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Monday, July 15, 2002


In a day of light ante-post activity, Sakhee (5-4 from 6-4) has provided the one bright spot for punters who have backed him with Hills to win the King George confident that the weather will not dry out Ascot too much in the next fortnight.

KING GEORGE: 5-4 Sakhee (from 6-4), 15-8 Grandera (from 13-8), 7-1 Golan, 12-1 Boreal, Nayef, Zindabad, 14-1 High Pitched, Millenary, 20-1 Storming Home, Tobougg, 25-1 Bach, Narrative, 33-1 BAR.

WILLIAM HILL MILE: 8-1 Ghannam, 9-1 Demonstrate, Heretic, 10-1 Beauchamp Pilot, 12-1 Greenline, Scotty's Future, 14-1 Divine Task, Judge Davidson, Kelburne, Seihali, Shot To Fame, 16-1 Bourgainville, Dumaran, Finished Article, Lunar Leo, Pentecost, 20-1 BAR.

STEWARDS CUP: 8-1 Feet So Fast, 10-1 Border Subject, 12-1 Chookie Heiton, 14-1 Gateman, Onlytime Will Tell (from 16), Tom Tun, 16-1 Docter Spin, Trace Clip (from 12), 20-1 Awake, Bond Boy, Further Outlook, Halmahera, Hurricane Floyd, Malhub, Manorbier, Palace Affair, Scottys Future, Vanderlin, 25-1 BAR


A total of 31 juveniles remained in Saturday's £135,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury after today's five-day confirmation stage with local trainer Richard Hannon accounting for no less than ten of those still in the race.

The five-furlong contest, for which there is a maximum field size of 25, offers a bumper payout for less expensive two-year-olds, with only those who went through a British or Irish yearling sale for 40,000gns or less eligible to run. There is a 1lb allowance for each 2,500gns less than 40,000gns that a horse cost.

The race was first run in 1991 and the impressive list of past winners features the Hannon-trained trio Lyric Fantasy (1992), Risky a year later and Miss Stamper (1996), along with Paris House (1991), Brief Glimpse (1994), Blue Iris (1995), Lord Kintyre (1997), Flanders (1998), Don Puccini (1999), Superstar Leo (2000) and Good Girl last year.

Hannon believes his current juvenile crop is the best he has ever had and among those engaged are Hurricane Alan, who has already had one big payout when winning the Goffs sales race at the Curragh last month, and Listed National Stakes victor Presto Vento.

But Hannon, who has also had four seconds, is unlikely to have everything his own way with the exciting Wunders Dream, who had to miss Royal Ascot with a cough, set to try and maintain her outstanding record for trainer James Given. The Averti filly, who made just 10,000gns as a yearling and gets in on eight stone, won her latest start at Nottingham in May by seven lengths.

Given could also be represented by Ripon winner Aimee's Delight (8st 1lb) and Monchique (8st), a recent arrival at his Lincolnshire stable.

"Wunders Dream is one of the best fillies seen out this year and barring accidents she will run," said Given today. "She just had a bit of coughing before Ascot but is fine now and in very good order with herself. She's got a great weight and I've got Paul Hanagan, the man of the moment, to ride her.

"I wouldn't dismiss Aimee's Delight. She was unlucky with the draw first time at Wolverhampton, when she wasn't fully fit but she damn nearly won. It was her that brought the coughing back to the yard from Wolverhampton that knocked us with Wunders Dream. She was quite poorly for a while and then I probably ran her a bit soon at Catterick before she won very nicely at Ripon last Monday evening.

"Interestingly in all the early work at home before we ran any of them, Aimee's always looked the better horse than Wunder's. I think both have got great chances and while obviously on paper Wunder's looks to have the better chance, I certainly wouldn't be dismissing Aimee's Dream, who Micky Fenton will ride. He will be putting up 2lb overweight, but she's a filly whose probably better for knowing.

"I don't know much about Monchique, she only came to me three or four weeks ago. She'd been with Alan Berry, where she had a tall home reputation but had been slightly disappointing and I've not done an awful lot with her. She could be balloted out but if she does run, John Bramhill will ride."

Lambourn trainer Ralph Beckett is set to be represented at his local course by Danehill Stroller, winner of a Lingfield maiden on his debut before losing out by a neck in a Beverley novices' event last time out.

"He's a very straightforward little horse and the conditions of the race suit him very well as he was not expensive. The five-furlong trip is fine for him but I don't know who will ride yet," said Beckett. The Danetime colt was an 11,500gns yearling and has 8st 6lb.

Miss Mirasol, winner of a Newmarket Listed event last time out, is set to represent North Yorkshire handler Kevin Ryan.

"I'm absolutely delighted with the weight (8st 9lb) and I think she's improved since Newmarket both mentally and physically - she's just maturing all the time," said Ryan.

"Joe Fanning said when he jumped off her at Newmarket that she'd be able to win over five furlongs and she's obviously given him the feeling that she's got plenty of early pace which you need for a Newbury sprint.

"I think the big plus with her is that you can use a certain amount of speed but she's so relaxed in a race that she'll always pick up and quicken up at the end of it. She doesn't jump and try and do it all in the first two furlongs - you can put her anywhere you want in a race.

"I don't know how good she is yet which is always a good sign. I think she's very good and, in fairness, we've never pressed any buttons with her at home. As I reported, we were shocked when she got beaten first time out and I couldn't believe it. For me she's the best two-year-old I've ever had through my hands."

Nick Craven, Commercial Director at Weatherbys, said today: "The Weatherbys Super Sprint, which we are delighted to continue to sponsor, offers less expensive horses the chance to win serious prize money and we have seen some top performers succeed at Newbury in the past.

"This year's renewal looks ultra-competitive after today's five-day confirmation stage and it will be fascinating to see if Richard Hannon can improve on his impressive record in the race on Saturday."


The 13th annual Institute of Journalists Royal Charter Meeting at Ripon on Saturday (20 July) will benefit The Sailors' Families' Society, the Hull-based charity which provides financial and practical support to families of sailors injured or suffering from a serious illness.

The principal race is The Ripon Bell-Ringer Stakes, a £12,000-added handicap contest over the extended one mile and a half, won last year by Steinitz, owned by Benny Andersson, who was a member of the pop group, Abba.

Racing on Saturday begins at 2.25 p.m. with The Institute of Journalists Maiden Stakes, a contest for two-year-olds over five furlongs supported by The European Breeders Fund.

Leeds-based Centaur Clothes, part of BMB Menswear, support the Selling race for the eighth year and will once again provide a £200 clothing voucher to the person responsible for the best turned-out horse in the parade ring.

The Leeds Hospital Fund Handicap Stakes (one mile and a quarter) and The Holiday Inn Maiden Handicap Stakes (six furlongs) are also featured on Saturday, sponsored by long-standing supporters of this meeting over the years.

The Harrogate Band will entertain racegoers from the racecourse bandstand, while the course's two playgrounds will be in use. The permanent giant screen will assist racegoers in following all of the action on the track, as well as showing racing from the ‘away' meetings.


The tenth annual ‘Red Shirt Night' charity meeting at Pontefract takes place on Friday evening (19 July) - the course's fourth and final evening fixture of the year. Once again, revenue will be raised for The Injured Jockeys Holiday Fund to send a party of disabled former jockeys to enjoy a holiday in Tenerife.

Famous for wearing his trademark red shirt at the races, former top northern trainer, Jack Berry M.B.E. - whose son, Alan now holds the licence at Moss Side Racing Stables, Cockerham, near Lancaster - has been the driving force over the years for this worthy cause, in his capacity as a trustee of The Injured Jockeys Fund. His other son, Sam, was badly injured when riding over Jumps at Sedgefield in 1985.

The principal race on Friday evening is the £15,000-added Antonia Deuters Handicap Stakes over the sprint distance of five furlongs, sponsored once again by Chris and Antonia Deuters - long-standing owners with Jack and Alan Berry; indeed they were successful in the opening race at this meeting last year with Perle D'Azur.

Weatherbys Group Ltd. of Wellingborough, providers of many important services (both administrative and commercial) sponsor for the fifth time at this particular meeting, supporting a handicap race over one mile, while The Tote Bookmakers Fillies' Handicap Stakes is a £12,000-added contest over one mile and a half - the longest race on the programme.

The Shepherd Construction Maiden Auction Stakes (a contest for two-year-olds) and The Ovoline Lubricants Classified Stakes - both races over six furlongs - are supported by new sponsors to Pontefract; the latter race is sponsored by Brett Oils Ltd of Gateshead, as part of the company's 125th anniversary celebrations.

As usual, the racecourse will donate a sum to The Injured Jockeys Holiday Fund equivalent to the number of runners in each race.

Racing on Friday evening starts at 6.40 p.m. and a giant screen will enable racegoers to follow all of the action anywhere on the track. Pontefract's popular creche facility is in use while the evening's musical entertainment is provided by Alpengold Blaskapelle, a German ‘Oom-Pah' Band!



Act One (In The Wings) is to be syndicated to stand in England at Nunnery Stud where his fee will be £10,000 (1st October). He is to be syndicated with Eydon Hall Farm retaining an interest.

The winner of five of his six starts, he was being beaten just the once when second to Sulamani (Hernando) in the Gr.1 Prix du Jockey-Club, where he failed to stay. Sadly, he suffered a hairline fracture to a hind cannon bone which ended his career.

Owner Michel Roussel and trainer Marcel Rolland at last got Maille Pistol back to his best. Last Friday at Auteuil, the Gr.2 Prix Hocquart and Gr.2 Prix Greffuhle winner, won his first hurdle race in impressive fashion. Making all the running he drew further and further clear, winning easily and recording a good time in the process.

First jockey to the Aga Khan, Christophe Soumillon suffered a broken wrist last week when he was thrown by juvenile colt Blue Senk at La Teste. The break is not as bad as first feared and following surgery on Friday, he is expected to return in August.

The renovation of Chantilly will now begin in the Autumn. The completion date for the grandstand is April 2003 in time for the Prix de Diane-Hermès. Further work will continue after the race meeting to be completed by Spring 2004.

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