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Thursday, June 3, 2004


Fourteen three-year-old colts were declared today for the Saturday's Vodafone Derby, leaving Epsom Downs Racecourse managing director Stephen Wallis "very happy".

Besides the expected defection of former ante-post favourite Yeats, Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien also pulled out Moscow Ballet and will now be represented only by Meath.

Wallis said: "Apart from Yeats, none of the big guns are missing and, while disappointed that the horse won't be here, I quite understand Aidan's reasoning.

"However good an athlete, if you are not 100% you won't win an Olympic Sprint title, just as you would not take a car with an "iffy" engine to Monte Carlo, and, similarly, if a horse is not at the peak of condition, there is no point in risking him in the Vodafone Derby.

"It is going to a tremendous Classic on Saturday and I am also delighted that the race before the Vodafone Derby, the £75,000 Vodafone Dash Handicap, has attracted a maximum field of 20."

The 2004 Vodafone Derby, worth £1,359,000, is Europe's richest race by far and Saturday sees the 225th running of the world's most famous Flat race.

Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course at Epsom, went around the track on Thursday morning and confirmed that the ground remains GOOD.

He said: "The going is fractionally on the slow side of good and, while they are now talking about the possibility of the chance of a drop of rain tonight, I am very relaxed about the whole thing.

"We did a little bit of watering yesterday just to balance things up, but the taps will definitely be staying off now and the forecast is to warm up as the week progresses, with temperatures expected to reach 23 degrees on Saturday."

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid Abdulla, walked the course at Epsom this morning and afterwards expressed himself "bullish" about the prospects of American Post winning the Vodafone Derby.

He said: "The track is in great condition and I would describe it as on the easy side of good.

"Ideally, I would either like to see them water again or for the almighty to do his stuff between now and Saturday, but that is probably not going to happen and I would imagine that we will end up with good, fast ground, so nobody can have any real complaints."

American Post, a somewhat fortunate winner of the French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp, is unproven beyond a mile, but Grimthorpe is "very hopeful" that the French challenger, whose trainer Criquette Head-Maarek is having her first Derby runner, will get the longer distance. Her father Alec Head saddled Lavandin to win the Blue Riband in 1956.

He added: "There are three Derby winners - Sea Bird, Bering and Shirley Heights - plus Sadler's Wells in his pedigree, and his dam comes from the same family as Park Hill Stakes winner Trampship, so there is every reason to be optimistic that he will stay.

"People say that it is an open Derby, but how many Group 1 winners are in the race? Answer one' - American Post, who is, in fact, a triple Group 1 winner. So nobody can deny that he doesn't have the form."


Class A, Group One, Showcase Race, Epsom Downs, Total Prize Fund £1,359,000 4.20pm, Saturday, June 5, 2004, one mile, four furlongs and about ten yards. Weights: for three-year-old colts 9st and fillies 8st 9lb, closed December 4, 2002 (588 entries), first forfeit stage March 2, 2004 (140 entries remained), £8,000 second entry stage April 7, 2004, second forfeit stage May 19, 2004 (25 remain), £75,000 supplementary entry stage May 31, 2004 (two added) , five-day confirmation stage noon, May 31, 2004 (14 confirmed plus two supplementary entries), final declaration stage 10am June 3, 2004 (14 declared).

1) 2111-111 AMERICAN POST Khalid Abdulla Criquette Head-Maarek FR Richard Hughes 13
2) 2-52 COMING AGAIN (IRE) Abdulla BuHaleeba Barry Hills Michael Hills Michael Hills 14
3) 114- ELSHADI (IRE) v Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Marcus Tregoning Martin Dwyer 4
4) 3-1311 GATWICK (IRE) Henry Ponsonby Mick Channon Richard Quinn 9
5) 00031-211121 HAZYVIEW Tom Mohan Neville Callaghan Eddie Ahern 12
6) 12-13 LET THE LION ROAR v Neil Jones John Dunlop Michael Kinane 3
7) 02 MASSIF CENTRALE Raymond Tooth David Elsworth Dane O'Neill 10
8) 31-221 MEATH (IRE) Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE Jamie Spencer 1
9) 21-1 NORTH LIGHT (IRE) Ballymacoll Stud Farm Ltd Sir Michael Stoute Kieren Fallon 6
10) 32-11 PERCUSSIONIST (IRE) Exors of the late Robert Sangster John Gosden Kevin Darley 5
11) 04(3)(1)-1 PUKKA (IRE) Fittocks Stud Luca Cumani Darryll Holland 2
12) 3113-2 RULE OF LAW (USA) t Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor Kerrin McEvoy 11
13) 1-16 SALFORD CITY (IRE) Michael Tabor David Elsworth Johnny Murtagh 8
14) 110-2 SNOW RIDGE (IRE) Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor Frankie Dettori 7

14 declared runners
1 Irish-trained
1 French-trained

The two taken out at the 48-hour declaration stage were;
125-6 MOSCOW BALLET (IRE) Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
1-11 YEATS (IRE) Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle Aidan O'Brien IRE


Great Habton (Malton)-based trainer Tim Easterby and jockey Robert Winston lead their respective categories in the race for the Sky Bet 'Go Racing in Yorkshire' Awards of Waterford Crystal Trophies - presented to the trainer and rider who record the most number of winners during the Flat season on the Yorkshire racecourses.

Easterby, the three-times winner of this award (1999, 2001 and 2002), has achieved eleven winners in the White Rose county this season up to and including June 2, with Miss Meggy winning the 'Listed' Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley. Another multiple winner of this prize, Mark Johnston, has recorded nine successes in Yorkshire so far this year.

Winston has ridden 15 winners in Yorkshire, followed by Tony Culhane (eleven winners) and Willie Supple (nine winners).

These awards began in 1995 and the specially-commissioned Waterford Crystal Trophies on display at most Yorkshire meetings during the Flat season - which ends at Doncaster on Saturday, November 6 - will be presented to the winners at the 'Go Racing in Yorkshire' Annual Lunch in November, an event also sponsored by Sky Bet.


Chris Brand has been appointed as BHB's new Finance Director, a position that he will take up in the autumn.

BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols, to whom Chris Brand will report, said today: "Chris already has an impressive CV and he struck us greatly with his desire to take on the Finance Director role at BHB. He is passionate and knowledgeable about horseracing and I am sure that he will quickly make his mark as a member of the BHB executive team."

Chris Brand commented: "Joining BHB is a fantastic opportunity for me to combine work with a lifelong interest in horseracing. I am looking forward to joining my new colleagues and contributing to the continuing success of the sport as a whole."

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