The David Pipe-trained Osana tops the weights on 11st 12lb for The Ladbroke, the £150,000 handicap hurdle run over two miles at Ascot on Saturday, December 22.
Osana also continues to head the market at 8/1 with Ladbrokes and, if successful, would set a weight-carrying record in The Ladbroke. Since its inception in 1987, the highest weight carried to victory was the 11st 9lb shouldered by Acambo, also trained by Pipe, 12 months ago.
The Nicholashayne trainer also has Laustra Bad on 10st 11lb in The Ladbroke, a race his now-retired father Martin won with Desert Air in 2005 and Tamarinbleu in 2004.
Always a hugely competitive event, 54 of the 62 entries are in the handicap this year and the race promises to be as strongly contested as ever.
Trainer Laura Mongan is hoping that the rain stays away from Ascot as she prepares to pitch her smart novice Alsadaa (10st 11lb, 25/1) in against seasoned campaigners in The Ladbroke.
The four-year-old has won three of his four starts over hurdles - he took an uncharacteristic tumble at Kempton in October - including a course and distance triumph on November 3, when he defied a 10lb penalty to defeat Counting House by a length.
Mongan revealed today: “Alsadaa will probably go to The Ladbroke as that is what we are aiming for but it all depends on the ground. We missed out at Sandown at the weekend when the ground went against us, so we thought we would hang on and see what happens at Ascot and that is now the aim.
“He wants as good ground as he can get - I don’t think he wants very fast ground but we don’t want to be running on really soft going. If he is to get his ground anywhere then it should be at Ascot as it seems to drain well there.”
The Epsom-based handler, who is married to Flat jockey Ian Mongan, took stewardship of Alsadaa in July and saddled the well-bred gelding to impressive wins at Huntingdon and Plumpton. Trained at two and three by John Gosden, the Kingmambo gelding, who is a close relation to the top-class Gay Gallanta and Sportsworld, scored his sole victory on the Flat for Mick Easterby in a Southwell handicap in April.
Mongan continued: “He has been a bit of a revelation since we got him in the summer. He hasn’t stopped improving and we just have to keep him ticking over as we wait for better ground.
“He enjoys hurdling and he loves getting his own way. We have been letting him run along in front and he seems to enjoy that. Every time he has gone and got his head in front on the track it has given him more confidence.
“I think he loves Ascot. It is a flat track and he enjoyed it when he won there. He was carrying a 10lb penalty and he did it nicely enough with that so there is no reason for him not to take his chance in a big race like The Ladbroke.
“I think he has the improvement in him to get amongst the principals. He just needs to get his own way and be able to run along in front. I don’t know if he will be able to do that in that sort of company but I hope so, and he deserves to be there.
“Colin Bolger rides him again. He has done very well and knows the horse well so I will stay loyal to him.”
Indian Pace, trained in Ireland by John Kiely, has been allotted 10st 5lb and is trading as the 9/1 clear second favourite. He is currently number 42 in the handicap and, with a maximum permitted field size of 18 on the day, connections will have to endure an agonising wait to see if he makes the cut for the Grade Three contest which is the joint-richest handicap hurdle of this season.
However, Jayo, the 10/1 co-third favourite is assured a run, having been handed 10st 13lb. He is one of three Willie Mullins-trained entries along with Visio (11st 1lb, 10/1) and Deutschland (11st 1lb, 14/1).
The other 10/1 co-third favourites are Missis Potts, (11st), a winner over the course and distance on November 23, and Ring The Boss (11st), an impressive scorer at Sandown on December 8. Both Missis Potts and Ring The Boss are trained by Somerset-based Philip Hobbs, who also has French Saulaie (11st 2lb, 12/1), Chiaro (10st 8lb, 40/1) and Esprit de Corps (10st, 16/1) engaged.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has yet to add The Ladbroke to his illustrious CV, but holds three chances this year with Gwanko (11st 10lb, 20/1), Poquelin (11st 1lb, 25/1) and Twist Magic, recent winner of the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, who is only on 10st 5lb but looks an unlikely starter at this stage.
An interesting contender could prove to be the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Mountain. Beaten under seven lengths when eighth to Sir Percy in the 2006 Epsom Derby when trained by Ireland’s champion handler Aidan O’Brien, he won at Sandown last season and seemed unsuited by the soft ground on his reappearance at Cheltenham. He has been allotted 10st 9lb and is rated a 14/1 chance.
Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams said: "Esprit De Corps has been the horse for money this week.
“The Irish gamble hasn't yet materialised in full but we are fully braced.
“Of the market leaders, Missis Potts is probably the best backed. The course and distance form has worked out pretty well and punters have wasted little time in taking the double figures still available.”
Class 1, Listed Race, Handicap Hurdle. £150,000 Total Prize Fund. For four-year-olds & upwards, two miles. 2.15pm, Ascot, Saturday, December 22, 2007. Entries closed December 5, entries revealed December 6 (62 entries), weights released December 12. Penalties: after December 8, a winner of a hurdle race 6lb - no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Five-day confirmation stage December 17, final declaration stage 10.00am, Friday, December 21. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, December 11.
Form Horse Age/Wt Owner Trainer
24102-2 OSANA (FR) 5-11-12 Thomas Barr David Pipe
1111-13 GWANAKO (FR) 4-11-10 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
23201-0 PENZANCE 6-11-09 Elite Racing Club Alan King
004-620 HIDE THE EVIDENCE (IRE) 6-11-07 M Hamilton Jessica Harrington IRE
10F-5R50 OVERSTRAND (IRE) 8-11-07 Dr Richard & Mrs L J Newland, C E Stedman Dr Richard Newland
04111 SOUFFLEUR 4-11-04 Karen Bowen Peter Bowen
0033-02 PREMIER DANE (IRE) 5-11-03 Jim Ennis Nicky Richards
21-2002 FRENCH SAULAIE (FR) 6-11-02 Carol Skan Philip Hobbs
1361-30 POQUELIN (FR) 4-11-01 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
5551-11 VISO (FR) 4-11-01 Padraic Burke Willie Mullins IRE
5110-52 AMOUR MULTIPLE (IRE) 8-11-01 S A Young Shaun Lycett
61214-3 ALTILHAR (USA) 4-11-01 H R Hunt Gary Moore
120-2 DEUTSCHLAND (USA) 4-11-01 Allan McLuckie Willie Mullins IRE
12430-4 TROUBLE AT BAY (IRE) 7-11-01 Nigel Bunter Alan King
40111-11 RING THE BOSS (IRE) 6-11-00 Alan Peterson Philip Hobbs
21P11-1 MISSIS POTTS 6-11-00 James and Jean Potter Philip Hobbs
11010-0 ORBIT O'GOLD (USA) 5-11-00 Mighty Macs Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
30//0-023 CHIVALRY 8-11-00 Paul Beck Venetia Williams
5/23311/- BLUE SHARK (FR) 5-11-00 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
1PF0-1 JAYO (FR) 4-10-13 Peter Garvey Willie Mullins IRE
21F130- SHATABDI (IRE) 5-10-13 Robert Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson
4/21511-F HERON'S FLIGHT (IRE) 5-10-13 All Four One Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
154F-25 DON'T BE BITIN (IRE) 6-10-13 Mark McDonagh Eoin Griffin IRE
42131-6 LAUSTRA BAD (FR) 4-10-11 Sarah Ling David Pipe
15/31F0- TROMPETTE (USA) 5-10-11 Elite Racing Club Nicky Henderson
111351 PIGEON ISLAND 4-10-11 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
11F1 ALSADAA (USA) 4-10-11 Mrs P J Sheen Laura Mongan
0201-000 HEATHCOTE 5-10-10 B Siddle & B D Haynes Gary Moore
0/1306-0 VICTRAM (IRE) 7-10-10 Pinheads Pizza Syndicate Adrian McGuinness IRE
0/3/121-0 TAGULA BLUE (IRE) 7-10-10 Boston R S Ian Bennett Ian Williams
1P-0 MOUNTAIN (IRE) 4-10-09 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
103-242 POUVOIR (FR) 4-10-09 Bob & Pauline Scott Alan King
012-424 KING'S REVENGE 4-10-08 Ian, Jonny & Richard Kirkham Alan King
12P1-110 KANAD 5-10-08 P M Warren Charlie Mann
1-22 FRENCH OPERA 4-10-08 Lynn Wilson & Martin Landau Nicky Henderson
63151/-00 CHIARO (FR) 5-10-08 Andrew Cohen Philip Hobbs
11-00041 GABIER 4-10-07 B Siddle & B D Haynes Gary Moore
20405P ORPEN WIDE (IRE) 5-10-06 Andy & Bev Wright Michael Chapman
52-1126 PLATIN GROUNDS (GER) 5-10-05 D J & S A Goodman Nigel Twiston-Davies
P/12F1-11 TWIST MAGIC (FR) 5-10-05 Barry Fulton Tony Hayward Michael Lynch Paul Nicholls
3510-45 RIO DE JANEIRO (IRE) 6-10-05 Fraser Miller Racing Emma Lavelle
3/2026-1 INDIAN PACE (IRE) 6-10-05 Lawless By Nature Syndicate John Kiely IRE
21402/-10 PACE SHOT (IRE) 5-10-03 Richard Green Gary Moore
3100-52 SILVER JARO (FR) 4-10-03 Miss M A Masterson Tom Hogan IRE
2-02611 TRAPRAIN (IRE) 5-10-02 J M Walsh & R Glynn Declan Carroll
22-1201 MON MICHEL (IRE) 4-10-02 The Gingerbread Men Gary Moore
1F/12P- PRINCELET (IRE) 5-10-02 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
32210-13 WINGMAN (IRE) 5-10-01 Gillespie Brothers Gary Moore
000423 MAGIC SKY (FR) 7-10-01 thehorseracingclubcom partnership Milton Harris
512-120 INGRATITUDE (IRE) 4-10-01 Club ISM & JSC Sport Nicky Henderson
0-03221 ROMAN VILLA (USA) 5-10-01 David Pierce Gordon Elliott IRE
150-0333 EUROPEAN DREAM (IRE) 4-10-00 You Trotters Richard Guest
121 ESPRIT DE CORPS 5-10-00 Maggie Findlay Philip Hobbs
012-602 MILLE ET UNE (FR) 4-10-00 Netherfield House Stud Alan King
211136- JACK THE GIANT (IRE) 5-9-13 Hanbury Syndicate Nicky Henderson
1P//415/-2P AZULEJO (FR) 9-9-12 J E Wilson & T J Wilson Michael Scudamore
31003-6 DANCING LYRA 6-9-11 Aidan J Ryan Racing Richard Fahey
1P/004-0 GREENHOPE (IRE) 9-9-10 Lynn & Giles Wilson Martin Landau Nicky Henderson
612-042 FOLK TUNE (IRE) 4-9-10 J N Blackburn Ferdy Murphy
P/216/0-0 MOTIVE (FR) 6-9-09 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
353/-0 ODIHAM 6-9-02 C E Stedman Dr Richard Newland
24600-0 PILCA (FR) 7-9-02 Mr & Mrs KH Taylor & Mr & Mrs J Isaacs Declan Carroll
LATEST LADBROKES PRICES
9 Indian Pace,
10 Visio, Ring The Boss, Missis Potts, Jayo,
12 Souffleur, French Saulaie, Mon Michel,
14 Deutschland, Mountain, Esprit De Corps
16 Pigeon Island, Gabier, Princelet, Roman Villa
20 Gwanko, Overstand, Altihar, Laustra Bad, Victram, Pouvoir, Kanad, French Opera, Platin Grounds, Wingman, European Dream,
25 Hide The Evidence, Poquelin, Amour Multiple, Trouble At Bay, Orbit O’Gold, Chivalry, Blue Shark, Shabati, Heron’s Flight, Don’t Be Bitin, Trompette, Alsadda, Heathcote, Tagula Blue, Rio De Janeiro, Traprain, Ingratitude, Mille Et Une, Jack The Giant, Folk Tune,
33 King’s Revenge, Pace Shot, Silver Jaro,
40 Penzance, Chiaro,
50 Premier Dane, Orpen Wide, Magic Sky, Dancing Lyra, Greenhope, Pilca
66 Motive, Odiham,
DR: Twist Magic
THE LADBROKE HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR (1987-2006)Ascot, Saturday, December 22, 2007
run at Sandown in 2005 (January 7, 2006) and in 2004 (January 8, 2005); run at Leopardstown in January up to & including 2000
Year Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP
2006 ACAMBO 5-11-09 David Johnson David Pipe Timmy Murphy 7/1
2005 DESERT AIR 7-10-09 Belinda Harvey Martin Pipe Tom Scudamore 25/1
2004 TAMARINBLEU 5-10-11 Arthur White Partnership Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 14/1
2003 THESIS 5-11-02 1961 Partnership Venetia Williams Brian Crowley 33/1
2002 CHAUVINIST 7-10-00 Bunny & Nick Roberts Nicky Henderson Norman Williamson 15/2
2001 MARBLE ARCH 5-10-11 Martin & Mary Wilson Rory Sweet Hughie Morrison Norman Williamson 7/1
2000 MANTLES PRINCE 6-9-12 R J McSharry Pat Hughes IRE Fran Berry 12/1
1999 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 7-11-08 Michael Smurfit Dermot Weld IRE David Evans 25/1
1998 GRAPHIC EQUALISER 6-10-00 BRASK Syndicate Arthur Moore IRE Conor O’Dwyer 5/1F
1997 MASTER TRIBE 7-10-04 Jebel Ali Racing Stables Jenny Pitman Norman Williamson 18/1
1996 DANCE BEAT 5-9-12 Mrs E Queally Jessica Harrington IRE Anthony Powell 12/1
1995 ANUSHA 5-10-02 G A Hoggard Michael Hourigan IRE Shane Broderick 25/1
1994 ATONE 7-10-08 Robert Sinclair Bunny Cox IRE Kevin O’Brien 10/1
1993 GLENCLOUD 5-10-13 D Tierney Noel Meade IRE Gerry O’Neill 20/1
1992 HOW’S THE BOSS 6-10-02 Edward Farrell John Brassill IRE Jason Titley 20/1
1991 THE ILLIAD 10-10-13 Elizabeth Furlong Andy Geraghty IRE Pat McWilliams 7/1
1990 REDUNDANT PAL 7-11-05 P S O’Neill Paddy Mullins IRE Conor O’Dwyer 20/1
1989 REDUNDANT PAL 6-10-00 P S O’Neill Paddy Mullins IRE P Kavanagh 16/1
1988 ROARK 6-11-01 P Leeper Arthur Moore IRE Tom Taaffe 5/1
1987 BARNBROOK AGAIN 6-11-08 Mel Davies David Elsworth Colin Brown 5/2F
SOUFFLEUR PRIMED FOR ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE
*YES SIR AIMING FOR BOYLESPORTS.COM GOLD CUP*
Meeting - The Boylesports International, Dates - Friday, December 14 & Saturday, December 15
Advance Admission Prices
Friday, Club/Tattersalls £18, Best Mate £8;
Saturday, Club £27, Tattersalls £20, Best Mate £10
Gates Open - 10am both days
First race - 12.10pm Friday, 12.20pm Saturday
Souffleur is likely to bid for a four-timer in the £35,000 Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (3.40pm) on Saturday, December 15, the concluding race of the fantastic two-day Boylesports International.
The Peter Bowen-trained four-year-old saw off more experienced rivals to take the totesportgames.com Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles at Aintree on November 25, defeating the top-class chaser Hi Cloy easily by four lengths. That victory followed an eight-length triumph over an extended three miles at Aintree in October.
Bowen revealed this morning: “Souffleur will most likely run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over three miles at Cheltenham on Saturday.
“Although he won over two and a half miles last time, he won the time before over three miles at Aintree and that will probably be his best trip. He was a good horse on the Flat, but he had a year off. He’s good over hurdles too and I think he will probably be a better hurdler than he was a Flat horse.”
Souffleur was a 76-rated Flat performer for trainer Michael Bell before joining Bowen’s Haverfordwest yard. The gelding made a stuttering debut over hurdles at Newton Abbott in August and showed slight improvement at Market Rasen next time, but then got his act together with the first of his three victories when scoring over two and a half miles at Bangor on October 13.
Bowen continued: “He was very green first time out at Newton Abbott and the ground was probably a little bit too fast for him but he has done well since then. He really wants a bit of cut in the ground.”
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle has a strong tradition of producing top-class winners and last year’s renewal went to the Colin Tizzard-trained Flight Leader, who followed in the footsteps of 2005 victor Black Jack Ketchum, that season’s outstanding staying novice.
Subsequent Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle hero Iris’s Gift took the prize in 2002, while Bindaree scored in 1999 before going on to win the John Smith’s Grand National in 2002.
This year’s running of the prestigious Grade Two event could see the Paul Nicholls-trained Gansey, winner of his sole hurdles start at Plumpton on November 25, line up along with the unbeaten Howard Johnson-trained Marleybow.
Gone To Lunch was successful over three miles at Ascot on November 23 and he could renew rivalry with the runner-up that day, Rebel Melody, while Nigel Twiston-Davies may run Razor Royale, successful in the Gideon Kasler Novices’ Hurdle over two miles, five furlongs at The Open.
Saturday’s exciting seven-race card also features the £150,000 Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup (2.40pm) over two miles and five furlongs, in which the Bowen-trained Yes Sir is likely to compete.
The eight-year-old, winner of the Listed Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July, 2006, and a winner at the prohibitive odds of 1/14 at Kelso in May, failed to land a blow under top-weight behind Howle Hill on his return from a summer break in the Grade Two Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot on November 24.
Bowen reported: “Yes Sir might just be too high in the handicap at present. He ran respectably enough under a big weight at Ascot but he just needs to come down in the weights a little bit.
“Ideally he wants fast ground, so while we want rain for Souffleur we don’t want too much for Yes Sir.”
Yes Sir (50/1 with Boylesports) is set to carry 11st 5lb in the lucrative handicap chase for which 22 horses remained at the five-day stage, including the current market leader with sponsor Boylesports, New Little Bric (9/2).
The David Pipe-trained Abragante is a 7/1 shot, while Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Il Duce, trained by Alan King, is an 8/1 chance. The Twiston-Davies-trained Knowhere is available at 12/1, having come home one place behind Il Duce that day, while the Henry Daly-trained Palarshan was fourth and is 8/1 with the sponsor.
The Boylesports International boasts a fantastic seven-race card on Friday, December 14 and tops that with a thrilling day of premier racing action on Saturday, December 15.
The going is currently good at Cheltenham with a GoingStick reading of 8.1, while the Cross Country course also is described as good and the GoingStick reading for that course, used on Friday, is 7.7.
McGOLDRICK SET TO BOOST IMPRESSIVE WETHERBY STRIKE RATE IN SKYBET.COM CASTLEFORD HANDICAP CHASE
Mister McGoldrick will bid to enhance his fantastic Wetherby record in the £30,000 skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase (3.05pm), run over an extended two miles on December 27, the second day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting at the Yorkshire course.
The talented 10-year-old, who earlier this year returned to local trainer Sue Smith following a spell with Carl Llewellyn, has won eight of his nine starts at Wetherby, including victory twice in this race. .
Smith said today: “Mister McGoldrick will return to two miles in the skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase. He’s in good form, and we thought he ran an absolute corker in the big fixed brush hurdle at Haydock recently.
“We weren’t convinced that he would stay three miles in that race, but he’s such a versatile horse that you can do what you like with him.
“He’s similar when it comes to the ground - I wouldn’t want to run on really firm ground, but he won on fast ground on his first run back with us at Wetherby on November 2. He’d prefer a bit of cut, but he runs well on anything really.”
Smith, who enjoyed a treble on the first day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting last year, is uncertain why her stable star loves the Yorkshire track, which was recently voted “Best Small Racecourse in the North” by The Racegoers Club for the seventh time in the last eight years.
The Bingley handler continued: “I’m not quite sure why he loves it around Wetherby, but he obviously does. He has run well at Haydock, Ayr and Ascot, as well as winning round Bangor and Doncaster, but his owner Mr Longley and I are quite close to Wetherby and obviously, if there’s good racing on our doorstep, that’s where we’ll go.
“He’s a fantastic horse, and hopefully, if we get him there in good form, he’ll run his race in the skybet.com Castleford Handicap Chase.”
As well as boasting an 89% strike rate at Wetherby, Mister McGoldrick also finished third in the Grade One Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2006.
The skybet.com Castleford Chase reverted to handicap status in 2006, and last year’s competitive renewal saw Calatagan make all of the running to deny Coat Of Honour by two lengths.
The £50,000 Grade Three skybet.com Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase is the highlight of the first day of the Sky Bet Christmas meeting, Thursday, December 26, and the prestigious contest is the 21st race in this season’s Order Of Merit series.
A race that always attracts some of the top staying chasers, previous winners include Gunner Welburn in 2003, who finished fourth in the Grand National the same year, and Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Truckers Tavern in 2004.
James Sanderson, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course at Wetherby, anticipates a busy Sky Bet Christmas meeting and urges racegoers to book early to avoid disappointment.
He said: “The Premier Enclosure tends to sell out in advance, so customers should get on the phone or the internet and purchase tickets as soon as possible.
“The ground on Saturday (December 8) ended up soft, heavy in places, but its not too bad today, and it is currently soft, good to soft in places. We are shifting the rail so the Sky Bet Christmas meeting will be run on fresh ground.”
Advance bookings can be purchased at www.wetherbyracing.co.uk or by phoning 01937 582 035.
Admission Prices (December 26 & 27): Premier Enclosure £27, Paddock Enclosure £16, Pick of the Paddock £20 (includes admission to the Paddock Enclosure, £3 Refreshment Voucher, £2 Tote Betting Voucher and Racecard).