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Monday, February 21, 2005



10 GREAT HANDICAPS IN PROSPECT




Following last week's announcement of outstanding entries for the three new handicaps at The 2005 Festival, an equally impressive list of possible contenders is revealed today for the seven established handicaps that form such an integral part of jump racing's biggest meeting.


Several championship race contenders have been given handicap alternatives including among the 88 entries for the WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE on Tuesday, March 15. These include totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders Therealbandit, Irish Hussar and Keen Leader while 2002 Royal & SunAlliance Chase winner Hussard Collonges, who has been off the course for 14 months, is another engaged.


With 130 entries, the CORAL CUP on Wednesday, March 16, promises to be ultra-competitive event with last year's winner Monkerhostin, his stablemate Supreme Serenade, Al Eile, one of 27 Irish-trained entries, and the Francois Doumen-trained Blue Canyon among the possibles.


Champion trainer Martin Pipe, who has won three of the last five runnings of the MILDMAY OF FLETE HANDICAP CHASE, has 10 of the 87 entries in this year's race, while Paul Nicholls has nine engaged. Last year's winner Tikram, Ladbrokes Trophy Chase scorer Buckby Lane and the eye-catching third Palarshan are other notable entries.


The PERTEMPS FINAL (HANDICAP HURDLE), for which there are a record 77 entries including 14 from Ireland and 15 from Pipe's stable, has been moved this year to bring down the curtain on Thursday, March 17. Pipe's team includes Liberman, the 2003 Weatherbys Champion Bumper hero, while last year's shock winner Creon and totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate Strong Flow are other interesting entries.


The JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL CHASE, run on Friday, March 18, has 77 high-class entries including seven from Paul Nicholls, such as Armaturk, Cenkos, Great Travel and Kadarann, while the Mark Rimell-trained Oneway and Almaydan, from Richard Lee's stable, are among those with good recent form.


There are few more hotly-contested prizes at the Festival than the VINCENT O'BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE, which brings the curtain down on proceedings on Friday, March 18, and the 2m 1f event has a record 134 entries this year, of which Pipe accounts for 14. The 2003 Smurfit Champion Hurdle hero Rooster Booster, recent totesport Gold Trophy winner Essex and the Noel Meade-trained Power Elite are some of the eye-catching entries.


Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham's Managing Director, commented: "We were delighted to see such strong entries for the three new Festival handicaps and the seven existing contests continue to go from strength to strength, perfectly complementing Cheltenham's championship programme"

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

Media accreditation requests for The Festival should be directed to Rebecca Morgan at Cheltenham Racecourse - email: rebecca.morgan@rht.net and telephone 01242 537654. Requests can be submitted direct through the Press area of the website www.cheltenham.co.uk. E-mailed accreditation requests must include a postal address.


For further information, please contact Edward Gillespie or Peter McNeile, the Commercial Manager, at Cheltenham Racecourse on 01242 513014.

2005 FESTIVAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES

THE 10 HANDICAPS WHICH CLOSED ON FEBRUARY 16, 2005



WILLIAM HILL TROPHY CHASE

2005- 88
2004- 73
2003- 92
2002- 81
2001- 100
2000- 74
1999- 74
1998- 74
1997- 64
1996- 62
1995- 78
1994- 73

SPORTING INDEX CHASE
2005- 51 First running in 2005

FRED WINTER JUV HCP HDL
2005- 96 First running in 2005

CORAL CUP
2005- 130
2004- 135
2003- 109
2002- 115
2001- 141
2000- 100
1999- 103
1998- 83
1997- 101
1996- 81
1995- 84
1994- 77

F WALWYN KIM MUIR CHASE
2005- 117
2004- 114
2003- 111
2002 -109
2001- 125
2000- 90
1999- 85
1998 -72
1997- 61
1996- 62
1995- 67
1994- 68

JEWSON NOVICES' HCP CHS
2005- 86 First running in 2005

MILDMAY OF FLETE CHASE
2005- 87
2004- 74
2003- 75
2002- 85
2001- 103
2000- 92
1999- 73
1998- 77
1997- 63
1996- 58
1997- 52
1996- 58

PERTEMPS FINAL
2005- 77
2004- 48
2003- 62
2002- 59
2001- 56
2000- 46
1999- 47
1998- 60
1997- 66
1996- 68
1995- 67
1994- 58

J HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL
2005- 77
2004- 62
2003- 54
2002- 72
2001- 72
2000- 47
1999- 50
1998- 45
1997- 43
1996- 38
1995- 34
1994- 36

VINCENT O'BRIEN COUNTY HDL
2005- 134
2004- 109
2003- 110
2002- 115
2001- 112
2000- 98
1999- 114
1998- 93
1997- 92
1996- 102
1995- 90
1994- 78

TOTALS
2005- 943
2004- 615
2003- 613
2002- 636
2001- 709
2000- 547
1999- 546
1998- 504
1997- 490
1996- 471
1995- 472
1994- 448

MARTIN PIPE'S ENTRIES FOR THE 10 CHELTENHAM HANDICAPS WHICH CLOSED ON FEBRUARY 16, 2005

WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE
2005- 11 entries:
2004-17; 2003-15; 2002-15; 2001-15; 2000-12; 1999 - 9; 1998 - 11; 1997 - 5; 1996 - 3; 1995 - 6; 1994 - 9; 1993 - 3; 1992 - 8

SPORTING INDEX HANDICAP CHASE (CROSS COUNTRY)
2005- no entries:

FRED WINTER JUVENILE HANDICAP HURDLE
2005- 11 entries:

CORAL CUP (HANDICAP HURDLE)
2005 - 19 entries:
2004 - 18; 2003-23; 2002-21; 2001-16; 2000-17; 1999 - 22; 1998 - 11; 1997 - 11; 1996 - 4; 1995 - 7; 1994 - 7; 1993 - 5.


FULKE WALWYN KIM MUIR HANDICAP CHASE
2005 - 13 entries:
2004-17; 2003-7; 2002-10; 2001-10; 2000-7; 1999 - 10; 1998 - 11; 1997 - 5; 1996 - 3; 1995 - 7; 1994 - 6; 1993 - 8; 1992 - 9.


JEWSON NOVICES' HANDICAP CHASE
2005- 5 entries:

MILDMAY OF FLETE HANDICAP CHASE
2005 - 10 entries:
2004 - 13; 2003-12; 2002-13; 2001-15; 2000 -13; 1999 - 13; 1998 - 5; 1997 - 5; 1996 - 5; 1995 - 5; 1994 - 6; 1993 - 8; 1992 - 8.


PERTEMPS FINAL (HANDICAP HURDLE)
2005 - 15 entries:
2004 - 10; 2003-14; 2002-19; 2001-15; 2000-12; 1999 - 16; 1998 - 14; 1997 - 15; 1996 - 9; 1995 - 12; 1994 - 1; 1993 - 2; 1992 - 9.


JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL HANDICAP CHASE
2005 - 6 entries:
2004-7; 2003-3; 2002-7; 2001-8; 2000 - 3; 1999 - 7; 1998 - 3; 1997 - 4; 1996 - 2; 1995 - 1;
1994 - 2; 1993 - 4; 1992 - 6.


VINCENT O'BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE
2005 - 14 entries:
2004-10; 2003-17; 2002-16; 2001-13; 2000 - 21; 1999 - 15; 1998 - 5; 1997 - 9; 1996 - 7; 1995 - 2; 1994 - 7; 1993 - 7; 1992 - 9.


In 2005, Martin Pipe has a total of 161 (9.5%) of the 1,692 entries in the 11 championship races and 10 handicaps which have now closed. Last year, when there were nine championship contests and seven handicaps Pipe had 152 (12.6%) of the 1,203 entries, 157 (12.6%) of the 1,247 entries in 2003, 207 (15.2%) of the 1,366 entries in 2002, 181 (12.8%) of the 1,409 entries in 2001, 163 (14.0%) of the 1,161 entries in 2000, 176 (14.9%) of the 1,180 entries in 1999, 138 (11.9%) of the 1,151 entries in 1998, 98 (8.5%) of the 1,157 entries in 1997, 80 (7.4%) of the 1,079 entries in 1996, and 91 (9.4%) of the 969 entries in 1995.


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