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Thursday, September 6, 2012





The Group One Betfred Sprint Cup is the highlight of the Flat season at Haydock Park and the 2012 renewal which takes place at 3.25pm this Saturday, September 18, promises to be the most cosmopolitan ever with representatives from Australia, France and Ireland as well as a strong British-trained presence among the 15-strong field.


Australian challenger Ortensia heads the market at 5/2 with race sponsor Betfred. The seven-year-old has won twice in Britain already this season, taking the Group Two King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York last month, both run over five furlongs. The Paul Messara-trained mare, partnered again on Saturday by William Buick, was also successful in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint over five furlongs at Meydan, Dubai, in March and is also a Group One winner in her homeland.


The two challengers from Ireland for the six-furlong contest are the David Marnane-trained Dandy Boy (16/1), successful in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot in June, and Gordon Lord Byron, who hails from the County Tipperary yard of Tom Hogan.



Gordon Lord Byron, a 25/1 chance with Betfred, made his second start in England a winning one when a comfortable two and three quarter length winner of the Listed Betfred City Of York Stakes over seven furlongs at York on August 25. The four-year-old had previously looked a touch unlucky when caught in the last 50 yards by Fire Lily in the Group Three Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh on August 12.


Hogan, who trains at Fatheen in Co Tipperary, said today: “Gordon Lord Byron is in very good form and he has come out of his run at York well. I haven’t done much with him since but he did a good piece of work yesterday and is ready to go.


“I wasn’t surprised by how well he did it at York and the quicker ground made a difference. He had been running on soft ground over here and he had been struggling with it but he ran a good race behind Fire Lily when he was in front a bit too long.


“He is maturing all the time and he has got stronger throughout the year. I would say there is still some more improvement to come and he will probably be a better horse next year.


“Until York, he had never won over further than six furlongs and a stiff six is probably his best trip. He is a horse with a good cruising speed and he can quicken off it.


“We would be delighted if he can pick up some prize money.”


Wizz Kid is the challenger from France. The four-year-old filly is a dual Group Two winner over five furlongs at Chantilly and was runner-up in the Group Two QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot last season. On her most recent outing, she was second to the top-class Moonlight Cloud in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest over an extended six furlongs at Deauville on August 5.


Heading the British-trained challenge is the Roger Charlton-trained Bated Breath, who finished the nose runner-up in last year’s renewal behind Dream Ahead and broke the course record for five furlongs at Haydock Park when taking the Group Two betfred.com Temple Stakes on May 26. The five-year-old is the 3/1 second favourite with Betfred. Charlton is also represented by Genki (40/1), who was beaten under two lengths when fourth in the 2011 race.


Strong Suit represents reigning champion trainer Richard Hannon and is 11/2 third favourite with Betfred. A dual Group Two winner last season, the four-year-old showed he was on the way back to his best when runner-up in the seven-furlong Group Two Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on August 18. 




Other leading contenders include the James Fanshawe-trained Society Rock (10/1), successful in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011, Hitchens (12/1), a dual Group Three winner for sprint specialist David Barron and Godolphin’s Soul (16/1), who ran his best race this year when fourth behind Black Caviar in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.


Scotland will be presented by the Jim Goldie-trained Hawkeyethenoo (16/1), who defied the welter burden of 9st 9lb when taking the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood on August 4.


Completing the line-up are Es Que Love, Elusivity, Confessional and Majestic Myles.


The Betfred Sprint Cup is run on the third and final day of the Betfred Sprint Cup Festival, which kicks off today, Thursday, September 6. The action on Saturday also features the Listed Betfred “Still Treble The Odds On Lucky 15s” Stakes (1.45pm, six runners) run over a mile for two-year-olds, the Listed Celebrating 45 Years Of Betfred Superior Mile (2.50pm, eight runners) for three-year-olds and upwards and the ultra-competitive Betfred Mobile Lotto Old Borough Cup (4.00pm, 14 runners) over a mile and three quarters.


Betfred Sprint Cup, Betfred bet: 5/2 Ortensia; 3/1 Bated Breath; 11/2 Strong Suit; 10/1 Society Rock; 12/1 Hitchens; 14/1 Wizz Kid; 16/1 Dandy Boy, Hawkeyethenoo, Soul; 25/1 Gordon Lord Byron; 33/1 Es Que Love; 40/1 Elusivity, Genki; 50/1 Confessional, Majestic Myles




The going at Haydock Park is currently Good to Firm, Good in places.


Kirkland Tellwright, Clerk of the Course at Haydock Park, reported: “Today we are Good to Firm, Good in places. It’s a dry forecast today but there will be a bit of drizzle tomorrow morning, maybe one or two millimetres, other than it’s meant to be dry.


“The ground is steadily drying and it might reach Good to Firm by tomorrow.”




The Clipper Logistics Legends Classified Stakes (3.40pm), run over Doncaster’s straight mile on the opening day of the 2012 Ladbrokes St Leger, Wednesday, September 12, sees 16 legends return to the saddle in aid of Jack Berry House and the redevelopment of the Northern Racing College.


The race welcomes back American Hall Of Fame jockey Julie Krone, who won the contest last year. She rode 3,704 winners in America and is the only female rider to win a leg of the American Triple Crown after she captured the 1993 Belmont Stakes on Colonial Affair.


Multiple Irish champion jockey Mick Kinane, who won 24 English and Irish Classics, rounded off a career spanning over 30 years in 2009 after partnering Sea The Stars to six consecutive Group One victories. He comes into the race on the back of a impressive victory in a similar contest at Aintree in April.


Other notable names include former English champion jockey Kevin Darley, George Duffield and John Reid, all St Leger-winning jockeys.


The event has been organised by the Professional Jockeys’ Association’s Industry Liason Officer & Director Dale Gibson, who will also be riding in the race.


Gibson said: “The fundraising for this year’s Clipper Logistics Legends Classified Stakes is going very well. It has been an ongoing project now for a couple of years and people have really taken to the idea.


“We have sold 450 seats for the lunch which is a sell out. We will raise a minimum of £100,000 and that is guaranteed already.


“It’s hard to suggest what the final figure will be because we all have ‘just giving’ sites and some people get money on the day and others top up their accounts a few days afterwards.


“William Hill have kindly given us a couple of thousand quid already and they have always been the first to pay. We usually get contributions from all the major bookmakers.


“There is also an auction taking place on the day after the lunch and the items include Lester Piggott’s first ever winning saddle from The Chase in 1948 and it’s magnificent. I have seen it and it doesn’t look 64 years old and it’s authenticated by Wicks Saddlers in Lambourn.


“Lester Piggott will also be presenting the trophy to the winning jockey.

“There is a villa in Antigua up for grabs, Cup Final tickets for Wembley in 2013 and a box at Ascot, so there is some good stuff in the auction. There is also a walk-on part on Coronation Street.


“Princess Anne will be attending the lunch but she will not be there for the race because she has another appointment.


“The Reuben Foundation’s representatives will be at the lunch and also sponsor Julie Krone.


“The mayor of Doncaster will be there and a various cross section of other people. This is what the day is all about, it’s about people in racing helping two racing causes, and I’m going to say it because I’m in the north, north of London. Most of these things seem to be in London or are southern-based and it’s very nice to have something happening in the north, for the north.


“There has been so many helpful individuals - Doncaster has been very helpful and the BHA has been superb with all the medical and licensing side to it because obviously we (jockeys) are all getting a little bit older.


“The jockeys have been helpful too. Mick Kinane said yes straightaway when I asked him to come over, Julie Krone did the same as well and I think George Duffield is going to ride until he’s 96!


“The jockeys have really embraced the concept and there has been plenty of banter already and I’m sure there will be more in the weighing room on the day.


“The money is going towards the Jack Berry House which is another part of the IJF and will be built next year in Malton. Funding will also be given for the redevelopment of the Northern Racing College.


“It’s fabulous that Julie Krone is coming back again. She is a real live wire and by god she can ride. There is a journalist coming over with her from America and that will be brilliant as it will give us a lot of coverage over there.


“It’s very sad to hear John Oaksey passed away but I’m not sure if there will be a tribute on the day as we haven’t got quite as far as that yet, but black armbands will be worn by all the jockeys at all the tracks on Saturday and there will be a minute’s silence.


“Whether it continues to next Wednesday, I don’t know as I haven’t spoken to Doncaster yet and it’s possible Chicky Oaksey and the IJF might not want to because it’s a few additional days after the respect paid to him on Saturday.”


The full list of riders in the Clipper Logistics Legends Classified Stakes is: Gary Bardwell, Tony Clark, Nicky Connorton, Kevin Darley, George Duffield, Dale Gibson, Luke Harvey, Gay Kelleway, Mick Kinane, Julie Krone, Allan Mackay, Tom O’Ryan, Jamie Osborne, Ollie Pears, John Reid and Willie Ryan. Alan McCabe is a reserve.


Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/northernracingcollege


The opening day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival also features the £40,000 Listed Scarbrough Stakes (3.05pm) over five furlongs. The contest for two-year-olds and upwards has attracted 26 entries including Group One winner Kingsgate Native, who could have his first start for Newmarket trainer Robert Cowell.


The racing gets underway at 2.00pm with the £15,000 Arena Structures Nursery (29 entries) over seven furlongs and is followed by the £15,000 Napoleon Casinos & Restaurant Conditions Race (2.30pm, 17 entries) over six furlongs.


The longest race on the card is the £20,000 Kat Communications Knowledge About Telecoms Conditions Stakes (4.10pm, 17 entries) over a mile and a quarter and may see the return of Godolphin’s exciting three-year-old Swedish Sailor.


The penultimate race is the Elements Medispa Handicap (4.45pm, 24 entries) and the action concludes at 5.15pm with the BJS Handicap (43 entries).


The Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster runs from Wednesday, September 12, through to Saturday, September 15. For more information go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk




The going at Doncaster is currently: Good, Good to Firm in places


Clerk of the Course Jon Pullin reported today: “It has been a dry and warm week so far and the going is Good, Good to Firm in places.


“The forecast for next week is for more unsettled conditions and cooler temperatures.


“I would say at this stage there is every chance that we will need to water.”


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