WADHAM GAINS BIGGEST SUCCESS & BOLGER'S AMAZING RECORD CONTINUES
Newmarket handler Lucy Wadham - whose 22-box yard neighbours Godolphin's stable - gained the biggest success of her seven-year training career when United ran out a hugely-impressive 12-length winner of the Grade 1 Colm McEvoy Auctioneers Four-Year-Old Hurdle. Akilak, sent off the 8/13 favourite, could finish only third.
"We came here hopeful but this has just exceeded our wildest dreams," said Wadham. "She has hacked up on both her starts and there were six winners behind her last time at Stratford so she deserved to come here. I'm amazed really but every time we have run her she has done the same thing.
"She's very versatile, she's now won left-handed, right-handed, on a straight track and a galloping track. The ground was really lovely today and they had the course in beautiful condition.
"Richard Venn bought her in Germany and neither of us had seen her and when she arrived she was very dehydrated and I wondered what we had got."
Cashmans quoted United at 25/1 for next year's Champion Hurdle and Wadham added: "I haven't really given much consideration to next season but I suppose you'd have to think about the Champion Hurdle after that."
Akilak's trainer Howard Johnson said: "I think the horses are probably over the top now."
Enda Bolger landed the Blue Square Chase for the La Touche Cup over Punchestown's famous banks course for an amazing eighth successive time when Good Step led home a 1-2 from Shady Lad for the Co Limerick trainer.
J T McNamara was riding his third winner of the race when pushing Good Step, under Nina Carberry, out after the last to beat Shady Lad by half a length.
"The winner is as tough as teak to do that with 12st 3lb," said Bolger. "The soft ground was in his favour and the further he goes the better. I said after he won at Gowran that he'd be our Sporting Index horse for next season and he'll be put away now with that aim.
"I feel sorry for Nina, she was second last year to Spot Thedifference as well. She gave Shady Lad a cracking ride and is going to be something else. The horse's owner is very adventurous and he'll probably go for the Pardubice and she'll ride."
Last year's winner Spot Thedifference had to miss the race and Bolger added: "He pulled a muscle behind and we just ran out of time. He has to stand in his box for two weeks but hopefully he'll be racing for another year or two."
Bolger also won the La Touche Cup with Risk Of Thunder (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002) and Buailtes And Fadas (2003). The race was not run in 2001.
The opening KFM Hunters Chase for the Bishopcourt went to Mac Robin, ridden by Richie Cully.
SOME PLANS FOR CHESTER FESTIVAL TRIALS
Brittain has Hattan primed for MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase and Excusez Moi aimed at the Dee Stakes sponsored by Aberdeen Murray Johnstone and Halliwells
Clive Brittain today revealed that he is hoping to be represented in both of Chester's Derby trials, the Group Three £65,000 MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase, over an extended one mile and four furlongs, next Thursday (May 5) and the Group Three £65,000 Dee Stakes sponsored by Aberdeen Murray Johnstone & Halliwells, over an extended one mile and two furlongs, the following day (May 6).
The Newmarket trainer said: "Hattan is a possible for the MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase, while Excusez Moi could run in the Dee Stakes."
Brittain won the MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase in 1995 with Luso and struck again with Dutch Gold eight years later. Hattan, though still a maiden after three starts this year, ran extremely well when the two and a half length third to Irish raider Fracas in the Group Three Betfred Classic Trial over 10 furlongs on his latest start at Sandown on April 22.
"Hattan ran a cracking good race at Sandown - he missed the break and then got into a little bit of trouble on the inside. He certainly would have been second without any doubt and he would have put the winner under pressure if the race had gone a bit differently," explained Brittain.
"I don't think Chester will be a problem to him - it's just at Sandown, if you get down on the inside, you have a devil of a job to get out.
"He's entered in the Derby - we'll see how he gets on at Chester, which will tell us if he is good enough."
Excusez Moi was campaigned in Dubai earlier in the year before winning a Yarmouth maiden very easily by nine lengths on April 4. He then lined up in the Group Three Lane's End Greenham Stakes at Newbury 12 days later, coming home just under 10 lengths behind Indesatchel.
The handler commented: "We went for the Greenham with Excusez Moi thinking that we had a very good chance of running in the 2000 Guineas but he ran very disappointingly. Whether it was the ground or whatever it was, he never performed as he had when he broke his maiden at Yarmouth.
"There is obviously a big difference in class between a Yarmouth maiden and the Greenham but, having said that, there was a big difference in the way that he ran.
"I think Chester will bring the best out of him because it's a great schooling ground there and it teaches horses a lot. He's also in the Derby and, once again, it is see how he performs and hope for the best."
Michael Jarvis could also be represented in the MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase by Gold Gun, who won on his reappearance this season when proving a short-head too powerful for Kong over 11 furlongs at Newbury on April 15, with the third 11 lengths adrift.
The Newmarket trainer said: "I may make an entry in the MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase for a horse called Gold Gun. He is lightly-raced and won a maiden at Newbury two weeks ago and he's come out of that race fine."
Jarvis added: "Anak Pekan, who won last year's totesport Chester Cup (in 2005 on Wednesday, May 4)last year, is a probable runner in the same race again this year."
Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has already announced that he will have his first runners at Chester's May Festival. Leading Derby hope Gypsy King is on target for the Dee Stakes sponsored by Aberdeen Murray Johnstone & Halliwells, while Almighty is an intended in the MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase.
Acropolis is being aimed at the Group Three £75,000 Blue Square Ormonde Stakes, over an extended mile and five furlongs, on Friday, May 6, and Coconut Beach goes for the £120,000 totesport Chester Cup, over an extended two miles and two furlongs, on the opening day, Wednesday, May 4. Solskjaer is due to run in the 10-furlong Group Three £65,000 Jardine Lloyd Thompson Huxley Stakes on Thursday, May 5, while two-year-old Where's That Tiger could take part in the opening contest of the meeting, the £20,000-added Joseph Heler Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes over five furlongs.
Clerk of the course Ed Gretton today described the going as Good (7.0 Turftrax). He said: "The course is in wonderful condition with a great covering of grass. It has not been raced on for seven and a half months.
"The forecast says we might receive a little bit of rain before the May Festival begins but the three racedays (Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, May 4 to 6) are predicted at the moment to be dry and pleasant. There are no plans to water but this would change if the going looked like becoming quicker than good to firm."
NEWMARKET PREPARES FOR DUBAWI'S DATE WITH DESTINY
Nineteen horses have been declared today for the £320,000 UltimatePoker.com 2000 Guineas, the first British Classic of the season at Newmarket on Saturday, but all eyes will be on the unbeaten colt, Dubawi. From the only crop of the ill-fated Dubai Millennium, a Classic victory for the mount of Frankie Dettori would be one of the sweetest - perhaps even the sweetest - yet tasted by owner Sheikh Mohammed.
Dubawi has one recent trend to overcome - he is set to go off the shortest priced favourite since Xaar was beaten when odds-on in 1988 and only one favourite has been successful in the last 15 years. That was Zafonic at odds of 5-6 in 1993.
The ground on the Rowley Mile remains Good-to-Firm after Newmarket missed the forecast showers yesterday afternoon. Fine, warm weather is in prospect for the weekend.
Lisa Hancock, Newmarket's Managing Director, said: "With a fantastic weather forecast and temperatures set to hit 21C, we're all set for a memorable UltimatePoker.com Guineas Festival this weekend. It's our biggest meeting of the year and, with over £1m in prize money and the first Classic races of the season, the quality of the racing is going to be of the highest class.
"The word on the streets of Newmarket is that Dubawi will not be beaten and one can sense a growing feeling that we might be going to witness a very special performance here on Saturday. By contrast, the UltimatePoker.com 1000 Guineas looks very open, but no less intriguing for that. There are plenty of potentially top class fillies in the race.
"Though I say it myself, the Rowley Mile looks in tremendous shape, all ready for the electric atmosphere of Guineas weekend when the first champions of the season will emerge. Everyone is welcome to come and experience the Sport of Kings at its absolute best this weekend, here at the Home of Racing."
JOCKEY CLUB RE-ISSUE CHARGES FOR CARTER AND COLEMAN - FIVE OTHERS IMPLICATED
The Jockey Club announced today that the charges in the disciplinary proceedings involving Gary Carter, the jockey, and Christopher Coleman, a disqualified person, have been modified and reissued. It also revealed that a further five individuals, none of whom are licensed by the Jockey Club, face related charges and the prospect of exclusion from racing if found in breach.
A preliminary hearing, at which the future progress of the Inquiry will be considered and a timeframe agreed for the conclusion of the matter, has been arranged for 24th June 2005.
Following the announcement last year that Gary Carter had been charged with breaches of the Rules of Racing regarding his relationship with Christopher Coleman, the Jockey Club gathered further evidence for the inquiry and, in light of legal advice from Counsel, has modified and expanded the charges of the forthcoming disciplinary hearing.
Gary Carter has been notified of the revised charges, which relate to a series of alleged breaches of the Rules, including eight instances of either communicating information about horses he was due to ride which was not publicly available or alternatively aiding and abetting corrupt practices. He is also charged with associating with an excluded person and endeavouring to mislead Jockey Club Officials.
The inquiry will not only examine the conduct of Gary Carter and Christopher Coleman, but also of Dean Coleman (son of Christopher Coleman), Neil Yorke, Stephen Hobbs, Linda Hobbs and James Nash. With the exception of Carter, none of the others are licensed or bound by the Rules of Racing, but if found in breach of the charges, the Disciplinary Panel has the power to exclude them from the sport and make it an offence for licence holders to associate with them.
The Jockey Club's charges allege that on a number of occasions in August and September 2003 Gary Carter communicated information to Coleman about horses he was booked to ride. In doing so, the Jockey Club allege Carter knew, or foresaw as a real possibility, that Christopher Coleman and/or others associated with Coleman would use the information to commit a corrupt practice, namely laying the horses in question to lose with the benefit of undisclosed inside information.
In putting together its case the Jockey Club has had access to the telephone records of licensed individuals and to records of Betfair account holders via the Memorandum of Understanding. The Jockey Club has also gained unprecedented access to telephone records of unlicensed persons through successful applications to the High Court.