DREVER COULD MAKE HISTORY IN LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE
The Howard Johnson-trained Inglis Drever, winner of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2005 and 2007, could bid to become the first ever three-time winner of the famous staying event as he is among 41 entries revealed today for the 2008 renewal.
The nine-year-old is 6/4 favourite with the sponsors to complete the unprecedented hat-trick and David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "If Inglis Drever has not yet cemented his place in Festival folklore, another victory in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle would certainly put that right. He dominates the betting but with 41 tremendous entries, we fully expect there to be more than the occasional plunge between now and mid-March."
Among his potential rivals are Blazing Bailey, Wichita Lineman, Gaspara, Afsoun, Faasel and Redemption – who finished in that order when they were the six finishers in the Steel Plate And Sections Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
The 2006 winner My Way De Solzen, who has been running over fences this season, has been given an entry while Gaspara’s trainer David Pipe has two other chances of landing a race his father Martin won twice in Lough Derg, winner of the Grade One BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 22, and Raslan.
Dual Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace is one of nine Irish-trained entries along with the likes of Aitmatov, Al Eile and Ebaziyan, who are all also engaged in the 2008 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
Inglis Drever is Timeform’s top-rated entry on 166, ahead of My Way De Solzen on 164? and Al Eile on 160.
FRENCH CHAMPION TO MAKE FESTIVAL DEBUT
France’s 15-time champion jockey Christophe Pieux is set to have his first rides at the 2008 Festival after trainer Francois Doumen today confirmed that he would have at least one runner in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Doumen has entered last year’s fifth Kasbah Bliss and Millenium Royal in the Grade One event and confirmed that Pieux, who has had a handful of rides at Cheltenham away from The Festival, would be in the saddle.
“I was a bit surprised by Kasbah Bliss’s under-par performance in the BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. He came out of it in splendid condition and he’s perky and well. The ground wasn’t too soft at Ascot, but it was quite tacky, and that’s a possible reason for his poor run,” said Doumen, who won the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2002 and 2003 with Baracouda.
“But normally when it comes to Cheltenham in March, we are looking at ground which good as opposed to too soft, which would suit Kasbah Bliss down to the ground. He really doesn’t like soft ground at all. He’s definitely matured since last year’s Festival, and he put in two very good performances at Auteuil before running at Newbury. He’s the highest rated hurdler in France at the moment, and he’s won races every year since two. We like the horse a lot, maybe because we bred him, but we still like him a lot. He will be entered in the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on January 26, but it really depends on the ground and he won’t run if it’s soft.
“If the ground is soft then we could run Millenium Royal in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. He didn’t enjoy the good ground at Cheltenham when he ran in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle in December, and he wasn’t lucky in running. In terms of ability, there is not much between Kasbah Bliss and Millenium Royal, and the ground at The Festival will decide which one we run in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
“Christophe Pieux will definitely ride one of them at The Festival and he would be very upset if I chose another jockey. He’s a man with a lot of experience, having been French champion jockey 15 times. When he won on Millenium Royal at Haydock, we were still in a taxi during the previous race, he didn’t have time to walk the course and still gave a great ride on a tricky horse.”
Full Ladbrokes betting: 6/4 Inglis Drever, 5/1 Wichita Lineman, 6/1 Blazing Bailey, 8/1 Hardy Eustace, 12/1 Lough Derg, 16/1 Aitmatov, 16/1 My Way De Solzen, 20/1 The Market Man, 25/1 Special Envoy, 25/1 Black Jack Ketchum, 25/1 Kasbah Bliss, 25/1 Millenium Royal, 33/1 Air Force One, 33/1 Al Eile, 33/1 Blue Shark, 33/1 Ebaziyan, 33/1 Flight Leader, 33/1 Gaspara, 33/1 Racing Demon, 33/1 Refinement, 40/1 Chief Dan George, 40/1 Labelthou, 40/1 No Refuge, 40/1 Ringaroses, 40/1 Turko, 50/1 Faasel, 50/1 Kawagino, 50/1 Kazal, 50/1 Material World, 50/1 Mudawin, 50/1 Oscar Park, 50/1 Powerstation, 50/1 Sonnyanjoe, 66/1 Footy Facts, 66/1 Gone To Lunch, 66/1 Junior, 66/1 Raslan, 66/1 Souffleur, 100/1 Alexander Taipan, 100/1 Redemption, 250/1 Lothian Falcon
The Best Mate Enclosure has now sold out on Friday, March 14, although there is still availability in the Club and Tattersalls Enclosures.
Tickets can be bought via www.cheltenham.co.uk or by telephoning 01242 226 226.
Ticket prices are:
Tuesday, March 11 - Club £65, Tattersalls £35, Best Mate £20
Wednesday, March 12 - Club £65, Tattersalls £35, Best Mate £20
Thursday, March 13 - Club £65, Tattersalls £35, Best Mate £20
Friday, March 14 - Club £80, Tattersalls £50, Best Mate SOLD OUT
LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE FACTS
1. The Ladbrokes World Hurdle is one of the youngest races at The Festival. Known as the Stayers’ Hurdle up to and including 2004, it was only introduced with its current race conditions in 1972. Before that, it was known as the Spa Hurdle.
2. The Ladbrokes World Hurdle has been run on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the meeting. It moved to its current Thursday slot in 1993.
3. Its first year of sponsorship was 1972, under the title of the Lloyds Bank Hurdle. There have been four sponsors of the race, Waterford Crystal from 1978 to 1990 and Bonusprint from 1991 to 2004. 2005 was the first year of Ladbrokes’ sponsorship and prize money currently stands at £250,000.
4. The Ladbrokes World Hurdle used to be a favourite with the Irish, who have won it nine times, most recently in 1995 with Dorans Pride. Baracouda provided a first success for France in 2002 and followed up again in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, he was runner-up behind Iris’s Gift and Inglis Drever respectively, while in 2006 he ran fifth behind My Way De Solzen.
5. The late Fulke Walwyn is the only trainer to have won the contest more than twice. The race was dominated in the mid-eighties by Crimson Embers, trained by Walwyn, and the winner in 1982 and 1986. Indeed, Crimson Embers would have been awarded the race in the stewards’ room in 1985 had his rider not declined to give evidence to the enquiry afterwards, but the trainer won the race anyway with Rose Ravine. The owner, Sally Smart, was ambivalent about the result - she owned both horses!
6. Gaye Chance, the winner in 1984, was a full-brother to the 1983 Champion Hurdle winner Gaye Brief. Both horses were trained by Mercy Rimell.
7. No horse has managed to win both the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
8. A total of 10 favourites have been successful.
9. The smallest field to go to post was eight in 1973 while the largest was 22 in both 1985 and 1990. 14 ran last year.
10. There have been four dual winners - Crimson Embers (1982 & 1986), Galmoy (1987 & 1988), Baracouda (2002 & 2003) and Inglis Drever (2005 & 2007). No horse has won the race three times.
11. Tommy Carberry, Stuart Shilston, Tommy Carmody, Mark Perrett, Charlie Swan, Jamie Osborne and Thierry Doumen are the most successful jockeys, each recording two victories. No current jockey has won the race more than once.
LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE
Class 1, Grade One, £250,000 Total Prize Fund, three miles. Cheltenham, 3.15pm, Thursday, March 13. For four-year-olds and upwards which are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including March 6 - horses which are not qualified for a rating in GB, IRE or FR may also be entered (such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including March 6 would merit a minimum rating of 130 – the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final), three miles. Weights: 4yo: 11st; 5yo+: 11st 10lb; fillies & mares allowed 7lb. Entries closed January 15, entries revealed January 17 (41 entries). Forfeit stage February 12, £12,500 supplementary entry stage March 7, six-day confirmation stage March 7, final declarations 10am, March 11. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, January 14.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
5112-61 AIR FORCE ONE (GER) 6 Brian Walsh (Co Kildare) Charlie Mann
214-111 AITMATOV (GER) 7 John O'Meara Noel Meade IRE
541-321 AL EILE (IRE) 8 Michael Ryan John Queally IRE
F1-0010 ALEXANDER TAIPAN (IRE) 8 Noel O'Callaghan Willie Mullins IRE
5F2-13P BLACK JACK KETCHUM (IRE) 9 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
13F-041 BLAZING BAILEY 6 Three Line Whip Alan King
5/23311/- BLUE SHARK (FR) 6 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
1101-60 CHIEF DAN GEORGE (IRE) 8 Maurice Chapman Jimmy Moffatt
0-45341 EBAZIYAN (IRE) 7 Peter Garvey Willie Mullins IRE
422-245 FAASEL (IRE) 7 Jim Ennis Nicky Richards
121134- FLIGHT LEADER (IRE) 8 John and Heather Snook Colin Tizzard
112-0F1 FOOTY FACTS (IRE) 8 M Kelleher Robert Tyner IRE
112-233 GASPARA (FR) 5 P McMahon David Pipe
211112 GONE TO LUNCH (IRE) 8 G T Lever Jeremy Scott
143-122 HARDY EUSTACE (IRE) 11 Lar Byrne Dessie Hughes IRE
F/1213-1 INGLIS DREVER 9 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
2256- JUNIOR 5 Paul Green Brian Meehan
561135 KASBAH BLISS (FR) 6 Henri de Pracomtal Francois Doumen FR
22F562 KAWAGINO (IRE) 8 K J Pike Seamus Mullins
1111-FU KAZAL (FR) 7 Joseph Comerford Eoin Griffin IRE
110-12F LABELTHOU (FR) 9 GDM Partnership Emma Lavelle
12-3131 LOTHIAN FALCON 9 Peter Maddison Peter Maddison
04-0331 LOUGH DERG (FR) 8 W Frewen David Pipe
312/132- MATERIAL WORLD 10 Southern Bloodstock Suzy Smith
0P-0616 MILLENIUM ROYAL (FR) 8 Jorg Vasicek Francois Doumen FR
MUDAWIN (IRE) 7 John MacGregor Milton Harris
2111-5P MY WAY DE SOLZEN (FR) 8 B Winfield,A Longman,J Wright & C Fenton Alan King
03/445-1 NO REFUGE (IRE) 8 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
2F01-F0 OSCAR PARK (IRE) 9 George Ward David Arbuthnot
2232-24 POWERSTATION (IRE) 8 Fat Frog Syndicate Michael Phillips IRE
3F54-14 RACING DEMON (IRE) 8 Camilla Radford Henrietta Knight
2-10301 RASLAN 5 D J Reid David Pipe
00P0-P6 REDEMPTION 13 Nigel Twiston-Davies Nigel Twiston-Davies
2031-61 REFINEMENT (IRE) 9 Michael Tabor Jonjo O'Neill
1(1)6/11- RINGAROSES 7 Mrs Nicholas Jones/Martin Broughton Henrietta Knight
151122 SONNYANJOE (IRE) 10 Anthony Byrne Tom Hogan IRE
111313 SOUFFLEUR 5 Karen Bowen, W Bryan, Mr & Mrs J Timmons Peter Bowen
F-60F24 SPECIAL ENVOY (FR) 6 Walters Plant Hire Ltd Peter Bowen
121/112/- THE MARKET MAN (NZ) 8 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Henderson
210P-P1 TURKO (FR) 6 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
1112-42 WICHITA LINEMAN (IRE) 7 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
41 Entries, 9 Irish-trained, 2 French-trained
Timeform top-rated: Inglis Drever 166, My Way De Solzen 164?, Al Eile 160, Blazing Bailey 158, Hardy Eustace 158,
Millenium Royal 158, Afsoun 157, Mid Dancer 157, Black Jack Ketchum 154+, Aitmatov 154, Oscar Park 153, Special Envoy 153, Wichita Lineman 150+, Refinement 150, Flight Leader 148, Kasbah Bliss 148, Lough Derg 147+
Breakdown of Entries by Trainer with Past Successes in the
Ladbrokes World Hurdle
Jonjo O’Neill (2004 Iris’s Gift)
Francois Doumen FR (2002 & 2003 Baracouda)
Nicky Henderson (1989 Rustle, 2000 Bacchanal)
Howard Johnson (2005 & 2007 Inglis Drever)
Alan King (2006 My Way De Solzen)
Henrietta Knight (1997 Karshi)
Willie Mullins IRE
Eoin Griffin IRE
Tom Hogan IRE
Dessie Hughes IRE
Noel Meade IRE
Michael Phillips IRE
John Queally IRE
Robert Tyner IRE
HORSES ENTERED IN BOTH THE SMURFIT KAPPA CHAMPION HURDLE
AND THE LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE
Ladbrokes World Hurdle - Analysis
The Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle over three miles is the feature championship event on Thursday, March 12, at The Festival, and has attracted a top-class entry of 41 horses, six more than last year.
The Howard Johnson-trained Inglis Drever could bid to become the first horse to win the race for a third time, having triumphed in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2005 and 2007, and the nine-year-old looked as good as ever when scoring in the Grade Two totesport.com Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on December 1, 2007.
Johnson has also entered 2005 Grade One Ballymore Properties Novice Hurdle victor No Refuge, who recently returned to the racecourse with a game win over fences after an absence of more than a year.
Alan King could return his star chaser My Way De Solzen to the smaller obstacles. The eight-year-old took the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2006 and returned to The Festival 12 months later to triumph in the Grade One Irish Independent Arkle Trophy Chase.
The Barbury Castle handler has also engaged Blazing Bailey, who finished third behind Inglis Drever last year, but looked on top form when taking the Steel Plate And Sections Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner Wichita Lineman finished eight lengths second to Blazing Bailey on that occasion and the six-year-old could bid for revenge along with stablemate Black Jack Ketchum, who fell when hot favourite in last season’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
O’Neill’s other entry is the classy mare Refinement, who won the Grade One Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Champion Stayers Hurdle at last season’s Punchestown Festival and finished third behind Nicanor and Denman in the 2006 Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival.
David Pipe’s three entries are Lough Derg, who was an impressive nine-length winner of the Grade One BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December, last year’s Listed Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle heroine Gaspara and Raslan.
Nicky Henderson, who has twice trained the winner of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, could be represented by Blue Shark, who scored easily in Grade One company on his only start in Britain and The Market Man, who has not run since finishing second to Mighty Man in the “Relkeel” Hurdle at Cheltenham in December, 2005.
Racing Demon, second behind No Refuge at The Festival in 2005, could return to hurdles for Henrietta Knight and the trainer, who won the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Karshi in 1997, has also engaged the exciting Ringaroses, who has only been beaten once in five starts.
Charlie Mann could be represented by Air Force One, who chased home Wichita Lineman at last year’s Festival, while Peter Bowen has entered his exciting novice Souffleur, an impressive winner of the Grade One Ballymore Properties Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury in December, and high-class performer Special Envoy.
A strong Irish challenge of nine is headed by Dessie Hughes’ outstanding hurdler Hardy Eustace, a dual winner of the Grade One Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, and the Noel Meade-trained Aitmatov, who was a brave winner of the Grade One Ballymore Properties Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 2.
Al Eile could step up to three miles following a length victory over Hardy Eustace in the Grade One bewleyshotels.com December Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown, while Willie Mullins has entered last season’s Grade One Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle victor Ebaziyan and Alexander Taipan.
Other potential Irish raiders include Powerstation, who finished second to Black Jack Ketchum in the 2006 Group Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle before filling the same position in last season’s Coral Cup, and Tom Hogan’s consistent gelding Sonnyanjoe, winner of the Listed Lombard Properties Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.
Francois Doumen, twice successful in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Baracouda, has entered last year’s fifth Kasbah Bliss and Millenium Royal, who scored in the valuable Betfair “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in November.
LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE PAST RESULTS
2007-WINNER-INGLIS DREVER 8-11-10 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-5/1
2ND-Mighty Man 7-11-10 Owner-Joss Hanbury; Trainer-Henry Daly; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-100/30
3RD-Blazing Bailey 5-11-10 Owner-Three Line Whip; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-8/1
14 ran, Time-5m 46.50s; Dist-3/4, 4 2/1 Fav Black Jack Ketchum (Fell)
2006-WINNER-MY WAY DE SOLZEN 6-11-10 Owner-B Winfield, A Longman, J Wright & C Fenton; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-8/1
2ND-Golden Cross 7-11-10 Owner-P Johnson; Trainer-Michael Halford IRE; Jockey-Johnny Murtagh; SP-5/1
3RD-Mighty Man 6-11-10 Owner-Joss Hanbury; Trainer-Henry Daly; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-4/1 Fav
20 ran, Time-5m 38.40s; Dist-hd, 4
LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR
(Ladbrokes World Hurdle from 2005, bonusprint.com Stayers’ Hurdle 2004, Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle 1991-2003, Waterford Crystal Stayers’ Hurdle 1978-90, Lloyds Bank Hurdle 1972-77)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
2007 Inglis Drever 8-11-10 Paddy Brennan Howard Johnson Andrea & Graham Wylie 5/1 14
2006 My Way De Solzen 6-11-10 Robert Thornton Alan King B Winfield, A Longman, J Wright, C Fenton 8/1 20
2005 Inglis Drever 6-11-10 Graham Lee Howard Johnson Andrea & Graham Wylie 5/1 12
2004 Iris’s Gift 7-11-10 Barry Geraghty Jonjo O’Neill Robert Lester 9/2 10
2003 Baracouda 8-11-10 Thierry Doumen Francois Doumen FR J P McManus 9/4JF 11
2002 Baracouda 7-11-10 Thierry Doumen Francois Doumen FR J P McManus 13/8F 16
2001 No Race (Foot and Mouth)
2000 Bacchanal 6-11-10 Mick Fitzgerald Nicky Henderson Lady Lloyd-Webber 11/2 10
1999 Anzum 8-11-10 Richard Johnson David Nicholson Old Foresters Partnership 40/1 12
1998 Princeful 7-11-10 Rodney Farrant Jenny Pitman Robert Hitchins 16/1 9
1997 Karshi 7-11-10 Jamie Osborne Henrietta Knight Lord Vestey 20/1 17
1996 Cyborgo 6-11-10 David Bridgwater Martin Pipe County Stores (Somerset) Holdings 8/1 19
1995 Dorans Pride 6-11-10 Shane Broderick Michael Hourigan IRE Tom Doran 11/4F 11
1994 Balasani 8-11-10 Mark Perrett Martin Pipe Mark Smith 9/2JF 14
1993 Shuil Ar Aghaidh7-11-05 Charlie Swan Paddy Kiely IRE Mrs Paddy Kiely 20/1 12
1992 Nomadic Way 7-11-10 Jamie Osborne Barry Hills Robert Sangster 15/2 17
1991 King’s Curate 7-11-10 Mark Perrett Stan Mellor C J Ells 5/2F 15
1990 Trapper John 6-11-10 Charlie Swan Mouse Morris IRE Jill Fanning 15/2 22
1989 Rustle 7-11-10 Michael Bowlby Nicky Henderson Robert Waley-Cohen 4/1 21
1988 Galmoy 9-11-10 Tommy Carmody John Mulhern IRE Miss D Threadwell 2/1F 16
1987 Galmoy 8-11-10 Tommy Carmody John Mulhern IRE Miss D Threadwell 9/2 14
1986 Crimson Embers 11-11-10 Stuart Shilston Fulke Walwyn Sally Smart 12/1 19
1985 Rose Ravine 6-11-05 Ricky Pusey Fulke Walwyn Sally Smart 5/1F 22
1984 Gaye Chance 9-11-10 Sam Morshead Mercy Rimell Mary Curtis 5/1 14
1983 A Kinsman 7-11-12 Geordie Dun John Brockbank Mrs John Brockbank 50/1 21
1982 Crimson Embers 7-11-12 Stuart Shilston Fulke Walwyn Sally Smart 2/1F 11
1981 Derring Rose 6-11-12 John Francome Fred Winter Peter Savill 3/1 14
1980 Mountrivers 6-11-12 Tommy Ryan Edward O’Grady IRE B Burser 7/1 19
1979 Lighter 6-11-12 Philip Blacker John Edwards G Smith 14/1 14
1978 Flame Gun 6-11-12 Mr Niall Madden Edward O’Grady IRE Mary Kenny 14/1 13
1977 Town Ship 6-11-12 Tommy Carberry Peter Easterby Pat Muldoon 5/2 11
1976 Bit Of A Jig 8-11-12 Dessie Hughes Mick O’Toole IRE Mrs Mick O’Toole 2/1F 12
1975 Brown Lad 9-11-12 Tommy Carberry Jim Dreaper IRE Mrs Peter Burrell 7/4F 12
1974 Highland Abbe 8-11-12 Richard Smith Les Kennard Mrs K Hankey 15/2 15
1973 Moyne Royal 8-11-12 David Mould Arthur Pitt E Cook 10/1 8
1972 Parlour Moor 8-11-12 Macer Gifford Tom Jones Charlotte Monckton 13/2 11
2007 LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE RESULT IN DETAIL
3m, New Course, £250,000 guaranteed. For 4yo+ which are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the Senior BHB Handicapper following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including March 8; horses which are not qualified a rating in Great Britain, Ireland or France may also be entered; such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including March 8 would merit a rating of 130; the decision of the Senior BHB Handicapper shall be final; Weights 4yo 11st; 5yo+ 11st 10lb; Allowances fillies and mares 7lb. Entries: 35 pay £285. First Forfeit: 31 pay £570. Supplementary Entry Stage: 1 pays £12,500. Confirmed: 21 pay £285. Penalty Values: 1st £149,027.48; 2nd £55,904.90; 3rd £27,991.66; 4th £13,956.62; 5th £7,004.45; 6th £3,502.22
1 INGLIS DREVER (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 8-11-10 Paddy Brennan 5/1
2 MIGHTY MAN (FR) (Joss Hanbury) Henry Daly 7-11-10 Richard Johnson 100/30
3 BLAZING BAILEY (Three Line Whip) Alan King 5-11-10 Robert Thornton 8/1
4 UNITED (GER) (R Holt) Lucy Wadham 6-11-03 Leighton Aspell 22/1
5 KASBAH BLISS (FR) (Henri de Pracomtal) Francois Doumen FR 5-11-10 Arnaud Duchene 12/1
6 STRANGELY BROWN (IRE) (We Didn’t Name Him Syndicate) Eric McNamara IRE 6-11-10 David Casey 50/1
7 NATAL (FR) (Monica Hackett) Paul Nicholls 6-11-10t Ruby Walsh 16/1
8 LABELTHOU (FR) (Gdm Partnership) Emma Lavelle 8-11-03 Barry Fenton 20/1
9 LOUGH DERG (FR) (W Frewen) David Pipe 7-11-10v Tom Scudamore 40/1
10 OVER THE CREEK (David Johnson) David Pipe 8-11-10p Timmy Murphy 100/1
11 FIRE DRAGON (IRE) (Gay Smith) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-10b Noel Fehily 50/1
12 OVERSTRAND (IRE) (Dr Richard & Laura Newland) Dr Richard Newland 8-11-10 Sam Jones 20/1
13 TEMOIN (The Unemployables) Nicky Henderson 7-11-10b1 Mick Fitzgerald 25/1
F THIRD BLACK JACK KETCHUM (IRE) (Gay Smith) Jonjo O'Neill 8-11-10 Tony McCoy 2/1Fav
Non-runner: 13 Asian Maze (vet’s certificate)
Distances: 3/4, 4, 9, 3, 8, 7, 2 1/2, 9, 3/4, 4, 17, dist
Breeder: Bobby McAlpine and David Pickering
Breeding: b g In The Wings - Cormorant Creek
Totes: Win: £6.00 Places: £1.90; £1.90; £3.00 Exacta: £14.90
Winning Trainer: HOWARD JOHNSON Based: White Lea Farm, Crook, County Durham Born: August 11, 1953, Barnard Castle Date of First Licence: 7th July 1986 Previous Occupation: worked for Arthur Stephenson, Roy Johnson Cheltenham Festival wins (5): National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase (1993 Ushers Island), Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Arcalis), Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle (2005 No Refuge), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2005 & 2007 Inglis Drever) Aintree Festival wins: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (1995 Morceli, 1998 Direct Route), John Smith’s Red Rum Chase (1997 Down The Fell), John Smith’s Topham Chase (1996 Joe White), John Smith’s Melling Chase (1999 and 2000 Direct Route), Betfair Bowl (2005 Grey Abbey) Other major wins: Ballymore Properties Long Distance Hurdle (2005 Inglis Drever), Blue Square Speed Dial 64555 Hurdle (2005 No Refuge), Charlie Hall Chase (2003 Ballybough Rasher, 2004 Grey Abbey), Dipper Novices’ Chase (1995 Morceli), Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2005 Arcalis), John Smith’s Hurdle (2005 Inglis Drever), Lonesome Glory Hurdle (1993 Dance Of Words), Pillar Property Chase (2005 Grey Abbey), Peter Marsh Chase (2005 Lord Transcend), Scottish National (2004 Grey Abbey), Stanleybet Handicap Hurdle (2005 Coat Of Honour), Tingle Creek Chase (1998 Direct Route), VC Casino.com Long Distance Hurdle (2006 Ingis Drever) Number of Winners (1988/9-2005/06): 14, 14, 10, 21, 19, 32, 32, 35, 23, 27, 18, 19, 13, 15, 33, 41, 68, 58 Wins this Season: 44
Winning Jockey: Paddy J Brennan Born: Ardrahan, Galway, April 13, 1981 Riding Weight: 9st 7lb Background: Spent one summer at Gerry Stack’s Co. Kildare yard, aged 14. Apprenticed to Jim Bolger for five years, riding eight winners. Secured a position with Paul Nicholls, before moving to Philip Hobbs. Appointed as retained rider for the Howard Johnson/Graham Wylie team in May 2006. Cheltenham Festival Wins (2): Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2006 Shamayoun), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2007 Inglis Drever) First Winner: Ivory Isle (Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap, Gowran Park, August 12, 1998) Number of Wins (2000/01-2005/06): 3; 9; 15; 19; 67* (*Champion Conditional Jockey); 60 Wins This Season: 67; First Winner after riding out 3lb claim: French Executive (Sky Bet Sussex National, Plumpton, November 21, 2004) Last Winner with 3lb claim: Rollo (williamhill.com Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, Exeter, November 19, 2004) Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (Ashley Brook 2005), John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2006 Wellbeing) Other Big Race Wins: Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (2005 Hakim); intercasino.co.uk Molyneux Novices’ Chase (2006 Lennon); Sea Pigeon Handicap Hurdle (2002 Benbyas); Wensleydale Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Degas Art)
BLAZING BAILEY PRIMED FOR BYRNE GROUP CLEEVE HURDLE REPEAT
*HARPER VALLEY FOR BRIGHTWELLS SALE AFTER FRANCHOEK REMATCH*
Meeting - Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 26
Advance Admission Prices - Club/Tattersalls £18, Best Mate £8
Gates Open - 10am
First race - 1pm
Trainer Alan King reports his top staying hurdler Blazing Bailey to be in “good form” ahead of the six-year-old’s attempt to score a repeat victory in the £60,000 Grade Two Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle (3.50pm) over three miles at Cheltenham’s Festival Trials Day on Saturday, January 26.
King revealed this morning: “Blazing Bailey is due to run in the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle. I was very pleased with his win at Cheltenham last time. It was good to get him back in form and I didn’t really expect him to win - I thought he’d finish third or fourth. I’m delighted with him and he’s been in good form since.”
Blazing Bailey defeated Inglis Drever in the 2007 Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle before filling third spot behind that rival in the Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival. On his latest start on January 1, King’s charge defeated Wichita Lineman by eight lengths in the Steel Plate And Sections Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles at Prestbury Park.
King continued: “The ground isn’t a concern for Blazing Bailey. It was heavy last year when he won so I’d be fairly relaxed about the ground.”
Lady Rebecca became a real Cheltenham favourite when securing three successes in the Byrne Group Cleeve Hurdle (1999, 2000 & 2001), while the roll of honour also includes Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle winners Flakey Dove (1994) and Beech Road (1990), as well the top-class Large Action (1997).
The contest is one of four Grade Two events on Festival Trials Day, a fantastic seven-race programme that guarantees thrilling action, while revealing plenty of pointers to Festival success.
Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott is fast making a name for himself and is planning to notch back-to-back Cheltenham wins with the classy hurdler Harper Valley, although he is aware that victory could spell the end of his tenure as the four-year-old’s handler.
The Val Royal gelding is primed to take his chance in the £30,000 Grade Two Wragge & Co Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (3.15pm) over two miles and a furlong, before stepping into the sales ring that evening at the Brightwells January National Hunt Sale.
Harper Valley is catalogued in the Brightwells auction, commencing in The Centaur at 6pm. The sale provides a fantastic opportunity to purchase a horse with the potential to run at The Festival. The catalogue also offers 50 unraced horses that will breeze on the new Ecotrack surface from 10.15am that morning.
Elliott revealed today: “The plan at the moment is for Harper Valley to go back to Cheltenham for the Wragge & Co Finesse Hurdle and then be offered at Brightwells’ Cheltenham sale that evening.”
Harper Valley opened his account over hurdles in great style when defeating current JCB Triumph Hurdle joint-market leader Franchoek in the Boylesports.com Best Odds Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle over the course and distance on December 15.
Franchoek, 5/1 joint-favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle in most lists, is set to reoppose in the Wragge & Co Finesse Juvenile Four Year Old Hurdle, in which he will be seven pounds better off with Harper Valley for a length and a half defeat.
Elliott continued: “Harper Valley is in great order - he missed four or five days recently with a bit of a stone bruise but he’s okay now. I don’t think the revised weight is going to be a problem with Franchoek. It’s going to be a good race and I think he’s definitely up to running in the first three.”
The Irish handler also reported: “The improvement last time was definitely down to the ground. He likes nice ground and the plan is to go to Cheltenham on the 26th and then we’ll hopefully see him run in the JCB Triumph Hurdle after that.”
Richard Botterill of Brightwells commented: "One of our main strategies for our new Cheltenham January Sale is to give owners and trainers the opportunity to buy a horse to run at the Cheltenham Festival six weeks later, and one could not ask for a more exciting prospect than Harper Valley to illustrate the opportunity.”
The Wragge & Co Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle is a fantastic pointer to the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival and the King-trained Katchit won both races in 2007.
King is looking to repeat last year’s success, this time with Franchoek, who was the decisive winner of the Grade One Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on December 27.
The Barbury Castle handler revealed today: “Franchoek runs in the Wragge & Co Finesse Juvenile Hurdle and he’s very well. I’m never confident about anything but I think he will run very well.”
The two mile, one furlong race has also been won by outstanding performers such as Jair Du Cochet (2001) and the 2002 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle hero Hors La Loi (1999), who defeated the top-class Behrajan in the race prior to adding the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at that year’s Festival.
Festival Trials Day is the final day’s racing at Prestbury Park prior to The Festival itself and the afternoon’s feature contest is the lucrative £100,000 Grade Two Letheby & Christopher Chase (2.40pm). The extended three mile, one furlong race is one of the premier trials for the Grade One totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival, as well as being a prestigious race in its own right.
Last year’s renewal saw the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer defeat Our Vic by 18 lengths, prior to filling the runner-up berth behind Kauto Star in the totesport Gold Cup. Sir Robert Ogden’s gelding finished the season rated the second best chaser in training.
Exotic Dancer is reported to be on course for the race again and is set to face strong opposition that could include the Paul Nicholls duo of Neptune Collonges and 2006 Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase winner Star De Mohaison, as well as the top-class David Pipe-trained Celestial Gold, 2006 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup victor State Of Play and Billyvoddan.
Past winners of the Letheby & Christopher Chase include the Paul Nicholls-trained See More Business, who scored a second triumph in the race in 2001. He also landed the spoils in 1998 and was third to Cyfor Malta in 1999 before his totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph that season.
Looks Like Trouble in 2000 and Master Oats in 1995 both scored in the Letheby & Christopher Chase en route to totesport Gold Cup glory the same year.
The £30,000 Grade Two Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle (1pm) was won last year by Wichita Lineman. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding took the extended two and a half mile contest by six lengths from Tidal Bay, with Massini’s Maguire third, and subsequently triumphed in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival.
Massini’s Maguire reversed form with Tidal Bay when winning the Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at the 2007 Festival, with his rival a neck runner-up.
The card also includes the £55,000 Grade Three Betchronicle.com Trophy Chase (2.10pm) over two miles, five furlongs, the £25,000 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.35pm) over the same distance and the £25,000 Brightwells Cheltenham Bloodstock Auctions Handicap Hurdle (4.25pm) over two miles and a furlong.