PADDY POWER GIVING AWAY GENEROUS STABLE STAFF PRIZES
Trainer Alan King revealed today that Kandjar D’Allier is in fine fettle ahead of his seasonal reappearance in the £110,000 Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 11.
The eight-year-old grey ran a fine race in the two mile, four and a half furlongs handicap chase last term when four lengths third to Our Vic on his seasonal bow, and King has stuck to the same plan this season.
The Barbury Castle trainer reported: “I’m very happy with Kandjar D’Allier’s preparation. The Paddy Power Gold Cup has been his target all along. I’m obviously very happy that the weights went up as 10st 5lb is a nice weight to have and we’re set to go there with a good chance.
“He’s a better horse fresh and that’s the reason he hasn’t had a run before now. He lost his way a little bit last season but that was my fault because I ran him back two weeks after the Paddy Power Gold Cup in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, and it was too soon for him.”
Kandjar D’Allier was pulled up in the Hennessy and failed to fire in his next two outings, but returned to winning ways with a confidence-boosting victory over hurdles at Chepstow in March.
King commented: “I think he definitely needs a minimum of three weeks between races and we’ll be looking to run him in those good two and a half mile handicaps at Cheltenham this season.
“I wouldn’t be worried about the ground for him. He handles soft, and we’d just like some nice ground.”
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the highlights of the season and has attracted a typically strong entry, which could include the David Pipe-trained sextet of Therealbandit, Contraband, Tamarinbleu, Commercial Flyer, Bannow Strand and Vodka Bleu.
Other intended runners include the Irish raider In Compliance, the Paul Nicholls-trained Taranis, Carl Llewellyn’s representative Too Forward, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Knowhere, and Nicky Henderson’s duo, Copsale Lad and Mariah Rollins.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the highlight of the three-day Open Meeting at Cheltenham, which takes place on the weekend of Friday, November 10, to Sunday, November 12.
Sponsors Paddy Power are offering odds of 11/4 that David Pipe can continue his family's dominance of the Paddy Power Gold Cup by training the winner of the race on Saturday at Cheltenham.
The bookmakers report that Vodka Bleu has emerged as the best-backed of the Pipe runners in the race and is now 8/1 from opening odds of 14/1.
Taranis remains the 4/1 favourite for the big race for the all-conquering Paul Nicholls stable. In Compliance, trained by Michael O'Brien, heads the Irish challenge for the race at 13/2 second favourite following a convincing win at Down Royal last weekend.
Paddy Power have also released betting on who will emerge as top jockey and trainer at the three-day Open Meeting. Ruby Walsh is clear market leader at 7/4.
The betting on top trainer suggests that Paul Nicholls and David Pipe will battle it out over the three days. Paddy Power make Nicholls the 5/4 favourite with Pipe at 13/8.
Latest Paddy Power Odds on the Paddy Power Gold Cup
11/4 David Pipe to train the winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Latest Paddy Power Odds on Top Jockey At the Paddy Power Open Meeting
7/4 Ruby Walsh
4/1 AP McCoy
9/2 Timmy Murphy
8/1 Richard Johnson
14/1 Mick Fitzgerald
14/1 Robert Thornton
14/1 Paddy Brennan
16/1 Barry Geraghty
16/1 Paul Carberry
25/1 TJ O'Brien
33/1 Sam Thomas
33/1 Graham Lee
33/1 Tony Dobbin
50/1 Paul Moloney
Latest Paddy Power Odds on Top Trainer At the Paddy Power Open Meeting
5/4 Paul Nicholls
13/8 David Pipe
6/1 Philip Hobbs
10/1 Jonjo O'Neill
16/1 Howard Johnson
25/1 Nicky Henderson
25/1 Nigel Twiston-Davies
(Settled on number of winners, followed by count-back on number of seconds, then thirds, etc)
PADDY POWER FOR STABLE STAFF
This year Paddy Power will continue their commitment to stable staff by offering each of the grooms in the Paddy Power Gold Cup £50 cash plus a free £50 each way bet on their charge. The groom of the best turned out will also pocket £200.
The 2006 Paddy Power Gold Cup stable staff initiative will see the bookie's contribution to stable staff top £10,000 through their various racing sponsorships.
L’AMI PRIMED FOR BETFAIR ASSAULT
French trainer Francois Doumen today revealed that L’Ami will run in the Grade One £200,000 Betfair Chase (1.50pm) at Haydock Park on Saturday, November 18, together with a possible assault on the Betfair Million bonus.
Doumen is pleased with the form of the J P McManus-owned seven-year-old, who finished fourth to War Of Attrition in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, having filled the same position behind Kicking King in last season’s Stan James King George VI Chase.
The trainer said today: “L’Ami is very much on target for the Betfair Chase and I would think that A P McCoy will ride him. He has definitely strengthened and improved through the summer and will hopefully run a good race.
“Mr McManus doesn’t put any pressure on me, but the Betfair Million is a good enough figure to think about. He could go to the King George, but the Lexus Chase is just as attractive so that could be on the agenda.”
L’Ami made his seasonal reappearance in an extended two and a half mile hurdle race at Auteuil on November 5, when he finished fifth, much to the delight of his handler.
Doumen reported: “I was very happy with his run at Auteuil. I accept that the ground was not soft enough, which does not help a three-mile chaser competing against specialist hurdlers, but he ran into fifth place, running on pleasantly.”
With regard to the possible going at Haydock, he continued: “L’Ami is a very sound horse, though I would prefer a good cut in the ground.”
Doumen revealed that he is looking to field a decent team of horses at Haydock on Saturday, November 18, with the high-class hurdler Millenium Royal an intended runner in the £100,000 Betfair Handicap Hurdle (2.20pm) over just short of three miles.
The six-year-old, second to Royal Emperor in the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock in February, failed in his bid to win back-to-back renewals of the Grade One Grand Prix d’Automne at Auteuil, as he finished fifth to Zaiyad in the three-mile contest on November 5.
Doumen reported: “I am hoping to run a few horses at Haydock. Millenium Royal will probably run in the long distance hurdle and perhaps a couple of others.
“The ground was completely to his dislike when he ran the same day as L’Ami at Auteuil. That was very probably the reason I wasn’t too happy. He finished only fifth and I was a bit disappointed. I think the ground was a big factor that day as he was not happy on it.
“Millenium Royal was a good horse at three and then had a fracture behind the knee, which took two years to repair, but he returned to win his Grade One. He really needed that run the other day and he’s a lovely horse when he gets soft ground.”
My Way De Solzen, subsequently successful in the Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and second in the John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree's Grand National meeting, finished runner-up to St Matthew in the Betfair Handicap Hurdle last year.
The Betfair Chase, which was won in 2005 by the Robert Alner-trained Kingscliff, is the highlight of day one of the two-day North West Masters.
The unique meeting continues at Aintree on Sunday, November 19, when the feature contest is the £100,000 totesport.com Becher Chase over three and a quarter miles of the world famous Grand National fences.
The totesport.com Becher Chase, one of the highlights of the jump season, is an established 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, 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 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
REGION HOPING FOR FURTHER SUCCESS
The 2005 North West Masters attracted nearly 20,000 visitors into the region with research showing that over £1.7million was spent by racegoers attending the meeting. Saturday's racing at Haydock Park saw over 12,000 people packed into its stands - the biggest jumping attendance for over 20 years - with Aintree attracting over 7,000 visitors, despite only passing a midday inspection.
Martin King, Director of Tourism at The Mersey Partnership, said: "The North West Masters event last year proved a resounding success and I'm confident that this year's will prove to be even bigger and better. I see the Masters as becoming another major fixture in Merseyside's incredible calendar of festivals and events."
After the racing at Haydock on the Saturday, the first day will be celebrated with a FREE star studded music event in conjunction with Wish FM, featuring a performance by X-Factor star Andy Abraham, in Victoria Square, St. Helens town centre which will coincide with the town's spectacular Christmas lights switch-on.
Bus services link the racecourse directly to St. Helens town centre courtesy of Mersey Travel.
Further information is also available by going to the following Internet site - www.visitliverpool.com/northwestmasters
The North West Masters is delivered by Aintree and Haydock Park Racecourses, sponsored by The Mersey Partnership, St. Helens Council and Sefton Council with support from Merseytravel, Liverpool Culture Company and European Regional Development Fund.
The Mersey Partnership (TMP) is a unique alliance representing over 420 businesses across the Liverpool City Region. These include household names like Littlewoods and Royal & SunAlliance. Its members represent manufacturing and trading companies, six local authorities, government agencies, universities, media organisations and professional agencies who are all working together for the future economic growth of Merseyside. Its mission is to build a dynamic team to champion the Merseyside advantage campaigning for the Liverpool City Region as a great place, to live, work, invest and visit generating greater returns for all. It has three areas of activity: Economic Development - co-ordinating Merseyside's economic development activity through the Action Plan for the City Region 2002 - 2005; Investment - bringing new business into Merseyside and encouraging growth in existing businesses; Tourism - promoting Merseyside's tourism assets to increase visitor numbers and grow the economic benefit to the Liverpool City Region. TMP is supported by the European Regional Development Fund under the Objective One programme for Merseyside.
Sefton is to the north of Liverpool and as well as being home to the world-famous Grand National steeplechase it has 22 miles of coastline and one of the last red squirrel colonies in England. The classic seaside resort of Southport is at its heart featuring exclusive shopping on Lord Street and the oldest surviving iron pier in the country. The North West Masters will further enhance the region's reputation for holding prestigious sporting events. Sefton's Aintree Racecourse is the ideal venue to partner Haydock for this important new event in the racing calendar. www.visitsouthport.com
St.Helens has become a destination of choice thanks to its first rate sporting offer, world class heritage, award winning venues, glorious countryside, and vibrant nightlife. A highly accessible location at the heart of the region's motorway network and midway between Liverpool and Manchester, also makes St.Helens the perfect base for exploring the rest of the North West. The North West Masters is part of a year-round programme of unique, regionally significant events hosted in St.Helens, that includes Truckfest North West, the Eclectica Music Festival, and one of the largest Continental Markets in the UK. www.visitsthelens.com