Tuesday, May 15, 2012
EUROPE’S FINEST CROSS COUNTRY HORSES GO HEAD TO HEAD IN THE FOURTH LEG OF THE CRYSTAL CUP SERIES IN FRANCE ON THURSDAY
Six Challengers From Britain And Ireland
Some of Britain and Ireland’s finest cross country horses will meet in the Prix Anjou-Loire Challenge (6.45pm local time) at Lion-d’Angers Racecourse in France on Thursday, May 17.
The longest cross country race in the world, run over four miles, four and a half furlongs and worth 112,000 euros, is the fourth contest in the Crystal Cup European Cross Country Challenge for 2012.
The French race has attracted six Irish and British runners including the winner of the La Touche Cup at the Punchestown Festival in April, the Willie Mullins-trained Uncle Junior, who is the mount of Emmet Mullins. The third that day, Saddlers Storm from Tony Martin’s yard, received 14lb and was beaten just over four lengths, but is taking on the winner again, this time off level weights, with Paul Carberry in the saddle again.
Also lining up are the first four in the second leg of the Crystal Cup series at Fontainebleau, France, over three miles and six furlongs on April 4. Maljimar, trained by Nick Williams in Devon and ridden by James Reveley, beat Quezac De La Roche (Francois Cottin) by a length and a half, with Quetzal Bay (Christian Le Galliard) and L’Aubergiste (Jean Luc Guillochon) third and fourth respectively. Reveley partners Maljimar again.
The three other British and Irish runners include the second and third in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at The Festival in March - A New Story (trained by Michael Hourigan & ridden by Adrian Heskin) and Wedger Pardy (Kim Bailey) with leading amateur Oliver Greenall taking the ride
Ireland was successful in this race in 2010, thanks to Another Jewel, trained by Denis Murphy, and the 10-year-old, only seventh last year, lines up for a third time. Davy Russell, recently crowned champion jump jockey in Ireland, takes over the ride.
A field of 17 is due to line up in the Prix Anjou-Loire Challenge, with last year’s winner Chriseti (Etienne Leenders) going for back-to-back victories.
The Crystal Cup was a new initiative developed in 2010 to bring together the finest international horses and riders to reward the most successful stable in cross country steeple chasing. The 10-race series, with nearly 700,000 euros in prize money, is hosted by many of Europe’s premier racecourses, over unique combinations of hedges, banks, ditches and timber. This year’s Challenge began in Pau in South West France in February and the final race is at Cheltenham in December. The series consists of four further races in France and visits to Ireland, Belgium, Italy and to the Czech Republic for the Velka Pardubika.
Nick Williams is currently the leading trainer of the series following a win with Maljimar at Fontainebleau and fifth at Punchestown with Shalimar Fromentro. Nick’s wife and assistant trainer Jane is currently the leading owner.
Points are awarded to the first six horses to finish in each of the 10 races, with bonus points awarded to horses that have travelled from abroad to take part. To be eligible to win the series, competitors must participate in a minimum of three Crystal Cup races during the year, including at least two outside their country of training.
The Crystal Cup series culminates at Cheltenham Racecourse where the leading trainer and owner of the series will be awarded the Crystal Cup and share €35,000 in prize money.
For more information about the Crystal Cup, please visit www.crystalcup.org
TRAINERS LEADERBOARD after PUNCHESTOWN
1 Nick Williams 16.0
2 Pat Quinton 9.0
3 F M Cottin 7.5
4 W P Mullins 6.5
5 J Follain 6.0
5 P Cottin 6.0
6 A J Martin 5.0
OWNERS LEADERBOARD after PUNCHESTOWN
Mrs J Williams 16.0
Ecurie des Dunes 9.0
G Laroche 7.0
Mrs M McMahon 6.0
M Pigaut 6.0
J Follain 6.0
SCHEDULE FOR THE CRYSTAL CUP 2012
THE DECLARED RUNNERS – PRIX ANJOU-LOIRE CHALLENGE - THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2012 – All carry 68 kilos except for Roselaine 66 kilos, 4m 4f 110y
Horse Trainer Jockey
1) Chriseti E Leenders W Denuault
2) Phakos P Cottin D Cottin
3) Piter Rochelais P Quinton J Blandamour
4) Puncho P Quinton J Zuliani
5) Another Jewel D P Murphy IRE D Russell
6) Quezac De La Roche F-M Cottin D Berra
7) Silver Whisper A Le Clerc N Moisson
8) Quetzal Bay C Le Galliard O Jouin
9) Red Blood E Lecoiffier S Zuliani
10) Wedger Pardy K Bailey GB Mr O Greenall
11) Star De Livet E Leray S Paillard
12) Saddlers Storm A J Martin IRE P Carberry
13) Uncle Junior W P Mullins IRE E Mullins
14) A New Story M Hourigan IRE A Heskin
15) L'Aubergiste J-L Guillochon G Olivier
16) Maljimar N Williams GB J Reveley
17) Roselaine G Chaignon R Delozier