KAUTO STAR AND DENMAN HEAD THE 2008 totesport GOLD CUP ENTRIES
The 2008 totesport Gold Cup promises to be one of the most fascinating renewals in the history of the great race, with the reigning champion Kauto Star poised to battle the brilliant Denman - his stablemate and pretender to jump racing’s ultimate crown.
The Paul Nicholls-trained pair are among 42 horses who have been entered for the £450,000 highlight of the four-day Festival at Cheltenham (Tuesday, March 11 - Friday, March 14), an entry that also includes the almost forgotten 2005 totesport Gold Cup hero Kicking King, like Kauto Star, a dual winner of the King George VI Chase.
Kauto Star already has at least two feet indignantly planted across the elusive line that demarcates greatness, having won seven Grade One chases at distances ranging from the two miles of Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase to the extended three and a quarter miles of the totesport Gold Cup.
Clive Smith’s pride and joy was the undisputed star of the 2006/2007 season. His versatile alliance of speed and stamina resurrected memories of the great Desert Orchid and he completed a six-race unbeaten campaign when holding Exotic Dancer by two and a half lengths in the big one at The Festival.
With back-to-back wins in the Tingle Creek (2005, 2006), Betfair Chase (2006, 2007) and King George VI Chase (2006, 2007) in the bag, Kauto Star is 11/10 favourite with sponsor totesport to become the seventh multiple winner of the Gold Cup in its 84-year history.
Kauto Star’s most recent triumph saw him saunter to a devastating 11-length triumph over Our Vic in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. He is rated 184 by Timeform, 8lb clear of his closest rival.
Two days after the champion’s Kempton Park romp, stablemate Denman vanquished a top-class field in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown to consolidate his position as 7/4 second-favourite with totesport.
That Irish triumph may not have been as impressive as the eight-year-old’s earlier emphatic 11-length win under top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury, but it did confirm the belief that the resolute galloper could be the horse to push Kauto Star to his limits at Cheltenham in March.
Denman, winner of the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at The Festival in 2007, is rated second-best to Kauto Star with a Timeform rating of 176. That mark is one pound higher than the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer, the 2007 toteport Gold Cup runner-up who pushed Kauto Star close in the Betfair Chase in November but subsequently wilted in the champion’s slipstream on Boxing Day.
A brilliant renewal looks assured and with Grade One winners entered such as The Listener, Neptune Collonges, Star De Mohaison and In Compliance alongside the gutsy 2006 Welsh National hero Halcon Genelardais and progressive types like Mossbank, Aces Four, L’Antartique and Snowy Morning, plenty of connections will be looking at spoiling the Kauto Star party on March 14.
For further information, please contact Cheltenham Racecourse’s Communications Manager Andy Clifton on 01242 513 014 or 07876 330 090
THE totesport CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
Class 1, Grade 1, £450,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.15pm, Cheltenham, Friday, March 14, 2008. For 5yo+ 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 7 - 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 7 would merit a minimum rating of 130 (the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final), three miles, two and a half furlongs. Weights: 5yo 11st 8lb, 6yo+ 11st 10lb. Allowances: mares 7lb. Entries closed January 8, entries revealed January 9 (42 entries), forfeit stage February 12, £22,500 supplementary entry stage March 8, six-day confirmation stage March 8. Final 48-hour declaration stage, 10am, March 12. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, January 8.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
1241F-P ACES FOUR (IRE) 9 The DPRP Aces Partnership Ferdy Murphy
1F1-001 ALEXANDER TAIPAN (IRE) 8 Noel O'Callaghan Willie Mullins IRE
F21151- ANOTHER PROMISE (IRE) 9 Geoff Hubbard Racing Ferdy Murphy
P//415/-2P AZULEJO (FR) 10 Judith Wilson & T J Wilson Michael Scudamore
U/513P-P BILLYVODDAN (IRE) 9 Trevor Hemmings Henry Daly
1130/U1/- CELESTIAL GOLD (IRE) 10 David Johnson David Pipe
U0-4P3F CHELSEA HARBOUR (IRE) 8 Mrs P DuffinTom Mullins IRE
2P0450- CONTRABAND 10 Fergus Wilson Paul Murphy
1111-11 DENMAN (IRE) 8 Paul Barber & Maggie Findlay Paul Nicholls
1103-PP DOM D'ORGEVAL (FR) 8 A J White and Mrs A Underhill David Pipe
121-323 EXOTIC DANCER (FR) 8 Sir Robert Ogden Jonjo O'Neill
56P-2412 FUNDAMENTALIST (IRE) 10 C Cornes Nigel Twiston-Davies
0/1P061/- FUSTRIEN DU PAON (FR) 12 Fergus Wilson Richard Chotard FR
211F-36 GUNGADU 8 Paul Barber & Maggie Findlay Paul Nicholls
113P-32 HALCON GENELARDAIS (FR) 8 Ian Payne & Kim Franklin Alan King
111/11-3 STAR DE MOHAISON (FR) 7 Sir Robert Ogden Paul Nicholls
1/164-25 STATE OF PLAY 8 Mr & Mrs William Rucker Evan Williams
1/326//-4F STRONG FLOW (IRE) 11 Barry Marshall Dessie Hughes IRE
1P6-311 TAMARINBLEU (FR) 8 The Arthur White Partnership David Pipe
120-U13 THE LISTENER (IRE) 9 Old Moss Farm Robert Alner
210P-P1 TURKO (FR) 6 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
P235-41 TURPIN GREEN (IRE) 9 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Richards
Timeform Ratings correct as of Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12.00pm
Kauto Star 184, Denman 176p, Exotic Dancer 175, Kicking King 168+, The Listener 168, Our Vic 167§, Racing Demon 166, Halcon Genelardais 165, Mossbank 163, Neptunes Collonges 161, Turpin Green 161§, My Way de Solzen 159, Star De Mohaison 158+, Aces Four 157p, L'Antartique 153, In Compliance 152, Snowy Morning 148
BREAKDOWN OF ENTRIES BY TRAINER WITH PAST SUCCESSES IN THE totesport CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
Paul Nicholls (1999 See More Business, 2007 Kauto Star)
Willie Mullins IRE
Richard Chotard FR
Robert Alner (1998 Cool Dawn)
Davy Fitzgerald IRE
Michael Hourigan IRE
Dessie Hughes IRE
Henrietta Knight (2002, 2003, 2004 Best Mate)
Tom Mullins IRE
Michael O’Brien IRE
Charlie Swan IRE
Tom Taaffe IRE (2005 Kicking King)
totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup – Analysis
Reigning champion Kauto Star tops 42 fantastic contenders engaged in the £450,000 totesport Gold Cup at Cheltenham, entries for which are revealed today, Wednesday, January 9, 2008.
The Clive Smith-owned eight-year-old demolished his rivals when winning a second successive King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and will bid to etch his name among the greats with a second Gold Cup triumph at The Festival on Friday, March 14.
Kauto Star could face his biggest challenge in the extended three and a quarter mile contest from stablemate Denman, last season’s Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase winner at The Festival, who defied top-weight of 11st 12lb when pulverising his rivals in the Grade Three Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury and then took the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28 by four lengths from Mossbank.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer chased home Kauto Star in last season’s totesport Gold Cup and filled the same berth in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24, before taking third in the King George, one place behind the David Pipe-trained Our Vic.
Dorset handler Robert Alner took the totesport Gold Cup in 1998 with Cool Dawn and he has entered dual Grade One winner The Listener. The grey easily defeated subsequent Grade One Dial-A-Bet Paddy Power Chase winner Mansony, trained by Arthur Moore, when winning the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase on December 9, prior to finishing third in the Lexus Chase.
As well as Kauto Star and Denman, Nicholls’ powerful entry consists of Grade One Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup hero Neptune Collonges, 2006 Royal & SunAlliance Chase victor Star De Mohaison, and the smart pair of Turko and Gungadu.
North Yorkshire handler Ferdy Murphy has entered last season’s top-class novices Aces Four and Another Promise, along with L’Antartique. The last-named was successful in the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November and the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase at the 2007 Festival.
David Pipe has engaged Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup winner Tamarinbleu, King George runner-up Our Vic, Celestial Gold, Dom D’Orgeval, Madison Du Berlais and Milan Deux Mille.
The first four home in the 2007 totesport Gold Cup are entered again, with last year’s third Turpin Green, trained by Nicky Richards, and the Philip Hobbs-trained Monkerhostin, who took fourth that day, potential rivals once again.
Barbury Castle trainer Alan King could run Halcon Genelardais, the 2006 Coral Welsh National winner who, in bidding for a second victory in the Chepstow marathon on December 27, carried top-weight of 11st 12lb but gallantly failed by a head to hold off Miko De Beauchene.
Henrietta Knight saddled the great Best Mate to three victories in the totesport Gold Cup (2002, 2003 and 2004) and has entered King George fourth Racing Demon, while Henry Daly has engaged Billyvoddan and Evan Williams could run 2006 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup winner State Of Play.
Fundamentalist won the 2004 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle for Nigel Twiston-Davies, while the Michael Scudamore-trained Azulejo - a Listed winner in France - is entered, as is the Paul Murphy-trained Contraband, who won the 2005 Grade One Irish Independent Arkle when trained by Martin Pipe. Peter Bowen, who sent out the 2005 runner-up Take The Stand has entered Iron Man.
The 11-strong Irish entry is headed by the Tom Taaffe-trained former champion Kicking King. The 10-year-old was victorious in the 2005 totesport Gold Cup but has been sidelined since taking back-to-back renewals of the King George VI Chase in December, 2005, and could bid to reclaim his crown in what would be a fascinating clash with Kauto Star.
Mossbank, trained by Michael Hourigan, has emerged as a leading player in Ireland this term. The eight-year-old landed the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase in November prior to chasing home Denman at Leopardstown.
Willie Mullins saddled 2005 Grand National hero Hedgehunter to finish runner-up behind War Of Attrition in the 2006 totesport Gold Cup and the 12-year-old could bid to go one better in 2008.
Mullins has four horses engaged in all, the others being 2007 Royal & SunAlliance Chase second Snowy Morning, the top-class Rule Supreme, who was last seen finishing runner-up in the 2005 French Champion Hurdle and the smart Alexander Taipan.
Michael O’Brien has engaged Grade One victor In Compliance, while Dessie Hughes has entered Strong Flow, winner of the 2003 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup when trained by Paul Nicholls.
Charlie Swan, who rode the great Istabraq to three Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle triumphs and is now a trainer, could run Grade One winner Offshore Account, while Tom Mullins has entered Chelsea Harbour and Davy Fitzgerald could run last season’s Grade One Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase hero Mister Top Notch.
The last French-trained success in the totesport Gold Cup came when the Francois Doumen-trained The Fellow took the spoils in 1994, but the Richard Chotard-trained pair of Majadal and Fustrien De Paon both face a very stiff task.
WILLIAM HILL LINCOLN RETURNS TO DONCASTER WITH GREAT ENTRY
The William Hill Lincoln, back at Doncaster Racecourse this year on Saturday, March 22, has attracted a very strong entry of 114, details of which are announced today.
The famous race opens the Flat turf season in Britain and is worth £125,000 in 2008, a 25 per cent increase, thanks to the continued support of bookmakers William Hill.
The historic mile handicap has been run at Newcastle, where Very Wise was successful in 2007, and Redcar, where Blythe Knight scored in 2006, for the past two years while Doncaster Racecourse underwent a much-praised £34-million redevelopment.
Both Very Wise, trained by William Haggas in Newmarket, and Blythe Knight, from John Quinn’s Yorkshire yard, are among the entries again this year and the latter is likely to have top-weight for the William Hill Lincoln when the weights are announced on Wednesday, January 23. Very Wise is a 16/1 chance with the sponsors, while Blythe Knight is priced at 33/1.
Very Wise could again face the 2007 second, third and fourth, Rio Riva (25/1), Mutawaffer (25/1) and Raptor (25/1).
Haggas, who also won the Lincoln in 1992 with High Low, has three entries in all, with the others being the progressive pair of Mutajarred, winner of three of his six starts and the 11/1 market leader with William Hill, and Heaven Knows (16/1).
Blythe Knight has progressed since his William Hill Lincoln victory to take the Group Three Diomed Stakes at Epsom on Derby Day in June, 2007, having collected the Grade Two Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last season.
There is a third past winner of the William Hill Lincolm among the 2008 entries, as eight-year-old Babodana (33/1), trained by Mark Tompkins, gained glory at Doncaster back in 2004. Tompkins has also entered 16/1 shot Smokey Oakey.
Polytrack celebrity Gentleman’s Deal (16/1) was sent off the 7/2 favourite for last season’s William Hill Lincoln and trainer Mick Easterby has again entered his stable star, who also stands as a stallion and could bid for a rare win on Turf.
Sir Michael Stoute saddled the last horse to win the William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster prior to the course’s redevelopment, the Ballymacoll Stud-owned Stream Of Gold. The trainer and owner could rely on second favourite Lang Shining (12/1), a lightly-raced close relative to the 2005 victor.
Lambourn trainer Barry Hills saddled Pablo to victory in 2003 and he has entered last season’s Bunbury Cup victor Giganticus (16/1) as well as Zaahid (14/1).
The impressive entry also includes the remarkable James Bethell-trained 10-year-old Mine (33/1), one of the most popular horses in training, who is a three-time winner of the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket and has also won Ascot’s Royal Hunt Cup and Victoria Cup.
North Yorkshire handler Dandy Nicholls has 13 entries as he seeks a first success in the race, including the former Luca Cumani-trained Minority Report (20/1) and 16/1 chance Fremen.
Dual Derby-winning trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam has engaged Striving Storm (20/1) and Don’t Panic (14/1), while Mark Johnston could run Group Three winner Prince Of Light (33/1) and John Gosden has entered the unexposed Escape Route (14/1).
Gay Kelleway may run the useful Vortex (20/1), Fajr (20/1) and Music Note, (66/1) while the three-strong Irish-trained entry includes current 16/1 chance Little White Lie from the shrewd Ger Lyons’ yard.
The Richard Guest-trained European Dream is 16/1 with the sponsors and the winner at York and Redcar last season has been in very good form over hurdle recently.
Perfect Star from the Clive Cox stable, who landed a fillies Listed contest at Ascot in September, is priced at 16/1 too, while the well-regarded but very lightly-raced Michael Jarvis-trained Prince Forever is also available at the same odds.
The big race has a safety limit of 20 runners and, those who do not make the cut, have the opportunity to run in the consolation race, the £30,000 William Hill Spring Mile Handicap on the same day, Saturday, March 22.
Hills spokeswoman Jennie Prest said: “Mutajarred has 'danger' written all over him as far as bookies are concerned. His three victories last year puts him down as the progressive type that excel in the William Hill Lincoln, whilst Sir Michael Stoute's entries always merit respect and punters may well latch on Lang Shining back over the mile trip.”
William Hill betting on the William Hill Lincoln: 11-1 Mutajarred, 12-1 Lang Shining, 14-1 Don't Panic, Escape Route, Zaahid, 16-1 Al Khaleej, Atlantic Stroy, European Dream, Fremen, Gentleman's Deal, Giganticus, Heaven Knows, Little White Lie, Perfect Star, Prince Forever, Smokey Oakey, Very Wise, 20-1 Annemasse, Blythe Knight, Crooked Throw, Fajr, Humungous, Minority Report, Pride of Nation, Settigano, Striving Storm, Supaseus, Vitznau, Vortex, Yeaman's Hall, 25-1 Classic Port, Ektimaal, Ella Woodcock, Hoh Wotanite, Jewelled Dagger, Kay Gee Be, Mutawaffer, Orchard Supreme, Partners in Jazz, Pelican Waters, Raptor, Rio Riva, Royal Power, Watamu, Zero Tolerance, 33-1 Arazole, Babodana, Baby Strange, Basra, Benandonner, Daneshillsundance, Dens Gift, Dhaular Dhar, Dream Lodge, Electric Warrior, Fortunate Isle, Granston, Heywood, Impeller, Kings Point, Middlemarch, Mine, Mount Hermon, Mr Aviator, Plum Pudding, Prince of Light, Red Romeo, Red Somerset, Regal Parade, Royal Dignitary, Samarinda, Skhilling Spirit, Strath Gallant, Trafalgar Square, Troubadour, White Deer, Yarqus, 40-1 Another Bottle, Bobski, Capable Guest, Claret and Amber, Clipperdown, Crocodile Bay, Danski, Freeloader, Froissee, Mezuzah, Moody Tunes, Prince Samos, Resplendent Nova, Shot To Fame, Stevie Gee, Temple Place, Trimlestown, 50-1 Ansells Pride, Dancing Lyra, Jamieson Gold, Lap of Honour, Lord Theo, Macedon, Tencendur, 66-1 Byron Bay, Inside Story, Mia's Boy, Music Note, 100-1 Darfour, Exit Smiling, Just Observing, Kabis Amigos, Moheebb, Silent Applause, 150-1 Messiah Garvey, Outlook, Zabeel House (EW 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4).