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Monday, July 14, 2003



A total of 29 juveniles were confirmed today at the five-day stage for the £135,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint, highlight of Saturday’s card at Newbury.

The five-furlong event, which was first run in 1991, is open only to two-year-olds that were sold or bought in as yearlings for 40,000gns or less at public auction.

Trainer Richard Hannon, who has won the race four times before with Lyric Fantasy (1992), Risky (1993), Miss Stamper (1996) and Presto Vento last year, has four remaining entries, the unbeaten filly Vermillian, Prince Of Denmark, If Paradise and Mac The Knife, to add to his outstanding record.

Southwell-based Mark Polglase is one of the smaller trainers hoping for a bumper payout on Saturday via Sir Ernest, winner of a novice event at Chester on June 28. He had previously disappointed when 16th of 17th in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot having earlier broken his maiden at Catterick.

“The Weatherbys Super Sprint has been the target for Sir Ernest since he won at Chester,” Polglase said today. “I was very pleased with him afterwards - the only race we’ve been slightly scratching our heads about was at Ascot when he didn’t run to form at all and we’ve never found out quite why this happened. Obviously, I’ve been delighted with two out of his last three races.

“Everyone wrote his first race (the first two-year-old event of the year at Lingfield on March 15) off as being bad at the time but I think it is shaping up alright now - they are probably just later developers than we initially thought when we first had them.

“He probably wasn’t quite strong enough to get five furlongs at that stage but he’s strengthened up enough now to get the five quite easily. He ran very well over an easy five at Catterick and won convincingly and obviously he’s followed up at Chester which wouldn’t be the stiffest five under the sun but he did that well and stayed all the way to the line.

“I think this race would be the natural progression and he’s obviously got bags of speed and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? At the moment I would be really happy with the horse and I think we’ve got the right horse for the job if we’re good enough.”

There is a strong challenge from Yorkshire with Tim Easterby, who won the race in 1998 with Flanders and Good Girl three years later, set to saddle Danesmead, runner-up in a valuable sales race at the Curragh last time out.

Thirsk-based David Barron, whose two-year-olds have been in great form this year, could send down Ripon maiden winner Palace Theatre. The Yorkshire challenge could also feature the Kevin Ryan-trained trio Iskander, Lady Sunset and Mirasol Sunset, Richard Fahey’s Flying Bantam while Middleham-based Karl Burke is represented by recent Musselburgh winner Orpenberry and A Little Bit Yarie, whose sire Paris House won the 1991 renewal.

Rod Millman, who won the 1997 Weatherbys Super Sprint with Lord Kintyre, has narrowed his possibles from a big initial entry down to Cop Hill Lad and La Vie Est Belle.

James Given, whose Wunders Dream went on to win the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster after finishing second in last year’s race, bids to go one better with Four Amigos and Fishlake Flyer, who had a head between them when first and second in a Lingfield maiden on May 17.

Nick Craven, Commercial Director at Weatherbys, said today: “This race is shaping up to be as competitive as ever and we are delighted to see a wide range of trainers with five-day confirmations bidding to earn a huge prize with good value two-year-olds.”


- New sponsor of the National Hunt Season curtain raiser -

Paddy Power is the new title sponsor of The Open meeting at Cheltenham in November, featuring the £110,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup - a £10,000 increase in prize money.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup, run on the middle day of the three-day meeting, Saturday, November 15, is the first jump ‘classic' of the 2003/04 National Hunt season. The valuable handicap chase over two miles and four and a half furlongs was previously backed by Thomas Pink.

In addition to the Paddy Power Gold Cup, Paddy Power’s title sponsorship of The Open will be supplemented by named races on both the Friday and Sunday which are yet to be confirmed. Effective immediately, the sponsorship is a five-year agreement with Cheltenham, which makes the bookmaker the third-biggest sponsor at the home of National Hunt racing.

Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s Managing Director, commented: "We are thrilled to announce this exciting new sponsorship. Paddy Power is a dynamic firm with a strong Irish heritage which sits well with the core values of this meeting.”

"In Paddy Power we’ve found a forward-thinking partner who shares our desire to build the status of the meeting yet further and to continue the upward trend in attendances. Once again, The Open has attracted a new sponsor to Cheltenham and British National Hunt racing"

Paddy Power is Ireland’s biggest bookmaker established in 1988. The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the bookmaker’s first racing sponsorship in the UK. Paddy Power is a major race sponsor in Ireland, with the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown being Ireland’s second most valuable National Hunt sponsorship.

The Dublin-based firm already has well-established Internet, telephone and interactive TV betting operations in the UK, and is currently expanding its retail presence. Focusing on the London area, Paddy Power has opened a further three shops this year and plans to take the total to at least 12 by Christmas, and substantially more thereafter.

John O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Paddy Power Bookmaker, said: “We are delighted to commit to National Hunt racing in such a high profile partnership. The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a great way for us to show Paddy Power’s unique approach to betting to the racing public.

“Many racing fans in Britain are already familiar with our generous prices and customer-friendly concessions. Now with The Paddy Power Gold Cup acting as a showcase - we’re confident that the word will spread even more quickly.”


Paddy Power is taking over sponsorship of a great race with an illustrious history. The 2m 4.5f Paddy Power Gold Cup was first run in 1960 and the race has seen many well-known chasers in action.

Last year Cyfor Malta, a horse whose great potential has been dogged by injury problems, stormed back to the form he had shown in his younger days with a second win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup - four years after his initial success in the first big handicap of the season.

This made him the fifth horse to win the chase on two occasions, following Fortria (1960 and 1962), Gay Trip (1969 and 1971), Half Free (1984 and 1985) and Bradbury Star (1993 and 1994).

Martin Pipe, responsible for Cyfor Malta, has the most tremendous record, having won the Paddy Power Gold Cup six times with Beau Ranger (1987), Challenger Du Luc (1996), Cyfor Malta (1998), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001) and Cyfor Malta (2002).

Shooting Light was brilliantly ridden by champion jockey Tony McCoy to defeat 13 talented chasers in 2001.

Lady Cricket was impressive when scoring by 10 lengths from stable companion Exit Swinger in 2000 with another five lengths back to third in the 15-strong field.

One of the best performances since the inaugural running came in 1965 from Dunkirk, who carried a massive 12st 7lb to victory and there have plenty of other memorable renewals.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup has been won by Irish-trained horses on four occasions. Fortria took the initial running and was successful for a second time two years later in 1962.

The Irish had to wait for more than a decade for a further winner which came in the shape of Skymas in 1973 and Bright Highway was the last successful horse from the Emerald Isle in 1980, when winning by seven lengths.

Gay Trip's two victories formed part of Fred Rimell's extraordinary training feat when he sent out the winner four years in a row. Jupiter Boy in 1968 and Chatham in 1970 completed Rimell's quartet.

Pipe will be aiming to equal that record this year, having sent out the last three winners of the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Gay Trip won the Grand National in 1970, in between his Cheltenham successes, and other Paddy Power Gold Cup winners, Red Candle (1972), Bachelor's Hall (1977) and Bright Highway (1980), also proved their stamina when subsequently capturing the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Two and a half mile specialists like the dual-winner Half Free, handled by Fred Winter who trained three winners of the race, and Dublin Flyer (1995) have triumphed, while Skymas (1973) won the Queen Mother Champion Chase twice.

When Norman Williamson on the Venetia Williams-trained The Outback Way held off Stormy Passage to win the 1999 race by a neck, he became the most successful current jockey, having also ridden Multum In Parvo to glory nine years earlier but then Tony McCoy took his score to two when successful on Lady Cricket in 2000 - having partnered Cyfor Malta to his first triumph in 1998 - and went on to secure a third success the following year on Shooting Light.

McCoy therefore joined Richard Linley and Richard Dunwoody who both achieved three victories in the race during their riding careers, as the most successful jockeys.

Linley was victorious on Fifty Dollars More in 1982 and Half Free in 1984 and 1985, while Dunwoody gained his wins on Very Promising in 1986, Another Coral in 1991 and Challenger Du Luc in 1996.

The popularity of Cheltenham's Open Meeting increases each year with the Irish. One of the great strengths of the three days is the relationship which draws Irish-trained horses and racegoers.

Both Cheltenham and Paddy Power are keen to continue this tradition. Last year there were 54 Irish runners over the three days, including three winners.

What they now want is an Irish victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, with the last one having come 23 years ago. In the 1990s Toranfield (1991) and Second Schedual (1994) came second and Anabatic was fourth in 1996 while Feathered Leader came third in 2000.


(2m 4f 110yds), £110,000 total prize fund

Year Name Age/Wgt Jockey Trainer Owner Ran SP

2002 CYFOR MALTA 9-11-09 Barry Geraghty Martin Pipe David Johnson 15 16-1
2001 SHOOTING LIGHT 8-11-03 Tony McCoy Martin Pipe John Brown/Michael Blackburn 14 9-4F
2000 LADY CRICKET 6-10-13 Tony McCoy Martin Pipe David Johnson 15 5-1F
1999 THE OUTBACK WAY 9-10-00 Norman Williamson Venetia Williams Seasons Holidays 14 9-1
1998 CYFOR MALTA 5-11-03 Tony McCoy Martin Pipe David Johnson 12 3-1F
1997 SENOR EL BETRUTTI 8-10-00 Jamie Osborne Susan Nock Gerard Nock 9 33-1
1996 CHALLENGER DU LUC 6-10-02 Richard Dunwoody Martin Pipe David Johnson 12 7-1
1995 DUBLIN FLYER 9-11-08 Brendan Powell Tim Forster John Sumner 12 4-1JF
1994 BRADBURY STAR 9-11-11 Philip Hide Josh Gifford J Campbell 14 5-1
1993 BRADBURY STAR 8-11-08 Declan Murphy Josh Gifford J Campbell 15 13-2
1992 TIPPING TIM 7-10-10 Carl Llewellyn Nigel Twiston-Davies Jenny Mould 16 11-2F
1991 ANOTHER CORAL 8-10-01 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Michael Deeley 15 15-2
1990 MULTUM IN PARVO 7-10-02 Norman Williamson John Edwards Alan Parker 13 12-1
1989 JOINT SOVEREIGNTY 9-10-04 Graham McCourt Philip Hobbs G J Giddy 15 10-1
1988 PEGWELL BAY 7-11-02 Peter Scudamore Tim Forster A K Barlow 13 6-1
1987 BEAU RANGER 9-10-02 Mark Perrett Martin Pipe White Bros Ltd 14 13-2
1986 VERY PROMISING 8-11-13 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Paul & Jenny Green 11 7-1
1985 HALF FREE 9-11-10 Richard Linley Fred Winter Ali Abu Khamsin 10 9-2
1984 HALF FREE 8-11-10 Richard Linley Fred Winter Ali Abu Khamsin 10 5-2F
1983 POUNENTES 6-10-06 Neale Doughty Billy McGhie Billy McGhie 9 7-1
1982 FIFTY DOLLARS MORE 7-11-00 Richard Linley Fred Winter Ali Abu Khamsin 11 11-1
1981 HENRY KISSINGER 7-10-13 Paul Barton David Gandolfo J J Mansworth 11 5-1
1980 BRIGHT HIGHWAY 6-11-01 Gerry Newman Michael O'Brien IRE George Strawbridge 15 5-1F
1979 MAN ALIVE 8-10-09 Ron Barry Gordon Richards Jim Ennis 11 6-1
1978 BAWNOGUES 7-10-07 Craig Smith Martin Tate Mrs H Lawler 11 5-1
1977 BACHELOR'S HALL 7-10-06 Martin O'Halloran Peter Cundell Peter & Karyl Harris 16 11-2F
+1976 CANCELLO 7-11-01 Dennis Atkins Neville Crump W V Burdon 13 4-1
1975 CLEAR CUT 11-10-09 David Greaves Maurice Camacho J W Hemingway 13 13-2
1974 BRUSLEE 8-10-07 Andy Turnell Michael Scudamore Mrs D Rees-Davies 11 2-1F
1973 SKYMAS 8-10-05 Stan Murphy Brian Lusk IRE Matt Magee 15 7-1
1972 RED CANDLE 8-10-00 Jimmy Fox Ricky Vallance Mrs C O'Shea 11 20-1
1971 GAY TRIP 9-11-03 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell A J Chambers 10 8-1
1970 CHATHAM 6-10-03 Ken White Fred Rimell C Knott 17 33-1
1969 GAY TRIP 7-11-05 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell A J Chambers 14 8-1
1968 JUPITER BOY 7-10-03 Eddie Harty Fred Rimell J E Liley 13 9-1
1967 CHARLIE WORCESTER 10-10-11 Josh Gifford Ryan Price Dorothy Price 13 7-1
1966 PAWNBROKER 8-11-09 Paddy Broderick Arthur Stephenson E W Cliff-McCulloch 5 7-2
1965 DUNKIRK 8-12-07 Bill Rees Peter Cazalet Bill Whitbread 8 11-10F
1964 SUPER FLASH 9-10-05 Stan Mellor Frank Cundell A H Wood 9 8-1
1963 RICHARD OF BORDEAUX 8-10-05 Bobby Beasley Fulke Walwyn J Schilizzi 20 20-1
1962 FORTRIA 10-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE G Ansley 25 5-1F
1961 SCOTTISH MEMORIES 7-10-12 C Finnegan Arthur Thomas G B Sanderson 17 9-2
1960 FORTRIA 8-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE G Ansley 19 8-1
+ Held at Haydock Park


Several changes have been made to the format of this year's Blue Square Shergar Cup, to be staged at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday 9th August:

* Jockeys will receive an individual cash award, in addition to their usual prize money percentages, of £100 for every point that they score on the day, thereby maximizing the incentive to finish as high up the field as possible in every race. Allocation of prize money to individual jockeys replaces the award split equally among the winning team in the past.

* The Stewards on the day will brief jockeys that they must ride each horse to achieve its best possible placing as the Blue Square Shergar Cup operates under the rules of racing in the same way as every other meeting in the calendar.

* The team joker, introduced last year and offering each team double points on the horse of their choice, will not be part of this year's competition.

* Celebrity Team Leaders from the world of sport (names to be confirmed) will again be part of the competition, assisted by expert Team Selectors. The selectors, Michael Roberts for the Dubai Duty Free Rest of The World Team and Jason Weaver for the Sodexho Great Britain & Ireland team, will represent the celebrities at the draw at Ascot on Thursday 7th August, which will be televised live on attheraces. Michael and Jason will form part of the Blue Square Shergar Cup attheraces programme on Saturday 9th August.

"We have made a few changes to the format of this year's Blue Square Shergar Cup as we are conscious that some trainers expressed concern that in a few cases, the interests of the team had been put before the interests of horses and owners last year," said Nick Cheyne, Racing Director at Ascot.

"The team element of the competition is, of course, fundamental to its success and really captured the imagination of the public and competitors last year. None of the changes we have made detract from that element of the competition. In fact they should enhance the rivalry as the incentive for jockeys to do the best they can on every mount is greater than it has ever been."

All six Blue Square Shergar Cup races will be broadcast on BBC Television and via attheraces digital channel 418 (Sky), attheraces ntl 908, and attheraces telewest channel 534.

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

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