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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Cheltenham’s December Meeting on Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 9, relaunches under a new name and new sponsorship, defined by very substantial prize money injections into the three key races.

The Boylesports International will now offer £698,000 in prize money over the two days, an impressive increase of 59 per cent over the 2005 total of £438,000.

Boylesports, based in Dundalk, Co Louth, are generously supporting this exciting revamp of the meeting, backing seven races across the two days.

Taking centre stage at the Boylesports International is the £200,000 Grade Two Boylesports.com International, a hurdle race over two miles and a furlong on Saturday, December 9. Formerly run as the Bula Hurdle, the race has a massive prize money increase of £125,000, taking its value from £75,000 to £200,000.

This makes the Boylesports.com International the second-richest hurdle race in Britain and Ireland, with only the £360,000 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at The Festival in March worth more.

Underscoring the new importance of this event is a £200,000 bonus payment for any horse winning both the Boylesports.com International and the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle in the same season. If won, this will be split £180,000 for the owner, £10,000 for the trainer and £10,000 for the successful yard’s stable staff. The winner of both races would therefore amass over £500,000.

Rooster Booster won both contests in the 2002/03 season, as did Salmon Spray (1965/66 season) and Comedy Of Errors (1974/75 season) so the double is highly achievable.

The Boylesports International is further boosted by a large prize money rise for the race known last year as the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup. The two mile, five furlong handicap chase, also run on Saturday, December 9, becomes the Boylesports.com Gold Cup and increases in value by £40,000 from £110,000 to £150,000.

The programme on Friday, December 8, is transformed by yet another substantial prize money injection. Boylesports is backing the contest formerly run as the Mears Group Handicap Chase, with the extended three mile, one furlong race re-named the Boylepoker.com Chase, doubling in value from £50,000 to £100,000.

Speaking today, John Boyle, Managing Director of Boylesports, said: “This is a fantastic day for Boylesports as it gives us ownership of the second richest hurdle race in Britain and Ireland and a substantial foothold in the Jump season.

“We look forward to working closely with Cheltenham Racecourse over the coming months and years to promote and support the Boylesports International in every way we can. The significant increase in prize money adds prestige to the meeting and should ensure the best horses are in action over the two days.”

Boylesports are Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker. They also offer online a casino and poker room.

Continuing its association with Cheltenham, the Mears Group takes over backing of the £40,000 Grade Two "Relkeel" Hurdle on the Saturday, which also features the £35,000 Grade Two Brit Insurance Novices' Hurdle, won last year by Black Jack Ketchum. The Relkeel has taken on Grade Two status this season, which sees its value doubling.

Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s Managing Director, commented today: “We are delighted to welcome Boylesports to Cheltenham and thank them for their most generous sponsorship over the two days of the Boylesports International.

“It has long been our aim to rebrand this marvellous racing weekend under a new identity that would allow racegoers to get behind another top quality event at Cheltenham.

“December’s racing at Cheltenham has previously been arguably the best outside the Festival, yet the weekend has been over-shadowed by other events.

“This relaunch will allow us to power up the weekend to become as important as our other headline events. A foundation of premier quality racing makes this a most compelling weekend for any owner, trainer or rider, and we hope the prospect of winning £1/2 million will be an enterprising way to deliver the right horses and, with them, a crowd eager to see the best hurdlers from the UK, Ireland and further afield in action at Cheltenham.

“Through this new commitment from Boylesports, as title sponsor and the backer of the three boosted main races, we hope to further increase the appeal of the meeting for owners and trainers so they send their best horses to race at Cheltenham over the two days. Combined with the DBS National Hunt Breeze Up Sale, this can illustrate the broad appeal of the sport beyond its current reach.

“We will be working hard to increase last year's attendance figure of 25,000 for the meeting.”

Simon Claisse, Cheltenham's Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, added: “The Boylesports International represents an exciting new development in Cheltenham’s racing calendar.

“The race programme for the two days has been considerably strengthened by the massive prize money increases for the three feature contests and, with the Boylesports.com International, Cheltenham now stages the two most valuable hurdle contests during the entire season.”

Background information to the three main races:-


This year’s Boylesports.com International is worth an incredible £200,000, making the two mile, one furlong contest the second most valuable hurdle race in Britain and Ireland, after the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.

Any horse that wins the Boylesports.com International and goes on to take the showpiece two-mile hurdle at The Festival in March will land their connections a bonus of £200,000.

The Boylesports.com International was run as the Cheltenham Trial Hurdle until 1977 when the name was changed to the Bula Hurdle, after the top-class Cheltenham winner. It has alway been one of the leading examinations for the Champion Hurdle.

Scottish Memories won the initial running in 1963 while the following two renewals went to winners of the Champion Hurdle, Magic Court and Salmon Spray.

Fulke Walwyn saddled the Willie Robinson-ridden Sempervivum to take the 1966 event and, earlier that year, the eight-year-old had finished the runner-up to Salmon Spray in the Champion Hurdle.

Pendil was another high-class performer to win the Boylesports.com International. He was successful in 1970 for trainer Fred Winter and went to even greater heights over fences, capturing the feature chase at this meeting, the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, three years later.

Bula, the racehorse after whom this prestigious event was named for many years, was another success for Winter, prevailing in 1972 by one and a half lengths from the Peter Bailey-trained Canasta Lad, who had himself won the 1971 contest. The great Bula, who was ridden by Paul Kelleway, won the Champion Hurdle in 1971 and 1972.

Bula’s owner Captain Bill Edwards-Heathcote has maintained his Cheltenham links, having experienced success with Village King in the 2002 Golden Miller Handicap Chase.

Fred Rimell trained Comedy Of Errors to win the Boylesports.com International two years running in 1973 and 1974. Comedy Of Errors was also a dual Champion Hurdle winner (1973 and 1975). Bill Smith rode Comedy Of Errors to three of those four successes.

The great hurdler Bird’s Nest was the first horse to win the Boylesports.com International three times, being successful in 1977, 1978 and 1980.

Bob Turnell saddled Bird’s Nest to the first two of his successes, with son Andy in the saddle. Andy Turnell went on to complete the three-timer in the saddle and was also the trainer in 1980, following his father’s death.

The other three-time winner was Relkeel, who gained successive victories in the Boylesports.com International in 1997 and 1998 for the late David Nicholson. The Relkino gelding went on to complete his hat-trick in 1999, when under the care of Nicholson’s former assistant Alan King, and now has a race named after him on the same day as the Boylesports.com International .

Adrian Maguire announced his retirement at the end of October in 2002, when a neck injury was deemed too dangerous for him to continue riding. Maguire, now a trainer in Ireland, had two successes in the Boylesports.com International. The first came on the Mark Tompkins-trained Halkopous in 1992 and, six years later, he followed up when partnering Relkeel to the second leg of that horse’s magnificent hat-trick.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Geos won the Boylesports.com International in 2000, when beating Barton by six lengths, and was subsequently successful in Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle later in the same month and finished fourth to Hors La Loi III in the 2002 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at Prestbury Park.

Geos filled the same position in the 2003 Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham’s National Hunt Festival, having three months earlier finished a creditable two-length third to the Philip Hobbs-trained Rooster Booster in the Boylesports.com International.

Rooster Booster also lined-up at the 2003 Festival, and took the hurdling crown, the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle. His jockey, Richard Johnson, is the most successful current rider in the Boylesports.com International, while Jamie Osborne and Andy Turnell, now trainers, have also had three victories in the race.

Rooster Booster returned to Prestbury Park for the next two renewals of the Boylesports.com International, running a close fifth behind the Paul Nicholls-trained Rigmarole in 2003 and fourth to Back In Front a year later.

Edward O’Grady’s Back In Front - the second Irish-trained winner of the race after the Jim Bolger-trained Condor Pan in 1988 - was a four-length winner, under Davy Russell, from subsequent Ladbrokes World Hurdle scorer and Order Of Merit hero Inglis Drever.

Harchibald made it two winners in two years for the Irish with a classy performance last year. Noel Meade’s star hurdler travelled brilliantly under Paul Carberry, and despite finding trouble approaching the last flight, picked up in tremendous style to be the decisive winner from Intersky Falcon.


* The Boylesports.com International was first run in 1963 when Scottish Memories was successful.

* Up until 1977, it was known as the Cheltenham Trial Hurdle. It was renamed in 1977 to reflect Bula’s successes at Cheltenham, including the Champion Hurdle in 1971 and 1972. He also won a division of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1970 and finished third in the 1975 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Boylepsorts sponsor the Boylesports.com International for the first time in 2006.

* Bula won the race subsequently named in his honour in 1972, the same year as his second Champion Hurdle victory.

* Six horses in total have won both the Boylesports.com International and the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle:

Magic Court 1964 1964
Salmon Spray 1965 1966
Bula 1972 1972
Comedy Of Errors 1973, 1974 1973, 1975
Sea Pigeon 1975 1980, 1981
Rooster Booster 2002 2003

* Salmon Spray, Comedy Of Errors (1974 success) and Rooster Booster are the three horses to win the two contests in the same season.

* The shortest-priced winner of the Boylesports.com International has been Comedy Of Errors (1973) at 2/5.

* Solway Sands (1968) provided the biggest shock in the history of the contest when winning at 33/1 in 1968.

* Overall, favourites have a fair record with 16 wins in 38 runnings (over 40%).

* The Boylesports.com International is a good race for multiple winners, with Comedy Of Errors (1973, 1974) and Large Action (1994 and 1996) both winning the race twice.

* In addition, Bird’s Nest (1977, 1978, 1980) and Relkeel (1997, 1998 and 1999) were both triumphant three times.

* Bob Turnell was the most successful trainer in the race’s history. In addition to winning three times with Bird’s Nest (1977, 1978, 1980), he also saddled Salmon Spray (1965).

* Among current trainers, Oliver Sherwood leads the way with three wins, having scored with Large Action twice (1994 & 1996) and Cruising Altitude (1989). Martin Pipe sent out two winners with Corporal Clinger (1985) and Valiramix (2001).

* Andy Turnell, Jamie Osborne and Richard Johnson are the winning-most jockeys, each recording three victories.


2005 Harchibald 6-11-08 Noel Meade IRE Paul Carberry 10/11f 9
2004 Back In Front 7-11-08 Edward O’Grady IRE Davy Russell 5/2f 7
2003 Rigmarole 5-11-04 Paul Nicholls Robert Thornton 25/1 7
2002 Rooster Booster 8-11-04 Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson 11/8f 9
2001* Valiramix 5-11-04 Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 1/2f 4
2000 Geos 5-11-04 Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald 14/1 8
1999 Relkeel 10-11-08 Alan King Richard Johnson 13/2 7
1998 Relkeel 9-11-08 David Nicholson Adrian Maguire 8/1 5
1997 Relkeel 8-11-00 David Nicholson Richard Johnson 8/1 8
1996 Large Action 8-11-08 Oliver Sherwood Jamie Osborne 5/4f 7
1995 Abandoned
1994 Large Action 6-11-04 Oliver Sherwood Jamie Osborne 8/11f 8
1993 Staunch Friend 5-11-08 Mark Tompkins Declan Murphy 6/1 7
1992 Halkopous 6-11-02 Mark Tompkins Adrian Maguire 8/1 6
1991 Royal Derbi 6-11-08 Neville Callaghan Declan Murphy 9/2 5
1990 Abandoned
1989 Cruising Altitude 6-11-04 Oliver Sherwood Jamie Osborne 8/11f 8
1988 Condor Pan 5-11-02 Jim Bolger IRE Charlie Swan 12/1 8
1987 Pat’s Jester 4-11-02 Dick Allan Peter Niven 11/2 8
1986 Floyd 6-11-02 David Elsworth Colin Brown 7/2 8
1985 Corporal Clinger 6-11-02 Martin Pipe Paul Leach 20/1 9
1984 Browne’s Gazette 6-11-04 Monica Dickinson Mr Ronnie Beggan 7/2 5
1983 Amarach 5-11-06 Roger Fisher Jimmy Duggan 7/2jf 9
1982 Ekbalco 6-11-10 Roger Fisher Jonjo O’Neill 2/1jf 5
1981 Abandoned
1980 Bird’s Nest 10-11-06 Andy Turnell Andy Turnell 5/2f 7
1979 Celtic Ryde 4-11-03 Peter Cundell Martin O’Halloran 11/4 5
1978 Bird’s Nest 8-11-06 Bob Turnell Andy Turnell Evensf 5
1977 Bird’s Nest 7-11-06 Bob Turnell Andy Turnell 11/4 10
1976 Abandoned
1975 Sea Pigeon 5-11-02 Gordon Richards Jonjo O’Neill 5/1 7
1974 Comedy Of Errors 7-11-10 Fred Rimell Ken White 6/4 4
1973 Comedy Of Errors 6-11-12 Fred Rimell Bill Smith 2/5f 5
1972 Bula 7-11-12 Fred Winter Paul Kelleway 8/13f 8
1971 Canasta Lad 5-11-08 Peter Bailey Jeff King 5/1 8
1970 Pendil 5-11-08 Fred Winter Paul Kelleway 7/2 6
1969 Celtic Gold 7-12-01 Arthur Stephenson Stan Murphy 9/2 7
1968 Solway Sands 4-11-06 J McMurchie Brian Fletcher 33/1 7
1967 Abandoned
1966 Sempervivum 8-11-11 Fulke Walwyn Willie Robinson 8/11f 4
1965 Salmon Spray 7-12-01 Bob Turnell Johnny Haine 3/1 5
1964 Magic Court 6-12-01 Tommy Robson Pat McCarron 4/7f 6
1963 Scottish Memories 9-11-11 A Thomas C Finnegan 6/4f 7

* run at Newbury


The Boylesports.com Gold Cup was introduced at Cheltenham in December, 1963, three years after the successful Mackeson Gold Cup (now the Paddy Power Gold Cup) which is held the previous month.

This year’s renewal of the handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs, the first to be run as the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, is worth £150,000, which represents a £40,000 increase on last year.

Originally under the sponsorship of Massey Ferguson, the valuable and prestigious handicap chase had a number of sponsors before settling with the title, the Tripleprint Gold Cup, in 1992.

Last year it was called the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup, in remembrance of the former Foreign Secretary and great racing enthusiast, who passed away in August, 2005. The Irish took the first three runnings, thanks to the efforts of Limeking, Flying Wild and Flyingbolt.

The Tom Dreaper-trained Flyingbolt was an exceptional horse. After winning the 1965 Boylesports.com Gold Cup by 15 lengths under top-weight of 12st 6lb, he went on to The Festival , where he captured the 1966 two-mile Champion Chase and followed up by running third to Salmon Spray in the Champion Hurdle the next day.

Flyingbolt took the Irish Grand National the following month under the huge burden of 12st 7lb to earn comparisons to his illustrious stablemate, Arkle. Illness and injury thereafter prevented the chestnut gelding from realising his full potential.

Bob Turnell had two successes as a trainer, the first with The Laird in 1966 when the jockey was Jeff King. The Laird went on to be second in the 1968 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

His second winner, Arctic Bow, was ridden by his son Andy Turnell and they easily beat Soloning by six lengths for owner Jim Joel.

Fulke Walwyn, one of the greatest-ever jump trainers, captured the 1968 running with Tassilo, while the admirable Titus Oates, trained by Gordon Richards and ridden by Ron Barry, defied 11st 13lb in 1969. Richards also trained two other winners of the race, Clever Folly (1989) and Addington Boy (1996).

Leap Frog was another Irish success in 1971 off 12st 1lb, after earlier in that year running second to L’Escargot in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The late Fred Winter gained the first of his three Boylesports.com Gold Cup wins as a trainer courtesy of the great Pendil in 1973. His other successes were with Observe in 1982 and Fifty Dollars More the following season.

Pendil won back-to-back King George VI Chases at Kempton Park in 1972 and 1973, and was just caught by The Dikler in the 1973 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He is the only winner of the Boylesports.com Gold Cup to have also won the other feature race at the meeting, the Boylesports.com International, which he did in 1970.

The late David Nicholson was responsible for sending out Another Coral to victory in the 1992 Boylesports.com Gold Cup. The nine-year-old received a marvellous ride from Richard Dunwoody to get the better of Second Schedual by five lengths.

Norman Williamson, who retired from the saddle in 2003, was in the plate on Irish challenger Go Roger Go, who triumphed in a great finish in 2000, while the Irish enjoyed further success in last year’s race when the Noel Meade-trained Sir Oj came with a storming late run to land the spoils. His 16/1 success saw him become the longest-priced winner since The Snipe triumphed at 20/1 in 1978.

Richard Johnson captured his second Boylesports.com Gold Cup in 2004 when Monkerhostin capitalised on Our Vic’s last fence fall to stride home seven lengths clear of Thisthatandtother to give trainer Philip Hobbs his first success in the race.

Johnson’s previous Boylesports.com Gold Cup triumph came aboard Legal Right for trainer Jonjo O’Neill in 1999.

Mick Fitzgerald partnered the Nicky Henderson-trained Iris Royal to a head success over Risk Accessor in 2003 and the same partnership was successful in 2002 with Fondmort, who beat Foly Pleasant by six lengths.

Fondmort became only the seventh horse to win both the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, albeit in different seasons, when he was given another magnificent ride by Fitzgerald to land the first-named contest in 2003 by eight lengths from Poliantas.

Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Pegwell Bay (1988) are the only two horses to have captured the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Boylesports.com Gold Cup in the same season.


* The Boylesports.com Gold Cup usually takes place over two miles and five furlongs on the New Course at Cheltenham. In 2003, because of the lack of rain over the summer and during the autumn, the handicap chase was run over two miles and four and a half furlongs on the Old Course at Cheltenham.

* There have been 37 runnings, the first in 1963. Frost intervened in 2001, 1995 and 1976, snow in 1990 and 1981, while the 1967 event was lost due to a foot and mouth epidemic.

* Limeking, trained in Ireland by Danny Morgan, won the inaugural running, defeating Flying Wild by two lengths.

* In all, there have been six Irish-trained winners of the Gold Cup. The victories of Limeking (1963), Flying Wild (1964) and Flyingbolt (1965) ensured that the first three runnings all went to Ireland. However, no horse hailing from the Emerald Isle was successful between Leap Frog (1971) and Go Roger Go, victorious in 2000. Sir Oj became the sixth Irish-trained winner when successful last year.

* Arkle, the greatest steeplechaser of all time and triumphant in the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, suffered a rare reversal in the 1964 Boylesports.com Gold Cup. Anne Duchess of Westminster’s charge was saddled with the burden of 12st 10lb (which included a 3lb penalty for winning the Hennessy just seven days beforehand) and finished a staying-on third behind the useful Irish mare Flying Wild (receiving 32lb) and Buona Notte (receiving 26lb).

* The highest weight ever carried to victory in the Boylesports.com Gold Cup was the 12st 7lb shouldered by Pendil in 1973. Other notable weight-carrying performances were Flyingbolt with 12st 6lb in 1965 and Leap Frog with 12st 1lb in 1971. Pendil is the only horse to have also won the other major race at the Meeting, the Boylesports.com International, which he did in 1970.

* In addition to holding the weight-carrying record for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, Pendil also has the distinction of being the shortest-priced winner, being returned at 8/11.

* Nine favourites or joint-favourites have won the Boylesports.com Gold Cup - Flyingbolt (1965, 5/2), Titus Oates (1969, 9/4), Leap Frog (1971, 3/1), Arctic Bow (1972, 9/2), Pendil (1973, 8/11), Fifty Dollars More (1983, 3/1), Oregon Trail (1986, 3/1), Kings Fountain (1991, 7/4) and Addington Boy (1996, 7/4).

* A fancied horse - if not the favourite - usually wins the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, and 29 victors have been returned at single-figure odds, including nine of the last 10. Sir Oj’s victory last year at odds of 16/1 saw him become the longest-priced winner of the Boylesports.com Gold Cup since the 20/1 chance The Snipe obliged in 1978.

* Female trainers have saddled the Boylesports.com Gold Cup winner three times - Auriol Sinclair with Simian (1970), Jenny Pitman with Bueche Giorod (1980) and, most recently, Sue Nock with Senor El Betrutti (1997).

* Gordon Richards and Fred Winter were the most successful trainers in the history of the Boylesports.com Gold Cup with three winners each. Richards sent out Titus Oates (1969), Clever Folly (1989) and Addington Boy (1996) while Winter had Pendil (1973), Observe (1982) and Fifty Dollars More (1983).

* Among current trainers, Nicky Henderson is the winning-most with two Boylesports.com Gold Cup triumphs, courtesy of Fondmort (2002) and Iris Royal (2003). Martin Pipe, who retired at the end of last season, also landed the race twice through Fragrant Dawn (1993) and Northern Starlight (1998).

*Richard Johnson became the third jockey to have ridden more than one Boylesports.com Gold Cup winner when partnering Monkerhostin in 2004, having been on board Legal Right in 1999. Mick Fitzgerald won on Iris Royal (2003) and Fondmort (2002), while Brendan Powell scored on Pegwell Bay (1988) and Dublin Flyer (1994).

* Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Pegwell Bay (1988) are the only two horses to have landed the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Boylesports.com Gold Cup in the same season.

* Five other horses have won both very valuable handicap chases but in different years. Fondmort took the 2003 Paddy Power and the Boylesports.com Gold Cup the previous season, while Dublin Flyer (PP 1995, BC 1994), Another Coral (PP 1991, BC 1992), Beau Ranger (PP 1987, BC 1984) and Fifty Dollars More (PP 1982, BC 1983) also achieved double glory.

* No horse has won the Boylesports.com Gold Cup twice.


2005 Sir Oj 8-10-00 Noel Meade (IRE) Paul Carberry 16/1 16
2004 Monkerhostin 7-10-02 Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson 4/1 13
2003 Iris Royal 7-10-13 Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald 7/1 17
2002 Fondmort 6-10-05 Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald 5/1 9
2001 Abandoned
2000 Go Roger Go 6-11-00 Edward O’Grady (IRE) Norman Williamson 7/1 12
1999 Legal Right 6-10-13 Jonjo O’Neill Richard Johnson 6/1 9
1998 Northern Starlight 7-10-01 Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 15/2 13
1997 Senor El Betrutti 8-11-03 Sue Nock Graham Bradley 9/1 9
1996 Addington Boy 8-11-10 Gordon Richards Tony Dobbin 7/4f 10
1995 Abandoned
1994 Dublin Flyer 8-10-02 Tim Forster Brendan Powell 100/30 11
1993 Fragrant Dawn 9-10-02 Martin Pipe Declan Murphy 14/1 11
1992 Another Coral 9-11-04 David Nicholson Richard Dunwoody 11/2 10
1991 Kings Fountain 8-11-10 Kim Bailey Anthony Tory 7/4f 8
1990 Abandoned
1989 Clever Folly 9-10-04 Gordon Richards Neale Doughty 4/1 6
1988 Pegwell Bay 7-10-13 Tim Forster Brendan Powell 7/2 10
1987 Bishops Yarn 8-10-07 Toby Balding Richard Guest 100/30 5
1986 Oregon Trail 6-10-07 Simon Christian Ronnie Beggan 3/1jf 6
1985 Combs Ditch 9-11-09 David Elsworth Colin Brown 13/2 7
1984 Beau Ranger 6-9-10 John Thorne John Hurst 8/1 10
1983 Fifty Dollars More 8-11-10 Fred Winter Richard Linley 3/1f 13
1982 Observe 6-10-11 Fred Winter John Francome 11/2 15
1981 Abandoned
1980 Bueche Giorod 9-10-00 Jenny Pitman Bryan Smart 14/1 15
1979 Father Delaney 7-10-10 Peter Easterby Alan Brown 12/1 12
1978 The Snipe 8-10-00 John Webber Anthony Webber 20/1 14
1977 Even Melody 8-11-02 Neville Crump Colin Hawkins 8/1 11
1976 Abandoned
1975 Easby Abbey 8-11-10 Peter Easterby Ron Barry 5/1 9
1974 Garnishee 10-10-06 Tom Jones David Mould 12/1 9
1973 Pendil 8-12-07 Fred Winter Richard Pitman 8/11f 8
1972 Arctic Bow 7-10-12 Bob Turnell Andy Turnell 9/2 jf 11
1971 Leap Frog 7-12-01 Tom Dreaper (IRE) Val O’Brien 3/1f 12
1970 Simian 8-11-08 Auriol Sinclair David Moore 4/1 7
1969 Titus Oates 7-11-13 Gordon Richards Ron Barry 9/4f 11
1968 Tassilo 10-10-01 Fulke Walwyn Aly Branford 8/1 14
1967 Abandoned
1966 The Laird 5-10-09 Bob Turnell Jeff King 13/2 8
1965 Flyingbolt 6-12-06 Tom Dreaper (IRE) Pat Taaffe 5/2f 11
1964 Flying Wild 8-10-06 Dan Moore (IRE) Tommy Carberry 100/8 7
1963 Limeking 6-10-12 Danny Morgan (IRE) Toss Taaffe 100/9 14


The Boylepoker.com Chase, the highlight of the Friday card at the Boylesports International, has doubled in value this year, and is now worth a total of £100,000. First held in 1963 as the Bishop’s Cleeve Handicap Chase, run over three miles, the distance of the race has alternated over its history, though it has always been run between three miles and three miles and one and a half furlongs, the present distance.

The very first running of the Boylepoker.com Chase, held on a Monday, was won by John O’Groats, trained by Sid Dale and ridden by Paul Kelleway.

In 1970 the race saw a fine weight-carrying performance from the seven-year-old The Dikler, who triumphed under the burden of 12st. He progressed to land his biggest success at Prestbury Park in the 1973 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, edging out Pendil in a memorable finish.

Fukle Walwyn, The Dikler’s trainer, had further success in this race with Prairie Dog in 1971 and Diamond Edge in 1980.

Rubstic, who landed the spoils in 1975 as a six-year-old for the trainer/jockey combination of Gordon Richards and Jonjo O’Neill, proved a staying chaser of high rank and went on to capture the 1979 Grand National when trained by John Leadbetter and partnered by Maurice Barnes, beating the 1977 Boylepoker.com Chase winner, Zongalero.

Mighty’s Honour became the first Irish-trained winner of the Boylepoker.com Chase when obliging for trainer Dan Moore in 1978, and only Flashing Steel in 1993 has added to that tally for the Emerald Isle.

The 1980s saw trainer Fred Winter land the contest on three occasions courtesy of Brown Chamberlin (1982), Musso (1983) and I Haventalight (1986), while Run And Skip, successful in 1985, showed that stamina was his forte by taking the Welsh National at Chepstow later that season.

Josh Gifford sent out the winner in 1984 in the shape of Door Latch, who went on to beat all bar a certain Desert Orchid in the 1986 King George VI Chase at Kempton. Gifford had first landed the prize in 1979 with Jack Madness, and went on to win the Boylepoker.com Chase a further three times with the tough Yorkshire Gale (1995, 1996 & 1997), making him the most successful trainer in the race’s history.

Flashing Steel provided Irish handler John Mulhern with a profitable day out in 1993, coming home five lengths to the good over Ushers Island, with Topsham Bay further back in third. The winner progressed to take the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in 1995.

Among current trainers, Nicky Henderson leads the way, with his two victories coming from Master Bob (1990) and Marlborough (2000).

Norman Williamson is the winning-most rider in the event’s history, having completed a quintet of successes aboard Third In Line (1991), Whispering Steel (1994), Yorkshire Gale (1996 & 1997) and Royale De Vassy (2001).

Tony McCoy’s trio of victories came on Yorkshire Gale (1995), Tamarindo (1998) and Horus (2002) and he is the most successful current jockey.

In recent years, horses of the calibre of Marlborough (2000) and Kingscliff (2003) have claimed the Boylepoker.com Chase, while last year the Paul Nicholls-trained Royal Auclair proved too strong for All In The Stars under an excellent ride from promising young jockey Liam Heard.


*The race has been run 36 times in total. It was not held in 1964, 1968 or 1969. Frost intervened in 1976 and 1987, snow caused the abandonment of the 1981 card, and the 1967 meeting was lost due to the foot and mouth epidemic.

*Favourites boast an excellent record, having obliged on 20 occasions.

*Kingscliff at 4/7 in 2003 is the shortest-priced winner, while Lavenshaw in 1972 and Duntree in 1992 both scored at 14/1, and are the longest-priced winners.

*Josh Gifford’s five victories through Jack Madness (1979), Door Latch (1984) and hat-trick hero Yorkshire Gale (1995, 1996 & 1997) make him the most successful trainer in the race’s history.

*Among current trainers, Nicky Henderson leads the way, with his two wins coming from Master Bob (1990) and Marlborough (2000).

*Norman Williamson is the winning-most rider in the race’s history, having completed a quintet of successes aboard Third In Line (1991), Whispering Steel (1994), Yorkshire Gale (1996 & 1997) and Royale De Vassy (2001).

*Tony McCoy’s trio of wins came on Yorkshire Gale (1995), Tamarindo (1998) and Horus (2002), and he is the most successful current jockey.

*There have been only two Irish-trained winners - Mighty’s Honour in 1978 and Flashing Steel in 1993.

*The Dikler (1970), Diamond Edge (1980) and Brown Chamberlin (1982) all lumped 12st to victory, while at the other end of the spectrum, Lavenshaw (1972), Rubstic (1975), Musso (1983), Yorkshire Gale (1995), Tamarindo (1998) and Royale De Vassy (2001) scored with only 10st on their backs.

*Tamarindo, a five-year-old when triumphing in 1998, is the youngest ever winner of the race.

* The admirably tough Yorkshire Gale was 11 when brining up the hat-trick in 1997, as was 1988 victor Bucko, making them the oldest winners of the race.

*The largest field was in 1974, when What A Buck overcame 12 opponents.

*Yorkshire Gale has won the Boylepoker.com Chase three times and is the only multiple winner.


2005 Royal Auclair 8-11-05 Paul Nicholls Liam Heard 13/2 11
2004 Therealbandit 7-11-09 Martin Pipe Timmy Murphy 13/2 12
2003 Kingscliff 6-11-02 Robert Alner Andrew Thornton 4/7f 7
2002 Horus 7-11-04 Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 5/2f 10
2001 Royale De Vassy 7-10-00 Venetia Williams Norman Williamson 7/1 11
2000 Marlborough 8-11-11 Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald 9/2f 12
1999 Star Traveller 8-10-02 Henry Daly Richard Johnson 3/1 6
1998 Tamarindo 5-10-00 Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 11/4f 12
1997 Yorkshire Gale 11-10-10 Josh Gifford Norman Williamson 3/1jf 5
1996 Yorkshire Gale 10-11-10 Josh Gifford Norman Williamson 11/10 2
1995 Yorkshire Gale 9-10-00 Josh Gifford Tony McCoy 10/1 6
1994 Whispering Steel 8-11-10 Kim Bailey Norman Williamson 10/3 7
1993 Flashing Steel 8-11-02 John Mulhern IRE Richard Dunwoody 4/1jf 8
1992 Duntree 7-10-03 David Nicholson Hywel Davies 14/1 10
1991 Third In Line 8-10-03 John Edwards Norman Williamson 7/2 4
1990 Master Bob 10-11-04 Nicky Henderson John Kavanagh 7/2 7
1989 Royal Cedar 8-10-06 John McConnochie Richard Dunwoody 6/4f 6
1988 Bucko 11-10-04 Jimmy Fitzgerald Mark Dwyer 7/2 6
1987 Abandoned
1986 I Haventalight 7-10-11 Fred Winter Peter Scudamore 6/4f 6
1985 Run And Skip 7-10-04 John Spearing Peter Scudamore 6/4f 6
1984 Door Latch 6-10-07 Josh Gifford Peter Hobbs 6/5f 8
1983 Musso 7-10-00 Fred Winter Ben de Haan 5/1 8
1982 Brown Chamberlin 7-12-00 Fred Winter John Francome 8/13f 8
1981 Abandoned
1980 Diamond Edge 9-12-00 Fulke Walwyn Bill Smith 2/1f 10
1979 Jack Madness 7-10-11 Josh Gifford Richard Rowe 15/8f 6
1978 Mighty’s Honour 7-11-11 Dan Moore IRE Tommy Carberry 6/1 12
1977 Zongalero 7-10-10 Tom Jones Steve Smith-Eccles 7/2f 9
1976 Abandoned
1975 Rubstic 6-10-00 Gordon Richards Jonjo O’Neill 10/11f 4
1974 What A Buck 7-10-04 David Nicholson Jeff King 4/1 13
1973 Bruslee 7-10-11 Michael Scudamore Andy Turnell 11/8f 8
1972 Lavenshaw 8-10-00 David Barons Nigel Wakley 14/1 7
1971 Prairie Dog 7-10-06 Fulke Walwyn Stan Mellor 9/4f 7
1970 The Dikler 7-12-00 Fulke Walwyn Barry Brogan 5/4f 9
1969 No Race
1968 No Race
1967 Abandoned
1966 Bassnet 7-10-12 A Kilpatrick P Jones 9/4 8
1965 Phemius 7-11-05 Neville Crump Gerry Scott 5/2f 7
1964 No Race
1963 John O’Groats 9-11-01 Sid Dale Paul Kelleway 2/1f 9

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

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