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Friday, October 10, 2003

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CHAMPION COMES TO GOODWOOD




McCoy partners Dubai Seven Stars for Martin Pipe in the Ucello II & Ubu III Trophy

Many of the leading jump jockeys, including champion Tony McCoy and the current season's leader Richard Johnson, are riding on the Flat at Goodwood on Sunday.


They have been booked for the 15 runners in the unique Ucello II & Ubu III Trophy Handicap, the only race run at a Flat racecourse that is open exclusively to jockeys with a National Hunt licence.

It is the first race (1.30pm) at Goodwood's final fixture of the season on Sunday (October 12).


McCoy will be partnering the Martin Pipe-trained mare Dubai Seven Stars in the two-mile contest. This will be the second time the eight-time champion jump jockey has ridden in the race - in 1996 he came second on Sea Freedom for his first boss in Britain, trainer Toby Balding.


Both of the jockeys who have been successful in the last two renewals of the Ucello II & Ubu III Trophy have mounts again. Leighton Aspell, victorious on Cedar Master 12 months ago, partners Bobsleigh for Pulborough handler Amanda Perrett while Robert "Chocolate" Thornton, triumphant on Proper Squire two years ago, will ride recent winner Exquisite Affair, who is trained by Arundel handler and Goodwood director John Dunlop.


Jim Culloty, best known as the partner of the dual Tote Cheltenham Gold winner Best Mate and also victorious aboard Bindaree in the 2002 Martell Grand National, will be in the saddle on the Dominic ffrench Davis-trained Head To Kerry, twice a winner at Goodwood already this year including last time out on September 25 in the Dress Rehearsal Handicap over the same distance of two miles.

Culloty said today: "It's a fun race for us jump jockeys but we still like to win! This event at Goodwood is always good and I enjoy it."

He has ridden in the contest on three previous occasions, achieving his best position when second on Pertemps Mission in 1998.


Culloty added: "After finishing second, I'd definitely like to try and go one better. I had a couple of winners on the Flat when I was an amateur but I'd still love to win this contest and we will be trying our best. My mount Head To Kerry looks to be one of the better horses in the race which is good."

Johnson also looks to hold a good chance in the contest, having the ride on the William Haggas-trained Escayola, triumphant on three of his last four starts.


Other jockeys with confirmed rides in Sunday's race are Andrew Thornton, Jim Crowley, Ollie McPhail, Rodi Greene, Paul Flynn, Sean Curran, Jodie Mogford, Ben Hitchcott and Mattie Batchelor.


Ryan Moore, who has yet to ride over jumps and received his jump jockey's licence today, will partner Mostarsil who is trained by his father Gary, a former jump jockey. Ryan has ridden 50 winners on the Flat this year.


The Ucello II & Ubu III Trophy is supported by the Marquesa de Moratella and named in honour of two of her great chasers.

Rod Fabricius, Goodwood's General Manager, commented today: "It is very exciting to have the all-conquering Tony McCoy and other leading jump jockeys riding at Goodwood in Sunday's Ucello II & Ubu III Trophy.

"This Sunday fixture is a new one and we hope it will be well supported - our other Sunday fixtures do well."



DARLEY DEWHURST LOOKING LIKELY FOR THREE VALLEYS




Weightless to be supplemented for Emirates Airline Champion Stakes

Connections of star two-year-old, Three Valleys, are continuing to eye up the Group One £230,000 Darley Dewhurst Stakes, one of the highlights of Champions' Day at Newmarket on Saturday, October 15, as the next target for their Group One Shadwell Stud Middle Park Stakes winner.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Three Valley's owner, Khalid Abdulla, is optimistic about the son of Green Desert's participation.


"We're certainly looking at the Darley Dewhurst, and looking positively at the moment," said Grimthorpe this afternoon. "He definitely wouldn't run if the ground came up soft, but that doesn't look very likely as things stand."

Meanwhile Weightless, winner of the Group Two Prix Dollar-Fouquet's Barriere at Longchamp on October 4, is likely to be supplemented on Monday for the £400,000 Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes, the other main highlight of Champions' Day, at a cost of £24,000. The In the Wings three-year-old, also owned by Khalid Abdulla, has done nothing but improve this year and has not been out of the first two in six starts, prompting his connections to step him up to Group One company a week on Saturday.


Coral opened earlier betting today on the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes.


Latest Coral betting:M 9-4 Alamshar, 5-2 Nayef, 7-2 Russian Rhythm, 7-1 Vespone, 12- 1 Soviet Song, 14-1 Rakti, 16-1 Kaieteur, Dano-Mast, 25-1 Mingun, Muqbil, 33-1 Tout Seul, Carnival Dancer, Dandoun, Far Lane, Indian Haven, Indian Creek, 40-1 Nysaen, Imperial Dancer, Chancellor, 66-1 Hanami, 150-1 Lundy's Lane



MURPHY TARGETS SPORTING INDEX CHASE WITH THE QUADS




The Middleham trainer could also run Birkdale and Luzcadou

Ferdy Murphy is targeting Cheltenham's two innovative Cross Country Chases again this season.

The Yorkshire-based trainer revealed today that he is aiming The Quads at both the £30,000-added Sporting Index Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on Friday, November 14 and the £22,000-added Sporting Index Cross Country Handicap Chase on Friday, December 12.


Last season The Quads was the two-length runner-up in the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase before going one better in the Sporting Index Cross Country Handicap Chase, winning well under an excellent ride from Davy Russell.

"The Sporting Index Cross Country Chase and then the other cross-country event in December are exactly where The Quads is going - it's good money for an 11-year-old," said the Middleham trainer.


Both of The Quads's fine efforts at Cheltenham last year came on ground with a little bit of cut in it. He had been due to run in the Velka Pardubicka at Pardubice in the Czech Republic on Sunday (October 12) but the ground there is currently too fast.


"I know Pardubice as I've been going there since 1994 and I've had a runner every year there. When I say it's firm down there, it will probably rain and be alright but I didn't want to go all that distance - it's a long way and a very expensive trip costing about £2,000 to get a horse down there - and then not run if it was still as fast as it is currently," explained Murphy.

He has already outlined a training programme for his charge ahead of the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase.


"The Quads is fine - we gave him one run over hurdles at Market Rasen [in August] just to let him have a day out before he went to the Czech Republic. He was ready for the Pardubicka so we have just eased off him a little bit now.

"He's swimming every day and having a canter up the all-weather. We'll keep him ticking over for three or four weeks now and then he starts back into the full routine again and will go for the two races at Cheltenham in November and December."

Murphy believes that the unique challenge of the natural hedges, timber and banks of Cheltenham's cross-country course is a huge assistance in getting older horses to run to their best.

"I think a lot of these horses, if you identify them, have good form from a few years previously and they've got a little bit jaded and the cross-country races seem to rekindle their interest again," he outlined.


"The Quads travels fantastically at Cheltenham, on the bridle all the way, but if you ran him somewhere like Carlisle or Newcastle, you'd be hunting him along after a mile.

"It just seems to give him a new lease of life and we're very lucky as we've got a three-day event course quite near us here and we take them over and we do quite a bit of schooling with them so when they go down to Cheltenham they're like handicappers - they're good at it.

"The jockeys can be very confident and they ride a confident race on them and that helps as well."

Murphy could also be represented in the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase by Birkdale and Luzcadou, two horses who may run in the Martell Grand National later in the campaign,

"We have one or two others that we'd be looking at for these cross-country races at the moment. Horses like Birkdale, he'd definitely be one, and maybe Luzcadou as well. These are two horses that would have a bit of class and they're two ideal ones so I think we'd probably be running them as well," added the trainer.


The Sporting Index Cross Country Chase is the feature race of Countryside Day on Friday, November 14. This is the first day of The Open 2003 which runs from Friday, November 14, to Sunday, November 16 inclusive.




YORK SETS NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD




York Racecourse has broken its attendance record for a single year

The total of 265,223 racegoers attracted to its 14 racedays so far in 2003 beats the previous seasonal record of 265,182 set two years ago.

An attendance of 7,914, recorded at today's meeting, took the total to the new high. The course's final raceday of 2003 takes place tomorrow (Saturday 11 October)

William Derby, clerk of the course and chief executive, said: "Obviously, I'm delighted at the new record and looking forward to discovering how the figure will stand after tomorrow. The achievement is a tribute to the vision of York Race Committee, the hard work of everyone here and the support we receive from people and organisations in the city. I'm particularly pleased crowds have grown not just on traditionally busy days - such as John Smith's Cup Saturday in July, when we hosted nearly 40,000 racegoers - but at quieter fixtures, like our June Friday, which this year produced a record attendance of 12,641

"It's also been great to see people becoming more involved in the action, as crowds have increased in the Grandstand & Paddock and County Stand."

Identifying possible reasons for the growth, Mr Derby pointed to racing undergoing a resurgence nationally. He also said York had been to the fore in improving facilities - a trend symbolised by the £20m Ebor Stand opened at the beginning of the season - and raising customer service standards.


He added: "Of course it's important the action on the track matches the quality of the environment if you want to attract big crowds and there's no doubt we've had another wonderful year for equine stars too. The performances of Islington, Falbrav and Oasis Dream in our Group One contests helped confirm them as leading lights in their categories. I'm looking forward to following them as they campaign in international races during the winter.


"Hopefully, by the time we host our first fixture of next season on May 11, we'll also have seen some of the outstanding two-year-olds who raced at York this season taste Classic glory. This seems a real possibility, especially as Peugeot Lowther Stakes winner Carry on Katie is currently heading the 1,000 Guineas market."

Turning to York's plans for 2004, Mr Derby said it was committed to building on this season's successes, with repainting projects and the development of new customer services already in the pipeline. He added the course's executive expected to see more of their counterparts from Ascot during the winter, as plans for Royal Ascot at York in 2005 or 2006 were developed.



MOMENTUM CONTINUES AT TATTERSALLS OCTOBER YEARLING SALE




There was little to suggest that there was anything remarkable about lot 582 at Part 1 of the October Yearling Sale, except that the 31,000 guineas paid by Highflyer Bloodstock for the DR FONG filly out of the KRIS mare PINE NEEDLE pushed the turnover for sale to a level never before achieved, with almost 500 lots still to come. When Mark Johnston paid 40,000 guineas for another DR FONG filly a few hours later the sale became the highest grossing European yearling sale in history, surpassing the previous record of 36,545,600, set at the 1984 Houghton Yearling Sale. On another remarkable day of selling, 232 lots were sold for a total of 9,380,500 guineas, a rise of 147% on last year's corresponding session, taking the three day total to 39,499,000 guineas, more than nine million guineas more than the previous record turnover in 2000, with a day still to come. The average on the third day was up 38% to 40,433 guineas whilst the median rose 25% to 30,000 guineas. In total there were 15 six figure lots as opposed to 2 on the corresponding day last year.


The top priced lot for the day saw a reprise of yesterday's action as Demi O'Byrne and Angus Gold, representing Coolmore and Shadwell Estates respectively, locked horns in the battle for the GIANT'S CAUSEWAY colt out of the INDIAN RIDGE mare SHALIMAR. Henry Candy, trainer of AIRWAVE made a bold bid for the colt, but it was O'Byrne and Gold who were the last two standing with O'Byrne making the final successful bid of 320,000 guineas for the colt consigned from Anthony and Mary-Anne Penfold's Bugley Stud. The sale was another triumph for the Penfold's as last night's record breaking million guineas colt was offered from the Penfold managed Britton House Stud.


The first crop of Darley stallion DIKTAT has been very well received, and the duel Group 1 winning son of WARNING provided the second highest price of the day when his colt out of the TRY MY BEST mare HEART OF INDIA was sold for 310,000 guineas. The colt, from the family of Group 2 King's Stand Stakes winner BOLSHOI saw initial interest from bloodstock agents Hugo Lascelles and Peter Doyle before Johnny McKeever of McKeever St. Lawrence entered the fray. It was Doyle and McKeever who slugged it out with McKeever ultimately successful for the colt which was consigned from David & Trish Brown's Furnace Mill Stud on behalf of Courtleigh Stud.


Locally based bloodstock agent John Warren was among the most active buyers on the third day purchasing 10 yearlings for a total of 957,000 guineas to take his sale total to 19 purchases for 1,930,000 guineas. The highest priced of these was the 230,000 guineas for the ANABAA colt out of the SELKIRK mare STEEPLE. Warren bought the colt on behalf of a new client of trainer Sir Michael Stoute's who had purchased the GREEN DESERT colt out of SHIMNA for 210,000 guineas on the opening day. The colt also provided another notable triumph for the Duke of Roxburghe's Floors Stud which also sold Tuesday's INCHINOR half-brother to ATTRACTION for 230,000 guineas.


The October Yearling Sale concludes at 10am todaywith a further 270 lots to be offered.




BHB BOARD SUPPORTS CALL FOR INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO BETTING EXCHANGES




The BHB Board yesterday unanimously supported the call by Chairman Peter Savill for Government to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry into Betting Exchanges.


The BHB Chairman said: "The BHB Board came to the unanimous view that there were serious questions regarding betting exchanges to which we do not have the answers at present. Deep concerns were expressed about the long-term impact of exchanges on both the integrity of the sport and the finances of racing and Government, and the Board was firmly of the view that these issues required a detailed and impartial review.


"The Gambling Review Body did not address exchanges in detail. When it did its work during the second half of 2000 and the first half of 2001, exchanges were in their infancy and, since then, their impact has increased very significantly.


"I am perfectly happy to abide by the Commission's findings and it is unjust of Betfair to claim that I only want an outcome which agrees with my views. It is surprising that Betfair are so adamantly opposed to an inquiry - if, as their spokesman Mark Davies alleges, there was "nothing new" in my speech, they should be confident that it will vindicate their position."


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