MAXIMUM FIELD FOR BOYLESPORTS.COM GOLD CUP - EIGHT FOR BOYLESPORTS.COM INTERNATIONAL
Cheltenham plays host to a magnificent afternoon of the very best in Jump racing tomorrow, Saturday, December 15, with the second and final day of the Boylesports International.
A maximum field of 17 goes to post for the £150,000 Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup (2.40pm) while eight high-class hurdlers from Britain and Ireland line up in the £200,000 Grade Two Boylesports International (3.10pm).
Sublimity, winner of the 2007 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at The Festival tops the octet in the Boylesports.com International and is one of two Irish-trained contenders along with Macs Joy, runner-up to Brave Inca in the 2006 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
Afsoun, third behind Sublimity at The Festival last season, lines up for Nicky Henderson after putting up a very good performance on his seasonal debut at Ascot while Alan King is doubly represented by last year’s JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Katchit and Penzance, winner of the same contest in 2005.
David Pipe runs Osana, a highly-creditable second on his seasonal reappearance under top weight in the Greatwood Hurdle at The Open on November 18, while Straw Bear, trained by Nick Gifford and runner-up in the 2006 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, makes his seasonal debut.
The one remaining declaration is Desert Quest from the yard of champion trainer Paul Nicholls. Winner of the 2006 Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at The Festival, he reverts to hurdles after two recent wins in novice chase company.
There is a £200,000 bonus if the winner of the Boylesports.com International goes on to capture the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle in March.
Heading the weights for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup is Knowhere (11st 12lb), trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and third in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open. The Naunton handler also saddles the horse at the bottom of the weights, Patman du Charmil (10st 7lb).
The Alan King-trained Il Duce, runner-up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, also lines up while Paul Nicholls bids to continue his superb run of form with favourite New Little Bric and Le Volfoni.
Palarshan, fourth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and winner of the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase at The Festival in 2003 represents Henry Daly while Ferdy Murphy, trainer of Paddy Power Gold Cup victor L’Anartique, bids for a memorable Cheltenham double with New Alco.
Abragante, a facile winner in a Listed contest at Wincanton on his penultimate appearance, is one of two David Pipe-trained runners along with Tamarinbleu, last seen out when winning at Perth in June.
Jessica Harrington supplies the one Irish-trained starter with Knight Legend, runner-up in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase on November 15.
Idole First won over the course and distance when taking the Racing Post Plate at The Festival last season while Nicky Henderson runs Copsale Lad, who will be wearing blinkers for the first time.
The two challengers from the North are the Nicky Richards-trained Faasel, a staying-on fourth in last season’s Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and Malcolm Jefferson’s useful performer Roman Ark, successful on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock last month.
Completing the field for the two miles, five furlong contest are Magic Sky, Black Hills and Yes Sir.
There are five other cracking races on the card with the first race due off at 12.20pm.
The ground at Cheltenham remains GOOD.
Speaking before racing on Friday, Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing, commented: “We had a minus four degrees earlier in the week and had been expecting cold weather on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so we took the precaution of having some frost covers delivered on Wednesday if we needed them.
“As it transpired, that was not necessary. It only got down to minus two last night but we did take the precaution of covering the take off and landing areas and a few crossing points.
“Tonight, it is only meant down to get down to about minus one. As a precaution, we will cover the chase and hurdles course tonight. It can be rotten bad luck when the temperature gets down lower than forecast so we don’t want to take any chances.
“We are racing on the New Course at the Boylesports International on ground that has not been used since May. It is beautiful, fresh ground. The only section of the Old and New courses that is shared is the two and a half mile start, so around 90% of the ground is fresh.
“The temperature is likely to be around three or four degrees tomorrow afternoon, but it will be dry so as long as you wrap up warm the day should be very pleasant.”
THE Boylesports.com GOLD CUP
Class 1, Grade 3, £150,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.40pm Cheltenham, Saturday, December 15, 2007. For four-year-olds & upwards, two miles & five furlongs. New Course. Penalties: after December 1, a winner of a Class 3 chase 4lb; of a Class 1 or 2 chase 6lb; no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed November 28, entries revealed November 29 (45 entries), weights revealed December 5. Five-day confirmation stage 12 noon (22 remained), December 10. Final declaration stage, 10.00am December 14 (17 declarations). Form figures supplied by Weatherbys & are correct up to & including the racing of Thursday, December 13, 2007.
Weights raised 9lb
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer/Jockey
1) 300U-135 KNOWHERE (IRE) 9-11-12b Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies/Paddy Brennan
2) 61P6-31 TAMARINBLEU (FR) 7-11-08b The Arthur White Partnership David Pipe/Denis O’Regan
3) 51422-2 FAASEL (IRE) 6-11-08b Jim Ennis Nicky Richards/Brian Harding
4) PF23-12 IL DUCE (IRE) 7-11-06b Mrs Peter Prowting Alan King/Robert Thornton
5) 1021B2 KNIGHT LEGEND (IRE) 8-11-05 Lynn Wilson Jessica Harrington IRE/Barry Geraghty
6) D0-1500 YES SIR (IRE) 8-11-05 Y Hill & T Healy Peter Bowen/Noel Fehily
7) 3646-U5 LE VOLFONI (FR) 6-11-05 A F Banks Paul Nicholls/Mr Nick Scholfield (7)
8) 32260-1P NEW ALCO (FR) 6-11-04 D McGowan And S Murphy Ferdy Murphy/Graham Lee
9) 13110-4 NEW LITTLE BRIC (FR) 6-11-03 Kathy Stuart Paul Nicholls/Sam Thomas
10) 11400-1 ROMAN ARK 9-11-03 Richard Collins Malcolm Jefferson/Fergus King
11) 6/1341-P IDOLE FIRST (IRE) 8-11-01 D and J Racing Ltd Venetia Williams/Alan O’Keeffe
12) 5-000423 MAGIC SKY (FR)* 7-11-00 thehorseracingclubcom partnership Milton Harris/Charlie Poste (3)
13) 221-001 BLACK HILLS 8-10-12t c/p The Kingfisher Partnership Jonathan Geake/Philip Carberry
14) 036P//2-4 PALARSHAN (FR) 9-10-12c/p Sumner Wellesley Henry Daly/Richard Johnson
15) PP105-06 COPSALE LAD 10-10-08b Swallow Partnership Nicky Henderson/Mick Fitzgerald
16) 2341-110 ABRAGANTE (IRE) 6-10-07b David Johnson David Pipe/Tony McCoy
17) PP-1135 PATMAN DU CHARMIL (FR) 5-10-07b Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies/David England (3)
ELIMINATIONS: MR BOO (IRE)
* MAGIC SKY (FR) also declared 3.25 Doncaster, but first preference is Cheltenham
Latest Boylesports prices on the Boylesports.com Gold Cup
New Little Bric 9/2
Il Duce 13/2
New Alco 11/1
Idole First 16/1
Le Volfoni 20/1
Roman Ark 20/1
Copsale Lad 20/1
Knight Legend 25/1
Patman De Charmil 25/1
Black Hills 33/1
Magic Sky 40/1
Yes Sir 50/1
Non-Runner Money Back Rule 4 May Apply
Latest Boylesports prices on the Boylesports.com International
Macs Joy 6/1
Desert Quest 8/1
Straw Bear 10/1
Non-Runner Money Back Rule 4 May Apply