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Monday, September 29, 2003



SUPER SATURDAY IN PROSPECT AT NEWMARKET


No less than 241 five-day entries go forward for Newmarket’s top-class card on Saturday, with 82 horses still engaged in the feature £110,000 Tote Cambridgeshire, one of the most famous handicaps of the year.


The Tote’s betting for the celebrated nine-furlong event is headed at 7/1 by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Akshar, followed by 8/1 Chivalry, 11/1 Shot to Fame, 12/1 Jazz Messenger, 14/1 Navado, 16/1 Grand Passion, Pablo, Tug of Love, Zabaglione, 20/1 Camelot, Far Lane, Lady Bear, Macadamia, Pentecost, Persian Lightning, Putra Pekan, 25/1 bar. A maximum of 35 runners can line up for the Tote Cambridgeshire.


An excellent supporting card includes the Group Two Peugeot Sun Chariot Stakes (2.50pm) in which 17 fillies have been confirmed at the five-day stage including the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Favourable Terms, winner of the Group Two betfair.com Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, Group Two Stan James Falmouth Stakes heroine Macadamia, Group Two Audi Pretty Polly Stakes winner Hanami and the lightly-raced Chatifa, a Salisbury maiden winner for Marcus Tregoning.


There is also an entry from France - the Robert Collet-trained Almond Mousse - with Ireland represented by Perfect Touch and Hymn Of Love from the stable of Dermot Weld, responsible for the 2002 winner Dress To Thrill.


There are 35 juveniles engaged in the opening European Breeders’ Fund Jersey Lily Fillies’ Nursery Handicap at 1.40pm, while the 25 entries in the Listed Finnforest Oh So Sharp Stakes 35 minutes later include recent Mulheim Listed winner Mamela, trained in Germany by Andreas Lowe.


The 24 entries in the Kennett Rated Stakes at 4.10pm include the Queen’s lightly-raced Sadler’s Wells colt Promotion, trained locally by Sir Michael Stoute, while there are some choicely-bred two-year-olds in the Tony Lake Memorial EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (4.45pm) including Phantom Wind, by Storm Cat out of the Nassau Stakes and American Grade 1 winner Ryafan, Kschessinka, a Nureyev filly who cost $210,000 as a yearling, and Cheveley Park Stud’s Coy, a 380,000 purchase.


The card concludes at 5.20pm with the NGK Spark Plugs Handicap in which the 29 entries include the Sir Mark Prescott-trained No Refuge, who finished third in the Swedish Derby in August before coming second at Hamilton this afternoon.


Lisa Hancock, Newmarket’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted with the standard and number of entries for our revamped three-day Cambridgeshire meeting (October 2 to 4) which looks set to end on a high with some outstanding racing in prospect on Saturday.”


RAIN FORECAST FOR NEWMARKET AHEAD OF NEW-LOOK CAMBRIDGESHIRE MEETING



Up to half an inch of rain is forecast for Newmarket on Wednesday ahead of the new-look Cambridgeshire Meeting, which offers three days of top-class racing on the Rowley Mile course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (October 2- 4). The going is currently GOOD TO FIRM, FIRM IN PLACES.


Clerk of the Course, Michael Prosser, commented this morning: “We had six millimetres of rain over the weekend, but the sun is beating down today and I am going to put four millimeters of water on this afternoon between the one and a half and two and a half furlongs from home as this small section of the track near the Bushes always dries out the fastest and is currently firm.

“Wednesday looks like being wet, but I will monitor the updated forecasts very closely over the next 24 hours. If the forecast changes and it looks as though we won’t get as much rain as anticipated, I won’t hesitate to water as necessary to ensure that there is no jar in the ground. After Wednesday, we are likely to get a few showers during the meeting though at this stage it looks as though they are unlikely to be very substantial.


“Interest in the meeting has been fantastic this year, with the reduction from four days to three days clearly having been welcomed. It’s going to be top-class racing from start to finish, with the Group One races on Thursday (Sky Bet Cheveley Park Stakes) and Friday (Shadwell Stud Middle Park Stakes) looking very strong, not to mention Saturday’s Tote Cambridgeshire which will be as competitive as ever and all the other Group and Listed contests.”


CHAMPIONSHIP WEIGHTS LOWERED AT CHELTENHAM



Best Mate, winner of the last two Tote Cheltenham Gold Cups, will carry 11st 10lb rather than 12st when going for the hat-trick on March 18, 2004.


This follows the decision by Cheltenham, announced today (Monday, September 29), to have lower weights for the three main Championship races at the 2004 National Hunt Festival - the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.


The National Hunt Pattern Committee of the British Horseracing Board asked Cheltenham to review the weights to bring more uniformity among Grade One jump races.


Following a Cheltenham survey of National Hunt trainers, over 80% endorsed the lowering of weights.


Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, said: “This lowering of the weights by 4lb in the three main Championship races at the 2004 National Hunt Festival is a sensible move to bring them into line with other Grade One events and the decision has been widely welcomed.”


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