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Monday, February 22, 2010



ALAN KING - STABLE VISIT IN THE SNOW AHEAD OF THE FESTIVAL




Despite snowfall in the area, Cheltenham Racecourse’s media visit to Alan King’s stables at Barbury Castle near Marlborough in Wiltshire went ahead as scheduled on Monday, February 22, 2010.

The trainer paraded some 25 hopefuls for The Festival which takes place over four days at Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 16 to Friday, March 19.

Asked to name his main contenders, he said: “Medermit, Bensalem, The Betchworth Kid and Mille Chief.”
Last year, Alan had to wait until the last race to gain a winner at The Festival, despite his horses running well. He said: “You can always cope when they are running as well as they were. The one niggle was Medermit who I did think was very unlucky in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Choc and I looked at each other and said ‘I hope this does not set the trend’. It nearly did with Old Crick getting us out of trouble in the final race.”
He ended up with four seconds and three thirds, plus one winner, at The 2009 Festival.

Alan had a slow start to this season and faced among other issues, a muscle enzyme problem among the horses. He commented: “The muscle enzyme problem was dealt with nutritionally.”
Born into a farming family in Lanarkshire on December 13, 1966, Alan was a member of a local pony club and also competed on the show jumping circuit before joining David Nicholson as an amateur jockey in 1985, having previously worked for John Wilson in his native Scotland.

Alan managed to finish third in a couple of hunter chases, but soon realised that race riding was not for him and served as assistant for 15 years to Nicholson, from whom he took over the licence at Jackdaws Castle stables near Temple Guiting in Gloucestershire on December 3, 1999.

He only had to wait until the following day for Mini Moo Min to provide him with a first success at Towcester. In that rookie season, Alan also saddled Relkeel to take a third totesport Bula Hurdle (now the Boylesports.com International) at Cheltenham a week after breaking his duck, and the following weekend took the totesport Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot with Anzum, who formed part of a four timer. He also sent out Go Ballistic to finish second behind See More Business in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Alan was based at Jackdaws Castle, then owned by Colin Smith, until the end of the 1999/2000 season, when he moved (June 1, 2000) to the Barbury Castle estate near Marlborough, Wiltshire, which was bought by one of his principal owners, Nigel Bunter, and the trainer has since gone from strength to strength.

Horses of the calibre of Stromness, winner of the Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree in 2002, Spendid, victorious in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Ascot the same year, and 2004 Grade Two Byrne Bros Cleeve Hurdle victor Crystal D'Ainay helped to cement Alan's position as one of the most talented and successful trainers in Britain.

He gained 66 successes during the 2004/05 season, and came within three of that total the following term. A memorable campaign in terms of both numbers and quality in the 2006/07 season saw him end the term with 92 winners, while there was another leap forward in 2007/2008 when 128 successes were seen.

Alan's first win at The Festival came in 2004, when Fork Lightning won the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, and the following year the trainer landed the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Penzance.

The 2006 Cheltenham Festival saw Alan secure a superb Grade One double, as first Voy Por Ustedes captured The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, getting the better of Monet's Garden in a cracking finish, and then My Way De Solzen battled to victory in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, edging out Irish challenger Golden Cross.

Alan went one better when completing a Grade One treble over the four days at Prestbury Park in 2007. My Way De Solzen got the ball rolling when charging up the hill five lengths clear of Fair Along to give the handler back to back wins in The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy on the opening day, while Voy Por Ustedes landed the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase in fantastic style from Dempsey just over 24 hours later.
Katchit rounded off the perfect Festival for Alan when scoring a runaway nine length victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle on the fourth day.


Katchit returned to The Festival in 2008 to take the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, becoming the first five-year-old to triumph in the championship race for 23 years, while Nenuphar Collognes won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and Charlie Huxley rode Old Benny to victory in the National Hunt Chase.
A superb meeting also included the performances of Coral Cup third Junior, Franchoek, second to Celestial Halo in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, and Voy Por Ustedes, who found another Paul Nicholls-trained superstar, Master Minded, too strong when trying to retain his crown in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Last season saw Alan take third spot in the trainers’ championship for a second consecutive season, with a career-best 136 wins to his name and £1,888,035 in total prize money.
Voy Por Ustedes continued to be a standard-bearer for the stable, easily landing the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase and recording a second victory in the Grade One Melling Chase at Aintree. Alan continued to enjoy remarkable success with his juvenile hurdlers as Walkon triumphed in the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle in December.
Hopes were high for both horses at The Festival as Voy Por Ustedes was sent off a red-hot favourite for the Ryanair Chase and Walkon headed the market for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Both horses ran gallant races in defeat with Voy Por Ustedes going down by two lengths to Imperial Commander and Walkon finding Zaynar three-quarters of a length too strong in the JCB Triumph. Medermit also took the runner-up spot behind Go Native in the Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, while Karabak chased home Mikael D’Haguenet in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle. A frustrating week for the Barbary Castle stable ended on a brighter note as Oh Crick landed the final race of The Festival, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, giving Alan the 700th victory of his training career.
A muscle enzyme problem affected much of Alan’s string at the start of the current season, but the horses have started to hit their stride in recent weeks. Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle contender Medermit was third behind Khyber Kim in both the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle and the Grade Two Boylesports.com International but claimed the scalp of Punjabi in the Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock in January.
Karabak performed admirably on both his appearances of the campaign so far. After coming home second behind Zaynar in the Grade Two Ascot Hurdle in November, the seven-year-old chased home current Ladbrokes World Hurdle favourite Big Buck’s in the Grade Two Long Walk Hurdle at Newbury the following month. Seasoned performers like Voy Por Ustedes and Katchit have also continued to respectably this term and both horses are on course for another appearance at The Festival.
The now customary strong hand of novice hurdlers has been headed by the exciting four-year-old Mille Chief, who had recorded convincing victories at Kempton and Huntingdon on his last two appearances.
Talented Flat performers The Betchworth Kid and Manyriverstocross have both made a pleasing transition to the smaller obstacles, while horses like Salden Licht and Whistlejacquet have all made an excellent start to their hurdling careers. There have been 50 winners so far this jump season.

Alan married his wife Rachel in Antigua in 1998 and they have a son Henry and a daughter Georgia.


ALAN KING'S 11 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL WINNERS


William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2004 Fork Lightning 8 10 05 Robert Thornton Sue & Fred Welch 7/1

JCB Triumph Hurdle
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2005 Penzance 4 11 00 Robert Thornton Elite Racing Club 9/1

The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2006 Voy Por Ustedes 5 11 02 Robert Thornton Sir Robert Ogden 15/2

Ladbrokes World Hurdle
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2006 My Way De Solzen 6 11 10 Robert Thornton B Winfield, A Longman, J Wright, C Fenton 8/1

The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2007 My Way De Solzen 7-11-07 Robert Thornton B Winfield, A Longman, J Wright, C Fenton 7/2

Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2007 Voy Por Ustedes 6-11-10 Robert Thornton Sir Robert Ogden 5/1

JCB Triumph Hurdle
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2007 Katchit 4-11-10 Robert Thornton DSJP Syndicate 11/2

Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2008 Katchit 5-11-10 Robert Thornton DSJP Syndicate 10/1

National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2008 Old Benny 7-11-07 Charlie Huxley Trevor Hemmings 9/1

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2008 Nenuphar Collognes 7-11-07 Robert Thornton Top Brass Partnership 9/1

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
YEAR HORSE AGE/WT JOCKEY OWNER SP
2009 Oh Crick 6-10-00 Wayne Hutchinson David Sewell 7/1

ALAN KING'S 2010 FESTIVAL ENTRIES SO FAR

DAY 1 TUESDAY, MARCH 16
Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Spirit Of Adjisa, Salden Licht, Manyriverstocross, Iolith, Whistlejacquet

Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle
Medermit

DAY 2 - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17
140th Year of The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
Pennek

Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle
Spirit Of Adjisa, Manyriverstocross, The Betchworth Kid, Swansbrook, Whistlejacquet, Double Pride, Stoney's Treasure

RSA Chase
Blazing Bailey, Junior, Bensalem, Bakbenscher

Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase
Oh Crick

DAY 3 - THURSDAY, MARCH 18
Ryanair Chase
Voy Por Ustedes

Ladbrokes World Hurdle
Katchit, Karabak

DAY 4 - FRIDAY, MARCH 19
JCB Triumph Hurdle
Peter Grimes, Devil To Pay, Gilded Age, Mille Chief

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
The Betchworth Kid, Chamirey, Swansbrook, Double Pride



BENSALEM (IRE)
7 b g Turtle Island (IRE) - Peace Time Girl (IRE) (Buckskin (FR)
Form: 11121-12F2 Owners: Alan Marsh & John D Duggan
Breeder: Peter O'Reilly
An Irish point-to-point winner, Bensalem joined the Alan King stable for the start of the 2008/09 season and the Turtle Island gelding enjoyed a superb first season at Barbury Castle, winning four of his five starts. After scoring on his debut for King in a Sandown bumper, Bensalem went on to land novice hurdles at Chepstow and Leicester prior to a fine half-length second to Diamond Harry in the Grade Two Racecourse Of The Year Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day.
A dirty scope ruled him out of last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival but he returned to Cheltenham for the April Meeting to take a novices’ hurdle by eight lengths.
Bensalem started his chasing career with a rallying half-length victory over Kangaroo Court in a novices’ chase at Plumpton on November 16, and he produced another good effort on his next appearance in a similar contest at Exeter on December 4, when going down by two lengths to Take The Breeze.
Sent up to Haydock for the two and a half-mile Grade Two Altcar Novices’ Chase on January 23, Bensalem was in the process of running a big race when taking a crashing fall three fences out, leaving Diamond Harry to record a16-length victory.
Bensalem took on Diamond Harry for the third time in his career as the pair lined up for a Newbury novices’ chase over three miles on February 13, but another blunder at the fifth last cost Bensalem and he could not get on terms with the Nick Williams-trained chase, going down by two lengths in second.
He is entered in the RSA Chase and will be put in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase which is his most likely target at The Festival.

Race Record: Starts: 9; Wins: 5; 2nd: 3; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £45,827

CAUSEWAY KING (USA)
4 ch g Giant´s Causeway (USA) - A P Petal (USA) (A P Indy (USA)
Jump Form: 1222 Owner: Roger Brookhouse
Breeder: B Wayne Hughes
A 68-rated maiden on the Flat for trainer Mark Johnston, Causeway King had three runs on the level for Alan King before being switched to hurdles for the start of the current season. He made a promising start over the smaller obstacles when running on strongly to take a novices’ hurdle at Warwick on November 4.
Causeway King has since gone on to be second on all three of his subsequent appearances, beginning with a 10-length defeat by JCB Triumph Hurdle contender Westlin’ Winds at Hereford on November 19. He found Barwell Bridge six lengths too strong at Ffos Las on December 21 and went down by two lengths to Ozare at Fontwell on February 7, when he looked like giving the winner a tough race before making an error at the final flight.
His likely race at The Festival is the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 4; Wins: 1; 2nd: 3; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £6,106


CHAMIREY (FR)
7 b g Cadoudal (FR) - Guigone (FR) (Esprit Du Nord (USA))
Form: 8554/23342736/21213 Owner: Sir Robert Ogden
Breeder: Marie-France Graffard
Formerly trained by Jehan Bertran de Balanda, Chamirey ran some good races over hurdles and fences before leaving France in 2008, including when coming second in a Grade Three hurdle and taking seventh in the French Triumph Hurdle, the Grade One Prix Renaud du Vivier.
He joined the Alan King stable for the start of the current campaign, having spent last winter at Sir Robert Ogden’s Sickling Hall Stud and was runner-up on his British debut behind current Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle favourite Tell Massini in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow on October 24.
Chamirey opened his account over hurdles with a staying-on victory at Uttoxeter on November 14 and was runner-up to Lord Generous on his next appearance in a Southwell novices’ hurdle on December 1.
On his latest start, Chamirey claimed the notable scalp of Grand National favourite and Festival winner Tricky Trickster in a novices’ hurdle at Fontwell on January 25 as he stayed on stoutly to record a four and a half length verdict over the subsequent Grade Two Aon Chase winner. He was third at Haydock on Saturday (February 20) and now goes for the Pertemps Final.

Race Record: Starts: 17; Wins: 2; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £75,296


KARABAK (FR)
7 b g Kahyasi (12.8f) - Mosstraye (FR) (Tip Moss (FR))
Form: 1/321124-22 Owner: J P McManus
Breeder: Suc Cino Del Duca
Successful in a Market Rasen bumper in April, 2008, Karabak failed to build on his racecourse debut when coming home third in a similar contest at Aintree the following month. He was then a good second behind the well-regarded Mad Max in novices’ hurdle at Ascot in November, as the pair drew 20 lengths clear of the rest of the field. He gained his first victory over hurdles at the Boylesports International at Cheltenham in December, 2008, when he spreadeagled a quality field, beating the Paul Nicholls-trained Mahonia by nine lengths.
Karabak returned to Ascot for another novice hurdle in January, 2009, when he posted the best performance of his career to date, belying a double penalty to record a 14-length success over impressive Doncaster scorer Kangaroo Court. After such a commanding success, leading jump owner J P McManus purchased Karabak from owner David Mason.
Sent off a 4/1 chance for last year’s Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival, Karabak look to be in trouble turning for home but he responded gamely to Robert Thornton’s urgings and stayed on well up the Cheltenham hill to take second, a length and a three-quarters behind the victorious Mikael D’Haguenet. He ended last season with a slightly disappointing fourth in the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
Karabak is currently second favourite for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle after running two excellent races so far this season. He returned to action over two and a half miles in the Grade Two Ascot Hurdle on November 21, when he was the only horse who could serve up any sort of challenge to Zaynar in the home straight, eventually going down by six lengths to the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding as the pair pulled clear of the rest of the field.
On his final appearance prior to The Festival, Karabak stepped up to an extended three miles as he took on the current Ladbrokes World Hurdle champion Big Buck’s in the rearranged Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Newbury on December 29. Held up towards the rear, Karabak made stealthy headway to dispute the lead with two flights left but could not get on terms with the Paul Nicholls-trained champion, who recorded a sixth consecutive success with a three and a half length verdict.

This consistent sort will go for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival.

Race Record: Starts: 9; Wins: 3; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £89,118

KATCHIT (IRE)
7 b g Kalanisi (IRE) Miracle (Ezzoud (IRE))
Form: 11211111/13211/23460-423 Owner: DSJP Syndicate
Breeder: Whitley Stud
A winner over 10 furlongs on the Flat for Mick Channon, Katchit joined Alan King for the 2006/07 campaign and enjoyed a wonderful first season over hurdles.

After victories at Market Rasen at Chepstow and a second at Wetherby, Katchit won his next four starts, all of which came at Cheltenham. Following victories at The Open, the Boylesports International and Festival Trials Day, he was sent off 11/2 second favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival. Always in a handy position, he powered right away under Robert Thornton to score by nine lengths. A superb campaign was capped with another Grade One victory at Aintree the following month.
The 2007/08 term began at Newcastle in the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November, when he took third spot behind Harchibald. A return to Cheltenham beckoned and Katchit lined up in the Grade Two Boylepsorts.com International. He again ran well at Prestbury Park, going down by eight lengths to Osana, to whom he was conceding 8lb. After regaining winning ways in the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, Katchit went on to score the biggest win of his career in the Grade One Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at The Festival in March. His main rival was again Osana, but this time it was Katchit who scored by a length. His Champion Hurdle victory was also noteworthy, as it was the first time a five-year-old has scored since See You Then’s first win in 1985.

Last season he was winless in five outings, although he ran well in defeat when a close sixth, beaten under six lengths behind Punjabi, when attempting a second victory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.

He has had three outings, finishing in the frame in all of them, this season and stepped up to three miles for the first time on his latest start when third behind Tidal Bay in the Grade Two Betfair Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, January 30.

He is being aimed at the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at The Festival.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 21; Wins: 10; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £571,466



LAKE LEGEND
6 b g Midnight Legend - Lac Marmot (FR) (Marju (IRE))
Form: 571/121-P11 Owners: J Wright, P Wilson, F J Allen & R Preston
Breeder: William Wilkinson
A full-brother to My Petra, a Grade Two winner over fences, Lake Legend gained his first success when taking a Kempton bumper by seven lengths in March, 2008. He made a winning debut over hurdles at Huntingdon that November, beating subsequent Grade One scorer Ogee by a length and a quarter.
After coming second in a Leicester novices’ hurdle later the same month, Lake Legend got back to winning ways with a comfortable victory at Doncaster at the end of February, 2009, but a slight problem ruled him out for the rest of the campaign.
Lake Legend was pulled up on his seasonal return in a Pertemps qualifier at Kempton on November 2 but he has been victorious in handicap hurdles on both his subsequent starts, beating Cantabilly by three lengths at Taunton on November 26 and edging out Erzen by a neck at Kempton on December 26. His target at The Festival is the Coral Cup.

Race Record: Starts: 9; Wins: 5; 2nd: 1; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £27,739

MANYRIVERSTOCROSS(IRE)
5 b g Cape Cross (IRE) - Alexandra S (IRE) (Sadler´s Wells (USA))
Jump Form: 13173 Owner: Mrs M C Sweeney
Breeder: Crone Stud Farms Ltd
Manyriverstocross enjoyed a profitable career on the Flat for Alan King prior to a switch to hurdling this season. In 14 starts on the level, the five year-old Cape Cross gelding won twice, including a 14-furlong handicap at Glorious Goodwood.
He made his debut over obstacles in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow on November 4, which he took by eight lengths, although he failed to build on that promising debut 16 days later when coming home third under a penalty behind Inventor in an Ascot introductory hurdle.
Stepped up to two and a half mile for the first time, Manyriverstocross bounced back with an excellent victory on his next appearance in the Grade Two Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on December 4, when he quickened well to beat Like Minded by two and three quarter lengths.
Manyriverstocross stepped up to Grade One company to contest the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on December 29, but he failed to make any impression on the principals and faded to come home seventh behind Reve De Sivola. He returned to the Berkshire course on February 13 and posted a much better effort on his handicap debut in the Grade Three totesport Trophy Hurdle as he stayed on well in the closing stages to take third behind another progressive novice, Get Me Out Of Here.
His is entered in the Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle with the latter being the preference at the moment.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 5; Wins: 2; 2nd: -; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £37,113

MEDERMIT (FR)
6 gr g Medaaly - Miss D´Hermite (FR) (Solicitor (FR))
Form: 23/121125-331 Owners: The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership
Breeder: Philippe Gasdoue
Medermit made three appearances in his native France, winning a maiden hurdle at Nantes in May, 2008, on his final start, prior to joining the King stable for the 2008/09 season. He made his debut for his new connections in a novice hurdle at Exeter in November, 2008, coming home a 13-length second to the Paul Nicholls-trained Mahonia, to whom he was conceding 10lb.
He built on that effort when comfortably taking a novice hurdle at Folkestone two weeks later and continued to improve on his next appearance, capturing the Grade Two Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot the following month, coming with a strong challenge to defeat Dee Ee Williams by a short-head.
Sent off a 12/1 chance for last year’s Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival, Medermit produced a career-best performance to go down by a neck to Go Native. After staying on through the field turning for home, Medermit was in the process of laying down a strong challenge to the winner when he was hampered by Cousin Vinny at the final flight. Medermit ended last season with a slightly disappointing effort in the Grade Two Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr, when he couldn’t quicken in the closing stages and came home fifth behind Noble Alan.
Connections were considering giving Medermit a chasing campaign for the current season and intended to give him one final run over the smaller obstacles in the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham’s Open meeting on November 15. Burdened with top-weight, Medermit bounced back to form with fine third, going down by three lengths to the winner Khyber Kim, who was receiving 3lb.
Both horses re-opposed on level weights at Cheltenham on December 12 in the Grade Two Boylesports.com International, a race that also attracted the first and second from the previous season’s Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, Punjabi and Celestial Halo. Settled near the rear of the seven-strong field, Medermit moved up to stalk the leaders with three flights to go but a mistake at the penultimate hurdle cost him momentum. He rallied gamely up the run-in but could not catch Celestial Halo, who himself was collared by the running-on Khyber Kim.
Punjabi had finished eight lengths behind Medermit in the Boylesports.com International but the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding was expected to strip fitter for his seasonal return and was duly sent off a short-priced 5/6 favourite for the Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock on January 23, with Medermit a second-best 11/4 chance. Under a stalking ride from Robert Thornton, Medermit pounced on his market rival at the last flight and ran on well to record a four-length success.
Alan King commented: “I couldn’t be more pleased with Medermit - it is just trying to keep a lid on him at the moment. He is very fresh and well. I am happy with him.

“We were going novice chasing with him at the beginning of the season. He was schooled and was very good. We decided to run him in the Greatwood Hurdle and then the Bula (the Boylesports.com International Hurdle), both at Cheltenham, and he ran very well so we decided to wait on the novice chasing.

“I am glad we did now. I must admit to being very surprised with the way he has progressed. Each run he has improved - the handicapper has put him up to 166 now. He was a slight narrow horse but has done extremely well and has come on again since his run at Haydock. The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year was a much better race than we all thought at the time.”
Race Record: Starts: 11; Wins: 4; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £110,762

MILLE CHIEF (FR)
4 b g Ski Chief (USA) - Mille Flora (IRE) (Be My Guest (USA))
Jump Form: B11 Owner: McNeill Family
Breeder: Earl Ecurie Delbart & Classic Breeding
Mille Chief made four starts on the Flat in France, winning his final two starts at Hyeres and Marseille for trainer Keven Borgel, who was also responsible for the early career of Walkon, prior to being purchased privately by Anthony Bromley for Max McNeill in the spring of 2009.
He was gelded and turned out for the summer, making his debut for Alan King in a juvenile novices’ hurdle at Market Rasen on November 8, for which he was sent off a red-hot 8/11 favourite. Mille Chief was in the process of making smooth headway towards the lead but was brought down at the penultimate flight by Bocamix.

Mille Chief made no mistake on his next start in another juvenile novices’ hurdle at Kempton’s Christmas meeting on December 27, as got the better of Westlin Winds after the final flight to record a two and a quarter-length verdict over the Charles Egerton-trained gelding.
With the cold weather decimating the fixture list, Mille Chief stepped out of juvenile company for his next start when taking on a field of older horses in a Huntingdon novices’ hurdle on January 23. After taking the lead two flights out, Mille Chief powered clear to record an emphatic six-length victory and is now ante-post favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival.

Alan King commented: “All things being equal, I would like to run Mille Chief again because he has only had the three runs. His work recently has been very, very good. I do think he is as good a juvenile as I have trained but he has got to do it on the track. He has always enjoyed jumping. I scoped him last week and he was fine. I would be a bit concerned about his stamina if it came up heavy at Cheltenham.”
Jump Race Record: Starts: 3; Wins: 2; 2nd: -; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £ 9,002

NENUPHAR COLLONGES (FR)
9 b g Video Rock (FR) - Diane Collonges (FR) (El Badr)
Form: F/6111F21/21214/01763-469 Owner: Top Brass Partnership Breeder: G Delorme Freres
Nenuphar Collonges won a chase at Dieppe, France, on his third and final start for trainer Marcel Rolland prior to joining the Alan King yard in mid 2006. He scored on his British debut in a novice handicap chase at Bangor in November, 2006, and went on to record further success in handicap chases at Hereford and Uttoxeter.
He switched to hurdles for the 2007/08 season and enjoyed a superb campaign over the smaller obstacles. After chasing home Razor Royale at Cheltenham in November, 2007, he returned to Prestbury Park the following month to triumph in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle before taking second behind Carruther in another Grade Two novices’ hurdle at Warwick in January, 2008.
Nenuphar Collonges gained the biggest success of his career to date at The Festival in 2008 when taking in the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and he went on to be fourth in the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree the following month.
After failing to land a blow in the Grade One Gras Savoye Prix La Barka at Auteuil, France, in May, 2008, Nenuphar Collognes returned to chasing, recording a two-length success in a handicap chase at Bangor in November, 2008. He went on to run well in some of the season’s top staying handicap chases, taking seventh in the Welsh National, sixth in the Haydock Park Gold Cup and coming third behind Wichita Lineman in the Grade Three William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase at The Festival – a race he will tackle again this year.
Nenuphar Collonges has continued to run in the leading handicap chases this season. He was fourth in a valuable contest at Punchestown, Ireland, in May and took seventh in the Listed Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton on November 7. On his latest start, he was far from disgraced when coming home ninth behind the mighty Denman in the Grade Three Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 28.
Race Record: Starts: 21; Wins: 7; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £148,481
OH CRICK (FR)
7 ch g Nikos - Other Crik (FR) (Bigstone (IRE))
Form: 5/6211119/1423F211-534 Owner: David Sewell
Breeder: Jean Pierre Dubois
Oh Crick was fifth behind Pepsyrock on his debut for trainer Yannick Fouin in a hurdle at Enghien, France, in March, 2007. He joined Alan King for the start of the 2007/08 campaign and recorded a first victory in a Plumpton novices’ hurdle that December, before going on to rattle up a hat-trick of handicap hurdle wins at Cheltenham, Exeter and Hereford in early 2008.
He made a winning start to his chasing career at Hereford in May, 2008, but failed to add to that tally until gamely holding off Moon Over Miami the Grade Three Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase at The Festival last year. Oh Crick ended his season with another big victory as he landed the Grade Three Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
Oh Crick started this season at Exeter on November 3 as he came fifth in the Grade Two Haldon Gold Cup, and he produced a better effort to take third behind Twist Magic and Petit Robin in the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on January 23. He was fourth on Saturday (February 20) in the Betfair Ascot Chase. It will be the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, depending on the relative strengths of each race.

Race Record: Starts: 19; Wins: 7; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £155,795


SALDEN LICHT (GB)
6 b g Fantastic Light (USA) - Salde (GER) (Aalde (GER))
Form: 11 Owner: Dai Griffiths
Breeder: Gestut Wittekindshof
Salden Licht began his career on the Flat with Andre Fabre in France, where he was successful three times over nine furlongs including in a Listed event at Chantilly in October, 2007.

In 2009, he ran on four occasions on the Flat in England for Newmarket trainer James Eustace, putting up his best performance when fifth in the valuable November Handicap at Doncaster.

Since joining Alan King, he is unbeaten in two starts over hurdles. At Newbury on December 16, he was the comfortable six-length winner of a maiden hurdle over an extended two miles and he maintained his 100% record when scoring in a two-mile novice event at Plumpton on January 18.
He is going for the Spinal Research Novices’ Hurdle or the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle at The Festival after hopefully running at Kempton on Saturday.

Race Record (Jumps): Starts: 2; Wins: 2; 2nd: -; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £6,180

SATICON
5 b g Act One - Saumareine (FR) (Saumarez)
Jump Form: 183423P3-5V4 Owners: S M Smith & Paul Duffen
Breeder: Haras De La Perelle
Saticon won his final two starts on the Flat in France for Andre Fabre and the half-brother to Italian Derby victor and Irish Derby runner-up Gentlewave joined Alan King in the summer of 2008. He made a promising debut over hurdles that October when taking a juvenile novices’ hurdle at Kempton but failed to build on that effort on his next three appearances.
His best efforts of last season came in the Grade Two Adonis Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, in which he was the five-length second to Hebridean, and when coming third behind Silk Affair in the Grade Three Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at The Festival.
Saticon returned to Cheltenham for his first start of this season but failed to run his race when coming last behind Starluck in the sportingbet.com Hurdle at The Open on October 17. He was running a much better race in a handicap hurdle at Doncaster on December 12, which was voided due to a stricken horse at the penultimate flight, and posted his best performance of the season at the Yorkshire course on February 6, when taking fourth in another handicap hurdle behind stable companion Sir Harry Ormesher. Both horses are set re-oppose at The Festival in the Grade Three Coral Cup at The Festival.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 11; Wins: 1; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £25,438


SIR HARRY ORMESHER
7 b g Sir Harry Lewis (USA) - Glamour Game (Nashwan (USA))
Form: 610/1412/14-FV1 Owner: David Sewell
Breeder: Wood Farm Stud
A £75,000 purchase at the Brightwells January Sale in 2008, Sir Harry Ormesher had previously won an Ascot bumper and a introductory hurdle at Uttoxeter for trainer Chris Down, as well as finishing 22nd in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival in 2007.
He made a winning debut for the Alan King stable by taking a novices’ hurdle at Warwick in February, 2008, and was runner-up in a similar contest at Plumpton on his only other appearance of the 2007/08 campaign.

Sent over fences last season, Sir Harry Ormesher landed a beginners’ chase at Exeter in October, 2008, beating the likes of Straw Bear and Pasco, but could only finish fourth to Breedsbreeze on his next outing in the Grade Two Rising Stars Novices’ Chase at Wincanton the following month. He was subsequently found to have injured a hind joint and missed the rest of the season.
Sir Harry Ormesher started this season over fences, falling at the final fence when beaten in a graduation chase at Kempton on November 2, but he has returned to form since reverting to the smaller obstacles.
He was leading the field in a Doncaster handicap hurdle on December 12, only for the race to be voided due to a stricken horse at the penultimate flight, but gained compensation in another handicap hurdle at the same course on February 6, when he stayed on well to beat Good Old Thyme by half a length. The Coral Cup is his Festival target.

Race Record: Starts: 12; Wins: 5; 2nd: 1; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £45,508

SPIRIT OF ADJISA (IRE)
6 br g Invincible Spirit (IRE) - Adjisa (IRE) (Doyoun)
Jump Form: 23 Owner: Darr, Johnson, Weston & Whitaker
Breeder: C J Haughey J Flynn And E Mulhern
A five-time winner on the Flat between 10 and 13 furlongs for trainer Pat Eddery, Spirit Of Adjisa joined Alan King’s stable after coming sixth in a Newmarket handicap on October 30. He made his debut for his new trainer in a maiden hurdle at Newbury on December 16, when he kept on in the closing stages to take second behind the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky.
He also made the frame on his next start, coming home third in a Taunton novices’ hurdle on December 30, despite making mistakes at the penultimate and last flights.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 2; Wins: -; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £1,791

TAROTINO (FR)
8 b g Le Balafre (FR) - Zvetlana (Scorpio (FR))
Form: 4341140/23P11-1P86 Owner: J B Webb
Breeder: Jean Pierre Roussel
After beginning his career in France, Taratino spent the first part of his career in Britain with Nicky Henderson, for whom he won two novices’ hurdles.
He joined the Alan King stable for the 2008/09 season and was sent novice chasing. Winless on his first three starts, he subsequently landed novice chases at Doncaster and Kempton in impressive fashion and then took a competitive handicap chase at Bangor in May, this time scoring effortlessly by 18 lengths.

Tarotino looked to be a horse on the upgrade and started 10/1 for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November. However, he failed to show his best form in that race, and was pulled up behind Tranquil Sea.

His latest outing came in the valuable Blue Square Handicap Chase at Doncaster on February 6, when he finished eighth.

He is being aimed at the Byrne Group Plate at The Festival.

Race Record (Jump): Starts: 15; Wins: 5; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £39,472


THE BETCHWORTH KID
5 b g Tobougg (IRE) - Runelia (Runnett)
Jump Form: 123 Owner: Henry Ponsonby
Breeder: R P Williams
A classy performer on the Flat for Michael Bell, The Betchworth Kid landed the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster in September, 2008, and was third in the Group Two Goodwood Cup the following July. He made his hurdling debut in a novice contest at Plumpton on November 16, when he got the better of King Edmund near the line to record a workmanlike two and a half length victory, with 36 lengths back to the third home.

The Betchworth Kid ran a good race in defeat on his next start in a novice hurdle at Taunton on December 10 as he stayed on well but could not catch Tito Bustillo near the line, going down by neck to the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding, who was receiving 4lb.

He also posted another pleasing performance in highly-competitive novices’ hurdle at Kempton on February 12. After making a bad mistake at the second flight, The Betchworth Kid kept on in the closing stages to finish third behind Phidippides and the well-regarded Quantitativeeasing.
He will step up in distance in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 3; Wins: 1; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £8,251


TRENCHANT
5 b g Medicean - Tromond (Lomond (USA))
Jump Form: 12154-69159 Owners: Peter Harding & Stephen Williams
Breeder: Cheveley Park Stud
Despite being a half-brother to Group winners Cesare and Nowhere To Exit, Trenchant appeared to lack the ability of his siblings and his finest hour in eight appearances on the Flat for James Fanshawe was a length and a half second in a Great Leighs handicap in October, 2008.
Shortly after that effort, he joined Alan King soon after being sold for 32,000 guineas at Tattersalls horses in training sale. Trenchant made a winning debut for his new connections when landing a Warwick novices’ hurdle by a neck in January, 2009 and he continued to progress, beating Ainama by a length and a quarter in the Grade Two Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton the following month.
After taking a fine fifth behind Zaynar in the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival, Trenchant posted another excellent effort to take fourth in the Grade Two Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting. He ended his campaign with creditable sixth behind Mikael D’Haguenet in the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown festival in May.
Trenchant failed to beat a horse home on his seasonal return in a limited handicap hurdle at Chepstow on October 10 but he bounced back to form when getting the better of Alderluck in a thrilling finish to a Pertemps qualifier at Kempton on November 2. He stepped up to three miles for the first time for the boylepoker.com Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on December 11, in which he took am excellent fifth under top-weight, but produced another below-par effort on his latest start to come home ninth in a Grade Three handicap hurdle at Sandown on February 6.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 10; Wins: 3; 2nd: 1; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £42,450


VOY POR USTEDES (FR)
9 b g Villez (USA) Nuit d'Ecajeul (FR) (Matahawk)
Form: F3131U1633/111112/21U1/221221/43121-364 Owner: Sir Robert Ogden
Breeder: Ecurie Macaire Guillaume and Francis Picoulet
Voy Por Ustedes began his career with Guillaume Macaire in France and made one appearance in Britain for the handler, unseating his rider in at the first flight in a juvenile hurdle at Lingfield in December, 2004.
He joined Alan King at the start of 2005 after being purchased by Sir Robert Ogden and made a winning debut for his new connections at Huntington in January of that year. He had three further outings over hurdles that season and, although unable to add to his winning record, he ran well enough in defeat.

The 2005/06 saw Voy Por Ustedes sent over fences and he quickly demonstrated that he would be better over fences than he was over hurdles, with six consecutive victories. The highlight of that season was undoubtedly his success in The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy at The Festival when he got the better of Monet’s Garden in a thrilling finish. His season finished with his first reversal over fences at Aintree, when he went down by a length to Foreman in a Grade One event at Aintree.

It was a case of onwards and upwards in the 2006/07 campaign. After finding Kauto Star too strong in the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December, he regained the winning thread when taking the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton the following month. A slight hiccup occurred in the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in February, when he parted company with Robert Thornton at the fifth fence. However, that mishap was soon put behind him when he recorded his greatest victory the following month in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Festival. Always travelling well, he survived a slight mistake two out to register a length and a half verdict over Dempsey.
The 2007/08 campaign began with two seconds. A brave effort under top weight in a handicap chase at The Open at Cheltenham in November was followed by a second defeat in Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase - this time it was Twist Magic who got the better of him. After triumphing in the Desert Orchid Chase for the second year in succession, he was defeated by Master Minded in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, going down by five lengths and conceding 6lb to the winner. Back at level weights for the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, Voy Por Ustedes was made 5/2 favourite to land a second consecutive renewal of the two-mile chasing championship. However, Master Minded was clearly on an upward curve and proved five lengths too strong. The following month, the duo met for a third time at Aintree in the two and a half mile Grade One John Smith’s Melling Chase. It proved to be a case of third time lucky for Voy Por Ustedes, as he outstayed his rival to home the 18-length victor.

Last season he returned to Aintree for seasonal debut, running well to finish a close fourth in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase, again over two and a half miles, despite being unfavoured by the race conditions. Given his good form over two and a half miles, connections took the decision to step him up to three miles for the Grade One King George VI Chase at Kempton. He ran his usual game race in that event, finishing third behind Kauto Star and Albertas Run. Dropped back in trip for the Grade One Ascot Chase over an extended two miles and five furlongs at Ascot in February, he was the imperious 14-length winner over Gwanako. Once again he headed to Cheltenham in March for The Festival, although in 2009 his target was the Grade One Ryanair Chase, run over two miles and five furlongs, for which he was the warm 4/5 favourite. After a couple of uncharacteristic errors, he was unable to overhaul the leader Imperial Commander and went down by two lengths. He headed to Aintree the following month and won his second John Smith’s Melling Chase, this showing tremendous courage to score a head victory over Schindlers Hunt.

So far this season, Voy Por Ustedes has not been seen at his best. After finishing a decent third in a Grade Two event at Ascot in November, he once again tackled three miles. This time the race was the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown and he finished a well-beaten sixth behind What A Friend. His latest appearance was in the extended two-mile Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 13, when he came home fourth Master Minded.

Alan King commented: “For a mile and a half last week I thought it was great – he showed his old dash and jumped very well. It was very clear that he does not have the pace for two miles any more. He has come out of the race fine and will go straight to the Ryanair.”
Race Record (Jump): Starts: 34; Wins: 14; 2nd: 7; 3rd: 6; Win & Place Prize Money: £986,038

WHISTLEJACQUET (GB)
5 ch g Fleetwood (IRE) - Avec Le Vent (IRE) (Strong Gale)
Form: 1226-1 Owner: Mrs Peter Prowting
Breeder: Mrs Peter Prowting
Whistlejacquet began his career in bumpers last season. After a debut success at Huntingdon in November, 2008, he finished second at Cheltenham and Wincanton in January. His first season ended at Aintree in April, when he ran well to finish sixth in the Grade Two John Smith’s Champion Bumper.

His hurdling career got off to the perfect start at Taunton on February 2, when he was the comfortable winner of a two mile, one furlong novices’ event.
Race Record: Starts: 5; Wins: 2; 2nd: 2; 3rd: -; Win & Place Prize Money: £39,472





THE FESTIVAL 2010


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, March 16 to 19, 2010

Tuesday, March 16 (Old Course)
Time Race Distance Prize Money
1.30pm Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110yds £100,000
2.05pm The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Grade One) 2m £150,000
2.40pm William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade Three) 3m 110yds £80,000
3.20pm Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade One) 2m 110yds £370,000
4.00pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase (Handicap) 3m 7f £50,000
4.40pm David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (Grade Two) 2m 4f £90,000
TOTAL £840,000
Wednesday, March 17 (Old Course)
Time Race Distance Prize Money
1.30pm 140th Year of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Amateurs) 4m £75,000
2.05pm Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 5f £100,000
2.40pm RSA Chase (Grade One) 3m 110yds £150,000
3.20pm Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade One) 2m £320,000
4.00pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 5f £75,000
4.40pm Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 110yds £75,000
5.15pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade One) 2m 110yds £60,000
TOTAL £855,000

Thursday, March 18 (New Course)
Time Race Distance Prize Money
1.30pm Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed Race) 2m 5f £80,000
2.05pm Pertemps Final (Listed Race) 3m £75,000
2.40pm Ryanair Chase (Grade One) 2m 5f £250,000
3.20pm Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £260,000
4.00pm Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase (Grade Three) 2m 5f £80,000
4.40pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateurs) 3m 1f 110yds £55,000
TOTAL £800,000

Friday, March 19 (New Course)
Time Race Distance Prize Money
1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle Race (Grade One) 2m 1f £100,000
2.05pm Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 1f £75,000
2.40pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £100,000
3.20pm totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (Chase) (Grade One) 3m 2f 110yds £475,000
4.00pm Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Amateurs) 3m 2f 110yds £40,000
4.40pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 110yds £50,000
5.15pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110yds £80,000
TOTAL £920,000
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY IN 2010 OF £3,415,000
(An average of £131,346 per race)


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


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