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Thursday, July 3, 2003


Superb Support Attractions On And Off Course

An incredible 15 runners will go to post in Saturday's £370,000 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park, the second-largest field to line up for the famous race since it was first run in 1886. The only bigger field was when Star Appeal landed a 16-runner renewal in 1975.

This year's contest promises to be one of the races of the season with likely favourite Nayef bidding to land this second leg of the British Horseracing Board's Summer Triple Crown and Grand Slam, with bonuses of £1 million and £5 million, in the face of some stiff opposition.

Last year's Yorkshire Oaks winner Islington, who is expected to have come on for her seasonal comeback when third to Nayef in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, is joined by some globe-trotting stars proven at the highest level including the Japan Cup winner Falbrav, 2002 World Series champion Grandera and the South African-trained Victory Moon, winner of the UAE Derby in March.

The three-year-old brigade includes Vodafone Derby fourth Norse Dancer, a £20,000 supplementary entry for the Coral-Eclipse, Hold That Tiger and Balestrini from Aidan O'Brien's stable, King Edward VII Stakes second Delsarte and Vodafone Derby sixth Dutch Gold.

The field is completed by the lightly-raced four-year-old Comfy from Sir Michael Stoute's stable, the consistent Olden Times, the Brian Meehan-trained Kaieteur along with Izdiham and Narrative, a duo who will ensure a good pace in the race.

The weekend's racing at Sandown Park on Friday and Saturday, July 4 and 5, not only features one of the best races of the year but a top-class supporting line-up.

There are three Listed events on Saturday, of which two are run for the first time this year. The Addleshaw Goddard Stakes, a two-mile event in which the most popular stayer in training, Persian Punch, looks set to line-up while the Distaff Stakes is a new race for three-year-old fillies.

The mile event has attracted 18 five-day entries including a whole host of progressive performers representing many of the top trainers including Sir Michael Stoute, Saeed bin Suroor, Barry Hills, Gerard Butler, James Fanshawe, Jeremy Noseda, Mick Channon and Geoff Wragg.

Saturday's card also includes the Listed Porcelanosa Sprint Stakes and the £100,000 Tote Scoop6 Stakes, one of the most competitive handicaps of the season.

There is also high-class racing tomorrow (Friday) with two Listed events, the Dragon Stakes with seven declared runners and the Gala Stakes, for which 13 runners will go to post.


Coral-Eclipse Day at Sandown Park not only offers one of the best day's racing of the Flat season, but there are a whole host of innovative side attractions to ensure an extra special day out.

Saturday is Ladies' Day and there will be a Ladies' Lounge featuring soft seating, an Elizabeth Arden make-up demonstration all day as well as free massages for the head, neck and feet. There will also be make-up for photographs and the opportunity for people to learn more about themselves and their body from a health and fitness point of view.

On both Friday and Saturday there will be a Sports Cocktail Bar, showing the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Final on Saturday, where drinks will be served by the famed London Bartender Company, who performed a similar function at David and Victoria Beckham's party. There will also be a retail village with jewellery, leather goods, hats, shoes and garden furniture.

David Morris, Managing Director at Sandown Park Racecourse, said: "Coral-Eclipse Day promises to be one of the racing highlights of the year with a fantastic feature race backed up by a very strong supporting card.

"To complement the racing we have a variety of innovative new side attractions including a Sports Bar, Retail Village as well as a complete blend of luxuries to accompany the Ladies' Day theme."

Andrew Cooper, Director of Racing at Sandown Park Racecourse, reports the track to be in great shape ahead of the big meeting.

He said today: "We had a sharp shower at 7pm last night producing about three millimetres of rain and there is a possibility of a couple more showers during the day. We are then forecast dry days on Friday and Saturday.

"Following last night's rain the ground is GOOD on the sprint course and GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES, on the round course."


Newmarket hopes to attract strong support for Aussie sprinting sensation

Newmarket Racecourse will give half-price admission to all Australian passport holders next Thursday (10th July) when CHOISIR, who became the first Australian-trained horse ever to win on the flat in Britain when triumphant in two races at Royal Ascot last month, bids to win Europe's premier sprint race, the £250,000 Darley July Cup.

The offer applies both to the Members' Enclosure (full price £28; £14 for Australian passport holders) and the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure (full price £15; £7.50 for Australian passport holders).

Lisa Hancock, Managing Director of Newmarket Racecourses, said:

"Australians love supporting their many sporting superstars, especially against us 'Poms'! We hope that as many as possible will come to Newmarket next Thursday to see if CHOISIR can put Europe's best sprinters to the sword once again and complete an unprecedented sprint hat-trick in just a 23 day period. It would be a remarkable achievement if he can and would unquestionably give him the title of Champion Sprinter in Europe."

"With so many Australians living in London, which is only about 65 miles away, we hope that a number will make the journey to Newmarket. Hopefully the offer of half-price admission on the production of a valid Australian passport will provide that bit of extra encouragement."

CHOISIR will renew rivalry in the Darley July Cup with the brilliant British filly, AIRWAVE, who was a fine second to the Australian speedster in Royal Ascot's Golden Jubilee Stakes. The pair dominate the ante-post betting on the big race at Newmarket's three-day July Meeting, which starts with Ladies' Day on Tuesday 8th July.

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