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Thursday, April 5, 2007


Cheltenham Racecourse today announced that it will be celebrating the ‘birthday’ of champion racehorse and three-time Gold Cup winner, Arkle, during its forthcoming meeting# on 18th and 19th April.

“Arkle was born at Ballymacoll Stud in Ireland on 19th April, 1957, and, given his unique place in Jump racing’s history and his wonderful record at Cheltenham, it is a happy coincidence that we are racing on the 50th anniversary of his birth,” said Andy Clifton, Cheltenham’s Communications Manager.

“His first Gold Cup encounter with defending champion Mill House in 1964 was truly one of the races of the 20th century. Such was the anticipation on both sides of the Irish Sea that the racecourse management even had to move the race to a Saturday for the first (and only) time, to make sure that as many people as possible could watch the race on the BBC!”

Racegoers will be invited to assemble around the Arkle statue at 1.30pm and raise a glass to the memory of the horse. There are a number of vouchers being distributed locally to allow 500 racegoers on the day to claim a pint of Guinness for only 8p - the price it was 50 years ago.

Arkle ran 35 times, winning 27 of his races.

He was owned by Anne, Duchess of Westminster and trained by Tom Dreaper in Ireland. Pat Taaffe rode him in all 26 of his races over fences, winning 22 of them.

Arkle ran six times at Cheltenham as follows:

17th November 1962 - Honeybourne Chase, 2m 4f;
Won by 20 lengths, SP 11/8 Fav

12th March 1963 - Broadway Chase, 3m;
Won by 20 lengths, SP 4/9 Fav

7th March 1964 - Gold Cup, 3m 2f 130yds;
Won by 5 lengths from Mill House, SP 7/4 2nd Fav

12th December 1964 - Massey-Ferguson Gold Cup, 2m 5f;
Finished 3rd beaten 1 length and a short head by Flying Wild (who carried 10st 6lb) and Buona Notte (who carried 10st 12lb). Arkle carried 12st 10lb, SP 8/11 Fav

11th March 1965 -Gold Cup, 3m 2f 76yds;
Won by 30 lengths from Mill House, SP 30/100 Fav

17th March 1966 - Gold Cup, 3m 2f 76yds;
Won by 30 lengths from Dormant, SP 1/10 Fav


Co Kildare handler Tom Taaffe has revealed that Slim Pickings will become his first ever runner in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree in nine days time.

The talented eight-year-old, previously handled by Robert Tyner, for whom his biggest success came in a Grade Three novice chase at Punchestown last season, was making only his second start for Taaffe when running a fine fifth behind Idole First in the Grade Three Racing Post Plate, over two miles and five furlongs, at Cheltenham on March 15.

Taaffe, who trained the 2005 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kicking King, said today: “Slim Pickings is bang on course for the John Smith’s Grand National and is in super form. He has come out of Cheltenham terribly well. This morning he schooled over some Aintree-type fences under Barry Geraghty, who will ride him in the National.

“We’ll only find out on the day if he’ll enjoy the big fences, but he strikes me as the type who will enjoy the track at Aintree. The trip is another thing that we won’t know about until we try it, but I am hopeful on that score.

“He has lots of pace and travelled like the winner at Cheltenham coming down the hill. They say Aintree is the place for a two and a half mile horses, so we’ll find out if that’s correct.

“The ground at Aintree does not concern me because I know they are watering to ensure that the going is not too quick. Genuine good ground is probably what he wants.”

Although Slim Pickings fell at the final fence in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in January on his first outing for Taaffe - the second fall of his racing career - his trainer is not unduly concerned heading to Liverpool on Saturday week.

He continued: “Aintree is a law unto itself and anything can happen, but on the whole our fellow is a good jumper, and we have been happy with the way he has jumped since he’s been here.

“Slim Pickings will be my first ever National runner, but you have to do things for the first time. I had never had a runner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup until I ran Kicking King!

“The horse suits the race and has a lovely racing weight off 10st 8lb. We run a professional outfit and that’s why he’s going for the race. We wouldn’t be travelling over unless we felt he had a chance, and if you’re not in, you can’t win.”

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.

Class 1, Grade 3, £700,000 total Prize Fund. Aintree, Saturday, April 14. For six-year-olds old and upwards which are allotted a rating of 110 or more by the Senior BHB Jumps Handicapper following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 11, 2007. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at January 31, 2007, may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances to February 11, 2007, would merit a minimum rating of 110. To qualify horses must have run at least three times in Steeple Chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Turf Authority up to and including February 11, 2007. At the Handicapper's discretion such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the Senior BHB NH Handicapper shall be final. No penalties after publication of the weights. Entries closed January 31, entries revealed February 1 (119 entries), weights revealed February 13, first forfeit stage March 6 (106 remained), second forfeit stage March 27 (81 remain). Six-day confirmation stage April 9, final declaration stage 10.00am, April 12. Form figures supplied by Wetherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Wednesday, April 4, 2007.

Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
04222-50 HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) 11-11-12 Trevor Hemmings Willie Mullins IRE
1135-1140 FORGET THE PAST 9-11-09 Sean Mulryan Michael O'Brien IRE
1222-565 FOTA ISLAND (IRE) 11-11-09 J P McManus Mouse Morris IRE
P/411P-1 EUROTREK (IRE) 11-11-08 Paul Green Paul Nicholls
243-53420 L'AMI (FR) 8-11-08 J P McManus Francois Doumen FR
11151-16 STATE OF PLAY 7-11-08 William and Angela Rucker Evan Williams
2643-344 MONKERHOSTIN (FR) 10-11-06 Martin St Quinton Philip Hobbs
P63-22U30 ARMATURK (FR) 10-11-05 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
14/3F-2520 THISTHATANDTOTHER (IRE) 11-11-05 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
410U-513 BILLYVODDAN (IRE) 8-11-04 Trevor Hemmings Henry Daly
B4431-404 NUMBERSIXVALVERDE (IRE) 11-11-03 Bernard Carroll Martin Brassil IRE
324-26UU IDLE TALK (IRE) 8-11-02 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain Jnr
F00-65036 ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) 10-11-01 Clive Smith Paul Nicholls
3/-0FP10F CLOUDY BAYS (IRE) 10-11-00 Cloudy Bay Syndicate Charles Byrnes IRE
1F22300 KNOWHERE (IRE) 9-10-13 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
211UU-3P00 BOLD BISHOP (IRE) 10-10-12 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
06-10302P2 KELAMI (FR) 9-10-12 Halewood International Ltd Francois Doumen FR
1-P04B133 POINT BARROW (IRE) 9-10-12 Mrs P Clune Hughes Pat Hughes IRE
124420-P CELTIC SON (FR) 8-10-11 David Johnson David Pipe
11-52611 SIMON 8-10-11 Mercy Rimell John Spearing
U20P5P0 BALLYCASSIDY (IRE) 11-10-09 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen
313-6FP CLAN ROYAL (FR) 12-10-09 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
1125-130 GALLANT APPROACH (IRE) 8-10-09 Byrne Bros (Formwork) Limited Charles Egerton
50442250 LIVINGSTONEBRAMBLE (IRE) 11-10-09 Favourites Racing Willie Mullins IRE
110-0F251 DUN DOIRE (IRE) 8-10-08 Dunderry Racing Syndicate Tony Martin IRE
F-F60P00 INNOX (FR) 11-10-08 J P McManus Francois Doumen FR
0410-010 KANDJAR D'ALLIER (FR) 9-10-08 Let's Live Racing Alan King
2-33P3F5 SLIM PICKINGS (IRE) 8-10-08 Doubtful Five Syndicate Tom Taaffe IRE
540-232 ZABENZ (NZ) 10-10-08 Michael Watt Philip Hobbs
236P-420 BEWLEYS BERRY (IRE) 9-10-07 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
2P063403 GROUND BALL (IRE) 10-10-07 J P McManus Charlie Swan IRE
P146/0-1 LONGSHANKS 10-10-07 Alan Halsall Kim Bailey
5115UP BOTHAR NA (IRE) 8-10-06 Mrs Michael O'Dwyer Willie Mullins IRE
2163-53U GRAPHIC APPROACH (IRE) 9-10-06 Mr & Mrs Peter Orton Charles Egerton
233-0F11 HOMER WELLS (IRE) 9-10-06 Margaret McMahon Willie Mullins IRE
U5014-400 LIBERTHINE (FR) 8-10-06 Robert Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson
1/4PPF-0242 SILVER BIRCH (IRE) 10-10-06 Brian Walsh (Co Kildare) Gordon Elliott IRE
1312-452 OSSMOSES (IRE) 10-10-05 Don Forster Don Forster
BP21P6-0 PHILSON RUN (IRE) 11-10-05 Gale Force One Nick Williams
0/60-5520P PUNTAL (FR) 11-10-05 Terry Neill David Pipe
3-41R21PP THE OUTLIER (IRE) 9-10-05 P J Murphy Venetia Williams
2000-0440 TIKRAM 10-10-05 Mike Charlton And Rodger Sargent Alan King
132P0-50F2 GARVIVONNIAN (IRE) 12-10-04 Angela Long Ned Mitchell IRE
U2-41061 MCKELVEY (IRE) 8-10-04 N Elliott Peter Bowen
0411530P NAUNTON BROOK 8-10-04 David Langdon Nigel Twiston-Davies
0F5P-2U IRIS ROYAL (FR) 11-10-03 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Henderson
U0-000402 JACK HIGH (IRE) 12-10-03 Brenda Ross M McShane D Montgomery W Moore Ted Walsh IRE
11PP0-5120 SONEVAFUSHI (FR) 9-10-03 Brian Dice Venetia Williams
4006-001 JOES EDGE (IRE) 10-10-02 Chemipetro Limited Ferdy Murphy
2UU-0043 LE DUC (FR) 8-10-02 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
2SR550-33 RISK ACCESSOR (IRE) 12-10-02 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
PS3344402 DUNBRODY MILLAR (IRE) 9-10-01 Dundon Else Partnership Peter Bowen
1-U2P00551 UNDENIABLE 9-10-01 Keith Nicholson Sue Smith
33-035244 A NEW STORY (IRE) 9-10-00 Storey's Over Syndicate Michael Hourigan IRE
11222-F50 HAKIM (NZ) 13-10-00 T N Siviter John Spearing
51-050650 JOUEUR D'ESTRUVAL (FR) 10-10-00 Violet O'Leary Willie Mullins IRE
00-12100 LOU DU MOULIN MAS (FR) 8-10-00 The Eight Amigos Racing Syndicate Paul Nicholls
04400200 SYBELLIUS D'ARTAIX (FR) 7-10-00 Fergus Wilson P T J Murphy
51P-0000P G V A IRELAND (IRE) 9-9-13 Exors Of The Late Donal O'Buachalla Francis Flood IRE
F111-000 IVOIRE DE BEAULIEU (FR) 11-9-13 I Todd, F Murphy, C Leigh, S Holman Ferdy Murphy
0215360F MARBLE GARDEN (USA) 6-9-13 Fergus Wilson P T J Murphy
3136B220 COWBOYBOOTS (IRE) 9-9-12 David Gower Lawrence Wells
P1554U000 IRON MAN (FR) 6-9-12 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen
202-1542 PARSONS LEGACY (IRE) 9-9-12 R A S Offer Philip Hobbs
0501-PP0 THE BANDIT (IRE) 10-9-11 Richard Lavelle Emma Lavelle
16-660P206 DUBLIN HUNTER (IRE) 11-9-10 Woodlawn Racing Syndicate Dessie Hughes IRE
1331//1P-P FAIR PROSPECT 11-9-10 D G Pryde Lucinda Russell
0F-263P JUST IN DEBT (IRE) 11-9-10 Gill and Bill Hazeldean Martin Todhunter
00-043PP0 IRIS BLEU (FR) 11-9-09 Martin Pipe David Pipe
40-P40P6 MODEL SON (IRE) 9-9-06 P J Hughes Developments Ltd Alison Thorpe
51P0/-PP SOLARIUS (FR) 10-9-06 Fergus Wilson David Pipe
3PP-00P5 KORELO (FR) 9-9-05 Phil Dukes Steve Gollings
13/1P6/-P MARK THE MAN (IRE) 10-9-03 J P McManus Noel Meade IRE
10/0/UPP-3PP EXIT SWINGER (FR) 12-9-02 Sandicroft Stud Richard Ford
R0032PP DAUPHIN DES CARRES (FR) 9-9-01 Prof Judith Wilson David Pipe
U00/-16U3P RIDE THE STORM (IRE) 10-9-01 Nelius Hayes Edward O'Grady IRE
220-333P2 ESPOIR DU BOCAGE (FR) 12-8-11 J E & T E Wilson Michael Scudamore
02124503 SHANNON'S PRIDE (IRE) 11-8-11 JAS Partnership Richard Guest
63-31354 THEATRE KNIGHT (IRE) 9-8-11 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
01P-P114P BANG AND BLAME (IRE) 11-8-10 Edward Wilkin Mick Easterby
24U-PPPP HEROS COLLONGES (FR) 12-8-06 Andy Peake Norma Macauley

81 entries remain after March 27 forfeit stage
21 Irish-trained
3 French-trained


Enda Bolger is on the brink on winning his 10th La Touche Cup in as many years and will field an extremely strong team for the historic spectacle, which will be sponsored for the first time by the Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort. The Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort Cross Country Steeplechase for the La Touche Cup takes place on Thursday, April 26, day three of the Irish National Hunt Festival and is worth €40,000 (Euros). It is run over four miles and two furlongs of the infamous Punchestown banks course.

Staying calm ahead of attempting to his 10th win in the race, Bolger commented, “The pressure is on now. I have to win this one and I'm going to throw the kitchen sink at it in terms of runners!

“Not only for sentimental reasons, but it's now worth €40,000 (Euros) which cannot be sniffed at.

“Its great to have a new sponsor of the La Touche and it just proves how popular cross country racing has remained and become over the years.”

Bolger intends to run the multiple cross country winner Spotthedifference in the Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort Cross Country Steeplechase for the La Touche Cup along with Abrahams Ridge, winner of the DNG Ladies Cup at the Punchestown Festival in 2006 and Darby Wall, who finished third in the Kim Muir at this years Cheltenham Festival.

Silver Birch, second in the cross country race at Cheltenham and currently only 25/1 for the Grand National, is also a likely runner in the Avon Ri sponsored race as is Le Duc, third in the Cheltenham equivalent.

Dick O'Sullivan, announcing Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort's new sponsorship of the La Touche, commented: “It will be a real feat if Enda can win this race for the 10th time in a row and I'm sure that this race will be a highlight of an incredibly competitive racing week.

“Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort's sponsorship of this race is so generous and it is very fitting that we keep such a traditional race with local sponsors. I have no doubt that they will gain maximum exposure from this race and we are all rooting for Enda to win.”

Royston Brady of the Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort commented: “We are thrilled to be involved in a race which characterizes all that is great in Punchestown and National Hunt racing in general, the atmosphere here at the Avon Ri on Punchestown week is really something to be experienced and we are delighted to have such a close relationship with Punchestown.”

The Avon Ri Corporate and Leisure Resort is a wonderfully unique holiday, sporting and event resort, spectacularly located on the shores of the Blessington Lakes in Co. Wicklow only 40 minutes from Dublin city centre and five minutes from Punchestown.

The Irish National Hunt Festival takes place at Punchestown from April 24th - 27th and features 11 Grade One races and € 2.56 m (Euros) in prize money. General admission is € 30 (Euros) and reserved enclosure tickets are on sale at € 40 (Euros).


G4 will still be opening the inaugural Newmarket Festival with an open-air classical concert on Newmarket's July Course on Tuesday, July 10, despite today's announcement that they are to split.

G4 will be fulfilling all of their summer tour commitments including the classical concert evening at Newmarket's July Course on Tuesday, July 10. G4 management have confirmed that the band will be splitting but not until after their summer tour, making the Newmarket event one of the last opportunities to see the boys in concert.

Tickets priced from £25 can be booked online at www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk or by calling 01638 675 500.

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

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