FONDMORT TOPS 28 IN PADDY POWER GOLD CUP AT FIVE-DAY STAGE
Fondmort heads 28 horses remaining in the Grade Three £110,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.40pm), run at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 11, at today’s confirmation stage.
The Nicky Henderson-trained 10-year-old, who carried 10st 13lb when landing the 2003 renewal under Mick Fitzgerald, will have to defy 11st 12lb this year if he is to record a second victory in the extended two and a half mile contest, with the weights going up by 16lb.
Mariah Rollins, eighth in last year’s race for Pat Fahy, and last season’s useful novice Copsale Lad have also been left in by Henderson.
David Pipe is bidding to follow in the footsteps of his father Martin, successful eight times in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and he has six contenders including Therealbandit, 13th behind stable companion Our Vic a year ago, and Contraband, whose finest hour came at Cheltenham in the 2005 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy.
Tamarinbleu, Commercial Flyer, Bannow Strand and Vodka Bleu complete the Pipe team.
Champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls is responsible for the 4/1 ante-post favourite Taranis, Nigel Twiston-Davies has been firing in the winners of late and is represented by Knowhere, who has landed both novice chase starts this season, while Carl Llewellyn relies on recent impressive Wetherby scorer Too Forward in the Order of Merit contest.
There are four Irish-trained possibles in the shape of In Compliance, victorious on his reappearance in a Grade Three event at Down Royal on November 4, Sir Oj, winner of the recently-renamed Boylesports.com Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December, Ground Ball, second to Impek in the William Hill Gold Cup Chase at Exeter on October 31, and Tumbling Dice, runner-up to Justified on his return to action at Limerick last month.
Other interesting contenders include Alan King’s Kandjar D’Allier, an excellent third in the race 12 months ago, the Philip Hobbs-trained Chilling Place, who was badly hampered on his last start when unseating his rider in the William Hill Gold Cup Chase at Exeter, and Graphic Approach, trained by Charles Egerton, a good third to Non So in the Racing Post Plate at The Festival in March.
A total of 19 high-class chasers remain in the Grade Three £60,000 Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Chase (3.45pm), run over three miles and three and a half furlongs on Saturday, November 11, including last season’s classy novice Idle Talk, who missed his intended reappearance at Wincanton due to unsuitably quick ground.
The Tom George-trained seven-year-old, who also has an entry in the £25,000 Jersey Graduation Chase (2.10pm) the following day over three furlongs less, ran an excellent second to Star De Mohaison in the Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase at The Festival in March, and wound up last season with a highly creditable fourth to Run For Paddy in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April.
George said today: “The plan is to run Idle Talk at The Open meeting, although which race he will contest is still undecided. We want to run him but we are looking for good ground.
“I am delighted with him at present and he has really strengthened up since last season. I’m thrilled with how he has been working, he looks to be progressive, and he’s in very good from.
“He’s pretty fit and has done plenty of work, and he’s in good enough shape to run a big race whichever contest he goes for, although he’s a young horse and will get better as the season progresses.
“The Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury is a possible target as is the Welsh National at Chepstow, but we’ve got loads of options with him.”
Opponents in the Servo Computer Services Trophy Chase could number Betfred Gold Cup hero Lacdoudal, top level regular Take The Stand and Sir Rembrandt, twice placed in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Another exciting contest on Saturday, November 11 is the £50,000 Listed Lombard Properties Handicap Hurdle (3.10pm), run over three miles and one and a half furlongs.
The 31 entries include Redemption, who landed the Grade Two John Smith’s Hurdle at Wetherby on his return last month, Eric McNamara’s French Grade One hero Strangely Brown and Lough Derg, trained by David Pipe, whose father Martin Pipe sent out Standin Obligation to score last year.
HARRINGTON TRIO HEADING TO THE OPEN ON SUNDAY -
BACKSTAGE A POSSIBLE FOR CHELTENHAM REPEAT
Irish trainer Jessica Harrington is hoping to capture a trio of Cheltenham prizes on Sunday, November 12, the third and final day of The Open, with Callow Lake, Cork All Star and The Last Hurrah set to line up on what promises to be a thrilling afternoon of jump racing.
Harrington, who expertly handled the exceptional dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Moscow Flyer, revealed today: “At the moment all three are on course for Cheltenham on Sunday.”
The trainer is looking forward to fielding Callow Lake in the £45,000 Grade Two Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1.05pm) over two miles. The 137-rated handicap hurdler made a smooth transition to fences in a two-mile beginners’ chase at Tralee on August 29.
Harrington reported: “Callow Lake will run in the Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase. He won nicely at Tralee and I’m delighted with him. I’d like some good ground for him at Cheltenham.”
High-class opposition to Callow Lake could include the Paul Nicholls-trained Natal, Alan King’s 2005 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Penzance, Lennon and Astronomic from the Howard Johnson yard, and the Evan Williams-trained Backstage.
The last named, owned by Sir Robert Ogden, scored a 16-length triumph in the 15 Times Champion trainer Novices’ Chase over the course and distance on Martin Pipe Day, October 24, and the four-year-old’s trainer and owner are considering a return to the scene of that triumph.
Williams revealed today: “I will have to discuss it with Barry Simpson, Mr Ogden’s racing manager, before we make any definite plans for the horse. He’s entered in the Independent Newspapers Novices’ Chase and I would imagine a decision will be made around the middle of the week - but no decision has been made yet.
“I was absolutely delighted with his last run - over the moon. He seems very well in himself.”
The three-day extravaganza concludes with the Open Bumper at 3.55pm, in which Harrington could run the unbeaten Cork All Star who has landed bumpers at Cork (July) and Galway (August) in good style.
Harrington revealed: “Cork All Star seems to be going well at home. He’s won two from two so I’m happy enough with him.
“He’s slightly strangely bred being by Fasliyev but he’ll make a very nice hurdler in time - he’s a fine big horse. I’m expecting a big run from him.”
The race is a traditional stepping-stone to greater things and was won in 1999 by triple totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate. The contest went to subsequent Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle victor Back In Front in 2001, and in 2003 the top-class Rhinestone Cowboy took the spoils.
This year’s renewal is likely to produce yet another high-class performer with 22 entries remaining, including the unbeaten Jonjo O’Neill-trained Grecian Groom and stablemate Trucker’s Delight.
Battlecry has won his sole start for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, while the powerful yards of Nicky Henderson, David Pipe, Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs and Noel Chance could all field live contenders.
The highlight of the fantastic six-race card is the £65,000 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.45pm) over two miles, and Harrington is looking for a good effort from The Last Hurrah, who was fourth to Desert Quest in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on October 28.
The trainer said: “The Last Hurrah will take his chance in the Greatwood Hurdle. He’s slightly out of the handicap so we’ll see how he gets on.”
The Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, which is included in the Order of Merit and was won in 2002 by Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle hero Rooster Booster, sees the Howard Johnson-trained 2005 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle victor Arcalis head 20 remaining entries at the five day stage.
The high-class field could include Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle hero Detroit City and Grade One Anglo-Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Noland, as well as Crow Wood, successful in the Grade Two £1million totetentofollow Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday, November 4.
The Irish-trained challenge for the race may also include the Noel Meade-trained pair Sweet Wake and Jazz Messenger.
Sunday’s high-quality sport also sees a competitive renewal of the paddypowerpoker.com Handicap Hurdle (1.35pm) over two miles, five furlongs, which has five Irish-trained entries remaining at the five-day stage.
The Jersey Graduation Chase (2.10pm) over an extended three miles promises to be an intriguing contest with 17 smart chasers engaged, including the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Fundamentalist, winner of the Independent Newspapers Novices’ Chase at The Open in 2004 and victorious in the Grade One Royal & Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle the previous March.
Other potential starters in the race include the David Pipe-trained trio Bannow Strand, It Takes Time and Commercial Flyer, alongside Skybet Chase winner A Glass In Thyne, Copsale Lad, Cornish Sett, Idle Talk, Ladalko and Bob Bob Bobbin.
Rhinestone Cowboy’s exciting half-brother, Wichita Lineman, could line up for the Gideon Kasler Novices’ Hurdle (3.20pm) over two miles, five furlongs.
Jonjo O’Neill’s charge the impressive winner of a two and a half-mile novice hurdle at Aintree on October 28, could be up against Grade Two Ballymore Ontario Tower Persian War Novices’ Hurdle one-two Kanpai and Massini’s Maguire.
Others remaining at the five-day stage include the Howard Johnson-trained Tidal Bay who easily scored on his hurdles debut at Wetherby on October 27, the Paul Nicholls-trained Ornais, and his stablemate Paulo Dancer, winner of the Henry James Mayne Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on October 25.
The ground at Cheltenham is currently GOOD.
Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, reported: “The ground is currently good and we are watering to maintain that.
“The forecast is for a generally dry week, with the possibility of some drizzle on Wednesday and Friday.”
Tickets will be available on the door for all three days of The Open. For advance bookings, go to www.cheltenham.co.uk
Friday/Sunday admission prices are Club/Tattersalls: £20 (16-24s: £15); Best Mate £8.
Parking is free on Friday and Sunday, with a £5 charge in operation on Saturday.
Saturday's admission prices are Club: £30 (16-24s £22); Tattersalls: £20: Best Mate £10.
For more information, please contact Peter McNeile, Director Of Sponsorship, on 01242 537600 or 07850 091523 or Rebecca Morgan, Commercial Executive, on 01242 537654 or 07767 612931, or go to www.cheltenham.co.uk
THE PADDY POWER GOLD CUP
Class 1, Grade 3, £110,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.40pm, Cheltenham, Saturday, November 11. For four-year-olds and upwards, two miles, four and a half furlongs. Penalties - after October 28, a winner of a Class 1 or 2 chase 6lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb). Entries closed Ocotber 25, entries revealed October 26 (55 entries), weights revealed November 1, five-day confirmation stage November 6 (28 remain), final declaration stage 10.00am, Novwmber 10. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, November 5.
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
4B131P- FONDMORT (FR) 10-11-12 Billy Brown Nicky Henderson
2/31123-1 IN COMPLIANCE (IRE) 6-11-11 (6lb ex) Sean Mulryan Michael O'Brien IRE
0/001P5- THEREALBANDIT (IRE) 9-11-07 David Johnson David Pipe
3103/53- CONTRABAND 8-11-07 David Johnson David Pipe
11FF6-1 SIR OJ (IRE) 9-11-07 Brian Keenan Noel Meade IRE
1U111-1 TARANIS (FR) 5-11-04 Mrs A B Yeoman & C R Whittaker Paul Nicholls
125U2-1 TOO FORWARD (IRE) 10-11-02 T L Gibson & D Mathias Carl Llewellyn
24/2510- TAMARINBLEU (FR) 6-11-02 The Arthur White Partnership David Pipe
115/1PP- COMMERCIAL FLYER (IRE) 7-10-13 David Johnson David Pipe
35435- MARIAH ROLLINS (IRE) 8-10-13 Paul Murphy Nicky Henderson
3/12123- COPSALE LAD 9-10-12 Swallow Partnership Nicky Henderson
43643-42 GROUND BALL (IRE) 9-10-11 J P McManus Charlie Swan IRE
13410U- BILLYVODDAN (IRE) 7-10-09 Trevor Hemmings Henry Daly
03/331F- EXOTIC DANCER (FR) 6-10-08 Sir Robert Ogden Jonjo O'Neill
3U/2163- GRAPHIC APPROACH (IRE) 8-10-08 Mr & Mrs Peter Orton Charles Egerton
3P13P-2 TUMBLING DICE (IRE) 7-10-08 Mrs John Donegan Tom Taaffe IRE
51U025- KELREV (FR) 8-10-08 Len Jakeman, Flintham, King & Roberts Venetia Williams
125F01-U CHILLING PLACE (IRE) 7-10-08 Mike Tuckey Philip Hobbs
11/P-11 KNOWHERE (IRE) 8-10-07 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
2FU-1621 NAYODABAYO (IRE) 6-10-06 D Tumman & R F Bloodstock Evan Williams
101-401 CALATAGAN (IRE) 7-10-05 Mr & Mrs J M Davenport Malcolm Jefferson
3P0410- KANDJAR D'ALLIER (FR) 8-10-05 Let's Live Racing Alan King
6/121PP- BANNOW STRAND (IRE) 6-10-05 David Johnson David Pipe
112311/- VODKA BLEU (FR) 7-10-03 David Johnson David Pipe
21226-2 NEW ALCO (FR) 5-9-13 D McGowan And S Murphy Ferdy Murphy
1F24-15 TIGHE CASTER 7-9-12 Don Jones Peter Bowen
P3-241P ANOTHER JOKER 11-9-08 Joanna Needham John Needham
30-3111 BUTLER'S CABIN (FR) 6-9-05 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
28 entries remain at five-day confirmation stage
THE GREATWOOD HANDICAP HURDLE
Class 1, Grade 3, £65,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.45pm, Cheltenham, Sunday, November 12. For four-year-olds and upwards, two miles and half a furlong. Penalties - after October 28, a winner of a Class 1 to 3 hurdle 6lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb). Entries closed Ocotber 25, entries revealed October 27 (40 entries), weights revealed November 1, five-day confirmation stage November November 6 (20 remain), final declaration stage 10.00am, Novwmber 10. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, November 5.
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
1/1P505- ARCALIS 6-11-12 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
1111- DETROIT CITY (USA) 4-11-04 Terry Warner Philip Hobbs
13410-21 CROW WOOD 7-11-00 (4lb ex) Marie Taylor John Quinn
6/31111- NOLAND 5-10-13 John Hales Paul Nicholls
31131/- MEPHISTO (IRE) 7-10-13 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
12033-3 JAZZ MESSENGER (FR) 6-10-12 R S T Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
0505-02 CARACCIOLA (GER) 9-10-10 Piers Pottinger Nicky Henderson
0-21111 CUAN NA GRAI (IRE) 5-10-09 John Brennan Paul Nolan IRE
30U0-16 MAHOGANY BLAZE (FR) 4-10-08 Lorna Berryman Nigel Twiston-Davies
1156- SWEET WAKE (GER) 5-10-07 High Street Ceathar Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
11350-1 ACAMBO (GER) 5-10-06 David Johnson David Pipe
1-136P1 O'TOOLE (IRE) 7-10-06 Mrs L R Lovell Philip Hobbs
1F-0212 ALERON (IRE) 8-10-05 Grahame Liles John Quinn
11035-0 VERASI 5-10-05 F Ledger J Bateman Gary Moore
2150r5- ALL STAR (GER) 6-10-02 Lynn Wilson, Nick Wilson, Martin Landau Nicky Henderson
01-1324 THE LAST HURRAH (IRE) 6-9-13 Mrs A Gurney Jessica Harrington IRE
3100-04 NAWAMEES (IRE) 8-9-11 Paul Stamp Gary Moore
0U32-10 CARAMAN (IRE) 8-9-11 Alan Mann John Quinn
4-112 AMEEQ (USA) 4-9-09 C E Stedman Gary Moore
31150- TARLAC (GER) 5-9-08 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
20 five-day confirmations
THE OPEN 2006 - REVISED ORDER OF RUNNING
Friday, Saturday & Sunday November 10th, 11th & 12th
Cheltenham (Old Course)
First Day - Friday November 10 - Countryside Day
Time Race Prize Money Distance
* 1.20pm paddypower.com Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase £17,500 3m 1/2 f
* 1.55pm Anglo Irish Private Banking Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) £35,000 2m 1/2 f
* 2.30pm Beards Jewellers Cup (Handicap Chase) £30,000 2m
* 3.05pm Sporting Index Chase (Cross Country Course) £35,000 3m 7f
3.40pm Royal Bank Of Canada Conditional Jockeys’ H’cap H £15,000 2m 5f
4.10pm Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase £20,000 3m 1/2 f
Second Day - Saturday November 11 - Paddy Power Gold Cup Day
Time Race Prize Money Distance
12.55pm Ryman The Stationer Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Gr 2) £30,000 2m 1/2f
1.30pm Jim Brown Memorial Novices' Chase £20,000 2m 4 1/2f
* 2.05pm Letheby & Christopher Novices’ Handicap Hurdle £15,000 2m 1/2 f
* 2.40pm Paddy Power Gold Cup (Handicap Chase) £110,000 2m 4 1/2f
* 3.10pm Lombard Properties Handicap Hurdle £50,000 3m 1 1/2f
* 3.45pm Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Chase £60,000 3m 3 1/2f
Third Day - Sunday November 12 - Greatwood Hurdle Day
Time Race Prize Money Distance
* 1.05pm Independent Newspaper Novices' Chase (Grade 2) £45,000 2m
* 1.35pm paddypowerpoker.com Intermediate Handicap Hurdle £25,000 2m 5f
* 2.10pm Jersey Graduation Chase £25,000 3m 1/2f
* 2.45pm Greatwood Handicap Hurdle £65,000 2m 1/2f
3.20pm Gideon Kasler Novices' Hurdle £20,000 2m 5f
3.55pm Tiger Developments Open Bumper £15,000 2m 1/2f