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Tuesday, March 21, 2000.



SPONSOR'S PRICES ON FEATURE RACE TOMORROW





TOTE BOOKMAKERS HANDICAP CHASE 3M 1F TOWCESTER 3.40PM

CAROLE'S CRUSADER 6
CAREYSVILLE 9/4
GALEN 7/2
JEFFERIES 6
SWING QUARTET 11/2
ESPERANZA IV 4

E/W 1/4 THE ODDS A PLACE 1,2.




NEWBURY WATERING FOR LAST JUMP MEETING OF THE SEASON





Newbury Racecourse will host two days of quality racing on Friday and
Saturday, March 24 and 25 - the Berkshire course's last jump meeting of the
season. Watering started yesterday morning and will continue as necessary, with
the aim of providing good going.


Saturday's seven-race card begins at 1.30pm, and the feature race is
the £25,000-added EUROPEAN BREEDERS FUND PANACUR GUARD MARES' NATIONAL HUNT' NOVICES' HANDICAP HURDLE FINAL (2.30pm), over two miles and five furlongs.


This Final, which is confined to mares which have not run on the Flat
and have started in one of the 10 qualifying hurdle races this season, has
previously been won by some high-class mares including Snitton Lane in 1992,
who went on to success in the Grand Annual Chase at the 1994 Cheltenham
Festival.


This year's renewal is due to feature the Martin Pipe-trained Anna
Karnali, winner of two of the qualifying races who missed Cheltenham in favour
of this valuable prize. This is the 18th year of sponsorship by Panacur Guard's
parent company.

Sam Sheppard, Chief Executive of the European Breeders Fund (EBF),
said: "We are extremely grateful to Hoechst Roussel Vet Ltd for their long-term
sponsorship of this series, which is put on by the EBF to support British
racing. The series is extremely important for National Hunt' mares, and
provides a very decent pot for the owners and trainers of qualified mares to
aim for."

Saturday's racegoers at Newbury can also look forward to the
£15,000-added VICTOR CHANDLER HANDICAP CHASE (2pm), over three miles. Victor Chandler are sponsoring at Newbury for the first time.

Newbury Racecourse has named a race after Luke Harvey to mark his
retirement as a jump jockey, the LUKE HARVEY RETIREMENT NOVICES' HURDLE
(4.05pm), over two miles and half a furlong. Harvey, who rode good winners at
Newbury, will judge the best turned-out horse, present the trophy to the
winning owner and award a bottle of champagne to the jockey he has judged to be
the most stylish in the race. Harvey, who retired from race riding on October
2, 1999, rode 253 winners.

The JOHNNY HAINE MEMORIAL CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS NOVICE HANDICAP HURDLE (3.35pm) commemorates the very stylish jump jockey and, appropriately, there is a special prize for most stylish jockey in race. Theresa and Douglas Hoare
celebrate their golden wedding anniversary by having the National Hunt Flat
race at 4.35pm named after them.

Friday's six-race card commences at 2.10pm with the £10,000 added PAUL
CROUCHER MEMORIAL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE, over two miles and two and a half furlongs. This race is held in memory of Paul Croucher, one of the nation's
most promising jump jockeys, who was tragically killed in a car crash in 1988.


Friday's feature contest is the £10,000 added ARKELL BREWERY NOVICES'
HANDICAP CHASE (3.50pm), over two miles and six and a half furlongs, which
promises to be a competitive affair. This is Arkell Brewery's 21st year of
sponsorship at Newbury and they also support the £7,500-added ARKELL'S 3B
BITTER JUVENILE NOVICES' HANDICAP HURDLE (2.40pm)

The NEWBURY GOLF CENTRE HUNTERS' CHASE (4.50pm), over two miles and six and a half furlongs, was landed by the recently-retired Teeton Mill in 1998,
who subsequently went on to success in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup here in
November of the same year, before winning the Pertemps King George VI Chase at
Kempton. As well as the prize money, the winning owner, trainer and jockey also
win a golf lesson.


The SABIN DU LOIR MAIDEN HURDLE (3.15pm) is named after the very useful
hurdler and chaser who it is hoped will parade before his own race again. Sabin
Du Loir is now 21 years old and he retired at the age of 14 in 1993.


Owners with runners over the two days are entitled to a complimentary
hospitality box for up to 20 people, subject to availability, as part of
Newbury's commitment to owners and trainers.


Mark Kershaw, Clerk of the Course and Managing Director at Newbury,
said today: "We always aim to provide racegoers at Newbury with competitive
racing and we are delighted to have 180 and 210 horses entered respectively for
Friday and Saturday. The watering is taking place to encourage them to run."

Newbury's Flat season begins on Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15.




RACING WAITS FOR BUDGET BETTING NEWS





Racing is eagerly awaiting Gordon Brown's budget speech today. For months racing has been urging the chancellor to cut betting duty. But while off shore bookmakers have been offering betting with no tax, the plea from the industry in Britain looked to have been falling on deaf ears.


Yesterday expert opinion believed that the likelihood of a cut in punters deductions could well be on the way.

Speculation has grown that in addition to cutting betting duty, the chancellor will also unveil a get tough approach with offshore concerns, which now represent the leading bookmakers and some of the larger independents.


A spokesman for PwC, one of the world's biggest accountancy firms, said: "We haven't gone into detail of what it might be, but I think you have to say a cut in duty is very likely.


"It's because of the Victor Chandler situation, where various companies have gone offshore. The only way to combat that is to cut betting duty and make it cheaper to place bets in the UK rather than in cyberspace."



SWINBURN BACK AT DONCASTER





Walter Swinburn looks set to continue his comeback with a good set of rides at Doncaster this week. Agent John Hanmer said: "I expect he'll ride half a dozen horses for Jeremy Noseda and Peter Harris over the course of the Doncaster meeting.


"At this stage, it doesn't look as if he'll have a ride in the Lincoln, though we'll obviously have a good look at what's entered and see if anything suitable is available."

He said the jockey was "in good shape and looking forward to the turf season."




ISTABRAQ RETIRED FOR SEASON





Ireland's hero, the triple Champion Hurdle winner, Istabraq, has been retired for the season.


A statement from trainer Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle stable said: "Istabraq is to be put away for the summer.


"Connections were considering the Martell Aintree Hurdle and the Shell Champion Hurdle at Punchestown but have decided that he has done more than enough for the season.





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