HOH VISS SET TO MAKE SOME BREAD AT WETHERBY & MOFFATT OUT TO TAKE BIG SCALPS WITH CHIEF DAN GEORGE IN GRADE TWO BRIT INSURANCE NOVICES’ HURDLE
Charlie Mann, who has a 30 per cent strike rate at Wetherby in the past five seasons, is hoping to enhance that excellent course record with Hoh Viss in the £30,000 Grade Two totepool Towton Novices’ Chase (3.30pm), run over three miles, one furlong tomorrow, Saturday, February 3.
The former smart hurdler has only had the two runs over fences, finishing fourth on his chasing bow at Uttoxeter in November, before landing a wide-margin success at Fontwell over two miles and six furlongs on December 5 from subsequent dual scorer Flintoff.
Upper Lambourn-based Mann said today: “I was delighted with his win last time. The runner-up has won twice since and Hoh Viss has just had a few niggling problems, which is why he has not run for two months.
“He’s in cracking form now though, and I’ve been desperate to get him back on the track. I want to run him before the ground goes - he loves a soft surface - and although the totepool Towton Novices’ Chase is a Grade Two race, I think he’s up to it.
“I hope he can make into a better chaser than he was a hurdler. He’s a bit stronger this year than last season, and he’s getting better with experience.”
Although he is yet to race beyond three miles, Mann is confident the distance of the totepool Towton Novices’ Chase will be fine for Hoh Viss, and he is hopeful that his charge can bag some prize money tomorrow.
He continued: “The step up to three miles plus will definitely suit Hoh Viss - he’s being crying out for it in truth. Wetherby is a flat track and it should suit him well.
“It’s a long way up to Wetherby from here and I would have to be pretty hopeful to send him on the journey. I think he’s got a good chance.
“As for other targets, he really needs soft ground, so that will dictate where we go. If the ground comes right, he will run, otherwise he won’t.”
The seven runner-field for the totepool Towton Novices’ Chase also includes the Howard Johnson-trained Royal Rosa, winner of the One Man Novices’ Chase at Wetherby on December 2, and Blue Splash, trained by Peter Bowen, a 12-length scorer on his chasing debut at Exeter last month.
Jimmy Moffatt is also looking forward to Wetherby tomorrow, with the Cartmel-based handler anticipating a big run from Chief Dan George in the £26,000 Grade Two Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (3.00pm), run over three miles, one furlong.
The seven-year-old has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining the Moffatt stable after failing to score for his previous trainer, following a hard-fought victory from Double Default over three miles at Hexham on December 6 with success over the same opponent at Ayr 13 days later, over two and a half furlongs shorter.
Moffatt revealed today: “Chief Dan George has only had three runs for me - the first was a pipe-opener over two miles when he tipped up, and we gauged from that run that he would benefit from a bit of help concentration-wise. So we put the sheepskin cheek-pieces on him, and they have done the horse’s confidence the world of good.
“He’s won his last two and he only does as much as he has to. He’s never going to win by 10 lengths, but he’s a real tough horse, make no mistake.
“I feel sure that he has improved from his Ayr run and he has had a nice break. He’s fresh, fit and working very well at home, but he deserves to take on some better animals now. This race will tell us whether or not we can go to Cheltenham with him.
“He’s a useful horse and as hard as nails. The ground doesn’t concern me - he’ll go on anything and his owner, Maurice Chapman, feels he could be even better on decent ground.
“I’m sure he’ll give them all a run for their money at Wetherby - we’re all looking forward to the race. Alan Dempsey was keen to go for this contest and we have decided to have a crack at a decent prize. In fact, I’d nearly get my licence back out to ride this lad, but I don’t think Alan would let me!”
Chief Dan George faces seven rivals in the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle, among them the Alan Swinbank-trained Arctic Echo, looking for his fourth win on the bounce, Ferdy Murphy’s Negus De Beaumont, who has landed his last four starts, and Bradley Boy, trained by Carl Llewellyn, winner of both races this term.
The ground at Wetherby is reported to be drying out all the time, with the prospect of mainly good to soft ground a possibility for Saturday’s quality seven-race card.
James Sanderson, Clerk of the Course, said today: “The going has changed today, as we have had a drying and pleasant day, and is now good to soft, soft in places. Tomorrow, I think it will probably ride about good to soft and maybe a bit dead in places.”
AT THE RACES TO APPEAL TO HOUSE OF LORDS FOLLOWING COURT OF APPEAL RULING
The claim related to the supply to ATR of "pre-race data", information on runners and riders that is necessary to enable bookmakers to take bets on horse races. ATR pays the Press Association ("PA") for the supply of a pre-race data feed for ATR's service to overseas bookmakers, with the BHB having a separate agreement to supply the data to PA. The BHB demanded that ATR enter into an additional licence with the BHB to pay for database rights in the data.
After the European Court of Justice ruled in November 2004 that the BHB had no database rights in the data, ATR asked the BHB to clarify the basis on which it sought payment. In response, the BHB said that unless ATR agreed to pay licence fees to the BHB, it would instruct PA to terminate its supply of pre-race data to ATR.
ATR then brought proceedings, claiming that the threat by the BHB to prevent PA from supplying pre-race data to ATR constituted an abuse of a dominant position under EU and UK competition laws.
In December 2005 Mr Justice Etherton found in ATR’s favour, ruling that the BHB had an effective monopoly, that the BHB's conduct was an illegal refusal to supply ATR; that pre-race data is an "essential facility" controlled by the BHB; that the licence fees proposed by the BHB were excessive and unfair; and that the BHB was discriminating against ATR.
The BHB appealed the findings of abuse to the Court of Appeal. The decision handed down today by the Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal, finding that the BHB had not abused its market dominance.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive, ATR said: “Given the emphatic nature of the ruling in ATR's favour back in December 2005 and following successful injunction proceedings before the Vice Chancellor earlier in 2005, we are very surprised and disappointed with the Court of Appeal's ruling today. We continue to believe that the BHB's treatment of ATR which triggered legal proceedings was unfair, discriminatory and abusive and, given the clear public interest element in this landmark case, we will be seeking leave to appeal to the House of Lords.”
HISTORY MAKER GOES FOR FURTHER £278,288
Agnes Haddock, 50, from Northwich Cheshire, is already a record breaker after becoming the biggest female betting shop winner of all time when she won £410,332 on the totescoop6 last week. Now, if she can pick the winner of the totescoop6 Sandown Handicap Hurdle, she will add a further £278,288 and take her total winnings to £688,620.
Agnes, who placed her £2 bet at her local Betfred shop commented, "It was all so much of a dream. I knew I was the only winner and one of the blokes at my Club said it was £410k, but I really didn't believe it. When they confirmed it in the shop, I couldn't take it. Still can't. Don't even know what I'll do with the money. None of us could believe it."
Agnes and her husband, Colin, will be a guest of the tote and Betfred at Sandown on Saturday. The course are rolling out the red carpet by looking after her in the Royal Box
As well as Sandown other races this week come from Wetherby and Stratford.
Paul Petrie, totepool spokesman commented, "Agnes has taken everything in her stride this week and we don't think Saturday will be any different. She is sure to have a good time even if she can't find the winner of the bonus race. Obviously if that happens there will be over £300,000 up for grabs for anyone that can win the bet this week."