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Saturday, September 21, 2002



3.40pm Newbury, Saturday, September 21, 2002
£100,000 Courage Best Stakes (Handicap) (Class B) (3yo+,0-105), 1m2f

BP = the best price offered by William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral & Tote

1) (5) 4722 Bourgainville Ian Balding 4-10-00 Martin Dwyer
Something of a "twilight" horse in that he often runs well in Group Three/Listed company but struggles under big weights in handicaps. Likely to be similar story here.

BP= 14/1 William Hill

2) (2) 2223 Nadour Al Bahr Terry Mills 7-9-12 J Paulielo
Slightly quirky character but very capable on his day. Fifth in this race last year. High enough in the handicap and would prefer softer going. Trainer in form. Best form at Ascot.

BP= 16/1 Ladbrokes, Tote, William Hill

3) (11)1234 Kirovski Peter Harris 5-9-11 Richard Quinn
Has been in cracking form this season and very consistent. Went up in the weights sharply after winning at Epsom but has a some chance. Was second in this race last year.

BP= 10/1 Tote

4) (18) 2001 Broadway Score John Hills 4-9-08 John Quinn
Ended a run of disappointing run when landing a handicap at Windsor last time. Needs to improve and weighted right up to his best in any case.

BP= 20/1 Ladbrokes, Tote, William Hill

5) (3) -417Jabaar Ed Dunlop 4-9-07 Richard Hills
Impressive when landing a three-year-old handicap under 10st at Newmarket in May. Possibly found a mile and a half too far next time at Royal Ascot. Has absence to overcome here and is less experienced than most of these.

BP= 9/1 Ladbrokes, Tote

6) (4) 1330 Eastern Breeze Paul D'Arcy 4-9-02 John Egan
Chances on bits of form earlier this season, but a bit disappointing last two runs and others appeal more.

BP=16/1 Ladbrokes

7) (16) -704 Kundooz Michael Jarvis 3-9-02 Michael Tebbutt
Some bits of form but overall record is not very convincing and drop back in trip doesn't look ideal.

BP=33/1 William Hill

8) (8) -163 Researched Sir Michael Stoute 3-9-00 Pat Eddery
Impressive maiden winner on seasonal reappearance and looked a possible Classic contender before running poorly in the Chester Vase. Decent effort when third at York last month and must have a leading chance here, although not great value.

BP= 11/2 Tote

9) (1) 2122 Champion Lodge James Toller 5-9-00 Simon Whitworth
Reliable sort, hailing from an in-form yard. Been in great form of late and should go well even though he has crept up in the weights dues to his consistency.

BP= 11/1 Ladbrokes

10) (12) 8145 Hasty Prince Ben Hanbury 4-9-00 Frankie Dettori
Overall record this season is disappointing with no apparent excuses and hard to recommend here.

BP= 18/1 Tote

11) (10) 6582 Solo Flight Barry Hills 5-8-13 Michael Hills
Bit of an in and out performer and best form is over further. Ran well at Doncaster last week and has an 8 lb pull with Researched for four lengths.

BP=16/1 Ladbrokes, William Hill

12) (14) 1343 Sun Bird Dick Allan 4-8-09v Lee Enstone (5)
Winner of the Old Newton Cup and not disgraced since, would have a good chance even though his win at Haydock was over a longer trip. He will be suited by a strong pace. Often makes the running and has been running well. Good each way value.
BP=33/1 Ladbrokes, Tote, William Hill

13) (7) 0021 Takes Tutu (ex5) Mark Johnston 3-8-09b Keith Dalgleish
Slightly quirky performer who needs everything to right for him. Has a chance on his last two efforts at Goodwood and Haydock but the 5lb penalty will not help.

BP=14/1 Ladbrokes, William Hill

14) (6) 4235 Far Lane Barry Hills 3-8-08 Richard Hughes
Has been slightly disappointing overall and looks a bit of an underachiever. Could be well treated however but has yet to find right trip.

BP=9/1 Ladbrokes, Tote

15) (15) 1422 Persian Lass Peter Harris 3-8-08 Steve Drowne
Quite highly-tried earlier in the campaign but has been in great form since being dropped into modest handicaps. Respectable second in decent Listed contest at Yarmouth this week, and must have a chance here if on song but no great value.

BP=9/1 William Hill

16) (17) -153 Ionian Spring Clive Cox 7-8-07 Jamie Spencer
Not been seen out since May but would have a chance on the pick of his form off this weight. Not always the easiest of rides but has a decent jockey booked.

BP=28/1 William Hill

17) (9) 9093 Kilkenny Castle Simon Dow 6-8-06 Ryan Moore(5)
Excellent effort at Kempton last time behind the progressive Bandler Ching. Had been a bit in the doldrums before that but is a course and distance winner and will like the ground. Decent claimer booked and must have a chance.

BP=11/1 Tote, William Hill

18) (13) 0150 Lermontov Richard Fahey 5-8-05 David Kinsella (3)
One-time very useful performer for Aidan O'Brien. Not so good now but has shown some promise for a shrewd yard and may be premature to totally write him off just yet.

BP=33/1 Ladbrokes, William Hill

It is possible to give a chance to quite a few of these in a cracking handicap. SUN BIRD is the value here at 33/1 for his efforts over longer trips. A strong pace will suit him, a claimer takes off 5lb and many are not guaranteed to get the trip. He comes from an unfashionable yard which partly explains his price. Get on each way.


Fall is championship season for baseball teams - and steeplechase horses.

Headlined by two classic races, the $250,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase on Oct. 19 and the $100,000 Colonial Cup on Nov. 17, the season's top jumpers will battle for the Eclipse Award which goes to the year-end champion. With the fall season starting Saturday, Sept. 21 in Virginia, trainers eye final preparations for their horses with the two big races in mind.

Looking ahead to the Breeders' Cup, main championship contenders like It's A Giggle, All Gong, Quel Senor and Zabenz emerge. Others like Flat Top, Shamrock Isle, Anofferucantrefuse and Al Skywalker hope to jump into serious contention.

Nominations for the $30,000 Legacy Chase, a key Breeders' Cup prep to be run Sept. 28 at Shawan Downs in Maryland, included All Gong, Darn Tipalarm, Greek Hero, Najjm, Pelagos, Trebizond, Tres Touche and Turkish Corner. Most of the others will go straight to the Oct. 19 Breeders' Cup without prep races. It's A Giggle stayed in Saratoga, along with stablemate With Anticipation, and must still be considered the championship favorite despite a loss on soft turf in the New York Turf Writers Cup. The son of Northern Baby has won three of four this year. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard aims for the Breeders' Cup, buy would consider scratching if the ground came up soft again.

Another stakes player still in Saratoga, Turf Writers winner Zabenz, wouldn't mind soft turf. The Australian invader, trained by Robert Smerdon for English resident Michael Watt, rolled home by seven in the Turf Writers on Aug. 29. Zabenz, a 5-year-old, is eligible for the Breeders' Cup and the $75,000 Foxbrook Novice  and will probably head to Breeders' Cup in tight form with the first of possibly two flat preps scheduled for Sept. 22 at Belmont. "He's really thrived," said Merrick Staunton, Smerdon's assistant. "He spent a week on a farm, which brightened him up quite a bit."

From off the bench come the last two Breeders' Cup Steeplechase winners. Quel Senor, the 2001 winner, disappointed in three spring starts for trainer Tom Voss but has been freshened since. All Gong, the 2000 winner and that year's steeplechase champion, hasn't run since winning the Grade I Iroquois in May and will use the Legacy Cup as his prep for the Breeders' Cup. Trained in Pennsylvania by Bruce Miller, All Gong represented the U.S. in Japan this spring.


Back for its second year, Maryland's Shawan Downs is the first major meet of the 2002 fall season with $125,000 in total purses, two stakes and a key link to the state's flat-racing industry on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The Legacy Cup, a $30,000 race at 2 3/8 miles will attract hurdle stakes horses while the $25,000 Ski Roundtop Cup brings the timber stakes campaigners.

Also at Shawan, the Maryland Million offers a $25,000 total bonus pool to the first three finishers in each of the jump races on the card and a $15,000 Maryland Million flat race. The moves replace the Maryland Million Steeplechase, which had been a part of the state breeding program since 1991.


The Breeders¹ Cup Steeplechase will be televised on a one-day delay as part of the Oct. 20 edition of NTRA 2Day At The Races on ESPN2. The half-hour show starts at 5:30 p.m. and the $250,000 steeplechase will be the featured segment.

The Breeders¹ Cup and the Colonial Cup will also be showcased on the news show Wire To Wire as part of the NSA¹s contract with NTRA Productions. The ESPN2 shows air on the Wednesday afternoons following the races.


The NSA calendar adds another stop on a growing presence in the Carolinas when Tangelwood returns on Oct. 5. Run as a spring fixture for 31 years until 1998, the Winston-Salem event switches to the fall under the guidance of radio station WSJS. Tanglewood signed up title sponsor Lowes Foods, and came up with $50,000 in purse money for three hurdle races and a training flat race.

The course, at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, received a favorable grade from NSA inspector Yves Henry on Aug. 29 and should be in good shape for raceday.

There are 10 NSA meets in North and South Carolina cities  Camden (two), Aiken (two), Charleston in South Carolina and Charlotte, Raleigh, Southern Pines, Tryon and Winston-Salem in North Carolina.


The 45th annual Fairfax Races launch the NSA's fall steeplechase season on Saturday in Leesburg, Va. The race card includes three NSA-sanctioned races, plus three non-sanctioned flat events. The hurdle feature, the $10,000 Guest Cup, attracted seven entries including 2002 winners Dancing Place, Gilded Son, Mysticize and Santo Pronto. the $10,000 timber feature, the Bowman Bowl, lured Maryland Hunt Cup winner Young Dubliner and 2002 timber winners Lord Kenneth and Pleasant Parcel. Post time at Fairfax is 2 p.m.


At the start of the 2002 fall season, two-time defending champion Tom Voss holds a commanding lead in the NSA trainer standings. Based in Maryland, Voss has won 19 races this year and leads Jonathan Sheppard and Sanna Neilson (12 each).

Among the jockeys, two-time defending champion Gus Brown maintains a slim 12-10 lead on Blythe Miller and David Bentley. Miller is likely out for the season with an injury. Rob Massey and Matt McCarron lurk just off the pace with nine wins each.

Among the owners, New Yorker Bill Pape ($176,070) leads Tennessee resident Gillian Johnston ($147,914) and Pennsylvania's Edie Dixon($138,853). Perennial leader Augustin Stable is fourth with $124,637.

Among the horses, It's A Giggle still holds a strong lead with $172,620 earned this year. McDynamo ($94,404), Anofferucantrefuse ($87,795), Al Skywalker ($80,895) and Zabenz ($71,260) complete the top five. Full standings are available at www.nationalsteeplechase.com.


American Steeplechasing 2001, the NSA's acclaimed hard-cover yearbook, was released from the printer over the summer and is now available. The book includes more than 400 photographs, Daily Racing Form charts of every NSA race, articles on the annual champions, historical records and the cover artwork of Pierre Bellocq. Contact the NSA at (410) 392-0700 to obtain a copy

. . . The NSA's eighth annual golf tournament raised $16,000 for the Steeplechase Fund for injured jockeys Aug. 13 at Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

. . .The Jumping Game, a documentary about steeplechasing, was picked up nationally by PBS and has been aired in 25 states. Narrated by actress Bo Derek, the show details the steeplechase life of owners, trainers, jockeys and horses including race footage, training scenes and interviews. Contact your local PBS station for more information.

Sept. 21 Fairfax Races; Leesburg, VA
Sept. 28 Shawan Downs; Hunt Valley, MD
Sept. 29 Foxfield Races; Charlottesville, VA
Oct. 5 Tanglewood Races; Clemmons, NC
Oct. 7 Philadelphia Park; Bensalem, PA
Oct. 12 Genesee Valley Hunt Races; Geneseo, NY
Oct. 12 Morven Park Races; Leesburg, VA
Oct. 19 Far Hills Races; Far Hills, NJ
Oct. 19 International Gold Cup Races; The Plains, VA
Oct. 26 Aiken Fall Races; Aiken, SC
Oct. 27 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup; Unionville, PA
Nov. 2 Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens; Pine Mountain, GA
Nov. 2 Montpelier Races; Orange, VA
Nov. 10 Charleston Cup; Charleston, SC
Nov. 17 Colonial Cup Races; Camden, SC
Dec. 8 Calder Race Course; Miami, FL


With only 12 days to go before Europe's premier Yearling Sale the two year old debutante L'ANCRESSE provided another significant and timely catalogue update with an impressive winning debut in a competitive 7 furlong conditions race at Newbury yesterday.

The DARSHAAN filly, trained by Roger Charlton, is the half sister to the beautifully bred DANEHILL filly out of SOLO DE LUNE which is one of two yearling fillies being consigned at the Houghton from Britton House Stud.

L'ANCRESSE is the fifth winner from six runners out of the Stakes placed SOLO DE LUNE and is the own sister to Group 1 Prix Saint - Alary winner CERULEAN SKY and to the Group 3 placed QAATEF and a half-sister to Stakes winner DINER DE LUNE.

L'ANCRESSE's half sister is one of ten yearlings in the Houghton by DANEHILL, the sire of the record breaking miler ROCK OF GIBRALTAR, while the other Britton House consigned filly is the only yearling by RAHY, the sire of Champion FANTASTIC LIGHT and Group 1 Sussex Stakes winner NOVERRE, in the Sale.

The filly is out of the Group 2 placed own sister to Prix de Diane winner CAERLINA from the Aga Khan's family of multiple Group 1 winner KARTAJANA.

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