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Tuesday, February 6, 2007



£2,500 in prizes plus the opportunity to be published

The Martin Wills Memorial Trust, a UK-registered charity, is offering its 15th annual awards for creative writing (fact or fiction) on, or with a background in, any aspect of horseracing by young people resident in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Particular importance will be attached to originality, use of language, and entertainment - a detailed knowledge of horseracing is unnecessary.

Those aged under 26 at 1 January 2007 (other than employees of the national and racing press and previous winners in their category, who are ineligible) are invited to submit a single typewritten article of under 1,200 words by 28 February 2007 to the Trustees, The Martin Wills Memorial Trust, Henley Knapp Barn, Fulwell, Chipping Norton, Oxon, OX7 4EN (fax: 01608-678 052) or by e-mail to willswritingawards@postmaster.co.uk. Name, date of birth, address and telephone number should be stated. The article must not be published prior to the announcement of the winners of the awards. No correspondence will be entered into, entries will not be returned, and the judges' decision is final.

The prizes will be £1,250 to the winner and £750 to the runner-up, with £500 for the best other entry from someone aged under 19 at 1 January 2007. In addition, the winning articles will be published in the Racing Post and The Irish Field, and work experience on the Racing Post will be on offer. Further, the winner of the under 26 award will retain for a year a bronze trophy of two galloping horses by Gill Wiles. The awards will be announced and presented at the Craven Meeting at Newmarket on Wednesday 18 April 2007, where those successful will be given an expenses paid day's racing, including a reception in a private luncheon room generously made available by the Racecourse, plus a tour of two leading stables.

This year's five judges are: Brough Scott, Editorial Director of the Racing Post, sports feature writer of The Sunday Telegraph and for 30 years chief presenter of Channel 4 Racing (Chairman); Eamon Dunphy, radio and TV personality in Ireland and a former professional football player; Lisa Hancock, Managing Director of Newmarket Racecourses; Chris McGrath, racing correspondent for The Independent and winner of the Trust's inaugural competition in 1993; and Catherine Wills, DPhil art historian sister of Martin Wills.

The 2006 under 26 competition was won by 24 year old Thomas Reed from Northampton, a Warwick University History graduate and a marketing assistant. The runner-up was 23 year old James Milton from Diss, Norfolk, a Leeds University graduate in English Language and Literature with publishing ambitions. The 2006 under 19 competition, for the best under 19 entry, was won by 18 year old Georgina Hibberd from Hilmarton, near Calne in Wiltshire, a pupil at Wootton Bassett School.

The Martin Wills Memorial Trust commemorates Martin Wills, an amateur jockey, point-to-point rider, racing enthusiast and journalist who died in April 1992, aged 39.

Information on the awards is available on www.mrwc.org.uk/willswritingawards.


Shadwell Estate sponsor a fantastic card at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday, the fourth meeting of the 2007 Dubai International Racing Carnival (DIRC).

The highlight of the US$800,000 card is the Haafhd Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2, which features the return of Imperialista, winner of Round 1 on January 18.

Previously trained by Brazilian Cosme Morgado, the three-year-old will be making his debut for the in-form yard of Ismail Mohammed.

Imperialista is also in pole position to earn his new connections first place in the Maktoum Challenge Bonus - an exciting $150,000 initiative which takes in all three rounds of the Maktoum Thoroughbred Challenge.

Also in the line-up is the highly-regarded South African hope Mullins Bay and the British raider and former DIRC winner Kandidate.

The Bengali d'Albert Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 for Purebred Arabians, a Group 1 race, also looks a top-quality contest, with the first and second from Round 1, Al Sabeq and Al Saoudi set to run.

Richard Lancaster, Stud Director for Shadwell Estate, said: "Shadwell are thrilled to be here at Nad Al Sheba once again.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for us to support this wonderful Carnival. We're very much looking forward to an international night of top class racing, especially the two legs of the Maktoum Challenge.

"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this sponsorship possible."

Dubai Racing Club Chief Executive Officer, Frank Gabriel Jr, said: "We thank Shadwell Estate for their generous support of what looks like an exceptional card."

The supporting race is the $150,000 Storming Home Cape Verdi for fillies and mares, and will mark a first for leading French trainer, Alain de Royer-Dupre.

The Chantilly-based trainer will be having his first runner in Dubai when Sanaya lines up for the 1600-metre Listed race under Christophe Soumillon, who flies in from Hong Kong.

The Aga Khan's four-year-old has won in this class before and has finished second at Group 1 level.

"I want to see what Dubai is like with a view to sending more horses there next year," said de Royer-Dupre. "It's a fact-finding mission.

"I am very happy with the filly though. She has adapted really well to the conditions, and although I don't really know what she's up against, she is a nice filly."

2007 Maktoum Challenge Bonus

The Maktoum Challenge Bonus awards points to the participants of the three rounds of the Maktoum Thoroughbred Challenge.

Horses will be awarded points based on their finish position (first to sixth place), with the top three points-earners eligible for a share of the $150,000 if they meet the following criteria:

- Horses must run in at least two rounds of the Maktoum Challenge to be eligible for points.

- A horse that does not win any of the rounds will be required to start in all three races to be eligible for points.

- The points will be shared in Dead Heats.

Points Awarded per race:

1st place - 17 points
2nd place - 8 points
3rd place - 5 points
4th place - 3 points
5th place - 2 points
6th place - 1 point

Top-three point earners will be awarded to the owner and trainer*

1st place - $90,000
2nd place - $37,500
3rd place - $22,500

*Prize money is split 50% / 50% between the owner and trainer.

In the event of there being a tie, the countback will be made as follows:

- Most wins, followed by most second places, then most third places. A tie will be announced if the above does not provide a winner.

To be eligible for the Championship Trophy and the 100% bonus a horse must have won at least one round of the Championship and have earned the highest points total.

A horse that has the highest point total but has not won a round of the Championship will not receive the trophy and will only be entitle to 50% of the bonus provided he has started in all three rounds.

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