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Monday, December 13, 2004

TELECTRONICS SYSTEMS LONG WALK HURDLE TOPS HIGH-CLASS DECEMBER MEETING AT ROYAL WINDSOR - Baracouda on course for fourth success in Telectronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle

Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18, sees two high-class days of jump racing at Royal Windsor, with the £75,000 Telectronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle taking centre stage on the Saturday. This fixture has been transferred from Ascot for both this year and 2005 while that racecourse undergoes redevelopment.

A total of ten horses have stood their ground at today's five-day confirmation stage for the Grade One Telectronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle, headed by Baracouda, the outstanding staying hurdler of recent years and winner of this race in 2000, 2001 and 2003. The nine-year-old made a winning seasonal reappearance when taking the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on November 27.

Trainer Francois Doumen said: "Baracouda will definitely run at Windsor in the Telectronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle.

"He's come out of his run at Newbury in superb form and I'm very happy with him."

Other possibles for the three mile, one and a half furlong contest include Crystal d'Ainay, runner-up to Baracouda at Newbury and victorious in the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham last season, the Newbury third and fourth Kadara and Telemoss, as well as Geos, twice winner of the totesport Gold Trophy at Newbury.

Nicky Richards, trainer of Telemoss, today revealed that his charge could take on Baracouda once again.

The Penrith handler reported: "We're not sure yet whether Telemoss will run in the Telectronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle - we'll see as the week goes on what we're going to do with him.

"It depends whether the race is going to cut up and a little bit on whether there is going to be any rain - we'll just weigh everything up as we go through the week.

"He seems in good form and he's come out of Newbury well - I thought the ground was just a bit quick for him there.

"He ran a good race - he was fourth in the Stayers' Hurdle in 2002 when beaten just over 10 lengths by Baracouda and he got beat about that the other day by. That's probably as good as he is compared to Baracouda."

Martin Pipe could be represented by Ilnamar, triumphant in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle in 2002 and a pleasing third on his return from injury behind Monet's Garden in the Grade Two Coloroll Hurdle on November 19, and also It Takes Time.

The one entry from Ireland is last year's Royal & SunAlliance Chase winner Rule Supreme, who also landed the Grade One Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (French Stayers' Hurdle) on June 19.

The field is completed by Jonjo O'Neill's Sh Boom, successful in the Grade Two Premier Stayer's Hurdle at Haydock last season and Knock Down form the Henry Daly yard, who will be making his British debut having previously raced in France, where he was a Grade Three winner over fences.

The Telectronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle is supported by the Grade Two Blue Square 0800 587 0200 Novices' Chase over two and a half miles which could see the eagerly-awaited chasing debut of Jonjo O'Neill's Iris's Gift, victorious in last season's Stayers' Hurdle when he defeated Baracouda. Jonjo O'Neill could also run Quazar, formerly a smart hurdler and successful on two of his three starts over fences. Other exciting possibles among the 19 entries include Hughie Morrison's Marble Arch, runner-up in the 2002 Champion Hurdle. The same trainer could also run The Last Cast, a most encouraging second on his chasing debut in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown on December 4.

East Ilsley-based Morrison said today: "My two entries are possible runners at this stage.

"We were originally going to go hurdling with Marble Arch again this season but there isn't really anywhere for him to go. After his injury problems, he is not as good as he was and it will take years for his handicap mark to come down over hurdles.

"He schooled very well this morning and we're looking to go novice chasing with him.

"It is hard to find a race for him to be honest - we want to find him a novice chase over two and a half miles on a nice, flat course.

"The Last Cast ran very well at Sandown but this race might come a bit quickly. I will be leaving my decision as late as possible."

The third main race of the day is the Listed Bet at bluesq.com Silver Cup Handicap Chase, which has 20 entries including Baracouda's stablemate, First Gold, the 2000 King George VI Chase winner and twice successful in the Martell Cup at Aintree. Another possible is Nil Desperandum, one of the leading Irish novices of last season who will be bidding to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Friday's highlight is the £30,000 Grade Two Bet at bluesq.com Novices' Hurdle, where there are ten entries including Cherub, a Grade One winner at Punchestown earlier this season and Martin Pipe's Marcel, a seven-time winner already this season.

The ground at Windsor is currently GOOD. Clerk of the Course David Mackinnon said:
"The forecast is for it to stay dry until Wednesday, when should be some rain.

"After Wednesday, the weather is set to be unsettled but without any real substantial rain. I would think that the ground should be on the easy side of good for Friday and Saturday."

"We are delighted to welcome Blue Square as sponsors at Royal Windsor for what should be two excellent days of jump racing.

"Telectronics Systems are sponsoring what should prove to be one of the hurdle races of the season and we are grateful for their continued support at Royal Windsor racecourse."

There are lots of other attractions to tempt racegoers both young and old including Father Christmas, a children's entertainer and a brass band on the Saturday. Also on Saturday, bookmaker and Channel 4 Racing personality Barry Dennis will be generously giving away Christmas Puddings to racegoers.

Admission prices are Club enclosure £18, Grandstand & Paddock £12, Silver Ring £6 Advance group discounts available for 20+ people. Children under 16 go free and there is extensive free parking.


Mike Skinner from Royston in Hertfordshire, England, has won the 2004 Godolphin Seven Stars, clinching the world's greatest free-to-enter Internet horseracing competition on the final day, Sunday, December 12.

The 44-year-old accountant's victory was secured when Firebreak, one of his team of seven Godolphin horses picked in March, won the Group One Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on that day.

He came first with 483 points, ahead of contestants from over 150 countries who again made the Godolphin Seven Stars a truly international competition.

Nearest challenger, Miguel Lopez, the 20-year-old jockey from Switzerland, came into the final day with a chance of winning. He had Sights On Gold, another Godolphin challenger for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong international races, on his side.

Sights On Gold ran well to come second in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase on December 12 but it was not enough and Miguel Lopez ended up with 450 points.

The first prize for the Godolphin Seven Stars of US$100,000 and a luxury trip for two to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup in March next year, flying first class with Emirates and staying for seven nights at the breathtaking Burj Al Arab Hotel, goes to Mike Skinner.

Miguel Lopez receives US$50,000, the third, Yasir Mabrouk (446 points) from the United Arab Emirates, gets US$30,000, the fourth, Jalal Khalil (442), also from the UAE, wins US$15,000 and the fifth, Travis Rendell (441) from Australia, gains US$5,000. The full finishing order can be seen on www.godolphin.com

Mike Skinner reacted to his win by saying: "I am over the moon - I am absolutely amazed to have won.

"The Godolphin Seven Stars competition is about fun and to end up winning it is incredible.

"I knew that it was still possible to get overtaken on the last day but I realised that I was going to win a prize whatever happened and, to be honest, that was enough.

"The last week has been a little bit tense - I have been out on my own at the top since Sulamani won the Canadian International in October.

"When I first noticed myself on the leader board, I took a print-out because I thought it would not happen again!"

This is the second year that Mike has entered the Godolphin Seven Stars competition which was first held in the year 2000.

"I first heard about the Godolphin Seven Stars from a colleague at work who knew about my interest in other competitions - such as fantasy basketball - and told me about the fantastic prizes.

"I gave it a go last year and came nowhere but this year has been amazing - all the horses I picked did something and it has been so entertaining. My colleague definitely needs looking after."

The seven Godolphin horses he picked in March for the 2004 Godolphin Seven Stars competition were Sulamani (115 points) Rule Of Law (100), Firebreak (95), Gonfilia (72), Dubawi (60), Byron (37) and My Dubai (4). They earned points for their performances on the racetrack from March 27 through to December 12.

"I just knew one or two names - Sulamani of course, while I watched Firebreak race last year. The others I picked by looking at www.godolphin.com. It is such a great website because all the information you need is there."

Mike has never been to Dubai and he is looking forward immensely to that part of his first prize which takes him and his wife Sue there in March.

"That really is so exciting - just the prospect of going to Dubai in such style is amazing. Travelling first class and staying first class is not the sort of thing that would happen in my world."

He has had a small interest in racing over the years, going to Newmarket on an annual day out to see the horses. A tour of the Godolphin stables is something he is eagerly anticipating.

"I would describe myself as lucky but I have not won much before - £50 in the National Lottery would be the most. Luck is a relative thing - having a nice day when you decide to go out is the sort of luck I am talking about.

"I am quite keen on sports generally and I am going to be keener on horseracing after this! The reaction to the win has been incredible - everyone is very pleased for us - good news is always infectious."

Miguel Lopez has won three races from 82 rides as well as coming second in the 2003 Swiss Gold Cup in his native Switzerland where he recently finished his apprenticeship.

The jockey, who weighs 49 kilos, has been on the sidelines since June following a racecourse fall in which he injured his back and a knee but hopes to return to action in the New Year.

He plans to spend some of his US$50,000 prize on buying a horse at the sales in Baden-Baden, Germany, which he can train after riding out in the mornings at Zurich racecourse.

Miguel entered the Godolphin Seven Stars competition for the first time this year.

He commented: "I feel very good to have come second and my ambition, if I ever come to Dubai, is to be able to ride work on a Godolphin horse."

The Godolphin Seven Stars will take place again in 2005 with the same fabulous prizes.

Entries must be made at www.godolphin.com between March 1 and midnight on March 25, 2005.

Competitors select seven Godolphin horses to follow through the season which earn points every time they win or are placed, with extra points for bonus races.

The 2005 competition begins on Dubai World Cup day, Saturday, March 26 and ends with the Hong Kong International race day on December 11. All contestants must be over 18 and there is a limit of one entry per person.

Information about this unique competition can be found on the award-winning Godolphin Internet site, www.godolphin.com


Breeders ranging from Prince Khalid Abdullah's mighty Juddmonte Farms to Sue Mills's one mare breeding operation are among the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association award winners for 2004, details of which are revealed today, Monday, December 13.

The 2004 Flat season was an excellent one for Juddmonte Farms, which takes the Queen's Silver Cup for leading British-based Flat breeder for the third year in succession.

Group One victories for Powerscourt and Quiff enabled Juddmonte to see off stiff competition from Cheveley Park Stud in terms of the most prize money won in Britain and Ireland from horses normally resident in the UK.

However, Cheveley Park Stud gains more than ample compensation, courtesy of Pivotal who was conceived at the stud as well as standing there.

The stallion scoops both the BBA Silver Cigar Box, for being the leading British-based stallion in terms of earnings (£1.49 million), and the Barleythorpe Stud Cup for the leading British-based stallion in terms of individual winners (52 individual winners of 85 races).

His main flag bearers in 2004 included Group One Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Chorist, Ringmoor Down, Pivotal Point and Windsor Knot.

Dubai Millennium (GB), whose life was cut so tragically short, saw off a strong challenge from another Dalham Hall stallion Diktat to take the Tattersalls' Silver Salver for leading British-based first season Flat sire.

Dubai Millennium (GB) had 10 individual winners of 12 races worth £255,378, with his best performer being the Group One National Stakes winner Dubawi.

Kirsten Rausing's Alouette (GB) scoops the H J Joel Silver Salver for broodmare of the year. The grey daughter of Darshaan was responsible for the 1999 and 2000 Champion Stakes winner Alborada and enjoyed further success in 2004 with Alborada's full-sister Albanova, a three-time Group One winner in Germany.

The TBA Silver Rose Bowl for Flat breeder of the year goes to Lord Derby's Stanley House Stud, in recognition of the brilliant achievements of Ouija Board. The three-year-old Cape Cross filly was the real star performer of 2004, with four victories including the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Another star filly last season was Attraction, who became the first filly to complete the Newmarket and Irish 1,000 Guineas double, as well as enjoying success in two further Group One contests, the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. In recognition of these outstanding feats, her breeder the Duke of Roxburghe's Floors Stud receives the Flat Special Merit Award.

A third filly to light up Flat racing in 2004 was Soviet Song, who recorded three Group One victories in the Falmouth Stakes, Matron Stakes and the Sussex Stakes, beating the colts in the last-named. Her owner, the Elite Racing Club, takes the Langham Cup for small Flat breeder and is the first owners' syndicate to do so.

Shade Oak Stud has enjoyed much success in the TBA Awards in the past with the late Gunner B and looks to have found a worthy successor in Alflora. The only sire in the top 40 to be as young as 15, Alflora takes the Whitbread Silver Salver, for the leading active British-based stallion in terms of earnings, and also the Horse & Hound Cup for individual chase winners.

He was responsible for 25 winners of 34 races and almost £400,000 in prize money, including the Grade One scorers Central House and Hand Inn Hand.

Laurel Diver is the only mare kept by Sue Mills on the family farm near Burford in Oxfordshire but the daughter of Celtic Cone managed three individual winners in the 2003/04 season, thus gaining the Dudgeon Cup for leading National Hunt broodmare.

The mare's three winners were all trained by Martin Pipe - Grade Two Ascot Hurdle victor Mr Cool (Jupiter Island), his full-sister Miss Cool, successful in a Newton Abbott novice chase, and Your So Cool (Karinga Bay), winner of a Taunton novice hurdle.

David and Anne Hockenhull of Shade Oak Stud in Shropshire are the recipients of the Queen Mother's National Hunt Achievement Award.

Since starting out 30 years ago, Shade Oak Stud has grown into the premier National Hunt stallion operation in Britain, first with Gunner B and now with Alflora.

It has not always been easy, particularly at the start, for the stud which is supervised on a day-to-day basis by David and Anne's son Peter and his wife Emma.

The awards will be presented at the TBA Awards' Dinner at the Churchill Hotel in London on Tuesday, January 11, when the winners of two Special Awards for contributions to the British breeding industry will be announced.

Philip Freedman, the Chairman of the TBA, said: "It is tremendous to see British breeders rewarded for all their hard work over the past year.

"This year's awards go to a wide range of breeding operations, both large and small, and it is pleasing to have such diversity."

For further information, please contact Louise Kemble, Chief Executive of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, on 01638 661321.


1. The Queen's Silver Cup - Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms won The Queen's Silver Cup (earnings in GB and Ireland) for a third consecutive time.

2. The BBA Silver Cigar Box - The progeny of Cheveley Park Stud's Pivotal earned nearly £1.5 million in 2004 to reward his connections with the BBA Silver Cigar Box.

3. The Barleythorpe Stud Cup - It takes a very special stallion to land both the BBA Silver Cigar Box and the Barleythorpe Stud Cup which is for the greatest number of individual winners and Pivotal recorded 52 winners who between them accounted for 85 races.

4. The Tattersalls' Silver Salver - Darley-bred Dubawi ensured that Dubai Millennium (GB) won the Tattersalls' Silver Salver.

5. The H.J. Joel Silver Salver - Alborada and Albanova are two exceptionally talented grey own-sisters, home-bred by Kirsten Rausing of Lanwades Stud, and their dam, Alouette (GB), has been awarded the H.J. Joel Silver Salver.

6. The TBA's Silver Rose Bowl - A great advertisement for British breeding, Lord Derby's Stanley House Stud has won the TBA's Silver Rose Bowl thanks to his only horse in training, Ouija Board.

7. The TBA Special Merit Award - Another superlative home-bred filly is the Duke of Roxburghe's Attraction, who has earned Floors Stud, near Kelso, on the Scottish borders, this discretionary special merit award.

8. The Langham Cup - The extraordinary bonanza of multiple Group/Grade One winning British-bred fillies and mares during 2004 continued with Soviet Song who earned her owners, the Elite Racing Club, the Langham Cup.

9. The Whitbread Silver Salver - Alflora, who stands at Shade Oak Stud, wins the Whitbread Silver Salver for the 2003/04 season with earnings of nearly £400,000.

10. The Horse & Hound Cup - Alflora also takes the Horse & Hound Cup for the greatest number of individual chase winners - 12 winners of 16 races to be precise.

11. The Dudgeon Cup - Laurel Diver, the solitary broodmare owned by Sue Mills from Burford in north Oxfordshire, has won the Dudgeon Cup.

12. The late Queen Mother's National Hunt Achievement Award - For their perseverance and dedication in establishing Shade Oak Stud as Britain's premier National Hunt stallion stud, David and Anne Hockenhull have won the late Queen Mother's National Hunt Achievement Award.

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