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Monday, February 28, 2005

AMBOBO AND BONBON ROSE HEAD TO CHELTENHAM - Cyrlight aimed at 2005 Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton

Trainer Arnaud Chaille-Chaille's first two runners at the Cheltenham Festival - Ambobo, one of the market leaders for the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle and Bonbon Rose, who is likely to head for the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle, are set to be partnered by Barry Geraghty.

With the gallops frozen at the trainer's establishment at La Palmyre in south-west France, following -7 Celsius temperatures overnight, the two horses worked with the remainder of Chaille-Chaille's string on the beach this morning.

Both horses have experienced Cheltenham before. Ambobo scored at Cheltenham on January 29 in the Grade Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Hurdle with Bonbon Rose filling sixth position in the Grade Two Wragge & Co Juvenile Novices' Hurdle on the same card.

Herve Barjot, Racing Manager to the horses' owner Sean Mulryan, said today: "The trainer thinks that Ambobo is far better than before his race at Cheltenham. Ambobo is very well and the form has worked out with the third coming out and winning. He was possibly too fresh at Cheltenham but he has settled and done very well at home. The plan is for Barry Geraghty to ride him again at Cheltenham and hopefully Bonbon Rose as well.

"We are thinking of going for the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle with Bonbon Rose, we'll just have to see what weight he gets or otherwise he could go for the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He too has come on for the run at Cheltenham.

"With a good horse, we want to go to another country and, as Sean Mulryan has said, Cheltenham is the temple of jump racing."

Barjot also had news of Cyrlight, last year's French Horse of the Year who returned into training three weeks ago, and Kiko, last season's leading three-year-old hurdler in France.

Barjot said: "Cyrlight came to our stud for two months and returned into training three weeks ago. He has done very well and put on 47 kilos and will probably have his first start back over hurdles at Auteuil on April 8.

"The idea is to give him an easy start with possibly three races in the spring and then maybe one in England before the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, which will definitely be his target at the end of the year. That was always the plan and he may go to Ireland at some time in the future as well. The Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris [French Gold Cup] at Auteuil in May is a possibility but we'll see what else is running in that.

"Kiko has improved a huge amount and I have a good feeling about him. He has also been to the stud.

"There is a good programme for four-year-olds in France but he is another that we would hope to run in England or Ireland in the future. He could run on March 13 at Auteuil and I think he will be more of a stayer that a Champion Hurdle type of horse."


There is currently no greater rising star among French National Hunt trainers than Arnaud Chaille Chaille, who has sent out a succession of big-race winners in recent years from his base close to Royan on the Atlantic coast in south-west France.

The 40-year-old originally worked as a lad and jockey with trainer Francois Nicolle from 1986 to 1991 before beginning training three Arab horses in 1992.

He enjoyed great success as an Arab trainer, winning races at Newmarket, Kempton and Newbury in Britain, as well as other major contests in countries such at Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and at Delaware Park in the USA.

His string gradually grew and he soon began training jumpers, winning his first race in that sphere with Nika Mia at Auteuil in 1996.

Horses such as Belle Maison, Sunny Flight and Karly Flight cemented Chaille Chaille's reputation and his stable now houses some of France's best jumpers, many owned by Irish businessman Sean Mulryan.

These include Cyrlight, winner of 11 of his 12 starts in France and last year's champion four-year-old and French Horse of the Year, 2004 champion three-year-old Kiko, and Cheltenham Festival contenders Bonbon Rose and Ambobo.

Chaille Chaille had his first jumping runners in Britain at Cheltenham on Saturday, January 29, and made an immediate impact when the first of them - Ambobo - was an impressive winner and is now vying for favouritism for the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle on March 16 at the Cheltenham Festival.

Bonbon Rose, who finished sixth that afternoon at Cheltenham, is expected to contest the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle of the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Festival.

Chaille Chaille finished fourth behind near-neighbour Guillaume Macaire, Jean-Paul Gallorini and Jacques Ortet in both the 2004 and 2003 French trainers' championships (in terms of prize money).

The trainer has one child and his main hobbies away from racing are rugby and shooting.

5 b g Kingmambo (USA) - Bold Bold (IRE) (Sadler's Wells (USA))
Form: -111211
Owner: Sean Mulryan
Breeder: Wertheimer Et Frere

Ambobo was bred by the Wertheimer Brothers and ran in their colours when trained by Criquette Head-Maarek. He took part in 10 races on the Flat in France, with his best effort during that time coming when successful over an extended mile and a half at Deauville in July, 2003.

He was subsequently sold to Pegasus Farms for 65,000 euros at the Goffs France Arc Sale at Saint-Cloud in October, 2003.

The son of Kingmambo won his first three starts over hurdles at Gramat, Clairefontaine (where he defeated My Way De Solzen, subsequently a very useful performer for Alan King) and Cholet in August and September last year. His first reversal came when he was defeated by Rigoureux at Bordeaux Le Bouscat. However, he soon bounced back to form, winning a Listed contest at Enghien-Soisy on November 5.

For his latest run, Ambobo headed to Cheltenham on January 29 for the Grade Two Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles. Partnered by Barry Geraghty and starting at 14/1, he ran out an impressive winner and defeated the favourite Brewster, previously winner of the Grade One Challow Hurdle, by a length and a half.

He is expected to line up in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 16.

4 ch c Mansonnien (FR) - Rose Angevine (FR) (Master Thatch)
Form: -11116
Owner: Sean Mulryan
Breeder: Patrick Boiteau

Bred like Cyrlight by Patrick Boiteau, Bonbon Rose's career began locally at Royan-La Palmyre on May 9 last year when he was successful in a two-mile hurdle. He went on to win his next three starts in May, October and November, all at Auteuil, scoring very easily on each occasion.

His latest outing saw him travel to Cheltenham on January 29 for the Grade Two Wragge & Co Juvenile Novices' Hurdle, when he ran a good race to finish sixth behind Akilak.

4 b g Poliglote (FR) - Kirkla (FR) (Bikala)
Form: -1141
Owner: Sean Mulryan
Breeder: J Seror

Kiko is the leading juvenile hurdler in France, having won three of his four starts to date. He made a winning debut at Auteuil on September 10, prevailing by a nose from Amalfitana. Just over a fortnight later he followed up at the same course, this time scoring by two lengths from Don't Be Shy.

On October 10 he suffered his only reversal when fourth to Balko in the Grade Two Pris Georges de Talhouet-Roy at Auteuil. However, he more than made up for that defeat when an impressive winner of the Grade One Prix Cambaceres (the French equivalent of the Triumph Hurdle) at Auteuil on November 1, when he came home two lengths clear of Sol Roc with Balko back in fourth.

5 ch g Saint Cyrien (FR) - Yellow Light (FR) (Lightning (FR))
Form: 1111111-11112
Owner: Sean Mulryan
Breeder: Mme Pierrette & Patrick Boiteau

The remarkable Cyrlight is by far the most promising young chaser to have emerged from France in the last few years and in 2004 was elected Horse of the Year.

A winner of 11 of his 12 starts, the five-year-old is undefeated over fences with his one reversal coming over hurdles in a Grade One contest.

His first outing was in a hurdle race at Vichy on August 1, 2003, when he was the impressive seven-length winner. All of Cyrlight's subsequent runs have been at France's premier jump track, Auteuil. His chasing career began on September 9, when he was victorious by a length and a half. He followed up with a second success on October 10, this time scoring very easily by 10 lengths. It was then time for a step up to Pattern company and he passed the test with flying colours, winning the Grade Two Prix Congress by an effortless six lengths from Star Glory on November 16.

Two wins in Grade Three company and another success at Grade Two level, set him up for a crack at the Grade One Gras Savoye Cinema Prix Ferdinand Dufaure on May 30, 2004, when he could not have been more impressive in scoring by 15 lengths from Mysoko. Sean Mulryan became the horse's owner in March, 2004.

Cyrlight was then rested until the autumn and another two facile successes in Grade Three company preceded the Grade One Prix Maurice Gillois on November 1, his toughest task to date. He passed that test with flying colours, once again defeating Mysoko - this time by four lengths, although the winning distance in no way did justice to the ease with which he won.

On his most recent run, Cyrlight tackled hurdles for only the second time in the Grade Prix Renaud Du Vivier on November 14. For the first time in his career, he had to play second fiddle, going down by 20 lengths to Maia Eria in a 12-strong field.


A sensational line-up of star acts will be gracing the stage at Newmarket's July Course this summer, taking the heady mix of horseracing and music on a Friday evening to another level.

Ronan Keating, Will Young, Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem are the big names making their Newmarket Nights' debuts, while old favourites Jools Holland and Status Quo will be returning once again with sell-out crowds almost guaranteed.

The official line-up confirmed for 2005 is as follows:
We Will Rock You Concert - Friday, June 17
Lucie Silvas - Friday, June 24
Ronan Keating - Friday, July 15
Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra - Friday, July 22
Will Young - Friday, July 29
Status Quo - Friday, August 5
Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem - Friday, August 12

Newmarket Nights offer an irresistible, adrenaline-filled cocktail of pulsating racing action followed by the electric atmosphere of an open air concert performed by top artistes in the rustic setting of the July Racecourse. The time of the first race generally varies between 5.45pm and 6.30pm, with the concert starting shortly after the last race, usually around 9pm.

Tickets range from £8 - £27 and are available from the Box Office 08707 200 201 or can be booked online at www.newmarketnights.co.uk or www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk. Booking in advance is essential as tickets are already selling faster than this time last year.

Set on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire borders, on the outskirts of the town centre but at the heart of the international horseracing world, the Rowley Mile and July Racecourses which make up Newmarket Racecourses are just 12 miles from Cambridge and 60 miles from London.

Gaynor Haxby, Marketing Manager for Newmarket Racecourses, said: "This line-up of acts is the highest profile we have ever had. We attract the complete spectrum of racegoers at Newmarket so we have tried to appeal to a wide range of tastes this year. In 2004 we welcomed over 100,000 racegoers to Newmarket Nights, many of whom had never set foot on a racecourse before."

Promoter Liz Hobbs MBE, who books all the bands for Newmarket, is delighted with this year's line-up of artists: "It's been our long term approach to develop Newmarket Nights as an established and well-respected music series. This year, in particular, the level of artistes committed to playing at the July Course demonstrates just how far we've come towards achieving that status. As a team, Newmarket Racecourses and the Liz Hobbs Group are looking forward to a fantastic season."


Doncaster's two-day meeting on Friday and Saturday (March 4 & 5) provides a quality conclusion to the 2004/05 Jumping season on Town Moor, offering prize money of £129,000 and the likely appearance of last year's Grand National winner, Amberleigh House, as he puts the finishing touches to his preparations in the defence of his crown at Aintree in five weeks' time.

Saturday's seven-race programme starts at 1-50 p.m. and Amberleigh House could participate in the afternoon's feature race, The totescoop6 Grimthorpe Chase, a £25,000-added handicap race for stayers over three miles, a contest which could attract other Grand National entries. Indeed, last year's winner, Grey Abbey went on to land the Scottish Grand National, while this season he has won a couple of big races - The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and The Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham. He has been allotted top-weight (11st. 12lb.) for The John Smith's Grand National on Saturday, April 9.

The £20,000 totesport.com Handicap Hurdle over the extended three miles, The Light Infantry Plate Novices' Hurdle (extended two miles, three furlongs) and The Auckley Handicap Chase (two miles, three furlongs) complete Saturday's highlights.

Racing on Friday is scheduled to begin at 2-10 p.m. with The Doncaster Racecourse Sponsorship Club Beginners' Chase over three miles – the longest race on the card – while the most valuable contest on the first day is the £15,000-added South Yorkshire Mares' Only Handicap Hurdle over the extended two miles.

A pair of giant screens will help racegoers to follow all of the action on both days, while musical entertainment in the main betting hall is provided by The Northumbria Band of The Light Infantry. The popular crèche facility located in the Family Enclosure is in use @ £1-80 per hour. There will be a special voucher in Friday's racecard offering reduced admission into the Grandstand Enclosure for Saturday, combined with money off a toteexacta bet.


Catterick's 2004/05 season over Jumps concludes on Wednesday (March 9) with a seven-race programme, beginning at 2-00 p.m.

The most valuable race of the afternoon is the £10,000-added Howden Joinery Maiden Chase. This contest over two miles is supported by Howden Joinery, a national company with branches throughout the U.K., as they renew their sponsorship at Catterick.

The Weatherbys Bank Novices' Hurdle, also over two miles, is backed by the Wellingborough-based Weatherbys Group Ltd. which provides administrative and commercial services to the racing industry and is a major sponsor of British racing.

The John Wade Skip Hire Novices' Hunters' Chase – the only Hunter Chase of the season at Catterick – is contested over the extended three miles and one furlong. Owner/trainer John Wade, who is based near Aycliffe in County Durham, could have a runner in this race sponsored once again by his company.

Catterick's next meeting in four weeks' time (Wednesday, April 6) signals the start of the course's scheduled 19-day campaign on the Flat this year.

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

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