Keith Deller putting on a darts master class in the Festival Restaurant and offering racegoers the chance to take them on during the course of the evening.

Cheltenham’s three-day April Meeting kicks off on Wednesday and a six-race card features the £47,500 Grade Two Masterson Holdings Silver Trophy Steeple Chase (3.55pm). Among the eight declarations for this contest are Voy Por Ustedes, the 2007 Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase hero, as well as From Dawn To Dusk, who makes a quick reappearance after scoring at Aintree on Saturday. An additional treat for racegoers will see the recently-retired Well Chief, winner of The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy at The Festival in 2004 and twice runner-up in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, parade during racing.

Wednesday’s programme kicks off at 2.10pm with the Messier-Dowty Landing Gear Juvenile Novices' Hurdle Race and runs through to 5.05pm with the concluding Cheltenham Racing Ltd Novices' Chase.

Brightwells auctioneers will be holding their prestigious April Sale in the Centaur after racing on Wednesday evening, starting at 6.30pm.

A six-race programme also takes place on Thursday, April 15, when the highlight is the £30,000 Listed Raceodds.com Mares' Handicap Hurdle (3.20pm) while Friday’s evening programme kicks off at 5.00pm and runs through to 7.50pm.

The going at Cheltenham is currently good and with a dry forecast for the next few days, the course is being watered as necessary to maintain conditions.


Dancing David proved himself capable of mixing it at the top level last season and the colt is pleasing trainer Brian Meehan ahead of the £65,000 Group Three Racing Post breezeupbonus.com Craven Stakes, staged over a mile at Newmarket on Thursday, April 15, for which there are nine declarations.

Meehan’s charge improved with each of his three starts as a juvenile and followed a Newbury maiden win with a fine fourth behind StanJames.com 2000 Guineas favourite St Nicholas Abbey in the Group One Racing Post Trophy over a mile at Doncaster on October 24.

Dancing David was two and three quarter lengths behind runner-up Elusive Pimpernel on that occasion and is set to renew rivalry with the John Dunlop-trained colt on the Rowley Mile.

Meehan revealed this morning: “Dancing David has done very well through the winter and I am looking forward to running him on Thursday. I was very pleased with his effort in the Racing Post Trophy last year - you could not ask for better, really.

“After the Craven, he is in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas but we are not leaning one way or the other at the moment. We will see how he does on Thursday before deciding whether he goes back to Newmarket for the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas but we are very pleased with him and we think a lot of him.”

Peter Chapple-Hyam saddled Morana to take fifth in the Group One Racing Post Trophy, a length and a quarter behind Dancing David, and the Newmarket trainer is hoping for a good show from the Alhaarth colt, who he feels will eventually benefit from more of a stamina test.

Chapple-Hyam said today: “Everything has gone really well through the winter with Morana. We have had no problems with him whatsoever and he is in really good form, which he would need to be against Elusive Pimpernel, who I think could be the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas winner. We would have every chance if you took him out but of course you cannot be frightened of one horse.

“Morana is a nice horse but he is more of a stayer than a miler, in my opinion. He is so well at the moment that we might as well run him. He would need to win for us to consider going back there for the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas but we are hoping for a good run before stepping him up in distance afterwards.

“He is in the Dante at York and the hope, although it is a long way off, is that he might prove to be a horse for the Derby. It might be a pipe dream but you never know.”

With eight Craven Stakes wins to his name, Sir Michael Stoute is the most successful trainer in the race’s history. The Freemason Lodge handler relies on Markazzi this time, the colt having won a Leicester maiden before finishing in mid-division behind Oasis Dancer in the Tattersalls Timeform Million at the course in October.

The field also includes the Barry Hill-trained Critical Moment, Lucky General from the Richard Hannon stable, the David Simcock-trained Dubawi Phantom, Mont Agel, trained by Michael Bell and the Paul D’Arcy-trained Edinburgh Knight.

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