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Wednesday, February 10, 2010


John Gosden could bid for back-to-back victories in the £125,000 William Hill Lincoln with Expresso Star but the Newmarket trainer may face a potential challenge from one of his former charges, Jesse James, now in the care of Warminster handler Jeremy Gask.

Jesse James is among 97 entries revealed today for the historic straight-mile handicap that takes place at Doncaster Racecourse on Saturday, March 27. First staged at the now defunct Lincoln Racecourse, it moved to Town Moor in 1965. The race forms the first half of the traditional “Spring Double”, which is completed by the Grand National at Aintree.

Gask, who made his name on the South Australian circuit before relocating to Britain in 2007, picked up the Tony Bloom-owned Jesse James at the end of his three-year-old season for 62,000 guineas at Tattersalls in October.

The improving 87-rated King’s Best four-year-old, a 25/1 chance with William Hill, had broken his maiden at Windsor in August, the form of which has been boosted by runner-up Stoic, who subsequently triumphed three times and was second in a lucrative handicap at Meydan on February 4.

Gask revealed today: “The William Hill Lincoln is an option at the moment for Jesse James. He would have to have a run or two on the all-weather before then to prep him for it and he would clearly have to do something positive in those runs to earn his right to go for a race like the Lincoln.

“But he looks progressive and that is why we have put him in there, in the hope that he does step up at the beginning of the season.

“He was gelded and that is why he hasn’t been out since September but he has been good through the winter, he has come along well. We have kept him ticking over and he is pleasing us. He did his first serious piece of work this morning and we are looking forward to the new season with him.

“We have about 40 horses in at the moment and things are pleasing right now. Last year was a step forward and hopefully we can take another step forward this year. It would certainly be lovely to land a race like the William Hill Lincoln.”

Also among the entries is the exciting and unbeaten four-year-old Prince Of Dance. Tom Dascombe’s charge, rated a 20/1 hope by William Hill, made it three wins from as many starts when last seen battling to a head verdict over Shaweel in the Listed Ben Marshall Stakes at Newmarket in October.

Dascombe, who has moved his string from Lambourn to Michael Owen’s establishment in Cheshire, is considering the William Hill Lincoln among several options for the colt.

The trainer said: “It is an option for Prince Of Dance and, at the moment, I would not say he is definitely going to run. His owners are breeders and they would like to get a bit more black type on him.

“He is an inexperienced horse so running in a big field like that might not be ideal for him. We will assess the situation and take it from there.

“I am very happy with him. He has had a change of environment but we have had 10 winners on the all-weather already so the move can’t have done the horses any harm. He seems really well but he will have other targets later on, so if he is ready in time and if we are happy with him, then he might go for the William Hill Lincoln.”

Expresso Star was sent off the 100/30 favourite for last year’s renewal and rewarded his supporters with an emphatic two and a quarter-length triumph over Zaahid, with the David Barron-trained Flipando third, Mia’s Boy, from the Chris Dwyer yard fourth and Huzzah, trained by Barry Hills, fifth. All but Zaahid could lock horns again this year.

The subsequent Group Three-placed Expresso Star is one of two entries for Gosden, the other being the lightly-raced Doctor Crane, owned by his wife, Rachel Hood.

Paul Cole saddled back-to-back winners with John Ferneley (2000) and Nimello (2001), and also scored with Kuala Lipis in 1997. The Whatcombe handler has engaged General Eliott, while William Haggas, successful in 2007 with Very Wise and High Low in 1992, has entered the Cheveley Park Stud-owned Penitent, twice a winner and yet to finish out of the first two in five starts. William Hill make Penitent the 10/1 favourite.

The Brian Meehan-trained Manassas won last season’s William Hill Spring Mile, the William Hill Lincoln consolation race, and added another course and distance success on his latest outing in September.

Yorkshire-based trainers are well represented with Richard Fahey responsible for six entries, including last season’s Newbury Spring Cup winner Extraterrestrial, Harrison George, Albaqaa, Curragh premier handicap victor Irish Heartbeat, Mister Hardy and Prime Exhibit, who was runner-up to Prince Of Dance at Salisbury.

Mark Johnston has entered Cambridgeshire runner-up Tartan Gigha, Master Of Arts, Tartan Gunna, Dubai’s Touch and Listed winner Cry Of Freedom, while Kevin Ryan has engaged Advanced, winner of the seven-furlong Challenge Cup at Ascot in September and Tim Easterby could run Collateral Damage and Charlie Tipple.

Dandy Nicholls has Bencoolen, Royal Power and Joseph Henry among the entries, while John Quinn, successful with Blythe Knight in 2006, has entered Captain Macarry.

County Durham trainer Michael Dods has four entries headed by the progressive Tiger Reigns, winner of five from eight starts in 2009. He also has The Osteopath, Kiwi Bay and Legal Legacy engaged.

Mark Tompkins landed a second William Hill Lincoln with Smokey Oakey in 2008 following Babodana’s success in 2004. Smokey Oakey is engaged again alongside stablemate Marvo, a winner over the course and distance in June.

Ed Dunlop has entered Al Khaleej, runner-up to Zaahid in the Victoria Cup last term, while the Jamie Osborne-trained Cloudy Start and Dhaular Dhar from the Jim Goldie stable have also been engaged.

Light From Mars, trained by Rod Millman, won a seven-furlong handicap at York in August, having previously finished third to the John Spearing-trained Lough Of Killough at Haydock.

The three-strong Irish entry consists of the Jim Bolger-trained Toraidhe, a close sixth in last season’s Irish Cambridgeshire, the Willie Mullins-trained Rattan and the Michael Fitzgerald-trained Settigano, third to Tranquil Tiger in a 10-furlong Listed contest at Lingfield in December.

Weights for the William Hill Lincoln will be revealed on Wednesday, February 17.

The maximum permitted field size is 22. Horses which are eliminated at the final declaration stage are eligible for the £50,000 William Hill Spring Mile, which also takes place at Doncaster on Saturday, March 27.

Doncaster also races the next day, Sunday, March 28.

William Hill Lincoln (sponsor’s betting): 10-1 Penitent, 16-1 Doctor Crane, Expresso Star, Manassas, 20-1 Collateral Damage, Extraterrestrial, Huzzah, Mia's Boy, Prime Exhibit, Prince of Dance, 25-1 Dubai's Touch, Dunn'o, General Eliott, Good Again, Irish Heartbeat, Jesse James, Kaolak, Kavachi, Kiwi Bay, Master of Arts, Mister Hardy, Mount Hadley, Mountain Cat, Mull of Killough, Spinning, Tartan Gigha, Tiger Reigns, Toraidhe, Settigano 33-1 Advanced, Al Khaleej, Albaqaa, Audemar, Benandonner, Bencoolen, Billy Dane, Black Dahlia, Captain Macarry, Chosen Forever, Cloudy Start, Cry of Freedom, Elliptical, Flipando, Full Toss, Harrison George, Inheritor, Lang Shining, Laudatory, Light From Mars, Mahadee, Marajaa, Marvo, Miss Glitters, Moheebb, Moynahan, Rattan, Reve de Nuit, Sohcahtoa, Tartan Gunna, The Osteopath , Thunderball, Vitznau, Viva Vettori, Yahrab (EW 1/4 1,2,3,4)

Class 2, Heritage Handicap, £125,000 Total Prize Fund. Doncaster, Saturday, March 27, 2010. For four-year-olds & upwards, one mile (straight course). Entries closed February 9, entries revealed February 10 (97 entries), weights revealed February 17. Highest weight not less than 9st 10lb; minimum weight 7st 12lb. Penalties: after February 13, a winner 5lb. Scratchings deadline March 2, six-day confirmation stage March 22, final declaration stage 10.00am, March 25. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including Monday, February 8.

Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
(1)40600- ABBONDANZA (IRE) 7 Belstane Park Racing & Gordon Leckie Noel Wilson
301440- ADVANCED 7 T Doherty and McHeen Kevin Ryan
(0)/(1)2/00-(4) AL KHALEEJ (IRE) 6 Mayoof Sultan Ed Dunlop
5241(0)- ALAKHAN (IRE) 4 Patrick Kelly Ian Williams
0/(5)3423- ALBAQAA 5 Josephine Tattersall Richard Fahey
(3)/1(6)-(5) ALSAHIL (USA) 4 R D Bickenson Micky Hammond
0(4)(4)(1)(3)-(1)AUDEMAR (IRE) 4 Gute Freunde Partnership Ed Vaughan
(0)/111/50- BEN CHORLEY 6 Diamond Racing Ltd David Evans
2(3)(1)(4)-(0)(2) BENANDONNER (USA) 7 Phil Woods Mike Murphy
000130- BENCOOLEN (IRE) 5 Eamon Maher David Nicholls
022220- BILLY DANE (IRE) 6 James Callow Barry Murtagh
2(3)(0)(1)(1)(5)- BLACK DAHLIA 5 Paul Dixon & Brian Morton Jeremy Glover
512(1)0(1)- CAPTAIN MACARRY (IRE) 5 Mrs S Quinn John Quinn
0200(0)(6)- CHARLIE COOL 7 Middleham Park Racing XXIV Ruth Carr
200035- CHARLIE TIPPLE 6 Norman Jackson Tim Easterby
(3)(1)(1)-(1)(2)(1)CHOSEN FOREVER 5 Reg Bond Geoff Oldroyd
0/0(6)0(0)-(6) CLASSIC DESCENT 5 David Chapman Ruth Carr
31(1)204- CLOUDY START 4 Jamie Osborne Jamie Osborne
111(3)11- COLLATERAL DAMAGE (IRE) 7 Middleham Park Racing XXV Tim Easterby
14(4)(0)12- CONRY (IRE) 4 Mrs S J Kelly Pat Morris
1000/(5)0- CRY OF FREEDOM (USA) 4 Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
600040- DHAULAR DHAR (IRE) 8 Middleham Park Racing XLV Jim Goldie
150(6)/41- DOCTOR CRANE (USA) 4 Rachel Hood John Gosden
(0)/(1)(0)0P0- DUBAI DYNAMO 5 The Bottom Liners Ruth Carr
400100- DUBAI'S TOUCH 6 Salem Suhail Mark Johnston
106030- DUNN'O (IRE) 5 Dennis Shaw Clive Cox
1013(6)0- ELLIPTICAL (USA) 4 Keen As Mustard Gerard Butler
00/006-(0) EUROPEAN DREAM (IRE) 7 You Trotters Richard Guest
11/1300- EXPRESSO STAR (USA) 5 H R H Princess Haya of Jordan John Gosden
100001- EXTRATERRESTRIAL 6 G J Paver Richard Fahey
4(5)(6)(0)(1)(1)- FINAL DRIVE (IRE) 4 Par 4 Racing Eddie Creighton
40000(0)- FLIPANDO (IRE) 9 Jenny Hazell David Barron
(4)(4)(3)(6)(1)(3) FULL TOSS 4 Sally Edwards David Evans
0503(0)(3)- GENERAL ELIOTT (IRE) 5 Sir George Meyrick Paul Cole
14601-0 GOOD AGAIN 4 Future In Mind Partnership Gerard Butler
253615- HARRISON GEORGE (IRE) 5 P D Smith Holdings Ltd Richard Fahey
(1)(4)(0)(5)(4)-(3) HAWAANA (IRE) 5 Kings Club Syndicate II Gay Kelleway
240000- HUZZAH (IRE) 5 J Gale, J Finch, D Cole, R Dollar, D Powell Barry Hills
(1)(3)(0)(2)(3)(2) INDIAN SKIPPER (IRE) 5 Future Racing (Notts) Limited Richard Guest
600(2)(1)-(0) INHERITOR (IRE) 4 Richard Page Bryan Smart
243140- IRISH HEARTBEAT (IRE) 5 Mark & G H Leatham Richard Fahey
000530- ISHETOO 6 John Sissons Ollie Pears
(1)/1- ISLAND SUNSET (IRE) 4 Mrs J M Muir William Muir
(3)5(3)(4)3-(4) JAKE THE SNAKE (IRE) 9 D Morgan & M B Clarke Tony Carroll
02/(2)214- JESSE JAMES (IRE) 4 Tony Bloom Jeremy Gask
02066(2)- JOHNMANDERVILLE 4 The Centaur Group Partnership III Noel Wilson
640000- JOSEPH HENRY 8 Billy Hughes David Nicholls
1150-5(0) KAOLAK (USA) 4 Simon Kerr John Ryan
310000- KAVACHI (IRE) 7 Bryan Pennick & Roy Martin Gary Moore
241322- KIWI BAY 5 Kiwi Racing Michael Dods
004600- LANG SHINING (IRE) 6 A Taylor Jamie Osborne
04(4)(4)(2)6- LAUDATORY 4 Peter Harris Walter Swinburn
111240- LEGAL LEGACY 4 D Vic Roper Michael Dods
033216- LIGHT FROM MARS 5 R K Arrowsmith Rod Millman
66(6)4(0)(4)- LUCKY DANCE (BRZ) 8 Joshua Snellings George Foster
(0)(1)(3)000- MAHADEE (IRE) 5 Saeed Manana Clive Brittain
5/10001- MANASSAS (IRE) 5 Rebecca Philipps Brian Meehan
0000(0)(0)- MANGHAM (IRE) 5 Ron Hull David Brown
215100- MARAJAA (IRE) 8 John Jacques Willie Musson
401050- MARVO 6 M P Bowring Mark Tompkins
11(1)(1)(1)/-0 MASTER OF ARTS (USA) 5 Roger Brookhouse Mark Johnston
300(2)12- MIA'S BOY 6 Iraj Parvizi Chris Dwyer
6(0)(0)(0)00- MISHRIF (USA) 4 Sheik Ahmad Yousuf Al Sabah John Jenkins
(6)6(0)(1)(2)-(3) MISS GLITTERS (IRE) 5 Mrs M D W Morrison Hughie Morrison
060640- MISTER HARDY 5 The Cosmic Cases Richard Fahey
110300- MOHEEBB (IRE) 6 Michael Hill Ruth Carr
00150(4)- MOUNT HADLEY (USA) 6 Stef Stefanou Gerard Butler
152(1)30- MOUNTAIN CAT (IRE) 6 S Rudolf Alan Swinbank
240(0)5(0)- MOYNAHAN (USA) 5 D S Lee Paul Cole
6(6)(3)12(6)- MUFTARRES (IRE) 5 Beetle N Wedge Partnership Gerard Butler
112301- MULL OF KILLOUGH (IRE) 4 Noel Lawless John Spearing
630(5)/-(1)(0) NOBLE JACK (IRE) 4 M K George Gary Moore
(5)6(3)(1)-(1)(4) OURS (IRE) 7 Peter Smith P C Coaches Limited John Harris
21(2)(1)(2)- PENITENT 4 Cheveley Park Stud William Haggas
04/4132- PRIME EXHIBIT 5 Dab Hand Racing Richard Fahey
111- PRINCE OF DANCE 4 Five Horses Ltd Tom Dascombe
03300-(0) RAPTOR (GER) 7 Winning Circle Partnership Mark Rimmer
56/02(2)0- RATTAN (USA) 5 J A Coleman & M S Head Willie Mullins IRE
(5)04-(1)(4)(6) REVE DE NUIT (USA) 4 Jaber Ali Alsabah Alan McCabe
0063-(3)6 ROYAL POWER (IRE) 7 Leavy, McManus, Flood, Devaney & Reynolds David Nicholls
655/0(1)(3)- SETTIGANO (IRE) 7 A Farnan Michael Fitzgerald IRE
604104- SHAWS DIAMOND (USA) 4 Lyndsey Shaw Derek Shaw
506005- SMOKEY OAKEY (IRE) 6 Judi Dench and Bryan Agar Mark Tompkins
(3)(0)(1)(0)-(1)(0) SNOW BAY 4 Pinnacle Bahamian Bounty Partnership Bryan Smart
54500(5)- SOHCAHTOA (IRE) 4 Sue Brendish Richard Hannon
5(1)(1)/340- SONNING GATE 4 A Heaney David Elsworth
U03001- SOUTH CAPE 7 Heart of the South Racing Gary Moore
(2)(4)(4)(1)(1)(3)- SPINNING 7 Jenny Hazell David Barron
0(2)02-5(2) TARTAN GIGHA (IRE) 5 Mrs I Bird Mark Johnston
50(5)154- TARTAN GUNNA 4 Mrs I Bird Mark Johnston
110000- THE OSTEOPATH (IRE) 7 Kevin Kirkup Michael Dods
20(2)(4)(4)-(1) THUNDERBALL 4 Paul Dixon & Brian Morton Jeremy Glover
421114- TIGER REIGNS 4 Joe Buzzeo Michael Dods
626(5)20- TORAIDHE (IRE) 4 Peter Canavan/Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
60(5)405- VITZNAU (IRE) 6 Louis Stalder Richard Hannon
(0)/(2)(5)203- VIVA VETTORI 6 Mike Watson David Elsworth
020200- YAHRAB (IRE) 5 Saif Ali Clive Brittain

97 Entries
3 Irish-trained entries


Meeting - The Festival, Dates - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, March 16 - 19
First race -1.30pm each day
Tickets available from www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 08445 793 003

Following a 40-hour journey half-way across the world, trainer Anthony Cosgriff is pleased with the progress of Gorge and Onajet as the pair prepare to become the first Australian-trained runners at the Cheltenham Festival.

Both horses arrived in Britain on Friday (February 5) and are settling in to their new surroundings at Mark Johnston’s stables in North Yorkshire, where Cosgriff was a vet for four years prior to setting up as a trainer in his homeland in 2005.

Talented dual-code performer Gorge notched his third victory on the Flat when producing a storming late run to take a 12-furlong handicap at Hanging Rock on New Year’s Day.

The eight-year-old gelding comfortably landed a two-mile maiden hurdle at Warrnambool in April and was fourth in one of Australia’s premier jump races, the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown, Victoria, in August. He is being aimed at the three-mile £100,000 Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 19.

Onajet, a maiden winner on the Flat at Mornington, Victoria, in June, 2008, has made the frame on seven of his 17 starts over hurdles, and the giant eight-year-old is being considered for the £100,000 Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, run over two miles and five furlongs on St Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17.

Cosgriff reported: “Gorge has settled in very well now - he can be highly strung and he was getting himself very stressed in the first 48 hours or so, but that’s not abnormal for him.

“We changed a few things around with his routine and it’s good that he has Onajet with him. He’s eating everything now and his weight is basically right on ideal because he didn’t lose a lot coming over.

“Richie McGrath gave him a first schooling session with Onajet on Monday morning and everything went very well. It’s pretty unbelievable that we have managed to get so much done in the space of five days.

“Hayley Kelly used to work with Yavana’s Pace, who was a notoriously difficult horse for Mark, so she has been helping us out along with Nick Bentley, who can school the horses. It’s been good to have the people of that quality around so that we can really hit the ground running - back home it’s very difficult to get people of that calibre on board and it makes the job that much easier.

“Most of Gorge’s best runs in Australia have come on the back off a two-week break so I am hoping to give him a prep run in the Grade Two totepool Premier Kelso Hurdle on March 6. It’s over two and a quarter miles, which is a bit shorter than ideal, but it will just be a bit of a pipe-opener before the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

“One of the reasons that we are here is because he has always been crying out for three miles and there aren’t the opportunities for him in Australia. The different style of racing over here may play against him but he has certainly looked to be wanting a trip.

“The Grand National Hurdle, in which he was fourth, is the furthest hurdle race in Australia and it’s just over two and three-quarter miles. He actually lost his position over the last and rattled home. The low jumps in Australia means that some pretty handy Flat horses run in the best jumps races and they often quicken, which can take Gorge off the bridle at a crucial stage.

“Onajet is more of a big tall chasing type of horse and it would be interesting to see how he got on in a chase over here. The trouble is that the fences are so much higher than anything that he is used to back home so we decided to start him off over hurdles and see what happens.

“On his form at home, he is not anywhere near Gorge’s standard but conditions here might suit Onajet a bit more. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he improved markedly with taking on the stiffer hurdles over here.

“We gave him an entry in the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle and there is every chance that he will go to The Festival. At the moment, I am not saying with any confidence that he would run well and he would have to run a long way above his Australian form to be considered competitive in a race like that.

“We have pencilled him in for a maiden hurdle over two and a half miles at Ayr on February 25 but the trip over here tired him out and he has been a bit quiet since arriving at Middleham. It has taken him a while to get back on his food but he started eating up a lot better on Tuesday. We want him to show us that he is 100% before deciding whether to take him to Ayr.

“It’s a big time dream to race a horse at The Festival. I used to go religiously when I worked over here and it will be big buzz to return with a runner - the other big meetings like Aintree are also special, but Cheltenham is the number one for jump racing fans.

“It’s going to be huge for the owners, who have never been to a big meeting like this and they are all coming over to take in the atmosphere. It’s certainly going to be an extra special thrill for everyone involved.”

The Festival offers four days of outstanding racing action, with more than £3.4 million in prize money up for grabs. Champion Hurdle Day (Tuesday, March 16) features the £370,000 Grade One Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, while the highlight of St Patrick’s Day (Wednesday, March 17) is the £320,000 Grade One Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase.

There is a brace of Grade One contests on Ladies Day (Thursday, March 18) in the £250,000 Ryanair Chase and the £260,000 Ladbrokes World Hurdle and all eyes on Gold Cup Day (Friday, March 19) will be on Kauto Star and Denman, who are set for an epic third encounter in the £475,000 Grade One totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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