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Sunday, November 19, 2006



Charles Barnett, Aintree's Managing Director, expressed his delighted at the second running of the North West Masters.

He said: "We have witnessed two fantastic days of racing at the North West Masters and we are very pleased with how the meeting has progressed in its second year - it continues to go from strength to strength.

"Yesterday's performance by Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park was something special and he looks a serious contender for the Betfair Million while today we saw an amazing performance from Eurotrek in the totesport.com Becher Chase and he could well be one of the leading players in the 2007 John Smith's Grand National."


Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Board’s senior jump handicapper, has rated Kauto Star on 176 after the chaser’s impressive 17-length success in yesterday’s Grade One £200,000 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on the first day of the North West Masters.

This makes the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old the best chaser around and one of the best of the last decade.

Smith said: “In my 10 years, the only horses I have had higher are Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop and Well Chief.

“You have to be impressed with Kauto’s Star performance. He is battle hardened, having won a Tingle Creek Chase (Sandown) and over Aintree’s Mildmay course where the fences are quite tricky.

“His jumping in the Betfair Chase was sensational. L’Ami was the pick of the paddock and is very consistent - he ran to 158 four times last season and I don’t see why he won’t have run to that mark again.

“I went to 173 for Kauto Star after his victory in the Grade Two Bonusprint.com Old Roan Chase (Aintree - October 22) because of doubts about what he had beaten but Armaturk (the second) has come out and run well since. Kauto Star was visually impressive then and I would now rate that form 176.

“I am being conservative about his rating now - just because of the time of the year. Kauto Star has done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Kauto Star is now after the Betfair Million bonus of £1 million which is offered by the leading betting exchange for winning the Betfair Chase, the Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 16, 2007.

Race 1 - Weatherbys Bank Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle - Winning Quotes


Degas Art maintained his 100% record over hurdles with a battling victory in the Weatherbys Bank Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (1.00pm) for owners Andrea and Graham Wylie, trainer Howard Johnson and jockey Paddy Brennan.

The 4/9 favourite showed determination to see off a determined challenge from Pouvoir (100/30) after the last and had half a length to spare at the winning post. There were 12 lengths back to the third - 8/1 chance Faucon Bleu.

Graham Wylie said: “I was pleased with that.

“Paddy says this horse always tries his best although he thought that the horse feels a bit tired from his Flat campaign.

“Degas Art has won well today though and will be better when he is fresh.

“He does have a bit of a high-head carriage but there is nothing wrong with his attitude and he kept going - he’s a battler.

“I think we will now be looking to give him a break with possiblly just one more run before Cheltenham.”

Bookmakers totesport, William Hill and Ladbrokes all keep Degas Art at 20/1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.


After the first race, the following jockeys reported the ground as:

Paddy Brennan, rider of winner Degas Art, said: "Lovely, good ground."

Robert Thornton, rider of runner-up Pouvoir, said: "It's lovely."

Timmy Murphy, rider of third-placed Faucon Bleu, said: "Good."

Paul Moloney, rider of fourth-placed Tora Petcha, said: "Lovely ground."



I Hear Thunder took the first of today's two races over the Grand National fences, the £60,000 totepool Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, at odds of 12-1 to deny Shannon's Pride by seven lengths.

Although this is a traditional trial for next April's John Smith's Grand National, trainer Bob Buckler reported that the winner is unlikely to line up in the world's greatest chase.

He said: "I Hear Thunder would have to improve another stone just to get into the Grand National and he probably won't go for it this year.

"One of the cross-country races at Cheltenham might be suitable for him as he is a very versatile horse, who is safe and jumps valiantly when he has to.

"At Becher's he put in a nice short one and saved energy and was safe without doing anything too valiant.

"Earlier in the year he made a whoopsy at Becher's [in the John Smith's And Spar Topham Chase] but he jumps very well and is a natural jumper.

"Hopefully, we will have a lot more time with him and a lot more fun. The owner [Nick Elliott] lives in Pulham and in London."

Winning jockey Daryl Jacob said: "I wouldn't be here without Robert and Sally Alner - they've given me such confidence.

"This is my second ride over the National fences and the horse gave me a great ride and he did it all for me. He was very good and very clever and when I wanted big jumps, he supplied them.

"It is every jockey's dream to win around here and all the jockeys have been very helpful and Noel Fehily in particular has been very good to me and helped me all the way.

"This is only my third day back as I was knocked out at Ludlow and only came back on Friday."

The winning owner added: "Daryl is such a good jockey and always knew what he was doing. I think that he will be a star of the future. This is a great day for Dorset!"

The winner received a quote of 33-1 for the John Smith's Grand National from Blue Square.

Race 2 - totepool Grand Sefton Chase - Placed Quotes


Connections of Shannon’s Pride and Theatre Knight, second and third respectively in the £60,000 totepool Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National fences, were both pleased with the efforts of their horses.

Alan Walmsley of the JAS Partnership, owners of Shannon’s Pride, beaten seven lengths in second, commented: “He has run a fantastic race.

“The loose horse didn’t do us any favours but I’m not making any excuses and I think the best horse has won on the day.

“We will be looking to bring him back to Aintree in April for the John Smith’s Topham Chase.”

Graham Wylie, owner of third-placed Theatre Knight, said: “He’s run a blinder.

“Paddy (Brennan, jockey) said he really loved it over the fences.

“He just lacks a bit of speed but hopefully he will continue to progress.

“He really needs more than three miles, three furlongs to be seen at his best but he wouldn’t have made the cut for the Becher Chase.

“I am over the moon with his effort today.”


Class 3, £60,000 Total Prize Fund. For four-year-olds & upwards rated 0-130, two miles four and a half furlongs. Owners Prize Money: 1st: £28,500; 2nd: £9,522; 3rd: £4,754; 4th: £2,382; 5th: £1,188; 6th: £594

1. I HEAR THUNDER (Nick Elliott) Bob Buckler 8-11-02 Daryl Jacob (3) 12/1
2. SHANNON'S PRIDE (JAS Partnershi[p) Richard Guest p10-10-06 Warren Marston 7/1 Jt-fav
3. THEATRE KNIGHT (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 8-10-07 Paddy Brennan 10/1
4. CASSIA HEIGHTS (B Ridge & D Hewitt) Steve Brookshaw t11-10-00 Seamus Durack 16/1
5. STAR PERFORMANCE (Mrs C McKiernan) Oliver McKiernan IRE p11-10-01 Tommy Ryan (3)
6. LAMPION DU BOST (The Dodoz Partnership) Andrew Parker 7-9-09 Phil Kinsella (5)
7. SWANSEA BAY (W J Evans) Evan Williams p10-11-03 Paul Moloney
8. MON OISEAU (Mrs A Dunlop) Arthur Moore IRE 6-10-06 Davy Russell
9. LUSAKA DE PEMBO (Trevor Hemmings) Nigel Twiston-Davies 7-9-11 Stephen Craine (3)
10. INCAS (D G Pryde) Lucinda Russell 10-10-09 Peter Buchanan
11. ESKIMO PIE (Irvin Naylor) Chris Bealby 7-10-13 Mark Bradburne
12. PADDY FITZ (Patrick Halley) Patrick Halley IRE 9-10-03 Brian Harding
13. NELTINA Mrs J E Scrase Mrs J E Scrase 10-11-05 P A Carberry 14. BE MY BETTER HALF (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 11-11-05 Tony McCoy
15. BOB THE BUILDER (Mr & Mrs Peter Orton) Nick Twiston-Davies 7-11-05 Tony Evans
UR 6 LOG ON INTERSKY (John Cornwall) John Cornwall 10-10-00 Padge Whelan
UR 15 BURWOOD BREEZE (David & Lesley Byrne) Tom George 10-11-01 Jason Maguire
F 12 MANBOW (Hope Springs Eternal) Micky Hammond 8-10-05 Graham Lee
F 8 HAKIM (T N Siviter) John Spearing 12-11-12 Dominic Elsworth 7/1 jt-fav
F 15 GLENGARRA (Starlight Racing) David Gandolfo t1 9-10-11 Tony Dobbin

20 ran Non-Runners: Wain Mountain, Mixsterthetrixster, Soeur Fontenail

Distances: 7, 3, 1, 1/2, 2, 3 1/2, 11, 3/4, 6, 8, 17, 3, 1, 4.

Breeder: D H Lalor Breeding: b g Montelimar - Carrigeen Gala

Tote Win - £14.20 Places £4, £2.10, £3.60, £3.70 Exacta:£155.80

Time - 5m 35.70s

Winning Trainer: BOB BUCKLER Based: Melplash Court Farm, Melplash, Bridport, Dorset Date of First Trainer’s Licence: 1994 Horses in Training (1994-2005): 25; 25; 29; 33; 29; 33; 34; 31; 32; 29; 29; 25 Number of Winners (1993/94-2004/05): 12; 12; 16; 26; 20; 13; 16; 10; 10; 12; 14; 15 Business Interests: Farmer (500 acres); Wins this season: 7

Winning Jockey: Daryl Jacob Born: Donegal, August 25, 1983 Riding Weight: 9st 7lb Background: attended the racing school in Kildare. Worked for trainer Dessie Hughes for two years before moving to Richard Hannon in 2003. Rode as an amateur out of Robert and Sally Alner’s Dorset Yard. Joined Dorset trainer Paul Keane but is back with Robert & Sally Alner First Double under NH Rules: Leicester, March 11, 2005 (Toms Gone Grey and Cobreces) Wins (2003/04-2005/06): 2; 8; 19 Wins this season: 23

Race 3 - totesportcasino.com Handicap Hurdle - Winning Quotes


Accordello maintained her proud family tradition when putting up a gutsy performance to land the £30,000 totesportcasino.com Handicap Hurdle for owners John and Marilyn Williams, trainer Keith Reveley and jockey Richard McGrath. The winner is the first foal of Marello, who scored twice over hurdles in Grade Two company.

The winner battled on well after the last to score by a length and a quarter from Ostfanni.

Winning trainer Keith Reveley said: “We dropped her out today and just got her poping over the hurdles.

“She is a smashing filly. We were frustrated that she wasn’t able to win on the Flat as she had some very good form.

“She is not over-big and we were keen to run her in a handicap with bottom weight.

“This has been a great family that has produced lots of winners over the years.

“Marello was a very high-class mare who won black-type races and it is great she has had a winner with her first foal.”

Third race quotes


Ostfanni just missed out on her third success of the year over hurdles when finding Accordello a length and a quarter too powerful in the totesportcasino.com Handicap Hurdle with 12 lengths back to third-placed Nobel.

Martin Todhunter, trainer of the 9-1 runner-up, was happy enough with his charge's performance but was cursing his bad luck. The Cumbrian handler enjoyed a winner at Kelso on Friday, but this was his third horse placed in his last five runners.

He said: "Ostfanni ran well and I am delighted with her but I am not getting any luck and too many of my horses are being placed at the moment.

"She got a little bit high at the last and will now run at Newbury on Friday."



Eurotrek survived a mistake at the second last and almost going off the course by bearing left under winning rider Liam Heard at the Elbow to spring a surprise 25-1 success in the £100,000 totesport.com Becher Handicap Chase

Winning trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Eurotrek jumped brilliantly, although Liam lost his way jumping the last.

"It was a last minute decision to run and I thought that he might need the run, but saying that I don't think that I have ever seen him looking so well as before the race.

"The John Smith's Grand National would have to be the target now - he won't run in the Hennessy - and as he goes so well fresh, I wouldn't be worried going straight there and Liam gave him a great ride.

"This was a big surprise and I said to Paul [Green, owner] that the Hennessy was not ideal and we would see how we go here ahead of the National and he jumped around like that!

"If he does run before the National, it won't be until the weights are published as he is high enough in the weights anyway. You can see how well he's run fresh."

The winner received a 12-1 quote for the John Smith's Grand National from totesport, while Blue Square and Hills are more generous at 16-1 and Ladbrokes go 20-1.

Liam Heard made light of his erratic path at the Elbow.

The winning jockey said: "I was driving the horse and then I looked up, but there was no panic as I was far enough away and I had enough space and plenty of time to adjust and it was no problem. I would probably have got sacked if I'd mucked up!

"This is just my second ride over the National fences and at the third last, he just sprinted and quickened up so well. When Paddy [Brennan, rider] started sprinting on Bewleys Berry, my horse went with him.

"Hopefully, I'll keep the ride in the National and you won't get a better ride than this horse in the race - he kept pulling away and pulling away.

"He normally wants really soft ground and I didn't think that the ground was as soft as he would have liked.

"At the second last, I asked him to go a bit too long but he was too clever and got me out of trouble."

Race 4 - totesport.com Becher Chase - Placed Quotes


The connections of Bewlwys Berry and Dunbrody Millar were left dreaming of glory in the John Smith’s Grand National next April after the duo finished second and third respectively behind Eurotrek in the £100,000 totesport.com Becher Chase.

Bewleys Berry was beaten eight lengths in second and his owner Graham Wylie said: “He has jumped really well and Paddy (Brennan, jockey) said the horse loved it and really enjoyed himself out there today.

“I will have to have a chat with Howard (Johnson, owner) but you would like to think we might have a National horse.

“He was never quite on song last season but is in much better form this season.

“We brought him here today to see if he liked the fences and he took to it really well.”

Bill Dundon, of the Dundon Else Partnership, was also hoping he might have a live John Smith’s Grand National on his hands after Dunbrody Millar finished a further length back in third.

Dundon said: “He ran well for a long way and then stayed on again at the finish - I think that’s his new style of racing! Before he would drop out and then chuck it in but he was staying on again today.

“I think these Lord Americos improve between the ages of 10 and 18 and he jumped well today. I am pleased for Seamus (Durack, jockey) as he deserved this and like me hails from Limerick.

“Dunbrody Millar was back to form today but to be fair he has gone up a lot in the handicap.

“He only really has the one-pace but Iwould like to think he’s a National horse. He would need to go up a few pounds to make the cut.

“I will leave it to Peter (Bowen, trainer) to decide where we go next.”

Injured Jockeys

After the totesport.com Becher Chase, Marcus Foley, rider of Solar System, was taken to the Fazackerly Hospital as precautionary measure after the horse rolled on him and he suffered a suspected wrist injury. while Nina Carberry who is not in a serious condition after being unseated at Becher’s.

Graham Lee and Tony Dobbin are both fine to ride tomorrow after falling in the totepool Grand Sefton Chase but were signed off for the rest of today

All horses are reported to have come back fine from both races over the Grand National fences.

2.35pm totesport.com BECHER HANDICAP CHASE
Listed, Class 1, 3m 2f of the Grand National Course, For 5yo and upwards, Prize Money £100,000, Penalties: after November 11, a winner of a chase 3lb; 1st: £57,020; 2nd: £21,390; 3rd: £10,710; 4th: £5,340; 5th: £2,680; 6th: £1,340

1. EUROTREK (Paul Green) Paul Nicholls 10-11-12 Liam Heard 25/1
3. DUNBRODY MILLAR (Dundon Else Partnership) Peter Bowen 8-10-03 Seamus Durack 14/1
3. BEWLEYS BERRY (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 8-11-03 Paddy Brennan 14/1
4. NIL DESPERANDUM (M Shone) Venetia Williams 9-11-04 Tom Scudamore 8/1
5. INCA TRAIL (Halewood International Ltd) Donald McCain Jnr 10-10-08 Jason Maguire
6. MCKELVEY (N Elliott) Peter Bowen 7-11-02 Peter Buchanan
7. LE DUC (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 7-11-01 Robert Thornton
8. JOES EDGE (Chemipetro Ltd) Ferdy Murphy 9-10-10 Keith Mercer
9. UNDENIABLE (Keith Nicholson) Sue Smith 8-10-13 David O'Meara
10. HAUT DE GAMME (The Haut De Gamme Partnership) Ferdy Murphy 11-11-01 Richie McGrath
11. TANTERARI (David Johnson) David Pipe 8-10-03 Timmy Murphy 4/1 Fav
PU bef 13th NATIVE JACK (G Burke/R Bagnall/N O'Farrell/K Sexton) Philip Rothwell IRE 12-10-11 Brian Harding
PU bef 2 out JUST IN DEBT (Gill and Bill Hazeldean) Martin Todhunter 10-10-08 Dominic Elsworth
F 1 CLAN ROYAL (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 11-11-08 Tony McCoy
F 1 KING BEE (Trevor Hemmings) Henry Daly 9-10-01 (1lb ow) Mark Bradburne
F 6 DUN DOIRE (Dunderry Racing Syndicate) Tony Martin IRE 7-11-03 Davy Russell
F 6 KINGS GLEN (Robert Burke) Tommy Carberry IRE 10-10-00 P A (Philip) Carberry
F 6 SOLAR SYSTEM (Zodiac Syndicate) Tom Taaffe IRE 9-10-09 Marcus Foley
F 16 KISSLAIN DES GALAS (Prof Judith Wilson) David Pipe 9-9-13 Andrew Glassonbury (5)
F 17 ANOTHER RUM (Ronald Lilley) Ian Duncan IRE 8-10-10 Anthony Ross
UR 13 FOREST GUNNER (John Gilsenan) Richard Ford 12-10-13 Miss Nina Carberry

21 ran
Distances: 8, 1, 1/2, 8, 1/2, 1 3/4, 15, 3 1/2, dist, dist
Breeder: Mrs D Molony Breeding: ch g Eurobus - Orient Jewel
Tote: Win: £38.90; Places: £5; £4.30; £4.20 £2.80 Exacta: £602.90

Winning Trainer: PAUL NICHOLLS Date of birth: 17/05/62 Based: Heighes House, Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset Date of first trainer’s licence: 01/11/91 Previous Occupation: Professional jockey 1980-89. Rode 130 winners including Hennessy Gold Cup (1986 & 87), Irish Gold Cup (1988), Welsh Grand National (1987) Cheltenham Festival Wins (13): Irish Independent Arkle Novices’ Chase (1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2003 Azertyuiop), Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business), Christie’s Foxhunter Chase (2004 Earthmover, 2005 Sleeping Night), Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene, 2006 Desert Quest), Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother), Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2006 Star De Mohaison) Aintree Festival Wins Include: John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase (1998 Calling Wild), John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2002 Armaturk, 2003 Le Roi Miguel), Betfair Bowl (2000 See More Business), John Smith’s Melling Chase (2001 Fadalko), John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase (2002 Torduff Express), John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Le Duc), Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Garde Champetre, 2006 Natal), betfair.com Handicap Chase (2005 Sleeping Night), John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2006 Star de Mohaison) Other big race wins: totesport.com Becher Chase (2006 Eurotrek), Betfair Chase (2006 Kauto Star), Aon Chase (2000 See More Business, 2001 Shotgun Willy, 2003 Valley Henry), Betfred Gold Cup (2001 & 2003 Ad Hoc), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Neptune Collonges), Bula Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole), Challow Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Cornish Rebel, 2006 Denman), Charlie Hall Chase (1999 and 2000 See More Business), totesport Classic Chase (2006 Eurotrek), Desert Orchid H’cap Chase (2000 Fadalko, 2002 Valley Henry), Feltham Novices’ Chase (1993 See More Indians), Game Spirit Chase (2000 lagship Uberalles, 2005 Azertyuiop), Greatwood Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole), Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1995 Captain Khedive, 1999 Fadalko, 2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother), King George VI Chase (1997, 1999 See More Business), Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Be Be King), Mitsubishi Shogun Ascot Chase (2000 Rockforce), Scottish Champion Hcap Hurdle (1999 Fadalko), Rehearsal Chase (1996 Belmont King, 1997 and 1998 See More Business), Pendil Novices’ Chase (2006 Napolitain), Peterborough Chase (2004 Le Roi Miguel), Pillar Chase (1998, 2001 See More Business), Scottish Grand National (1997 Belmont King), Tingle Creek Chase (2005 Kauto Star), Tolworth Hurdle (2006 Noland), Vodafone Gold Cup (2006 Cornish Sett), Coral Welsh National (2004 Silver Birch, 2005 L’Aventure), William Hill Haldon Gold Cup Chase (1998 Lake Kariba, 1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2004 Azertyuiop) 1000th Domestic Winner: Noble Action (Bumper, Folkestone, November 15, 2004) First Trainer to Saddle Six Winners on One Card: Saturday, January 21, 2006, at Wincanton Horses in Training (1997-2006): 52; 60; 66; 65; 78; 105; 106; 121; 126; ? Number of Winners (1992/03-2005/06): 20; 29; 28; 53; 56; 82; 110; 71; 83; 136; 152; 127; 152; 148 Wins this Season: 41

Winning Jockey: Liam Heard Age: 20 Background: son of Boscastle (Cornwall) dairy farmer and winning point-to-point rider, Colin Heard. Began riding out for Paul Nicholls upon leaving school in 2002. Has ridden winners on the point-to-point circuit and in hunter chases. Rode as an amateur for Nicholls before turning professional in July 2005 Big Race Wins: totesport.com Becher Chase (2006 Eurotrek), Mears Group Handicap Chase (2005 Royal Auclair); Sea Pigeon Handicap Hurdle (2005 Desert Quest) First Professional Ride: Montifault, Newton Abbot, July 11, 2005 (North Devon Cancer Care Handicap Chase) First Winner: Kilworthy point-to-point, March 2002 First Winner Under Rules: Dusty Bandit, Exeter, February 13, 2005 (toteplacepot Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle) Number of wins (2004/05-2005/06): 3; 28 Wins this season: 9

Race 5 - Amberleigh House Novices’ Chase - Winning Quotes


Lennon gave the combination of owners Graham and Andrea Wylie, trainer Howard Johnson and jockey Paddy Brennan a short-priced double on the day when collecting the Amberleigh House Novices' Chase as Evens favourite.

The winner jumped superbly throughout and was eased down in the closing stages to score by a length and three quarters, with the fast-finishing Opera De Coeur in second - the stewards announced they were looking into the ride given to the runner-up.

Graham Wylie said: "I'll have to see what Howard says, but we would definitely have to look at Cheltenham now.

"He probably wouldn't run much between now and the spring as he goes well fresh.

"He jumped well today and improved after winning here last time out. He jumps better over fences than he ever did over hurdles.

"I was a bit concerned giving away a lot of weight to the other runners, particularly the four-year-olds, but he's done it well.

"We have always liked this horse and chasing was always going to be his game."

Henry Daly said of runner-up Opera De Coeur: "Soft ground is what this horse wants - I wanted to run him on that, it's as simple as that and I was hoping for some rain.

"They didn't go fast enough for him."


Jan Faltejsek may not be a household name yet in Britain, but the 23-year-old may well become one if the way that he brought Rothbury home to win the concluding Jim Ennis Construction Ltd Novices' Handicap Hurdle, hitting the front after the third last, is anything to go by.

The winning jockey, who hails from the Czech Republic, was gaining his first success in Britain at the fourth attempt, having joined winning trainer Alistair Charlton two weeks ago.

He has previously enjoyed 64 successes in his homeland, Italy and Germany.

George Charlton, son of the winning trainer, said: "This horse has improved a lot from his last run when he won and everything went alright today.

"The jockey went to Italy last weekend and won a Listed race over Jumps and was second in the next.

"He rode in the Pardubice in the Czech Republic and he was on the favourite but it broke down and pulled up - I went over to take a look at Jan and offered him a job.

"He is second in the title in the Czech Republic."


Paddy Brennan was found guilty of improper riding in that he used the whip in the incorrect place in winning the opening Weatherbys Bank Juvenile Novices' Hurdle.

He was suspended for four days on Thursday, November 30-Friday, December 1, and Sunday, December 3-Monday, December 4.


Marcus Foley sustained a fractured wrist for which he has received attention before going home.

Nina Carberry was checked over but required no treatment before going home.


Today's attendance came to around 6,800.


Jockey Mark Bradburne was banned for seven days (November 30 - December 6) for his riding of Opera De Coeur in the Amberleigh House Novices' Chase (3.10pm).

Bradburne was found to be in breach of Rule 158 in that he did not ride the horse with timely, real and substantial effort.

Trainer Henry Daly was not found to be in breach of Rule 155 (failure to provide instructions).


Aintree Racecourse hosts day two of the prestigious North West Masters today (Sunday, November 19) when the feature event is the £100,000 totesport.com Becher Chase (2.35pm) over the world famous Grand National course. It has attracted a record 21-strong field - the previous biggest was 19 last year.

The three-mile, two-furlong showpiece, the highlight of a superb six-race card, is one of two races staged on the day over those spectacular fences, the other being the £60,000 totepool Grand Sefton Chase (1.30pm) over two miles, five and a half furlongs. This is also superbly competitive, with 23 declared runners, equalling last year’s record field.

The North West Masters enjoyed a successful inauguration in 2005 and uniquely incorporates top-class jump racing on consecutive days yesterday, when Kauto Star stamped himself the best chaser in Britain in the £200,000 Betfair Chase, at Haydock Park and today at Aintree to create an innovative two-day Festival at the North West’s two premier racecourses.

The totesport.com Becher Chase, one of the highlights of the jump season, is established as a stepping-stone to the world’s most famous chase, the John Smith’s Grand National, staged at Aintree in the spring.

The Ned Mitchell-trained Garvivonnian became the first Irish-based winner of the race last year when 19 lined up to tackle the 22 fences. Partnered by Garrett Cotter, the chaser defeated Le Duc by three-quarters of a length in a thrilling finish and returned to Aintree in April for the John Smith’s Grand National. He was well fancied at 11/1 before being pulled up after a mistake at the Chair.

Trainer Sue Smith took the inaugural totesport.com Becher Chase in 1992 with the Lorcan Wyer-ridden Kildimo, and added to her haul 10 years later when clinching a second victory with Ardent Scout.

Into The Red is the only dual winner of the race, having landed the prize in 1994 for trainer John White and in 1996 for Saltburn handler Mary Reveley.

Earth Summit followed his 1998 John Smith’s Grand National triumph with success in this race the following November and is one of three Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained winners, alongside Indian Tonic (1993) and Young Hustler (1995). The Gloucestershire handler is the race’s most successful trainer.

Aintree favourite Amberleigh House secured the totesport.com Becher Chase in 2001 and was runner-up in 2002 and 2003, behind Ardent Scout and Clan Royal respectively, before giving trainer Ginger McCain a famous fourth win in the John Smith’s Grand National when holding Clan Royal by three lengths in the 2004 renewal.

The totepool Grand Sefton Chase is now in its fourth year and was won last season by the John Spearing-trained 11-year-old Hakim, who held Fiori by two and a half lengths before going on to finish runner-up to Liberthine in the John Smith’s And Spar Topham Trophy at the Aintree Festival in April.

The inaugural winner was the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Dark Room in 2003, while the Richard Ford-trained Forest Gunner prevailed the following year ahead of running fifth in the 2005 John Smith’s Grand National under trainer’s wife Carrie Ford.

The North West Masters put the totesport.com Becher Chase and the totepool Grand Sefton Chase on the same card for the first time and offers the only chance to see horses over the Grand National fences outside of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting in April.


Ginger McCain was honoured last night with a dinner held in the Princess Royal Stand at Aintree.

The trainer, most famous for sending out Red Rum to win three Grand Nationals (1973, 1974 and 1977) and also saddling Amberleigh House to victory in the great race in 2004, retired earlier this year and handed over the reins to his son Donald.

The 222 people present at the dinner were able to watch recordings of Ginger’s Aintree winners and tributes to the great man were made by Jonjo O’Neill, Ron Barry, Brough Scott, Mike Dillon and Claude Duval. Written tributes sent in by Julian Wilson, Jenny Pitman and Sir Peter O’Sullevan were read out by host Richard Pitman.

Ginger was presented with a superb Johnny Jonas portrait of himself by Aintree’s Chairman, Lord Daresbury.

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