The 29th running on Saturday, May 12,of the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle, the first big race of the new 2007/2008 jump season, has today attracted an impressive entry of 32.
Always a very competitive race, the Grade Three Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle carries prize money of £75,000 and is the highlight of a tremendous seven-race programme on Saturday at Haydock Park.
The likely top-weight, when the weights are revealed tomorrow, is Kawagino, fifth in both the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting.
Others high in the weights will be the Alan King-trained Penzance, who dead-heated in the Betfredcasino Hurdle at Sandown at the end of last month, and recent Scottish Champion Hurdle third Premier Dane, who is trained by Nicky Richards.
David Pipe, son of the now-retired record-breaking trainer Martin Pipe who has the best record of any handler in the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle with four victories, appears to have a strong hand in his first attempt at the race. Desert Air, sent chasing last season before reverting to hurdles, is joined by Wise Owl, who will be towards the bottom of the handicap despite winning two of his three last races - the most recent at Chepstow on April 10.
Other trainers with more than one entry in the two-mile showpiece are Philip Hobbs, Gary Moore, John Quinn, Venetia Williams and Howard Johnson.
Hobbs sent out Dreams End to win in 1994 and he can choose from O’Toole and French Saulaie, with the latter appearing to have the best credentials after success at Cheltenham last month.
Moore, who trains on the outskirts of Brighton, has made more entries for Saturday’s race than anybody else. His four are Adopted Hero, successful over course and distance on April 7 in the Joseph Heler Cheese 50th Anniversary Handicap Hurdle, the lightly-raced hurdler Ameeq, Welcome Stranger who is making a comeback, and recent Uttoxeter winner Salut Saint Cloud.
Quinn has his string in fine form and Kings Quay won the 22-runner John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in April, while the stable’s other entry, Leslingtaylor, was successful six times last season.
Williams has tasted success with Milligan in 2001 and she has the consistent sorts, Border Castle and Stan, engaged.
Johnson also has a Betfred Swinton Hurdle win to his credit - Coat Of Honour in 2005 - and could run Astronomic and Gringo, a recent scorer in novice company at Kelso.
Kirkland Tellwright, Haydock Park’s clerk of the course, is delighted with the entries for the day and reported that he has been watering both the hurdle and Flat courses.
He said this afternoon: “We have had some showers today and more are forecast later this week. We have been watering and will continue to do so, while keeping an eye on the weather. The aim is to have the ground good to firm on the Flat and on the easy side of good over hurdles on Saturday.”
The opening race is the £25,000-added betfredcasino Long Distance Handicap Hurdle (1.25pm) over two miles and seven and a half furlongs. This excellent race has an enormous 46-strong entry including possible Irish raider Emmpat who is trained by Charlie Swan and has won his last two races including the Scottish Champion Hurdle.
Aside from the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle (2pm), the other five contests on the May 12 card are on the Flat, with the principal event being the seven-furlong Listed £35,000 Betfredpoker Spring Trophy Stakes (3.05pm), for three-year-olds and upwards who have not won a Group One or Two race after 2005. Tom Tate saddled Welsh Emperor for victory in 2005, while last year the Jeremy Noseda-trained Majors Cast prevailed. There are 24 entries.
Always popular is the £7,500 betfredcasino Flat V Jump Jockeys Handicap (2.35pm) over a mile. This event will feature six top Jump jockeys competing against six high-profile Flat riders, with two horse reserves waiting in the wings to ensure that each team has six contestants. The team element will be emphasised by the jockeys wearing distinguishing caps to identify which squad they represent.
The £17,500-added Text ‘Betfred’ to 83080 for Mobile Betting Conditions Stakes (3.40pm) is run over six furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards who have not won a Pattern race after May 11, 2006. Subsequent Listed scorer One Putra captured this contest 12 months ago.
The seven-race programme on Saturday, May 12, is completed by the Betfred “The Bonus King” Handicap (4.15pm), over six furlongs and the Betfred 690 Shops Nationwide Maiden Stakes (4.45pm) over an extended 10 furlongs.
ORDER OF RUNNING
Time Race Distance Prize Money
* 1.25pm The betfredcasino Long Distance Handicap Hurdle 2m 7 1/2f £25,000
2.35pm The betfredcasino Flat v Jump Jockeys Handicap 1m £7,500
3.05pm The betfredpoker Spring Trophy Stakes (Listed) 7f £35,000
3.40pm The Text ‘Betfred’ to 83080 for Mobile Betting Conditions Stakes 6f £17,500
4.15pm The Betfred ‘The Bonus King’ Handicap 6f £8,500
4.45pm The Betfred 690 Shops Nationwide Maiden Stakes 1m 2f 120yds £4,350
BETFRED SWINTON HURDLE HISTORY
Previous winners of the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle have gone on to be leading performers at the very highest level.
Fred Rimell sent out Royal Gaye to land the inaugural running in 1978, and the following year’s Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle went to the Bob Turnell-trained Beacon Light, who earlier in 1979 had been third to Monksfield and Sea Pigeon in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The same combination of owner Jim Joel, trainer Bob Turnell and jockey Andy Turnell teamed up again for victory with Secret Ballot in 1982.
Rimell gained his second victory in the space of four years when Gaye Chance entered the winner’s enclosure in 1981. Three years later, after Mercy Rimell had taken over the reins from her late husband, Gaye Chance won at the Cheltenham Festival, taking the Stayers’ Hurdle by one and a half lengths from Goldspun while his full-brother Gaye Brief captured the 1983 Champion Hurdle.
The 1984 Haydock Park winner Bajan Sunshine was a versatile performer over hurdles and on the Flat. In addition to winning the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle, he was successful in one of the 1983 Flat season’s major handicaps, the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
The 15-times champion jump trainer Martin Pipe had the first of his four successes with Corporal Clinger in 1985. The master of Nicholashayne also struck with Tragic Hero in 1996 and Rainbow Frontier two seasons later.
Last season, he was officially listed as the trainer of the winner, Acambo, although by then his son David had taken over the training operation. Acambo subsequently landed the valuable Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot in December, 2006.
Inlander gained a famous win for the “handicap king” Reg Akehurst in 1987, while Past Glories, the first of two successive winners for trainer Bill Elsey, in 1988 followed by State Jester in 1989, was another Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle winner to be subsequently placed in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle. He was only beaten three and three quarter lengths into third by Kribensis, despite his 150/1 starting price in the 1990 Cheltenham showpiece.
In 1991 the father/son partnership of Ken and David Bridgwater teamed up for success with the mare Winnie The Witch, who had landed the County Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier in the year.
More recently, Irish trainer Tony Martin launched one of his famous raids on major British prizes when She’s Our Mare was successful in 1999.
Just over two months later Martin returned with She’s Our Mare to the Lancashire course for one of Haydock’s best Flat events, the Old Newton Cup - she came third to Celestial Welcome. Later that year the daughter of Commanche Run captured another of Britain’s major Flat handicaps, the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.
Five years ago Intersky Falcon was successful in the Betfred Swinton Handicap Hurdle for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, who also won the Haydock hurdle as a jockey on the Peter Easterby-trained No Bombs in 1980.
Intersky Falcon went on to win a number of top prizes including two Grade One Christmas Hurdles at Kempton and also came third to Hardy Eustace in the 2004 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
The 2003 renewal was won by the Richard Fahey-trained Altay, who was given a brilliant ride by conditional jockey Padge Whelan to master Patsy Veale by half a length in a tremendous finish.
Macs Joy became the third Irish winner, coming home two and a half lengths clear of Dancing Bay to justify favouritism in 2004. The Jessica Harrington-trained gelding went on to win the Grade One AIG Europe Champion Hurdle in 2005 and was runner-up to Brave Inca in the 2006 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
BETFRED SWINTON HANDICAP HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR
YEAR HORSE AGE/WGT OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY SP RAN
2006 Acambo 5-10-04 David Johnson Martin Pipe Andrew Glassonbury 16/1 21
2005 Coat Of Honour 5 10-0 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson Graham Lee 6/1 11
2004 Macs Joy 5-10-0 Mac’s J Racing Syndicate Jessica Harrington IRE Timmy Murphy 4/1F 19
2003 Altay 6-9-11 R M Jeffs & J Potter Richard Fahey Padge Whelan 13/2 14
2002 Intersky Falcon 5-11-10 Interskyracing.com and Jacqui O’Neill Jonjo O’Neill Liam Cooper 11/2 11
2001 Milligan 6-11-4 George Leatham Venetia Williams Norman Williamson 10/1 23
2000 Mirjan 4-10-6 Miss S Blumberg Len Lungo Tony Dobbin 7/1 22
1999 She’s Our Mare 5-11-8 Denise Reddan Tony Martin IRE David Casey 10/1 22
1998 Rainbow Frontier 4-10-0 Clive Smith Martin Pipe Charlie Swan 10/1 16
1997 Dreams End 9-11-11 T. G. Price Peter Bowen Leighton Aspell 14/1 19
1996 Tragic Hero 4-10-9 Knight Hawks Partnership Martin Pipe David Bridgwater 9/1 19
1995 Chief Minister 6-11-6 Graham Shiel Tom Dyer Peter Hobbs 16/1 13
1994 Dreams End 6-11-4 T. G Price Philip Hobbs Michael Hourigan 10/1 18
1993 Spinning 6-11-0 Paul Mellon Ian Balding Jimmy Frost 3/1 17
1992 Bitofabanter 5-11-1 Mrs. I Loughlane Arthur Moore IRE Tom Taaffe 14/1 22
1991 Winnie The Witch 7-10-2Paddocks Thoroughbred Racing Ltd Ken Bridgwater David Bridgwater 8/1 12
1990 Sybillin 4-10-1 Marquesa de Moratalla Jimmy Fitzgerald Derek Byrne 8/1 14
1989 State Jester 6-10-0 Eric Barber Bill Elsey John Quinn 14/1 18
1988 Past Glories 5-11-9 Noel Hetherton Bill Elsey Paddy Farrell 16/1 23
1987 Inlander 6-10-8 Jeff Daniels Reg Akehurst Steve Smith Eccles 4/1 8
1986 Prideaux Boy 8-11-2 Graham Roach Graham Roach Martin Bowlby 15/2 20
1985 Corporal Clinger 6-10-3 Jay Dee Racing Ltd Martin Pipe Paul Leach 11/2 21
1984 Bajan Sunshine 5-10-13 Paul Green Martin Tate Peter Scudamore 6/1 15
1983 Abandoned due to water logged ground
1982 Secret Ballot 8-10-3 Jim Joel Bob Turnell Andy Turnell 10/1 17
1981 Gaye Chance 6-10-10 Mrs. M Curtis Fred Rimell Sam Morshead 13/2 18
1980 No Bombs 5-10-9 Snailwell Stud Co Ltd Peter Easterby Jonjo O’Neill 7/1 14
1979 Beacon Light 8-11-1 Jim Joel Bob Turnell Andy Turnell 12/1 17
1978 Royal Gaye 5-10-0 Sir John Hanmer Fred Rimell Colin Tinkler 20/1 20
GREAT ENTRY FOR THE TOTESPORT DERBY TRIAL AT LINGFIELD PARK
The totesport Derby Trial has attracted a great 15-strong entry today and all bar three are entered in the Vodafone Derby so Saturday’s race at Lingfield Park will be a true Classic trial.
The race is the chance for the three-year-olds to prove themselves and, at the moment, the most fancied of the entries for the Derby are Arabian Gulf, Metaphoric and Mythical King who are all priced at 33/1 for the Classic by totesport.
Arabian Gulf, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, won a Newmarket 10-furlong maiden last month and is a progressive sort, with the same description applying to Metaphoric who is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Michael Bell and Godolphin’s Mythical Kid who won well on his debut last year and was then beaten a short-head in the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury.
The Group Three totesport Derby Trial (3.15pm), run over nearly 11 and a half furlongs, is one of the most prestigious races of the year at Lingfield Park, with prize money of £60,000.
The trial takes place three weeks before the Vodafone Derby at Epsom Downs, which is perfect timing for three-year-olds to experience an undulating course with so many similarities to Epsom.
Lingfield Park’s totesport Derby Trial has always been known as the most successful of the specialist trial races due to the course’s configurations.
Racing at Lingfield Park is the closest any Derby horse will experience to Epsom - particularly the left-hand downhill bend into the straight.
Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien has entered Archipenko for the totesport Derby Trial and this Kingmambo colt was an impressive winner at Leopardstown in October.
Two trainers, Marcus Tregoning and Terry Mills, have a couple of hopefuls, with the former responsible for Aajel and Aqaleem and the latter for Kid Mambo and Wandle.
Henry Cecil could run recent comfortable Leicester winner Many Volumes, while Mick Channon has Go On Be A Tiger, Mark Johnston is responsible for Hearthstead Maison and Mark Tompkins has entered Yossi.
The three not in the Derby are Clive Brittain’s Karoo Blue, Roger Charlton’s Monzante and Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Striving Storm.
The Listed totepool Oaks Trial (2.40pm) is worth £50,000, while the supporting card includes the Group Three £50,000 totesport.com Chartwell Fillies Stakes (3.45pm), bringing the prize money on the day to a grand total of £200,000.
In recent times, User Friendly (1992), Lady Carla (1996) and Ramruma (1999) have all won the totepool Oaks Trial at Lingfield before going on to victory at Epsom Downs.
Again all except three of the 12 entries are in Vodafone Oaks. The Classic hopes are All My Loving, Brisk Breeze, Elyaadi, Folk Opera, Gull Wing, Nell Gwyn, Penang, Shimoni and Sunlight.
Folk Opera, handled by Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer, won a 10-furlong Newbury maiden in good style last month and Saturday gives her the chance to make her name. She is priced at 16/1 for the Vodadone Oaks by totesport.
Kate Hills, Head of Public Relations at Arena Leisure, commented today:” The parasols and flags will be out for the busy summer season at Lingfield Park with Pimms on the lawn and champagne corks popping.
“The Lingfield Derby and Oaks trials are here again and summer racing really begins on Saturday, May 12. The entries are excellent and we are looking forward to the three-year-olds who run well going to attempt Classic glory.
“The tote is once again extending its generous support to both the Derby and the Oaks Trials, plus two other valuable races, and it should be a great day.”
■ Premier Enclosure £25 on the gate or £20 if pre-booked on line or by telephone www.lingfieldpark.co.uk Tel: 0870 2200022
■ Grandstand Enclosure £17 on the day
■ Accompanied Children under 16 FREE
■ Parking FREE
2007 Race Programme - Saturday, May 12
* 2.10 The totescoop6 Conditions Stakes 1m 2f £20,000
* 3.15 The totesport Derby Trial Stakes (Class 1 Group 3) 1m 3 1/2f £60,000
* 3.45 The totesport.com Chartwell Fillies Stakes (Class 1 Group 3) 7f £50,000
4.20 The lingfieldpark.co.uk Maiden Stakes 1m 2f £5,000
4.50 The CPG 21st Anniversary Handicap 6f £10,000
5.20 The OCS Group Ladies Handicap (Lady Amateur Riders) 7f £5,000
* Live on Channel 4
All races to be shown on At The Races, Sky 415
Total prize fund on the day - £200,000
Lingfield Derby Trial History
Roll of Honour
Year Winner SP Jockey Trainer Owner
2006 Linda’s Lad 15/8F Christophe Soumillon Andre Fabre FR Sean Mulryan
2005 Kong 9/2 Richard Quinn John Dunlop Neil Jones
2004 Percussionist 11/4 Frankie Dettori John Gosden Exors of the late Robert Sangster
2003 Franklins Gardens 5/1 Darryll Holland Mark Tompkins Maggie Barwell
2002 Bandari 11/4 Kevin Darley Mark Johnston A Al-Rostamani
2001 Perfect Sunday 11/8F Richard Hughes Barry Hills Khalid Abdulla
2000 Saddler's Quest 10/3F Kevin Darley Gerard Butler The Fairy Story Partnership
1999 Lucido 3/1 Richard Quinn John Dunlop Hildegarde Focke
1998 High-Rise 15/8 Frankie Dettori Luca Cumani Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum
1997 Silver Patriarch 5/4F Pat Eddery John Dunlop Peter Winfield
1996 Mystic Knight 4/1 Frankie Dettori Roger Charlton Lady Oppenheimer
1995 Munwar 5/6F Willie Carson Peter Walwyn Hamdan Al Maktoum
1994 Hawker's News 5/1 Walter Swinburn Sir Michael Stoute Sheikh Mohammed
During the 74-year history of the Lingfield Park Derby Trial, the race has cemented its position as the most successful of all the specialist trial races - hardly surprising when you consider that Lingfield's configurations are the closest any Derby horse will experience to the unique undulations of Epsom.
The trial was the brainchild of Fred Wilmot, who was clerk of the course in 1932 and obviously saw the similarities between Lingfield racecourse and its Surrey neighbour.
Wilmot could hardly have dreamed of a better start when the first winner that year, April The Fifth, who was owned and trained by actor Tom Walls, stormed home by two lengths from Firdaussi and went on to confirm the form at Epsom, landing the spoils in the Derby by three quarters of a length with his old Lingfield rival back in fifth.
It took just five years for the trial to produce another dual winner when Mid-day Sun won both races by a length and a half. After a 15-year barren spell, Lingfield was back among the Derby winners in the shape of the Aga Khan's brilliant colt Tulyar, who won seven out of seven during 1952. He hacked up in the Lingfield Park Derby Trial by an easy two lengths before battling tenaciously to win at Epsom from Gay Tune, who was ridden by a 16-year-old whippersnapper named Lester Piggott.
Following Parthia's win in both races in 1959, the Derby Trial went through something of a lean time, but there was a huge upturn in fortunes at the start of the 1980s and the race enjoyed a golden period.
Teenoso stopped the rot in 1983, winning the Derby Trial and the 'big one' by three lengths but his efforts were overshadowed two years later by the great Slip Anchor - surely the best-ever winner of the Lingfield trial. Henry Cecil's colt, partnered by the brilliant American Steve Cauthen, astonished the Lingfield crowd when sluicing to victory by 10 lengths and then went on to land the Blue Riband impressively at Epsom by seven lengths. Only the legendary Shergar has won the Derby by a wider margin in the modern era.
The Luca Cumani-trained Khayasi made it three Derby winners in six years in 1988 for the Lingfield Park trial, giving the present Aga Khan a Lingfield Derby Trial/Derby double. Cumani clearly appreciated the benefit of providing a Derby hopeful experience on a very similar circuit as he did exactly the same thing 10 years later with High-Rise, who was made to work really hard for both victories, landing the trial by a neck then scraping home by a head in the Derby.
The 2005 Lingfield Park Derby Trial runner-up, Walk In The Park, also came second in the Epsom Downs Classic.
Over the years, the Lingfield Park Derby Trial has been responsible for producing plenty of star performers and looks set to do so for many years to come. Aureole (won the Coronation Cup, Hardwicke Stakes and King George, also second in the Derby), Cacoethes (Derby runner-up), Rock Hopper (multiple Group winner), Bob's Return (St Leger winner) and Silver Patriarch (Derby runner-up and St Leger winner) are just a few of the top-class racehorses who clearly appreciated starting off their three-year-old campaigns at Lingfield Park.
LONGINES ANNOUNCED AS ASCOT'S OFFICIAL TIMEKEEPER
Ascot is delighted to welcome the Swiss watchmaking brand Longines on board as 'Official Timekeeper' for all Ascot flat races, including those at the Royal Meeting, in an arrangement set to run until the end of the 2009 flat season.
The time of each race, accompanied by the Longines logo, will appear on both BBC and At The Races screens. The Longines partnership also includes Longines clock placement around the racecourse for the flat season and involvement in the Royal Ascot Fashion Show, taking place for the first time this year in the Bessborough Restaurant on all five days of the Royal Meeting.
Longines has been present in equestrian sport since 1926 and is the official timekeeper for the Super League CSIO in Europe, the Arab League in the Middle East and partner to the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in Australia.
As the brand, known for its elegance and tradition, celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, and launches a new sports collection, this partnership with Ascot comes at a truly opportune time.
Janet Walker, Acting Chief Executive at Ascot, said:
"We're delighted to be partnering with Longines as official timekeeper to Ascot in an agreement which is set to run for three years initially.
"As well as developing close brand associations, we hope to build on the information we are able to provide to racegoers in due course, with the possibility of sectional timings in the future to add to the official winning time, which will appear on BBC and ATR screens from Royal Ascot."