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Thursday, February 26, 2009


Entries are revealed today for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, both of which promise to be cracking contests.

Always one of the most anticipated races at The Festival, the Weatherbys Champion Bumper has attracted 51 entries this year, with no less than 26 of these trained in Ireland. Willie Mullins is always the man to watch in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, having won six of the last dozen renewals including with Cousin Vinny who prevailed in the hands of the trainer’s son Patrick last year. This time around Mullins supplies an amazing 13 entries, including Quinola Des Obeaux and Sicilian Secret who are both prominent in the ante-post market. The other horse at the head of the betting for the Grade One event is Dungiub, trained in Ireland by Philip Fenton.

Only three horses trained in Britain have lifted the Weatherbys Champion Bumper since its inauguration in 1992, most recently in 2003. However, one horse trying to buck that trend is Vino Griego, trained by Gary Moore, who was an impressive six-length scorer at Ascot on St Valentine’s Day.

Moore commented: “We have entered Vino Griego in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and he’s a definite runner in the race at the moment. I was delighted with his victory at Ascot and he seems to have come out of the race in good form.

“We will hopefully give him a run at The Festival and then take him over hurdles next season. He won on heavy ground last time out but we wouldn’t mind better ground – as long as it’s not too fast.
“I know English trainers have got a poor record in the race but we’ve got to win it sometime and I think we are going into the race with a fighting chance.”
Now in its second year, the Grade Two David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle has attracted 33 entries – two more than in 2008 – including eight from Ireland.

Heading the possible field is last year’s heroine Whiteoak, who made such a promising return to action at Wincanton on February 14.
Newmarket handler Lucy Wadham has yet to train a Festival winner but has high hopes for her stable star United, who is swerving the Ladbrokes World Hurdle to contest the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. The eight-year-old, who finished fourth to Inglis Drever in the 2008 Ladbrokes World Hurdle, has won her last two outings, most recently in a Grade Two contest at Ascot on January 17 when she was successful by five lengths from Sweetheart.
Wadham said today: “United is absolutely on target for the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. She worked on Wednesday morning and she’s in good nick at the moment. She came out of her Ascot race really well and we’ve stepped up her work to ensure that’s she is in top shape for The Festival.

“I think that two and a half miles is the optimum trip for her and we won’t mind if she has to do the donkey work because she’s done it before. I think we will beat Whiteoak at Cheltenham – we are both rated 150 and we were beating Refinement out of sight over two and a half miles two seasons ago and the tables were only turned when we stepped up to three miles on good ground.

“I am very hopeful of a good run at The Festival and I would be hopeful that she will continue to race next season. The programme of races encourages owners to keep mares in training and it is certainly great for racing.”
The final set of entries for The Festival 2009, those for the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase, will be revealed next Tuesday, March 3. The contest had been due to close this week, but given the large number of abandoned point-to-points and hunter chases this year, the qualification period has been extended by an extra week.
COMPARISON OF ENTRIES 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Weatherbys Champion Bumper* 51 47 59 63 65 58 46 46 56 55 52 42
David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle 33 31 First running in 2008

IRISH-TRAINED ENTRIES 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Weatherbys Champion Bumper* 26 19 21 24 15 30 21 14 18 21 18 8
David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle 8 5 First running in 2008 *Five-day closing prior to 1998

Grade 1, Class 1, Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, 5.15pm, Wednesday, March 11, 2009, total prize fund £60,000, two miles and half a furlong, for four, five and six-year-olds only which have not run under any recognised Rules of Racing, except National Hunt Flat races, Irish National Hunt Flat races or French AQPS races. Horses are not to have run in more than four National Hunt Flat races and, before February 23, 2009, must have been placed first, second, third or fourth in such a race. Weights: 4-y-o: 10st 11lb, 5-y-o and 6-y-o: 11st 5lb, fillies and mares allowance 7lb. Entries closed February 24, entries released February 26 (51 entries), six-day confirmation stage March 5, final declaration stage 10.00am Tuesday, March 10. Form figures correct up to and including the racing of Monday, February 23, 2008.

Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
221 ABROAD 5 Trading Post Syndicate James Leavy IRE
04 ALESANDRO MANTEGNA (IRE) 4 A M Warrender Charlie Longsdon
1 ALEXANDER SEAVIEW (IRE) 6 Noel O'Callaghan Willie Mullins IRE
14 BENBANE HEAD (USA) 5 Louise Keefe Martin Keighley
61 BLACKSTAIRMOUNTAIN (IRE) 4 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE
311 BYGONES OF BRID (IRE) 6 James Callow Karen McLintock
3211 CADSPEED (FR) 6 Carra Ethos Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
21 CRANKY CORNER 5 Trevor Hemmings Willie Mullins IRE
2 DAALOOB 5 Chris Howell Tim Vaughan
2 DO THE BOOKIES 5 Kelly/Shortall Partnership John Hanlon IRE
312 DOUBLE DASH 5 Mrs P Scott-Dunn George Baker
2-11 DUNGUIB (IRE) 6 Daniel Harnett Philip Fenton IRE
432 FENNIS BOY (IRE) 5 Stillhouse Syndicate John Hanlon IRE
1 GAGEWELL FLYER (IRE) 5 Clipper Logistics Group Ltd Willie Mullins IRE
1 GLENLO ABBEY (IRE) 5 Mrs Robin Birley Willie Mullins IRE
1 HAYES PRINCESS (IRE) 5 West Coast Haulage Limited Tim Vaughan
1 HENRY KING (IRE) 5 Robin & Chris Barber Victor Dartnall
1 HUNTERS BELT (IRE) 5 Nigel Sennett & Nicola Wilson Noel Wilson
62 JOHN'S GIFT 5 J A G Meaden Bob Buckler
11 LATIN AMERICA (IRE) 4 Core Strength Nick Gifford
301 LEAD THE PARADE (IRE) 5 Dr Ronan Lambe Dermot Weld IRE
3 LIDAR (FR) 4 High 5 Alan King
31 LIGHTENING ROD 4 N W A Bannister Mick Easterby
1 LIOS A CHOILL (IRE) 5 Thomas Gilligan Willie Mullins IRE
214 LONG STRAND (IRE) 5 K Doyle Charlie Swan IRE
1 MAIL DE BIEVRE (FR) 4 P E Atkinson & Louise Kemble Alan King
1 MEATH ALL STAR (IRE) 6 Martin Lynch Willie Mullins IRE
1 MORNING SUPREME (IRE) 6 Henry Murphy Willie Mullins IRE
2 NODFORMS VIOLET (IRE) 5 I R Clements Karen McLintock
1 NOT FOR CONVERTING (IRE) 5 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE
PADDY THE PIRATE (IRE) 5 West Coast Haulage Limited Tim Vaughan
521 PEPE SIMO (IRE) 5 Mette Campbell-Andenaes Paul Nicholls
12 QUADRILLON (FR) 5 Mrs M McMahon Willie Mullins IRE
1 QUEL ESPRIT (FR) 5 Red Barn Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
11 QUINOLA DES OBEAUX (FR) 5 O P J Meli Willie Mullins IRE
11 RED HARBOUR (IRE) 5 C M Giles Paul Nicholls
11 RITE OF PASSAGE 5 Ronan Lambe Dermot Weld IRE
U211 SAVEIRO (FR) 5 Andrew Dick & Brian Dunn Alan Swinbank
1 SHERWANI WOLF (IRE) 5 Kevin Wright Mark Glassett & Friends Mark Rimell
11 SHINROCK PADDY (IRE) 5 Barry Connell Paul Nolan IRE
1 SICILIAN SECRET (IRE) 6 Mrs S Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
1 SOME PRESENT (IRE) 6 Mrs P Duffin Tom Mullins IRE
(2)3 SOPHIES TROPHY (IRE) 4 Sophie Anderson Pat Phelan
3-33 SOUTHERNESS 5 Len Lungo Racing Limited Len Lungo
21 SWITCHED OFF 4 Mick Easterby Mick Easterby
1 TORNEDO SHAY (IRE) 4 J P O'Shea Thomond O'Mara IRE
22 TZORA 4 Andrew Cohen Philip Hobbs
1 UNIVERSAL TRUTH (IRE) 4 Dr Ronan Lambe Dermot Weld IRE
21 VINO GRIEGO (FR) 4 C E Stedman Gary Moore
121 VIVONA HILL 5 Mrs F Crone & Mrs V Birnie Alan Swinbank
32 WHISPERING HILLS (IRE) 4 Sean Mulryan Dessie Hughes IRE

51 Entries
26 Irish-trained

Weatherbys Champion Bumper – Analysis
A superb entry of 51, four more than in 2008, has been received for the £60,000 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, the final race on the second day of The Festival, Wednesday, March 11.

Irish-trained horses boast a fantastic record in the extended two-mile contest, having triumphed in 13 of the 16 runnings. A strong challenge of 26 entries from across the Irish Sea, seven more than last year, includes 13 from the yard of Willie Mullins, who is looking for his seventh success in the race following on from Wither Or Which (1996), Florida Pearl (1997), Alexander Banquet (1998), Joe Cullen (2000), Missed That (2005) and Cousin Vinny 12 months ago.

This year, Mullins could be represented by Sicilian Secret, who was an easy winner on his only start at Leopardstown on February 15, dual scorer Quinola Des Obeaux, as well as Gagewell Flyer and Lios A Choill, who both made impressive starts to their careers at Fairyhouse.

The Irish champion trainer may also run Cadspeed, whose previous two victories at Gowran Park have been won by a total of 41 lengths, and debut winners Glenlo Abbey, Meath All Star, Alexander Seaview, Morning Supreme, Not For Converting, Quadrillon and Quel Esprit. Blackstairmountain and Cranky Corner complete the County Carlow handler’s possible runners, while brother Tom could be represented by Some Present, who took a Punchestown bumper in October on his only appearance.

Philip Fenton has entered Dunguib, who followed up success at Punchestown in November with an impressive success at Navan the following month, and the six-year-old could be joined by the Paul Nolan-trained Shinrock Paddy, who was an eight-length winner of the Listed Cheltenham Business Club Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at The Open for owner/jockey Barry Connell.

Tornedo Shay, who won on debut at Leopardstown in January, may line up for Thomond O’Mara while a trio from the yard of Dermot Weld includes Rite Of Passage, a facile winner at Naas on February 22.

The home challenge looks set to be headed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Red Harbour, who was formerly trained in Ireland by Liam Burke, for whom he won a point-to-point at Clonakilty in May. The five-year-old scored on his debut for Nicholls at Ascot in November and returned to the Berkshire course the following month to take a Grade Two bumper.

Gary Moore could run Vino Griego, who also scored at Ascot on his latest start, while Victor Dartnall has entered Henry King, who beat Pepe Simo by five lengths on his racecourse debut at Newbury in November.

Other notable entries include dual scorer Vivona Hill, debut winners Hayes Princess, Mail De Bievre and Sherwani Wolf, and Bygones Of Brid, who took a Hexham bumper by 19 lengths in October prior to following up at Ayr the following month.


2008-WINNER-COUSIN VINNY 5-11-05 Owner-Festival Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Patrick Mullins; SP-12/1
2ND Corskeagh Royale 5-11-05 Owner-Queen Maeve Racing Club; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Miss Nina Carberry; SP-7/1
3RD Zaarito 6-11-05 Owner-Victoria Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-3/1 Fav
23 ran, Time-4m 1.30s Dist-3¼, ¾

2007-WINNER-CORK ALL STAR 5-11-05 Owner-Cathal Ryan; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/2
2ND Sophocles 4-10-11 Owner-Mrs A Donnelly; Trainer-James Leavy IRE; Jockey-Miss Pauline Ryan; SP-40/1
3RD Aranleigh 5-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Tony Mullins IRE; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-8/1
24 ran, Time-3m 47.90s Dist-1¼, 1½ 4/1 Fav Mad Fish (8th)

2006-WINNER-HAIRY MOLLY 6-11-05 Owner-F T B Syndicate; Trainer-Joe Crowley IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-33/1
2ND Pressgang 4-10-11 Owner-Mrs Anthony West; Trainer-Paul Webber; Jockey-Tom Doyle; 20/1
3RD Kicks For Free 5-11-05 Owner-Mark Tincknell; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-5/1
23 ran, Time-3m 46.70s Dist-hd, 1: 5/2 Fav Equus Maximus (12th)

2005-WINNER-MISSED THAT 6-11-05 Owner-Violet O=Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND De Soto 4-10-12 Owner-Peter Deal; Trainer-Paul Webber; Jockey-Tom Doyle; SP-20/1
3RD Rasharrow 6-11-05 Owner-Ashleybank Investments Limited; Trainer-Len Lungo; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP-9/1
24 ran, Time-3m 52.70s Dist-nk, 2

2004-WINNER-TOTAL ENJOYMENT 5-10-12 Owner-It Will Never Last Syndicate; Trainer-Tommy Cooper IRE; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP-7/1
2ND Refinement 5-10-12 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Jonjo O=Neill; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/1
3RD Master Albert 6-10-12 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-David Wachman IRE; Jockey-Mr J P Magnier; SP-50/1
24 ran, Time-3m 48.30s Dist-22, 5 7/2 Fav Martinstown (14th)

2003-WINNER-LIBERMAN 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-2/1 Fav
2ND Trabolgan 5-11-06 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Seamus Durack; SP-50/1
3RD Widemouth Bay 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Deithrick; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-33/1
25 ran, Time-3m 52.30s Dist-2, 1

2002-WINNER-PIZARRO 5-11-06 Owner-Edward Wallace; Trainer-Edward O=Grady IRE; Jockey-Jamie Spencer; SP-14/1
2ND-Rhinestone Cowboy 6-11-06 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Jonjo O=Neill; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/2 Fav
3RD-Back In Front 5-11-06 Owner-Nelius Hayes; Trainer-Edward O=Grady IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-12/1
23 ran, Time-4m 0.70s; Dist-nk, 32

2001-Race Cancelled

2000-WINNER-JOE CULLEN 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Mullins; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-14/1
2ND-Inca 5-11-06 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Be My Royal 5-11-06 Owner-Mrs Violet O=Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr James Nash; SP-16/1
17 ran, Time-3m 41.20s, Dist-32, 2

1999-MONSIGNOR 5-11-06 Owner-Malcolm Denmark; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Brendan Powell; SP-50/1
2ND-Golden Alpha 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/2
3RD-Canasta 5-10-13 Owner-Southern Brick & Tile Co./D S Arnold; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Liam Corcoran; SP-25/1
25 ran, Time-3m 54.8s, Dist-12, : 11/4 Fav Biliverdin (15th)

1998-WINNER-ALEXANDER BANQUET 5-11-06 Owner-M Swarbrick; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Ruby Walsh; SP-9/1
2ND-Joe Mac 4 10 12; Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy Roche IRE; Jockey-Conor O=Dwyer; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Frantic Tan 6 11 06; Owner-The Bunkers Hill Mob; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-8/1
25 ran, Time-3m 45.7s, Dist-22, 7

1997-WINNER-FLORIDA PEARL 5-11-06 Owner-Violet O=Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-6/1
2ND-Arctic Camper 5-11-06 Owner-Lady Harris; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-16/1
3RD-All The Colours 4-10-12 Owner-Pat Byrnes; Trainer-John Mulhern IRE; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-8/1
25 ran, Time-3m 45.1s, Dist-5, 2 4/1 Fav Dawn Leader (13th)

1996-WINNER-WITHER OR WHICH 5-11-06 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-11/4
2ND-Alzulu 5-11-06 Owner-D Buckle; Trainer-Jimmy FitzGerald; Jockey-Peter Niven; SP-25/1
3RD-Mighty Moss 5-10-13 Owner-Ken Hutsby; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Mr Fred Hutsby; SP-33/1
24 ran, Time-3m 53.7s, Dist-2, 3 9/4 Fav Andanito (4th)

1995-WINNER-DATO STAR 4-10-12 Owner-Kath Riley & Joe Donald; Trainer-Malcolm Jefferson; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-7/2
2ND-Red Blazer 4-10-12 Owner-Tom Shrimpton; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Jamie Osborne SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Skehanagh Bridge 6-11-06 Owner-David Pim; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-12/1
21 Ran, Time-4m 02.2s. Dist-13, 32

1994 WINNER MUCKLEMEG 6 11 05 Owner J P McManus; Trainer Edward O'Grady IRE; Jockey Charlie Swan; SP 7/2 Fav
2ND Aries Girl 5 11 03 Owner Wally Sturt; Trainer Pat Flynn IRE; Jockey Shay Barry; SP 5/1
3RD Go Ballistic 5 11 03 Owner Sheila Lockhart; Trainer David Nicholson; Jockey Robert Massey; SP-16/1
25 Ran, Time 3m 53.7s, Dist 3, 15

1993 WINNER RHYTHM SECTION 4 10 11 Owner Robert Sinclair; Trainer Homer Scott IRE; Jockey Paul Carberry; SP 16/1
2ND Heist 4 11 02 Owner Mrs G Matthews; Trainer Noel Meade IRE; Jockey Charlie Swan; SP 9/4 Fav
3RD Winter Belle 5 11 13 Owner John Muldoon; Trainer Paddy Prendergast IRE; Jockey John Shortt; SP 7/1
24 Ran, Time 3m 45.2s, Dist 2, 1

1992 WINNER MONTELADO 5 11 13 Owner Ollie Hannon; Trainer Pat Flynn IRE; Jockey Richard Dunwoody; SP 8/1
2ND Tiananmen Square 4 10 12 Owner Sue Magnier; Trainer Noel Meade IRE; Jockey Mr Tim Hyde; SP 6/4 Fav
3RD Maneree 5 11 08 Owner Michael Tabor; Trainer Neville Callaghan; Jockey Declan Murphy; SP 7/1
23 Ran, Time 3m 58.2s, Dist 12, 10


(Weatherbys Champion Bumper since 1997, Bi Group Festival Bumper 1996, Prestige Medical Festival Bumper 1995, Bromsgrove Industries Festival Bumper 1994, Guinness Festival Bumper 1993, Tote Festival Bumper 1992)

Year Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP Ran
2008 Cousin Vinny 5-11-05 Festival Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE Mr Patrick Mullins 12/1 23
2007 Cork All Star 5-11-05 Cathal Ryan Jessica Harrington IRE Barry Geraghty 11/2 24
2006 Hairy Molly 6-11-05 F T B Syndicate Joe Crowley IRE Paul Carberry 33/1 23
2005 Missed That 6-11-05 Violet O=Leary Willie Mullins IRE Ruby Walsh 7/2F 24
2004 Total Enjoyment 7-10-12 It Will Never Last Synd. Tom Cooper IRE Jim Culloty 7/1 24
2003 Liberman 5-11-06 David Johnson Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 2/1F 25
2002 Pizarro 5-11-06 Edward Wallace Edward O=Grady IRE Jamie Spencer 14/1 23
2001 Race Cancelled - foot & mouth
2000 Joe Cullen 5-11-06 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE Charlie Swan 14/1 17
1999 Monsignor 5-11-06 Malcolm Denmark Mark Pitman Brendan Powell 50/1 25
1998 Alexander Banquet 5-11-06 M Swarbrick Willie Mullins IRE Mr Ruby Walsh 9/1 25
1997 Florida Pearl 5-11-06 Violet O=Leary Willie Mullins IRE Richard Dunwoody 6/1 25
1996 Wither Or Which 5-11-06 Robert Sinclair Willie Mullins IRE Mr Willie Mullins 11/4 24
1995 Dato Star 4-10-12 Kath Riley & Joe Donald Malcolm Jefferson Mark Dwyer 7/2 21
1994 Mucklemeg 6 11 05 J P McManus Edward O'Grady IRE Charlie Swan 7/2F 36
1993 Rhythm Section 4 10 11 Robert Sinclair Homer Scott IRE Paul Carberry 16/1 24
1992 Montelado 5 11 13 Ollie Hannon Pat Flynn IRE Richard Dunwoody 8/1 23


1. The first winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper was Montelado, who achieved what is thought to be the unique feat of winning two consecutive Festival races. The Bumper, now run on Wednesday, was originally the last race of the Festival. Montelado went on to win the opening race of the 1993 Festival, the Trafalgar House Supreme Novices' Hurdle, now sponsored by William Hill.

2. Irish-trained runners have a great record in the race, accounting for 13 of the 16 winners. Willie Mullins has incredibly saddled six of the last 12 winners. He also rode his first winner of the race, the 1996 scorer Wither Or Which, while his son Patrick was in the saddle when Cousin Vinny won for the stable in 2008.

3. The three horses to have kept the trophy at home were Dato Star in 1995, Monsignor, who sprang a 50/1 surprise in 1999, and Liberman, who gave Martin Pipe his first and only win in the race in 2003.

Class 1, Grade 2, £100,000 Total prize fund, 4.40pm, Tuesday, March 10, 2009. Two miles about four and a half furlongs. For four-year-olds and upwards, Fillies and Mares only. Weights: 4-y-o 10st 5lb; 5-y-o and upwards 11st. Penalties: after September 30, 2007, a winner of a Class 2 weight-for-age hurdle race or Class 1 handicap hurdle race 3lb; of a class 1 weight-for-age hurdle race 5lb. Entries closed February 24, entries revealed February 26 (33 entries), six-day confirmations March 4, final declaration 10.00am March 9. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, February 23.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
3F-5124 AMBER BROOK (IRE) 8 The Yes No Wait Sorries Nigel Twiston-Davies
00-1432 AURA ABOUT YOU (IRE) 6 Jim Mernagh Paul Nolan IRE
11-211 CAROLE'S LEGACY 5 Carole Skipworth & Paul Murphy Nicky Henderson
13-1132 CHOMBA WOMBA (IRE) 8 Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes Nicky Henderson
11-5012 DANSIMAR 5 Let's Live Racing Venetia Williams
63-0230 DOUBLY GUEST 5 The Ting Tong Partnership Nicky Henderson
642611 GALLILEO FIGARO (USA) 6 Across The Pond Partnership Neil King
33406-5 GASPARA (FR) 6 P McMahon David Pipe
U-13313 GIVE IT TIME 6 Jessica Harrington Jessica Harrington IRE
051636 HELENS VISION 6 W Morris Tim Vaughan
21-PP10 HOW'S BUSINESS 5 Group Clean Ltd Charlie Mann
2/1-1140 ISSAQUAH (IRE) 7 Mr & Mrs J Davenport Malcolm Jefferson
11133-0 J'Y VOLE (FR) 6 Hammer & Trowel Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
2114-13 JAUNTY FLIGHT 7 Peter Deal Oliver Sherwood
4-40146 MEGANS JOY (IRE) 7 Glenview House Stud Colm Murphy IRE
P0-112F MY PETRA 6 Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes Nicky Henderson
111-032 OSCAR REBEL (IRE) 7 William Denis Fitzgerald Liam Burke IRE
56-1222 OVER SIXTY 6 Mr & Mrs Christopher Harris Alan King
5-2P113 PAGAN STARPRINCESS 5 Richard Phizacklea George Moore
1-01210 PRESENTING COPPER (IRE) 8 Alan Peterson Philip Hobbs
1044 PURELY BY CHANCE 4 Lady Green Jeff Pearce
3F3131 QUASPIA (FR) 5 Jorg Vasicek Francois Doumen FR
1110-31 QUEVEGA (FR) 5 Hammer & Trowel Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
U0-1602 SESENTA (IRE) 5 M Carroll Willie Mullins IRE
33150 SHENANIGAN 8 ROL Construction Ltd Keith Goldsworthy
2-52323 SHIRLEY CASPER (IRE) 8 J Dunne Dessie Hughes IRE
5211 SILK AFFAIR (IRE) 4 Liam Mulryan & M Fahy Mick Quinlan
141-224 SWEETHEART 5 Ron Huggins Jamie Poulton
53522P THEATRE BELLE 8 Division Bell Partnership Chris Grant
451240 TOT OF THE KNAR 7 Steve & Jackie Fleetham Tim Vaughan
1143/-11 UNITED (GER) 8 R Holt Lucy Wadham
12112-2 WHITEOAK (IRE) 6 Brendan Richardson Donald McCain Jnr
620212 WYCHWOODS LEGEND 6 Kevin & Anne Glastonbury Martin Keighley

33 Entries
8 Irish-trained
1 French-trained

1. This year sees the second running of the Grade Two David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, named in memory of the legendary Cotswold-based jockey and trainer, who passed away in August, 2006.

2. “The Duke” enjoyed five successes at The Festival as a jockey between 1963 and 1973, but is best known for his 17 victories as a trainer, including successes in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase (1994 & 1995 Viking Flagship), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Anzum 1999) and totesport Gold Cup (1988 Charter Party).

3. Nicholson became the first trainer for more than 50 years to saddle three winners in a day at The Festival when Putty Road (Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle), Viking Flagship (Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase) and Kadi (Racing Post Plate) all triumphed on March 15, 1995.

4. The first running was won by Whiteoak, trained by Donald McCain, who prevailed by a short-head from Refinement in a thrilling finish.

2008-WINNER-WHITEOAK 5-11-00 Owner-Brendan Richardson; Trainer-Donald McCain Jnr; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-20/1
2ND Refinement 9-11-05 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; 10/1
3RD Chomba Womba 7-11-05 Owner-Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-100/30 Fav
13 ran, Time-5m 1.40s Dist-sh, 2½

David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle Race – Analysis
Whiteoak won the inaugural Grade Two David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle in thrilling fashion last year as she pounced late to deny Refinement by a short-head. The Donald McCain-trained six-year-old is among 33 entries for the 2009 running of the extended two and a half-mile contest.

Whiteoak made an encouraging seasonal reappearance at Wincanton on February 14, when runner-up to Ashkazar in the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle.

Chomba Womba finished third in the 2008 contest and subsequently won both the Grade Two Elite Hurdle and Grade Two Ascot Hurdle in November. After a respectable third behind Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular in another Ascot Grade Two in December, Nicky Henderson’s charge chased home the George Moore-trained Pagan Starprincess in the Grade Two Skybet.com Mares Hurdle at Doncaster on January 24, with Helen’s Vision and Amber Brook third and fourth respectively.

Henderson’s classy quartet of entries also includes Carole’s Legacy, who made it four wins from five career starts when victorious from Shenanigan at Taunton on December 18, having previously been too good for Over Sixty at Newbury. My Petra won a Listed mares’ hurdle at Wetherby in November before landing the Grade Two Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot. Doubly Guest was third to Lucy Wadham’s star mare United in the Grade Two Warfield Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot in December, a race in which the Jamie Poulton-trained Sweetheart was second before finishing fourth to Kasbah Bliss at Haydock.

The Grade One-winning United, fourth to Inglis Drever in the 2008 Ladbrokes World Hurdle, has the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle as her prime target at The Festival and is unbeaten in two outings this season.

There are eight Irish-trained entries, headed by the Willie Mullins-trained Quevega, who found her name in several notebooks following a smooth victory over stablemate Sesenta at Punchestown on February 18. Mullins could also saddle J’y Vole, a Grade One winner over fences last year, whose most recent outing came when well beaten in the Grade One French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in June.

Trainer Colm Murphy has entered Grade Two Tipperary Hurdle heroine Megans Joy. Jessica Harrington could run Give It Time, who held the Paul Nolan-trained Aura About You and Shirley Casper, from the Dessie Hughes stable, when winning a Listed mares’ hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29. The Liam Burke-trained Oscar Rebel was 11 lengths second to Catch Me in the Grade Two Ladbrokes.com Boyne Hurdle at Navan on February 16.

Francois Doumen has entered an interesting prospect in the shape of Quaspia. The mare won a Saint Cloud bumper in November, was third on her UK debut in a Newbury hurdle the following month and easily landed a Plumpton novice hurdle on February 9.

The Mick Quinlan-trained Silk Affair has been in fine form of late and saw off 16 rivals when winning a two and a half mile Sandown handicap hurdle on February 13, while the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Issaquah landed a hat-trick earlier this season.

Gaspara won the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at The Festival in 2007. The David Pipe-trained mare subsequently ran second to Al Eile in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle and returned to Cheltenham last March to finish fourth in the Dvid Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. Gaspara’s most recent outing came at Doncaster on January 31 when she shouldered top-weight to finish fifth in a handicap hurdle over just short of two and a half miles.

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

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