MURPHY AIMING FOR AINTREE RETURN WITH HAUT DE GAMME & WILLIAMS CONSIDERING AINTREE CONTEST FOR NIL DESPERANDUM
Trainer Ferdy Murphy is pleased with Haut De Gamme ahead of the 11-year-old's assault on the £100,000 totesport.com Becher Chase (2.35pm) at Aintree on Sunday, November 19, day two of the North West Masters, when he could be joined by stablemate Joe's Edge.
The Middleham handler revealed this morning: "Haut De Gamme will definitely go to the totesport.com Becher Chase and Joe's Edge is also a possible."
Murphy is looking for another big run from Haut De Gamme, who posted a fine effort when two-and-a-half lengths fifth to Garvivonnian in a thrilling finish to the 2005 totesport.com Becher Chase, which is run over three miles, three furlongs of the world famous Grand National course.
Haut De Gamme, who was also a length runner-up to Cregg House in the 2005 John Smith's Topham Trophy over the big fences, pleased his trainer with a reappearance fifth to Irish Wolf in the Canvas Prints From bonusprint.com Handicap Hurdle over an extended three miles at Aintree on October 22.
Murphy reported: "I was very happy with Haut De Gamme's last run. He ran an absolute blinder and Graham (Lee) was thrilled to bits with him. He travelled in the race, he jumped great, and he ran on. He'd been off a long time, so the whole idea was to get a sharpener into him.
"I'd be a bit worried if the ground was on the quick side. He does like to get his toe in so that would be a help, but it's three miles, three furlongs so he'd probably be alright on it anyway."
Haut De Gamme was making progress when falling at the 20th fence in last season's John Smith's Grand National, in which 2005 Scottish Grand National victor Joe's Edge finished seventh to Numbersixvalverde.
Joe's Edge made his seasonal bow in the United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot on October 28, when he crossed the line seventh behind runaway winner See You Sometime.
Murphy said: "Joe's Edge came out of his Ascot run in good order and there's a possibility he could also run at Aintree. He could go to Cheltenham instead but he'll have an entry in the totesport.com Becher Chase.
"The plan this season is very much to go for the John Smith's Grand National again with both horses."
Nil Desperandum, who finished a fine fourth to Numbersixvalverde in the John Smith's Grand National in April, could line up in the totesport.com Becher Chase for trainer Venetia Williams.
The nine-year-old, previously trained in Ireland by Frances Crowley, missed his intended debut for the Williams yard at Ascot on October 28, due to unsuitable ground.
The Herefordshire trainer revealed today: "The totesport.com Becher Chase is one of the races we're looking at for Nil Desperandum. Nothing is set in stone, as there are other possible races for him.
"He was due to run at Ascot last weekend but the ground wasn't suitable. He needs some decent ground and there aren't a huge number of opportunities for him.
"He's ready to go and the long-term aim is the John Smith's Grand National."
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 April.
Last season's renewal of the totesport.com Becher Chase went to Garvivonnian who became the first Irish-trained winner of the race. Ned Mitchell's charge defeated 18 opponents as he held the late challenge of Le Duc to prevail by three quarters of a length in a thrilling finish.
The totesport.com Becher Chase is the highlight of a quality six-race card at Aintree on Sunday, November 19, that also features the £60,000 totepool Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (1.30pm), run over two miles, five and a half furlongs of the Grand National course.
The North West Masters, inaugurated in 2005, is an innovative concept that sees the North West's two major racetracks - Haydock Park and Aintree - join forces to stage a weekend of fantastic racing.
Tickets are available from both Haydock and Aintree -
Tickets are still available for both racedays. Discounted weekend ticketing packages are priced as follows: £33 for County enclosure and £26 for Tattersalls Enclosure. Tickets can be purchased from either racecourse on the following numbers:
01942 402 624 (Haydock)
0151 522 2929 (Aintree)
Online booking is also available at www.aintree.co.uk and www.haydock-park.co.uk
Accommodation booking is available on 0845 601 1125
The £200,000 Grade One Betfair Chase, won last year by the Robert Alner-trained Kingscliff, is the feature event of a high-quality six-race card at Haydock Park on Saturday, November 18 - day one of the two-day North West Masters, which continues at Aintree on Sunday, November 19.
The Betfair Chase is the first leg of the ground-breaking Betfair Million, which offers a generous £1 million bonus to any horse that wins three of the season's most prestigious Grade One three-mile chases - the Betfair Chase followed by either the Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton or the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period and then adds the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Saturday's card at Haydock also features the £100,000 Betfair Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm) over two miles, seven and a half furlongs and commences at 1.20pm with the £35,000 Listed Pontin's Holidays Newtown Novices' Hurdle, with the first three races live on the BBC.
ATR TO SCREEN LIVE AUSTRALIAN HORSERACING DAILY AFTER MAJOR AGREEMENT WITH AUSTRALIAN RACING AND TRNI
An agreement involving the cooperation of racing authorities across three continents will see live Australian Racing broadcast daily on At The Races to its 11 million homes in the UK and Ireland and bets taken by UK bookmakers on Australian product commingled into host pools in North America. Broadcasting on ATR of live Australian Racing will start this Saturday with the AAMI Victoria Derby Day meeting from Flemington which will include on Tuesday 7th November live coverage of the Emirates Melbourne Cup and will continue on a daily basis thereafter occupying ATR's 0200-0600 timeslot.
Underpinning the agreement is the commingling of bets placed with UK bookmakers into the existing North American pool on Australian Racing which turns over US$100m per annum and is located at the Australian Racing Hub in Woodbine, Canada. The commingling solution is provided by ATR's exclusive US licensee, The Racing Network International (TRNI), and is made possible by the various agreements TRNI now has in place for its commingling software - FastBet - with the majority of UK bookmakers, including Ladbrokes, William Hill and SkyBet.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive, ATR said: "The Australian thoroughbred racing industry is rapidly gaining profile thanks to the international success such horses as Choisir and Takeover Target have enjoyed in recent times. This agreement demonstrates our increasingly strong relations with Australian Racing especially now that the advent of 48 hour declarations allows Sky Channel in Australia to broadcast UK racing on a weekly basis and the TABs to take bets."
Robert Nason, Tabcorp's Managing Director of Racing and Media, said: "It is anticipated that this deal will generate extra funding for the Australian racing industry which .is recognised globally for its excellence in racing and the integrity of our product. We are delighted to be showcasing the best of our racing to a new audience in the UK and Ireland."
Victoria Racing Club Chief Executive, Dale Monteith said: "AAMI Victoria Derby Day is Australia's premier race day and our Club is delighted that it will be showcased to a new audience in the UK and Ireland"
TOMORROW'S BREEDERS' CUP IMPORTANT FOR THE 2006 CARTIER RACING AWARDS
Pride stormed to the top of the points table for the Cartier Older Horse Award after a superb performance in the Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Champions' Day, October 14, but the positions could all change after tomorrow's US$20-million Breeders' Cup meeting at Churchill Downs in America.
The Alan de Royer-Dupre-trained six-year-old mare had too much class for her seven rivals and, in powering to a decisive three-length success in the 10-furlong contest, moved on to 112 points, edging her ahead of Hurricane Run (110), who finished a creditable third in the Newmarket showpiece.
Hurricane Run, the Cartier Horse Of The Year in 2005, may reverse the points standings in the Breeders' Cup Turf tomorrow when the great mare and another Cartier Horse Of The Year (2004) Ouija Board (92 and fourth) could also leap to the front if successful in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf for which she is favourite.
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Rail Link (104) and Budweiser Irish Derby victor Dylan Thomas (104) are neck and neck in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt category, but two Breeders' Cup runners further down the table could change matters.
George Washington, a contender for the US$5-million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs and the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt in 2005, is currently in third place on 96 points, and Araafa, fifth with 78 points, goes for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Sergeant Cecil (73) is a close second behind Yeats (76) in a fascinating battle for the Cartier Stayer Award after finishing third in the Group One Prix Royal Oak at Longchamp on October 22 behind Montare (72).
Yeats bids for the Emirates Melbourne Cup in Australia on Tuesday which could reinforce his position at the head of affairs.
Harry Herbert, Cartier's Racing Consultant, commented: "The Breeders' Cup World Championships and the Emirates Melbourne Cup could be key to deciding which horse becomes the Cartier Horse Of The Year as well as determining the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt.
"It is particularly exciting that two past Cartier Horses Of The Year, Hurricane Run and Ouija Board, are in contention for that honour again, while George Washington's challenge for the Breeders' Cup Classic and Araafa's bid for the Breeders' Cup Mile mean the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award is still wide open."
Teofilo closed the gap on Irish-trained compatriot Holy Roman Emperor in the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt category, when denying that rival by a head in a sensational finish to the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes on Champions' Day.
Holy Roman Emperor ran a blinder and maintains his lead having accrued 112 points, but Teofilo's success moved him on to 80 points, level with Group One Shadwell Middle Park Stakes hero Dutch Art.
Having struck with Teofilo on Champions' Day, Bolger saw his exciting filly Finsceal Beo advance her claims for the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award following a smooth success in the Group Two In The Pink' Rockfel Stakes on the same card.
The daughter of Mr Greeley was adding to her victory in the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac Royal Barriere de Deauville at Longchamp on October 1. Her total of 48 points means that she trails Simply Perfect (58) by just 10 points, with Indian Ink lying in third position on 41 points, following her victory in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 29. Miss Beatrix (40) and Sander Camillo (24) follow.
Alexandrova (116) maintains a healthy lead over Mandesha (96) in the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly division, while Reverence (97) leads the way in the race to be crowned top Cartier Sprinter, with Les Arcs (64) lying in second place.
The points are an important part of determining the eight equine Cartier Racing Awards winners but so too are the decisions of a distinguished panel of journalists and the votes from the readers of The Daily Telegraph and Racing Post. Voting closes at noon on Tuesday, November 7.
Votes can be sent by post to The Cartier Racing Awards, Cartier, 175-176 New Bond Street, London W1S 4RN or by e-mail to email@example.com
The horse categories are Cartier Horse Of The Year; Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt, Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly, Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt, Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly; Cartier Stayer, Cartier Sprinter and Cartier Older Horse.
The Cartier Racing Awards, European racing's most prestigious accolades now in their 16th year, are revealed and presented after the end of the 2006 Flat season at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mayfair, London, England, on Wednesday, November 15.
They honour the champions of the Turf, plus one person who is picked by the 22-strong Cartier Jury, and are European horseracing's equivalent of the Oscars.
CARTIER OLDER HORSE
Hurricane Run 110
Ouija Board 92
CARTIER THREE-YEAR-OLD COLT
Rail Link 104
Dylan Thomas 104
George Washington 96
Stormy River 88
Les Arcs 64
Amadeus Wolf 40
Desert Lord 38
Moss Vale 32
A full list of past winners at the Cartier Racing Awards
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: George Washington
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Rumplestiltskin
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Hurricane Run
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Divine Proportions
Cartier Sprinter: Avonbridge
Cartier Stayer: Westerner
Cartier Older Horse: Azamour
Cartier Horse of the Year: Hurricane Run owned by Michael Tabor & Sue Magnier
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Henry Cecil
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Shamardal
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Divine Proportions
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Bago
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Ouija Board
Cartier Sprinter: Somnus
Cartier Stayer: Westerner
Cartier Older Horse: Soviet Song
Cartier Horse of the Year: Ouija Board owned by Lord Derby
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: David & Patricia Thompson
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: One Cool Cat
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Attraction
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Dalakhani
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Russian Rhythm
Cartier Sprinter: Oasis Dream
Cartier Stayer: Persian Punch
Cartier Older Horse: Falbrav
Cartier Horse of the Year: Dalakhani owned by HH The Aga Khan
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Lord Oaksey
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Hold That Tiger
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Six Perfections
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Rock of Gibraltar
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Kazzia
Cartier Sprinter: Continent
Cartier Older Horse: Grandera
Cartier Stayer: Vinnie Roe
Cartier Horse of the Year: Rock of Gibraltar owned by Sir Alex Ferguson & Sue Magnier
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah
Cartier Special Award: Tony McCoy
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Queen's Logic
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Johannesburg
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Banks Hill
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Galileo
Cartier Stayer: Persian Punch
Cartier Sprinter: Mozart
Cartier Older Horse: Fantastic Light
Cartier Horse of the Year: Fantastic Light owned by Godolphin
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: John Magnier
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Superstar Leo
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Tobougg
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Petrushka
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Sinndar
Cartier Stayer: Kayf Tara
Cartier Sprinter: Nuclear Debate
Older Horse: Kalanisi
Cartier Horse of the Year: Giants Causeway owned by Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor
Cartier Millennium Award of Merit: HM the Queen
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: HH the Aga Khan
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Torgau
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Fasliyev
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Ramruma
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Montjeu
Cartier Stayer: Kayf Tara
Cartier Sprinter: Stravinsky
Cartier Older Horse: Daylami
Cartier Horse of the Year: Daylami owned by Godolphin
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Peter Walwyn
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Aljabr
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Bint Allayl
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Dream Well
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Cape Verdi
Cartier Sprinter: Tamarisk
Cartier Stayer: Kayf Tara
Cartier Older Horse: Swain
Cartier Horse of the Year: Dream Well owned by the Niarchos Family
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: the Head Family
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Embassy
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Xaar
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Ryafan
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Peintre Celebre
Cartier Stayer: Celeric
Cartier Sprinter: Royal Applause
Cartier Older Horse: Pilsudski
Cartier Horse of the Year: Peintre Celebre owned by Daniel Wildenstein
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Sir Peter O'Sullevan
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Pas De Response
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Bahamian Bounty
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Bosra Sham
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Helissio
Cartier Stayer: Nononito
Cartier Sprinter: Anabaa
Cartier Older Horse: Halling
Cartier Horse of the Year: Helissio owned by Enrique Sarasola
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Frankie Dettori
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Blue Duster
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Alhaarth
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Ridgewood Pearl
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Lammtarra
Cartier Stayer: Double Trigger
Cartier Sprinter: Hever Golf Rose
Cartier Older Horse: Further Flight
Cartier Horse of the Year: Ridgewood Pearl owned by Mrs Sean Coughlan
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: John Dunlop
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Gay Gallanta
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Celtic Swing
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Balanchine
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: King's Theatre
Cartier Stayer: Moonax
Cartier Sprinter: Lochsong
Cartier Older Horse: Barathea
Cartier Horse of the Year: Barathea owned by Sheikh Mohammed
Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit: Marquess of Hartington
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Lemon Souffle
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: First Trump
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Intrepidity
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Commander in Chief
Cartier Stayer: Vintage Crop
Cartier Sprinter: Lochsong
Cartier Older Horse: Opera House
Cartier Horse of the Year: Lochsong owned by Jeff Smith
Cartier Telegraph Award of Merit: Francois Boutin
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Lyric Fantasy
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Zafonic
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: User Friendly
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Rodrigo De Triano
Cartier Stayer: Drum Taps
Cartier Sprinter: Mr Brooks
Cartier Older Horse: Mr Brooks
Cartier Horse of the Year: User Friendly owned by Bill Gredley
Cartier Telegraph Award of Merit: Lester Piggott
Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly: Culture Vulture
Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Arazi
Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Kooyonga
Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt: Suave Dancer
Cartier Stayer: Turgeon
Cartier Sprinter: Sheikh Albadou
Cartier Older Horse: Terimon
Cartier Horse of the Year: Arazi owned by Allen Paulson & Sheikh Mohammed
Cartier Telegraph Award of Merit: Henri Chalhoub