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Friday, April 20, 2007


Aintree Racecourse, which had to abandon the last race on Grand National day, will stage a replacement worth £30,000 at its evening fixture on Friday, May 18.

The contest will have the same title, the John Smith’s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, thanks to continued support from the Grand National sponsor John Smith’s as well as the Levy Board.

The original race, due to be run as the seventh race on Grand National day, Saturday, April 14, was abandoned because Graphic Approach, who ran in the big race, was still being treated on the course.

Graphic Approach, who was subsequently taken to the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital at Leahurst for further assessment, is on the way to a full recovery.

Charles Barnett, Aintree Racecourse’s managing director, commented: "The welfare of the horse is always our number one priority and the abandonment of the last race on April 14 was the right decision.

"We apologised at the time to the owners and trainers who had horses in the abandoned event and have been working hard since to stage a replacement at Aintree’s next fixture on May 18.

"This has now been agreed and we want to give connections of horses as much notice as possible of the replacement race which I am sure will be well supported."

The John Smith’s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (8.55pm) is additional to the scheduled programme on May 18, meaning there will now be seven races during the evening, with the first off at the earlier time of 5.35pm.

The conditions of the race are similar to the original, although it will not carry Grade Two status and the penalty structure has changed, with a winner of a National Hunt Flat race or an Irish NH Flat race carrying 4lb extra or two or more such races 7lb extra.


Salisbury’s 2007 season kicks off with its tremendously popular ‘Family Fun Day’ on Sunday, May 6, and if the last few years are anything to go by, the opening day crowd will be in for a thrilling day’s racing.

The feature race on the seven-race card (televised live on Channel 4) is the six-furlong £20,000 totesport.com Handicap, which was won in scintillating style last year by Bentong, who broke the course record on his way to a convincing three-length success.

In 2005, the same contest provided a truly memorable finish as Goodricke and Resplendent Glory passed the post together, with the judge subsequently being unable to split the pair. Goodricke went on to capture the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock, while Resplendent Glory was later successful in Group Three company at Sandown.

Royal Ascot clues aplenty were also to be found at last year’s opening day fixture as Gilded, who landed the totequadpot Fillies’ Conditions Stakes, and Snoqualmie Boy, victorious in the totesport 0800 221 221 Handicap, went on to take the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes and the Listed Hampton Court Stakes respectively.

Gilded’s handler, Richard Hannon, ended up as the top trainer at Salisbury in 2006 with 10 wins to his name, while Ryan Moore’s nine victories at Salisbury last year made him the leading rider at the course and helped him to become champion Flat jockey for the first time.

In addition to the exciting action on the track, there will plenty of other activities to keep the whole family entertained at Salisbury, with a bouncy castle, face painting, a penalty shoot out and children’s show ‘Ticklish Allsorts’ to choose from. A creche will also be in operation for the meeting.

A giant screen will broadcast the racing action live to racegoers, who can find plenty of winners with the aid of a full-colour racecard.

There is plenty to look forward to at Salisbury this season, with 16 racedays throughout the year, including the two-day ‘Salisbury Splendour - Summer Festival’ on Wednesday and Thursday, August 15 and 16, which features the Group Three totesport.com Sovereign Stakes and the Listed EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes.

Both prizes went the way of Godolphin in 2006, with Belenus taking the former event in clear-cut fashion from Notability, and Pictavia landing the fillies’ contest in similarly impressive manner.

Salisbury has long been known as a breeding ground for future champions - indeed the legendary Brigadier Gerard tasted victory at the track as a juvenile in 1970 before going on to establish himself as one of the greats of the turf.

Since then, a host of top performers have made their name at the Wiltshire course, among them 2006 Epsom Derby hero Sir Percy, triumphant at Salisbury on his second start during an unbeaten two-year-old campaign.

One of the most exciting juveniles to appear at Salisbury last year was the Paul Cole-trained Strategic Prince, successful on his racecourse debut in May, who went on to land a brace of Group Two wins in the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He holds entries in both the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby.

Yazamaan, another Epsom Derby entry, scored at the track in August to finish his first season undefeated, while Caldra progressed from his course victory the same month to later notch an impressive three-timer, culminating with a devastating five-length romp in the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Ascot.

The new season at Salisbury on Sunday, May 6, starts with the six-furlong £7,500 toteplacepot Maiden Stakes (1:45pm), followed by the most valuable race of the day, the £20,000 totesport.com Handicap (2:15pm) over six furlongs.

Race three on the card is the £10,000 totequadpot Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (2:55pm), over five furlongs, and the action also includes the 10-furlong £8,000 totesport 0800 221 221 Handicap (3:30pm), the 12-furlong £7,500 toteexacta Maiden Stakes (4:05pm) and the £16,000 totesportcasino.com Handicap (4:40pm) over a mile and six furlongs.

Closing the day's action is the £5,000 Bathwick Tyres Lady Riders' Series Handicap (5.15pm), run over seven furlongs. This is the first race of seven in the Series shared between Salisbury and Newbury. Bathwick Tyres also sponsor the £12,000 Bathwick Tyres Fillies Handicap at Salisbury on Thursday 17th May, shown live on Channel 4.

Ticket prices for Salisbury’s first meeting of 2007 are Members’ Enclosure £18, Tattersalls Enclosure £11 and Course Enclosure £6. Accompanied children under 16 get in free in any enclosure. Tickets can now be booked online and there is a 10% discount when tickets are booked in advance at www.salisburyracecourse.co.uk

Salisbury’s first fixture of the season, over the May Bank Holiday weekend, is traditionally very popular and racegoers are advised to arrive early to avoid the traffic. Free car parking is available at Salisbury throughout the year.

Jeremy Martin, Clerk of the Course at Salisbury, said: "We are very much looking forward to the new Flat season here at Salisbury and the ever-popular Family Fun Day on Sunday, May 6, is a terrific way to get proceedings underway.

"Last season saw some fantastic racing at Salisbury, with the likes of Strategic Prince and Gilded staking their claim for future greatness, and I am sure that a whole host of exciting prospects will be unearthed at the course in the coming months."

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