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Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Grade Two Dipper Novices’ Chase takes centre stage on £175,000 seven-race card and Seamus Mullins plans to run See You Sometime

Cheltenham racecourse stages its first action of 2005 on New Year’s Day, Saturday, January 1, with the seven-race programme, worth £175,000, attracting terrific entries.

The feature is the £35,000 Grade Two Dipper Novices’ Chase (2.10pm) over two
miles and five furlongs which has gained 15 entries including seven who won last time out.

Horses set to run include the Seamus Mullins-trained See You Sometime, successful in a Grade Two event at Windsor on December 18, and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ hugely exciting Fundamentalist, last season’s Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle winner and successful also at Cheltenham this season in the Grade Two Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase on November 14. Paul Nicholls can choose between Cornish Rebel, Kauto Star and My Will.

Mullins said today of See You Sometime who is also entered in the Unicoin Homes Handicap Chase later in the afternoon: “I would say at the moment that we are going for the Dipper. I was delighted with See You Sometime’s win at Windsor and he’s come out of the race in even better form.

“He went there to win and the same thing applies at Cheltenham where he has won twice over hurdles at the distance.

“I have no worries about Fundamentalist on Newbury form, with Cornish Rebel probably being the one to beat.”

This will be the first running of the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, the race having been transferred from Newcastle where it suffered badly from abandonments since inception in 1980.

Some very good young chasers have won the Dipper including future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Little Owl in 1980, and Blazing Walker in 1989.

In more recent times, the best winners have included Bobby Grant (1999) and Barton (2002).

After the Dipper Novices’ Chase, there are two competitive handicaps in the form of the £25,000-added totesport Handicap Hurdle (2.45pm) over three miles with 25 entries and, the richest race of the day, the £40,000 Unicoin Homes Handicap Chase (3.20pm) over two miles and five furlongs.

Whereareyounow put an excellent performance to take the latter race in 2004 for Twiston-Davies and jockey Carl Llewellyn.

The Unicoin Homes Handicap Chase has attracted 26 entries - many of whom have already run at Cheltenham this season in either the bonusprint.com Gold Cup earlier in the month or the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November, led by Thisthatandtother who was second in both of them and whose stable companion in the Nicholls yard, Armaturk, has topweight of 11st 12lb.

The racing action at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day gets under way with the £15,000-added High Sheriff of Gloucestershire’s “Crime Beat” National Hunt Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (12.25pm) over two miles and a furlong which has 32 entries.

The second race of the day is the £25,000-added Cheltenham & Three Counties Race Club Handicap Chase (1.00pm) over the Gold Cup distance of three miles, two and a half furlongs. Lord Noelie, the 2000 Royal & SunAlliance Chase hero, gain another win at Cheltenham in this contest last season and he is again among the 22 entries.

Race three, the £20,000-added Steel Plate & Sections Hurdle (1.35pm), takes place over two miles, four and a half furlongs and is for four year olds and upwards. Westender, third in the Grade Two totesport Bula Hurdle earlier in the month, heads the 11 entries with Monkerhostin, winner of the bonusprint.com Gold Cup last time out, and Big Moment among the potential challengers.

Bringing the day to a close is the 21-strong £15,000-added Listed EBF Junior Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (3.50pm) over a mile and a half. Restricted to four year olds, this race provides a good opportunity for that age group to record a black-type victory and in 2004 fell to Hughie Morrison’s well-regarded performer Secret Ploy, who went on to score in Grade Two company at Newbury later in the season.

The racing will take place on the New Course on the New Year’s Day meeting.

Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, revealed today: “The going is Good. We had four millimetres of rain overnight and are forecast a bit more before Saturday. We are not expecting any problems from frost.

“It is excellent to get 152 entries for the seven races and we are looking forward to great racing on the day.”

Admission prices on New Year’s Day are Club/Tattersalls: £20, 16-24s: £12; Best Mate Enclosure: £6; Rooster Booster Raceday Package: £44 and Best Mate Raceday Package: £22. The gates open at 10.30am.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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