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Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Trainer Alan King revealed today that JCB Triumph Hurdle hero Katchit is primed to follow-up in the season’s most valuable juvenile hurdle, the £130,000 Grade One John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (3.10pm) at Aintree on Thursday, April 12.

The extended two-mile contest has been upgraded to Grade One status this season and is one of the highlights on day one of the prestigious three-day John Smith’s Grand National meeting.

King reported: “Katchit will go to Aintree and he’s in very good form. He’s due to work tomorrow (Wednesday) but as things are I’m very happy with him. He holds a Punchestown entry but he was only in there as a back-up”

The diminutive gelding has won six of his seven starts since making a successful hurdles debut with a nine-length defeat of Is It Me at Market Rasen in September and has exceeded King’s expectations in rising to the top of the juvenile hurdling division.

The Barbury Castle handler commented: “I’m totally thrilled with the way he’s progressed this season - amazed really! It’s been a wonderful story.”

Katchit will attempt to emulate Detroit City (2006) and Pollardstown (1979), who are the only horses to have added the John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle to a JCB Triumph Hurdle victory.

King’s charge surged nine lengths clear of the pursuing Liberate for an authoritative win at Cheltenham last time but the trainer will happily settle for a lesser margin of victory in the Liverpool Grade One contest.

He said: “I’ll be over the moon if he wins at Aintree regardless of the distance! He sets the standard for them and I’m pleased with him so we’ll see how he gets on.”

The John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle, first run in 1977, was won in 1999 by Hors La Loi III who had secured the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on his previous start and went on to land the Grade One Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle in 2002.

The John Smith’s Grand National meeting is one of the highlights of the sporting year and offers three days of fantastic entertainment (Thursday, April 12 - Saturday, April 14), the pinnacle of which is the world’s most famous steeplechase, the spectacular £700,000 John Smith’s Grand National.

The great race sees a maximum of 40 horses and riders compete over four and a half miles, jumping 30 fences, in a thrilling display that is watched by an estimated 600 million people worldwide.


Photos and memorabilia will be on display in a special Lester Piggott exhibition

Fifty years on from his first 2000 Guineas victory, Newmarket's most famous resident, Lester Piggott, is looking forward to the day being held in his honour on the NatWest Rowley Mile on Saturday, May 19.

Lester Piggott Day, sponsored by betdirect, will provide an opportunity for his fans across the country to honour the greatest jockey of the modern era and to relive those seven great Guineas victories with Lester on the big screen. Each of the seven races on Lester Piggott Day will be named after his Guineas winners - Crepello (1957 2000 Guineas), Sir Ivor (1968 2000 Guineas), Nijinsky (1970 2000 Guineas), Humble Duty (1970 1000 Guineas), Fairy Footsteps (1981 1000 Guineas), Shadeed (1985 2000 Guineas) and Rodrigo De Triano (1992 2000 Guineas), with the footage of those historic victories being played on the screens prior to each race.

"The names of these races will bring back some great memories for me and for many others," said Lester. "I hope that a lot of people will come along to enjoy the day.

"My first Guineas victory on Crepello was obviously very special. He was a fantastic horse and though he only just won, that was the day he first proved how good he was."

A special exhibition, organised by the National Horseracing Museum and sponsored by betdirect, is being put together for the day. It will be housed in the Eclipse Marquee, close to the Premier Enclosure entrance to the NatWest Rowley Mile, but also accessible to Grandstand & Paddock racegoers. As well as incorporating exhibits from the Museum, it will include many photographs and memorabilia from Lester's own home which he is lending for the occasion - the first time that they will have been seen in public.

Admission to the exhibition will be £2, with every penny being donated at Lester's request to charity. There will be an equal split to Racing Welfare, the Injured Jockeys' Fund and Sir Peter O'Sullevan's Charitable Trust, whose beneficiaries include the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.

In the exhibition marquee, Lester will sign copies of his autobiography during the afternoon. He will also present the trophy for the main race, the betdirect Crepello Heritage Handicap.

A souvenir racecard will contain articles on his seven Guineas winners, pay tribute to his career and contain many photos.

"We hope that some of the jockeys he used to ride against and the trainers he rode for will be present on the day," said Lisa Hancock, Newmarket's Managing Director. "It's going to be wonderful occasion and when I saw Lester last week he was really looking forward to it.

"Anyone who likes their football can rest assured that we will have a big screen on the Hyperion Lawn, accessible to Premier Enclosure and Grandstand & Paddock racegoers, showing live coverage of the FA Cup Final that afternoon."

Charlie McCann, Head of PR for betdirect, said: "It is a privilege for betdirect to sponsor what is sure to be a wonderful raceday at the Home of Racing in honour of Newmarket's favourite son and the sport's greatest ever jockey. Lester Piggott remains a British sporting icon and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to play a small part in honouring the great man as we relive some of his great Guineas victories fifty years on since Crepello's narrow success."

Book online for a 20% discount on admission! Premier Enclosure admission costs £22 (reduced to £17.60 if booked online in advance) and Grandstand & Paddock £14 (reduced to £11.20 booked online in advance). There is a £2.50 booking fee per transaction. Visit www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk or you can ring 01638 675 500 for more information.


Newmarket is putting out a plea to anyone who knows of any footage of Lester's first Guineas winner, Crepello in 1957.

"The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 archives do not have anything from the 1957 Guineas - only his subsequent Derby victory," said Lisa Hancock, Newmarket's Managing Director. "We have the BBC Radio commentary to play out on the day, but if anyone knows of any archive footage, we would be most grateful to hear from them."


A new sponsor and a top-class 73-strong entry are revealed today for what promises to be one of the most exciting races at Punchestown’s 2007 Irish National Hunt Festival.

The EUR110,000 Grade 1 Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle will be backed for the first time by Land Rover Ireland when taking place on Friday, April 27, and the 2m 4f contest could feature a line-up that includes Massini’s Maguire, Wichita Lineman and Ebaziyan, respectively winners of the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle, Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Trainer Noel Meade - who accounts for nine of the 73 entries - today confirmed that Aran Concerto, who finished fifth behind Massini’s Maguire when favourite for the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, could bid to bounce back to form in the Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle with Paul Carberry on board.

“He just didn’t settle and didn’t jump at Cheltenham,” said Meade. “Tony (McCoy) said that he ran very babyish and was never happy. He thought that a faster run race would have suited him better and he suggested that he might have been better suited by the two-mile race.

“The horse seems well and Punchestown is the plan but I haven’t decided yet whether he’ll for the Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle or the two-mile race (vcbet.com Champion Novice Hurdle). We’ll see how it goes closer to the day and what the ground’s like before making a decision.”

Meade could field a big team in the Land Rover Novice Hurdle with Leading Run, Aimatov and Casey Jones all possibles for the Grade 1 event.

“Leading Run may go for the Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle. He’s in good form and seems to be well. He likes good ground and maybe two and a half miles will suit him better than three,” added Meade. “Aitmatov and Casey Jones are in there and are both horses who I think will like the better ground.

“They’ve both finished behind Kazal but he’s a horse who may just be better on softer ground and they might turn it around on better ground.”


Katchit, Liberate, Mobaasher, Punjabi, J’Y Vole, Poquelin, Crookhaven and Financial Reward, the first eight horses home in Cheltenham’s Triumph Hurdle are all among a star-studded 42-strong entry for the EUR110,000 Ballymore Properties Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle at Punchestown on Thursday, April 26.

Gaspara, winner of the Sunderlands Imperial Cup and Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, is another notable entry.

Trainer Charlie Mann today confirmed Mobaasher, who was having only his second start when third in the Triumph Hurdle, on course for Punchestown.

“Mobaasher ran a good race at Cheltenham, I was very happy with that given he’s only had two runs. It was a big ask in the Triumph and he came through it well. His jumping’s getting better and I think he’s going to keep on improving - he’s still very fresh we think he’ll be a Champion Hurdle horse,” said Mann. “He’ll probably go to Aintree and then on to Punchestown. Stellenbosch could also head to Punchestown for the same race.”

Meanwhile Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Ebaziyan is one of 48 entries for the two-mile Grade 1 vcbet.com Champion Novice Hurdle, a EUR110,000 event on Tuesday, April 24.

The top-class entry includes seven horses trained in Britain.

Trainer Michael O’Brien today confirmed that In Compliance is set to return from a lay-off of over four months to contest the Grade 1 Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown on Wednesday, April 25.

The seven-year-old has not raced since winning the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase on December 10 but O’Brien is “hopeful of a big run” in the Guinness Gold Cup.

“At the moment we’re planning to go to the Guinness Punchestown Gold Cup and he seems fine at the minute,” said O’Brien, who trains In Compliance for Punchestown sponsor Sean Mulryan.

“We had a problem with all of the horses before Cheltenham. They weren’t running well and obviously had a touch of something.

“I have no doubts about him staying the trip and the ground wouldn’t be a problem either. We’re hopeful of a big run at Punchestown.”

Charlie Mann today revealed that My Turn Now, who finished sixth in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, is likely to step up in distance and move out of novice company for the Grade 1 Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown on Thursday, April 26.

“My Turn Now ran a good race at Cheltenham, he was staying on up the hill, but Noel (Fehily) is adamant he wants further. So I think he’s crying out for the three miles and he’ll hopefully run in the Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown,” reported Mann.

vcbet.com Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007, 2m, EUR110,000 guaranteed, 5yo+. Weights: 5yo 11st 5lb, 6yo+ 11st 12lb, mares allowed 5lb.

Academy Reward 11-12 Noel Meade
Aitmatov (GER) 11-12 Noel Meade
Aran Concerto 11-12 Noel Meade
Bien Bronze (GB) 11-12 Arthur Moore
Big Zeb 11-12 Colm Murphy
Breaking Silence 11-12 Tom Taaffe
Bywell Beau 11-12 George Charlton GB
Casey Jones 11-12 Noel Meade
Charlie Yardbird 11-12 Noel Meade
Clopf 11-12 Edward O'Grady
Cuan Na Grai 11-12 Paul Nolan
Dancing Hero 11-12 Tom Foley
Davenport Democrat 11-12 Willie Mullins
Davorin (JPN) 11-12 Robbie Burns
De Soto (GB) 11-12 Paul Webber GB
Ebaziyan 11-12 Willie Mullins
Farmer Brown 11-12 Pat Hughes
Hide The Evidence 11-12 Jessica Harrington
Holly Tree 11-12 Eamonn Sheehy
Jack Ingham 11-12 Edward O'Grady
Jog On 11-12 Pat Fahy
Lead On 11-12 Philip Hobbs GB
Lenrey (GB) 11-12 Arthur Moore
Medicinal 11-12 Edward O'Grady
Monty Mint 11-12 Thomas Foley
Moon Over Miami (GB) 11-12 Charlie Mann GB
Ouninpohja 11-12 Paul Nicholls GB
Scotsirish 11-12 Willie Mullins
Shanghide (GB) 11-12 Mouse Morris
Streetshavenoname 11-12 Tom Taaffe
The Sliotar 11-12 Mouse Morris
Tipperary All Star 11-12 Michael Halford
Wins Now (GB) 11-12 Niall Madden
Bad Day Bad Day (GB) 11-11 Jessica Harrington
Danikhali 11-11 Oliver Brady
De Valira 11-11 Michael O'Brien
Glencove Marina 11-11 Willie Mullins
Heavenly Blues (GER) 11-11 Ted Walsh
Jaamid (GB) 11-11 Noel Meade
Orbit O'Gold (USA) 11-11 Noel Meade
Orge D'ete (FR) 11-11 Willie Mullins
Restoration (FR) 11-11 Noel Meade
Rindoon 11-11 Eamonn Sheehy
Sentry Duty (FR) 11-11 Nicky Henderson GB
Sizing Europe 11-11 Henry de Bromhead
Special Envoy (FR) 11-11 Peter Bowen GB
Chomba Womba 11-07 Margaret Mullins
Mill House Girl 11-07 Shane Donohoe
48 Entries, 7 British-trained

Ballymore Properties Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle
Thursday, April 26, 2007, 2m, EUR110,000 guaranteed. Weights: 11st, mares allowed 5lb.

Agamard (GB) 11-00 Michael O'Brien
Alqaab (USA) 11-00 Noel Meade
Altilhar (USA) 11-00 Gary Moore GB
Bahrain Storm 11-00 Pat Flynn
Belord (GER) 11-00 Edward O'Grady
Blackriver Boy (GB) 11-00 Niall Moran
Boss Imperial (FR) 11-00 Lucy Wadham GB
Convincing (GB) 11-00 John Joseph Murphy
Crookhaven (GB) 11-00 John Joseph Murphy
Degas Art 11-00 Howard Johnson GB
Deputy Consort (USA) 11-00 Michael O'Brien
Deutschland (USA) 11-00 Willie Mullins
Duty 11-00 Kevin O'Brien
Earmark (GB) 11-00 T J Arnold
Financial Reward 11-00 Willie Mullins
Is It Me 11-00 Paul Blockley GB
Jayo (FR) 11-00 Willie Mullins
Katchit 11-00 Alan King GB
Katies Tuitor (GB) 11-00 Brendan Duke GB
King’s Head 11-00 Gary Moore GB
Liberate (GB) 11-00 Philip Hobbs GB
Loup Du Saubouas (FR)11-00 Noel Meade
Majestic Concorde 11-00 Dermot Weld
Marsam 11-00 John Joseph Murphy
Mobaasher (USA) 11-00 Charlie Mann GB
Mon Michel 11-00 Gary Moore GB
Phantom Lad 11-00 Jessica Harrington
Poquelin (FR) 11-00 Paul Nicholls GB
Punjabi (GB) 11-00 Nicky Henderson GB
Robin Du Bois (FR) 11-00 Tony Martin
Salute Him 11-00 Tony Martin
Sicilian 11-00 Oliver Brady
Signs Of Love (FR) 11-00 Noel Chance GB
Stellenbosch (USA) 11-00 Charlie Mann GB
Tritonix 11-00 Philip Hobbs GB
Vaqueras (FR) 11-00 Jessica Harrington
Dingle Belle 10-09 Jessica Harrington
Gaspara (FR) 10-09 David Pipe GB
J'y Vole (FR) 10-09 Willie Mullins
Lounaos (FR) 10-09 Eoin Griffin
My Petra (GB) 10-09 Alan King GB
Superjet 10-09 Michael Halford
42 Entries, 17 British-trained

Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)
Friday, April 27, 2007, 2m 4f, EUR110,000 guaranteed, 4yo+. Weights: 4yo 11st 2lb, 5yo 11st 11lb, 6yo+ 11st 12lb, mares allowed 5lb.

Aces Or Better 11-12 Margaret Mullins
Aitmatov (GER) 11-12 Noel Meade
Albanov 11-12 Jessica Harrington
Amstecos 11-12 Brian Hamilton
Aran Concerto 11-12 Noel Meade
Askthemaster 11-12 Robert Tyner
Big ZeB 11-12 Colm Murphy
Black Harry 11-12 Willie Mullins
Breaking Silence 11-12 Tom Taaffe
Bridge Run 11-12 Noel Meade
Casey Jones 11-12 Noel Meade
Charlie Yardbird 11-12 Noel Meade
Crocodile Dundee 11-12 Howard Johnson GB
Cuan Na Grai 11-12 Paul Nolan
Dancing Hero 11-12 Tom Foley
Davenport Democrat 11-12 Willie Mullins
Davorin (JPN) 11-12 Robbie Burns
De Soto (GB) 11-12 Paul Webber GB
Dooneys Gate 11-12 Willie Mullins
Ebaziyan 11-12 Willie Mullins
Fastaffaran 11-12 Lucinda Russell GB
Flying Johnny M 11-12 Michael Hourigan
Gripit N Tipit 11-12 Charlie Swan
Imperial Commander 11-12 Nigel Twiston-Davies GB
Irish Invader 11-12 Willie Mullins
Johnnie Dillinger 11-12 Mouse Morris
Kalderon (GER) 11-12 Tom Hogan
Kazal (FR) 11-12 Eoin Griffin
Kicks For Free 11-12 Paul Nicholls GB
Knocknabooly 11-12 Willie Mullins
Larkwing 11-12 Eric McNamara
Leading Run 11-12 Noel Meade
Lenrey (GB) 11-12 Arthur Moore
Liss Ard 11-12 John Joseph Murphy
Massini’s Maguire 11-12 Philip Hobbs GB
Maxi 11-12 Michael Hourigan
Mendo (GB) 11-12 Noel Chance GB
Oakapple Express (GB) 11-12 Geoff Harker GB
Offaly 11-12 Noel Meade
Optimus Prime 11-12 Liam Burke
Scotsirish 11-12 Willie Mullins
Shanghide (GB) 11-12 Mouse.Morris
Sir Jimmy Shand 11-12 Nicky Henderson GB
Tailor's Hall 11-12 Jessica Harrington
The Sliotar 11-12 Mouse Morris
Tidal Bay 11-12 Howard Johnson GB
Tipperary All Star 11-12 Michael Halford
Treacle 11-12 Tom Taaffe
Wichita Lineman 11-12 Jonjo O’Neill GB
Wins Now (GB) 11-12 Niall Madden
Catch Me (GER) 11-11 Edward O'Grady
Cleni Boy (FR) 11-11 Noel Meade
Glencove Marina 11-11 Willie Mullins
Heavenly Blues (GER) 11-11 Ted Walsh
Heron's Flight 11-11 Noel Meade
Montana Bay (FR) 11-11 Michael O'Brien
Orge D'ete (FR) 11-11 Willie Mullins
Special Envoy (FR) 11-11 Peter Bowen GB
Very Green (FR) 11-11 Dessie Hughes
Candy Girl 11-07 Willie Mullins
Chomba Womba 11-07 Margaret Mullins
Karello Bay (GB) 11-07 Nicky Henderson GB
Rhacophorus (GB) 11-07 Paul Nolan
Shuil Aris 11-07 Paul Nolan
Convincing (GB) 11-02 John Joseph Murphy
Deutschland (USA) 11-02 Willie Mullins
Financial Reward 11-02 Willie Mullins
Jack Absolute 11-02 John Joseph Murphy
Jayo (FR) 11-02 Willie Mullins
Robin Du Bois (FR) 11-02 Tony Martin
Gaspara (FR) 10-11 David Pipe GB
J'y Vole (FR) 10-11 Willie Mullins
My Petra (GB) 10-11 Alan King GB
73 Entries, 15 British-trained

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