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Friday, December 8, 2006



Cheltenham hosts day two of the fantastic Boylesports International tomorrow, Saturday, December 9, when the highlight of a terrific seven-race card is the £200,000 Grade Two Boylesports.com International (3.15pm).

The exciting Detroit City, current market leader for the 2007 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at The Festival in March, is one of a select field of four high-class contenders declared for the prestigious two mile, one furlong contest, for which he is 1/2 favourite with the sponsor.

The Philip Hobbs-trained grey, winner of the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival in March, and hugely impressive on his most recent start in the Greatwood Hurdle over course and distance at The Open in November, faces stern opposition.

Detroit City, winner of his last six starts, will bid to extend that streak against the brilliant dual-Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle hero Hardy Eustace (9/2 with Boylesports). Trainer Dessie Hughes has the nine-year-old in great form, as highlighted by the Irish raider’s 11-length defeat of Mighty Man in the two and half mile Grade Two Coral Ascot Hurdle at Ascot on November 18.

Hobbs is unconcerned by the prospect of a tactical affair, saying: "I suppose it depends how the race goes, and what Hardy Eustace does, as to what we do. We can either lead or not, it doesn’t make any difference really. We’ll just see how the race goes.

"He’s very well and has had no hiccups (since the Greatwood Hurdle). We could have run him the week after. He’s absolutely fine so we hope he runs very well.

"One thing that has been well documented is that I’m sure he will go further, without any doubt, but while he’s effective at two miles, and hopefully will remain so, we’ll keep to two."

Malton trainer John Quinn relies on Grade Two £1million totetentofollow Elite Hurdle victor Crow Wood (50/1), while Howard Johnson saddles 2005 Grade One Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Grade One wbx.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle hero Arcalis (12/1), who was fourth to Straw Bear on his seasonal bow in the latter contest on November 25.

Boylesports has transformed the prize money for the Boylesports.com International and is also offering a huge £200,000 bonus (£180,000 to the owner, £10,000 to the trainer & £10,000 to the yard’s stable staff) to any horse that can win the Boylesports.com International and the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 13.

The £150,000 Boylesports.com Gold Cup (2.40pm) has received a £40,000 prize money boost this year, a fact reflected in a superb 15-strong field being declared for the two mile, five furlong handicap chase, headed by top-weight Thisthatandtother (11st 12lb). Paul Nicholls’ charge is joined by stablemates Cerium (11st 9lb) and long-time favourite Taranis (11st 4lb), available at 9/2 with Boylesports.

Nicholls reported: "Taranis was travelling quite nicely when he fell here in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and will hopefully go okay. He’s won all four completed starts over fences and is probably the best handicapped of the trio.

"Cerium won well at Ascot on the soft and Thisthatandtother ran a great race last time, so all three are in good order. I have to say that they’d all prefer better ground. That’s my only concern."

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer (11st 4lb) landed the Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open in November and is a 5/1 shot to complete a big-race double last completed by Senor El Betrutti in 1997.

David Pipe has declared three, including the well-supported Bannow Strand (10st 5lb), who is the each-way market mover and now an 8/1 shot, as well as Contraband (11st 4lb) and Madison du Berlais (10st 2lb), 33/1 and 25/1 respectively.

The James Fanshawe-trained Reveillez, an 8/1 chance, and Tony Martin’s Irish raider Ross River, available at 11/2, are among others declared for what promises to be a thrilling spectacle.

The fantastic afternoon of top quality jump racing also includes a pair of mouth-watering Grade Two hurdle races, the Mears Group Relkeel Hurdle (1.30pm) over two miles, five and a half furlongs, and the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (3.45pm) over three miles.

The former sees the eagerly anticipated return of the exceptional Black Jack Ketchum who puts his unbeaten record on the line against five rivals, including the Alan King-trained Blazing Bailey, the game winner of a two-mile hurdle at Haydock on November 18.

Black Jack Ketchum landed the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle last term as he swept all before him in novice company and this year’s renewal is up to the high standard expected.

The eight declared runners include the Philip Hobbs-trained Massini’s Maguire, winner of the Gideon Kasler Novices’ Hurdle at The Open, Nicky Richards’ unbeaten five-year-old The Whisperer, and the Howard Johnson-trained Hockenheim, unbeaten in two hurdle starts.

Trainer Emma Lavelle is set to saddle Grade Two Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle winner Labelthou, while David Pipe has Christdalo.

Proceedings kick-off with a typically fascinating renewal of the £20,000 boylepoker.com Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (12.20), over two miles, one furlong, in which 13 classy three-year-olds are declared, headed by the Alan King-trained Katchit, a winner over the course and distance at The Open in the Grade Two Ryman The Stationer Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, as well as his stablemate Risk Runner.

Two French raiders are set to line up, the Francouis Doumen-trained Pommerol, and the Thierry Domen-trained Zariyan, while the unbeaten pair Tritonix and Altihar are others in contention.

A competitive field of 12 is declared for the £20,000 Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase (12.55pm) over an extended two miles, with last year’s winner Tysou, trained by Nicky Henderson, heading the weights on 11st 12lb.

An exciting race is in prospect for the £20,000 boylecasino.com Novices’ Chase (2.05pm) as eight novices go to post for the two mile, five furlong test.

Alan King is set to saddle the classy mare Senorita Rumbalita, who was the smooth winner of a mares only novices’ chase at Wincanton on November 16, while Henrietta Knight has declared recent Folkestone winner Aztec Warrior.

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Don’t Push It found only the mighty Denman three-quarters of a length too good in the Jim Brown Memorial Novices’ Chase over the course and distance in November and will be a tough nut to crack, as will the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Best Profile.


Cheltenham Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, reported today: "We’ve had an inch of rain in the last week or so and the course hasn’t had any water put on it for at least three months, so what we’ve got is what comes naturally. It’s been some time since we’ve had the sort of rainfalls we’ve experienced in the last month and we have proper soft ground."

Latest Boylesports prices for the Boylesports.com International

1/2 Detroit City, 9/4 Hardy Eustace, 12/1 Arcalis, 50/1Crow Wood.

Latest Boylesports prices for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup:

9/2 Taranis, 5/1 Exotic Dancer, 11/2 Ross River, 8/1 Bannow Strand, Reveillez, 10/1 Copsale Lad, 12/1 Thisthatandtother, Hasty Prince, 16/1 Cerium, Knowhere, 20/1 Tikram, 25/1 Billyvoddan, Madison du Berlais, Butler’s Cabin, 33/1 Contraband.


Ouija Board was last night rewarded for regaining her Breeders' Cup crown in 2006 by being named ROA/Racing Post 'Horse of the Year'.

And the celebrations were complete when the five-year-old's owner Lord Derby was named 'Owner of the Year' by the members of the Racehorse Owners Association.

The globetrotting mare's season had begun at Nad Al Sheba, and in June she secured her first Royal Ascot triumph in the Prince of Wales's Stakes. A 'Glorious Goodwood' winner in August, she went on to score at Churchill Downs last month.

2006 was the fifth year in which Racing Post readers - in addition to the ROA's 7,200-strong membership - cast votes for the 'Horse of the Year' award at the ROA's 25th Annual Awards Dinner & Dance.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition was selected as the 'Outstanding Chaser', and Champion Hurdler Brave Inca took the 'Outstanding Hurdler' crown.

The 'Outstanding Three-Year-Old Colt' was Derby winner Sir Percy, and the 'Outstanding Three-Year-Old Filly' was Oaks and Irish Oaks heroine Alexandrova.

Among the two-year-olds, Teofilo was chosen as the top colt, and the filly's prize went to Sander Camillo.

For his winning exploits on all-weather tracks and at Ascot where he climaxed a superb season by claiming the Cumberland Lodge Stakes, Young Mick took two awards - 'Outstanding Handicapper' and 'All-weather Horse of the Year'.

In the novice National Hunt awards, Black Jack Ketchum took the hurdling honours and this season's King George VI Chase prospect Monet's Garden won the chasing category.

Katarino retained the 'Outstanding Hunter Chaser' award.

ROA members voted Newbury as the 'Most Owner-Friendly Racecourse of the Year' for the third successive year.

Full awards list:

Outstanding Hunter Chaser: Katarino
Outstanding Novice Hurdler: Black Jack Ketchum
Outstanding Hurdler: Brave Inca
Outstanding Novice Chaser: Monet's Garden
Outstanding Chaser: War Of Attrition
Outstanding Handicapper: Young Mick
Outstanding Two-Year-Old Filly: Sander Camillo
Outstanding Two-Year-Old Colt: Teofilo
Outstanding Three-Year-Old Filly: Alexandrova
Outstanding Three-Year-Old Colt: Sir Percy
Outstanding Older Horse: Ouija Board
All-Weather Horse of the Year: Young Mick
Racecourse of the Year: Newbury
Owner of the Year: Lord Derby
Horse of the Year: Ouija Board

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