Wednesday, January 16, 2013
FOUR PREVIOUS WINNERS AMONG 34 ENTRIES FOR STAN JAMES CHAMPION HURDLE
ROCK ON RUBY “BIGGER AND STRONG” AS HE ATTEMPTS BACK-TO-BACK SUCCESS
Defending champion Rock On Ruby (10/1 with the sponsor) is one of four previous winners among 34 entries for this year’s Grade One Stan James Champion Hurdle, the feature race on day one of The Festival, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 12. The race is worth a record £400,000.
Harry Fry’s stable star scored by three and three quarter lengths in last season’s Stan James Champion Hurdle, when trained by Paul Nicholls, and made an encouraging return for his new handler when chasing home Zarkandar (7/1) and Grandouet (7/1) in the Grade Two StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December.
Fry said: “Rock On Ruby is still very much on course for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.
“He is all set for a prep run at either Sandown on February 2 (Contenders Hurdle) or at Wincanton on February 16 (Kingwell Hurdle), weather permitting, as I’m not sure what the winter is going to bring next. He is not going to run on heavy ground between now and Cheltenham. If the ground is decent, he will have a prep run but if not, he will have a racecourse gallop instead.
“He is in great form at the moment and his run in the International has brought him on a ton - I am very pleased with him. Noel (Fehily) felt he was on the winner the whole way at Cheltenham. He travelled like the best horse in the race but the lack of a recent run at that level in those conditions counted against him turning in and over the last.
“I think he will have had to have improved since last year’s Champion Hurdle to win this year’s race but he has improved and is much bigger and stronger. My assistant Ciara O’Connor, who rides Rock On Ruby everyday, has been saying that all season and Noel felt exactly the same after the run in December.”
Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson has annexed five Stan James Champion Hurdles - the most of any current trainer - and he holds a formidable hand with eight entries consisting of two Stan James Champion Hurdle heroes in 2010 victor Binocular (25/1) and 2009 hero Punjabi (40/1), as well as Grade One scorers Darlan (4/1), Oscar Whisky (16/1), Khyber Kim (100/1), Cash And Go (50/1) and Grandouet, plus General Miller (66/1). Stan James make Henderson a 7/4 chance to train this year’s winner.
Nicholls, the seven-time champion trainer, is responsible for 2011 JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Zarkandar and lightly-raced five-year-old Pearl Swan (50/1), while Donald McCain’s possible representatives include last year’s runner-up Overturn (66/1), Peddlers Cross (40/1) and 2012 William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle scorer Cinders And Ashes (18/1).
The 10 potential Irish challengers are led by 13-time Grade One winner Hurricane Fly, trained by Irish champion Willie Mullins, who enjoyed victory over Peddlers Cross in the 2011 Stan James Champion Hurdle but could only finish third when odds-on favourite last year. He is the 7/2 market leader with Stan James following three wins from three starts since.
CHAMPION COURT AND BOLD SIR BRIAN AMONG TOP WEIGHTS FOR SKY BET CHASE
- SHEPPARD PLANS TO RUN IKORODU ROAD
Calgary Bay (11st 12lb, 20/1), a comfortable winner of last season’s Listed Sky Bet Chase, jointly heads the weights on 11st 12lb for this year’s renewal along with Grade Two winner Midnight Chase (33/1), King George VI Chase fourth Champion Court (9/1 favourite with Sky Bet) and improving seven-year-old Bold Sir Brian (14/1).
The weights for the £75,000 contest, which takes place over three miles at Doncaster on Saturday, January 26, are revealed today.
In-form trainer Venetia Williams has three possible runners among the 59 entries including progressive French import Katenko (11st 4lb, 12/1) and Quartz De Thaix (11st 10lb, 14/1).
Matt Sheppard is hoping stable star Ikorodu Road (10st 9lb, 20/1) can land another valuable prize. The lightly-raced 10-year-old showed a tremendous attitude when winning the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in March last year and a competitive handicap chase at Newbury later the same month, but disappointed when pulled up in the Scottish Grand National.
He was last seen finishing fifth in a hotly-contested handicap chase at Doncaster in December won by Emma Lavelle’s Court By Surprise (10st 2lb, 12/1), who is likely to reoppose.
Sheppard said: “There is a good chance Ikorodu Road will run in the Sky Bet Chase. He will also have an entry in a veterans’ chase at Exeter just before but he needs good or good to soft ground and I can’t see it being like that at Exeter.
“Ideally, he wants a couple of furlongs further than three miles but he has been in excellent form since his run at Doncaster. We have been praying for some better ground and hoped to run him in the Classic Chase at Warwick (last Saturday) but the ground was too soft.
“He definitely has another big race in him. He wants three and a half miles but we haven’t been able to put it all together and, longer term, I would imagine he will go for the Grimthorpe again.
“When he broke the track record at Newbury last season, the ground must have been quite quick and when he went to Ayr he must have been jarred up but you don’t know that until you run them - we could look at the Scottish Grand National again.”
Cape Tribulation (12/1), trained by Malcolm Jefferson, has been allotted 11st 8lb after getting his chasing career back on track with an eye-catching 11-length success in the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby over Christmas, while impressive last time out scorers Wyck Hill (10/1) and Mister Hyde (12/1) have been handed 10st 11lb and 10st 10lb respectively.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is responsible for six entries headed by Pacha Du Polder (11st 4lb, 16/1), who chased home Bold Sir Brian in an intermediate chase at Sandown on December 7, and improving novice chaser Rolling Aces (11st 2lb, 12/1).
Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Walkon (11st 5lb, 14/1) is one of three possibles for trainer Alan King, having filled the same position behind Unioniste in the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup back at Cheltenham in December. King is also responsible for lightly-raced 10-year-old Hold On Julio (11st 3lb, 14/1) and 2011 Becher Chase scorer West End Rocker (10st 10lb, 33/1).
Other notable contenders include last year’s third Fruity O’Rooney (10st 10lb 16/1), Carruthers (11st 4lb, 25/1) and Red Rocco (10st 2lb, 14/1), who is one of three entries for trainer Donald McCain.
Latest prices from Sky Bet: 9/1 Champion Court; 10/1 Wyck Hill; 12/1 Katenko, Rolling Aces, Court By Surprise, Cape Tribulation, Mister Hyde; 14/1 The Knoxs, Red Rocco, Bold Sir Brian, Quartz de Thaix, Walkon, Hold On Julio; 16/1 Pacha du Polder, Harry The Viking, Fruity O'Rooney; 20/1 Ikorodu Road, Duke of Lucca, Calgary Bay, Saint Are, Cedre Bleu, Summery Justice, Nadiya de La Vega, Pentiffic; 25/1 Golden Chieftain, Carruthers, Chartreux, Galaxy Rock, Shoegazer, Hunters Lodge, Qianshan Leader; 28/1 Alvarado, Corkage, Lively Baron, Cappa Bleu; 33/1 Quentin Collonges, Midnight Chase, Captain Americo, Ballabriggs, Sizing Santiago, Tullamore Dew, Mr Moonshine, Prophete de Guye, West End Rocker, Do It For Dalkey; 40/1 Silver By Nature, Hector's Choice, Auroras Encore, Always Right, Tatenen, Baile Anrai, Beneficial Reform, De Boitron; 50/1 Matuhi, Cootehill, Gullible Gordon, Billie Magern, Riguez Dancer; 100/1 Merigo
Michael Shinners, Racing PR Manager for Sky Bet, said: “Fruity O’Rooney was popular among punters when we opened the market last week. Jamie Moore’s expression said it all when the horse finished third last year after the saddle slipped - he clearly thought he should have won. He is a consistent performer and has been set some hard tasks this season so punters must think he still has a big race in him.”
THE SKY BET CHASE
Class 1, Listed Race, £75,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.40pm, Doncaster, Saturday, January 26, 2013. For five-year-olds and upwards, three miles. Entries closed January 8, entries revealed January 9 (60 entries, 1 subsequently scratched), weights revealed January 16. Penalties: after January 13, a winner 5lb. Five-day confirmations January 21, final declarations, 10.00am, January 24. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including Monday, January 14, 2013.
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
F310-3P MIDNIGHT CHASE 11-11-12 Lady Clarke Neil Mulholland
3122-24 CHAMPION COURT (IRE) 8-11-12 Martin Boothright Martin Keighley
1114-11 BOLD SIR BRIAN (IRE) 7-11-12 Alexander Trotter Lucinda Russell
5110-P4 CALGARY BAY (IRE) 10-11-12 Camilla Radford Mick Channon
4P0-112 QUARTZ DE THAIX (FR) 9-11-10 ROA Arkle Partnership Venetia Williams
121/46-P BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 12-11-09 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain
21/0010/- SILVER BY NATURE 11-11-09 G S Brown Lucinda Russell
411-051 CAPE TRIBULATION 9-11-08 J David Abell Malcolm Jefferson
345P-22 WALKON (FR) 8-11-05 McNeill Family Alan King
3201-P4 HECTOR'S CHOICE (FR) 9-11-05 James and Jean Potter Richard Lee
51F1-P2 PACHA DU POLDER (FR) 6-11-04 The Stewart & Wylie Families Paul Nicholls
15001-F THE KNOXS (IRE) 10-11-04 Andrea & Graham Wylie Paul Nicholls
04-F021 KATENKO (FR) 7-11-04 Andrew Brooks Venetia Williams
00-R001 CARRUTHERS 10-11-04 The Oaksey Partnership Mark Bradstock
10-35U2 HOLD ON JULIO (IRE) 10-11-03 Mr & Mrs F Bell, N Farrell, A Marsh Alan King
P//1334-2 CAPPA BLEU (IRE) 11-11-03 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams
3/1PPU-0 ALWAYS RIGHT (IRE) 11-11-02 John Wade John Wade
3/10-13U NADIYA DE LA VEGA (FR) 7-11-02 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
20-4311 ROLLING ACES (IRE) 7-11-02 David Martin, Ian Fogg & Paul Barber Paul Nicholls
153F12 SHOEGAZER (IRE) 8-11-01 Wayne Clifford David Pipe
0/015U-6 TATENEN (FR) 9-11-01 The Stewart Family Richard Rowe
2511-20 DUKE OF LUCCA (IRE) 8-10-13 Mrs Lesley Field Philip Hobbs
4U01-F4 SAINT ARE (FR) 7-10-13 David Fox Tim Vaughan
11F2-11 WYCK HILL (IRE) 9-10-11 SAB Partnership David Bridgwater
112P-P0 HARRY THE VIKING 8-10-11 Sir A Ferguson, G Mason, R Wood & P Done Paul Nicholls
3P0-42P GALAXY ROCK (IRE) 9-10-11 Michael & John O'Flynn Jonjo O'Neill
04-1311 MISTER HYDE (IRE) 8-10-10 Bensaranat Club & W McLuskey Jonjo O'Neill
0-23602 MR MOONSHINE (IRE) 9-10-10 Sue Smith Sue Smith
325-003 FRUITY O'ROONEY 10-10-10 Heart of the South Racing Gary Moore
1FP-3P0 WEST END ROCKER (IRE) 11-10-10 Barry Winfield & Tim Leadbeater Alan King
11P-405 IKORODU ROAD 10-10-09 W J Odell Matt Sheppard
2-U0P45 AURORAS ENCORE (IRE) 11-10-08 D Pryde, J Beaumont & D van der Hoeven Sue Smith
1P/1/401- SUMMERY JUSTICE (IRE) 9-10-06 Mrs H Brown Venetia Williams
1/R2-U15 ALVARADO (IRE) 8-10-06 William & Angela Rucker Fergal O'Brien
030U-06 MATUHI 10-10-06 Willsford Racing Incorporated David Pipe
150-41F CEDRE BLEU (FR) 6-10-06 Paul Barber & David Johnson Paul Nicholls
100-040 CORKAGE (IRE) 10-10-05 The Scarth Racing Partnership Keith Reveley
011-506 MERIGO (FR) 12-10-05 Raymond & Anita Anderson Green Andrew Parker
3-51P36 GOLDEN CHIEFTAIN (IRE) 8-10-04 Brocade Racing Colin Tizzard
43F543 COOTEHILL (IRE) 9-10-04 Felicity Griffin Nigel Twiston-Davies
0PP-U23 TULLAMORE DEW (IRE) 11-10-04 Give Every Man His Due Nick Gifford
3602-30 DE BOITRON (FR) 9-10-03 Mrs J Morgan & Mrs Lindsey Shaw Ferdy Murphy
212-211 RED ROCCO (IRE) 6-10-02 Glen's Fools 2 Donald McCain
0-00016 PENTIFFIC (NZ) 10-10-02 P Sinn, P Lawrence, L Sutcliffe, M Smith Venetia Williams
3P62-31 COURT BY SURPRISE (IRE) 8-10-02 Nick Mustoe Emma Lavelle
1F01-04 BAILE ANRAI (IRE) 9-10-00 Massive Ian Williams
05-1310 LIVELY BARON (IRE) 8-10-00 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain
P35F-0F BILLIE MAGERN 9-10-00 Exors of the late Roger Nicholls Nigel Twiston-Davies
F0144-6 RIGUEZ DANCER 9-10-00 Let's Live Racing Ferdy Murphy
64115-P QIANSHAN LEADER (IRE) 9-9-13 The Pick 'N' Mix Partnership Emma Lavelle
300155 PROPHETE DE GUYE (FR) 10-9-12 Elegant Clutter Ltd James Evans
30/F4-12 CHARTREUX (FR) 8-9-12 Roger Brookhouse Tom George
0/44-060 GULLIBLE GORDON (IRE) 10-9-11 Yeh Man Partnership Peter Bowen
13F213 SIZING SANTIAGO (IRE) 7-9-11 Yeh Man Partnership Peter Bowen
212P-00 QUENTIN COLLONGES (FR) 9-9-10 Neville Statham & Family Henry Daly
05-1133 HUNTERS LODGE (IRE) 7-9-08 Exors of the Late Roger Nicholls Nigel Twiston-Davies
4423P-2 CAPTAIN AMERICO (IRE) 11-9-06 D Coppola & James Ewart James Ewart
112P4-2 DO IT FOR DALKEY 11-9-05 G S Brown Lucinda Russell
2F14P-5 BENEFICIAL REFORM (IRE) 8-9-03 Martin Tedham James Ewart
59 entries remain
THE FOLLOWING HORSE HAS BEEN SCRATCHED: MISSTREE DANCER