Monthly Archives: March 2012

50/1 Sanctuaire for 2013 QM Champion Chase is EW value

I can find no record of tipsters in The Old Testament although I suppose you could class prophets in the same group.  Anyone recommending a bet on David against Goliath would doubtless have been laughed off the track – in this case The Valley of Elah.

A valley in the Cotswolds is where my David in the shape of Sanctuaire will hopefully face Goliath next March in the QM Champion Chase. Sprinter Sacre is already as short as evens for the race. Sanctuaire is 50s with Coral.

I need not list the talents of Sprinter Sacre who could be one of the best we’ve seen. But much can happen in a year and a key event comes up in three weeks time in the shape of The Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree. That’s the next planned run for Sanctuaire and he could well get an early sight of Sprinter Sacre alongside him at the start.  The Arkle winner appeared to take little out of himself and connections will be tempted to run at Aintree.

But between now and then, I doubt Sanctuaire will get any longer than 50s for next year’s QM and he might go shorter on the run up to the Maghull.  If Nicky Henderson keeps his ‘black aeroplane’ at home over Aintree then Sanctuaire will, I believe, have a strong chance of winning the race.  Last year’s winner, Finian’s Rainbow got a post-Maghull quote of 10/1 for the QM and supporters  collected on that last week.

Sanctuaire leads over the 2nd at Sandown

Even if he finishes runner-up to Sprinter Sacre at Aintree, he will be much shorter than 50s for next year’s big race.

Sanctuaire was a talented but moody sort over hurdles.  More evidence is needed that fencing has changed his attitude, but in his two steeplechases so far, he has looked as though he cannot wait until he reaches the next fence so he can fly it. After his Sandown victory last time, his trainer, Paul Nicholls (who has a fine record in The Maghull) said this:

 “He got a bit fed up with hurdles and had a few hard races, but he´s an awesome jumper and fences could be the making of him. He´ll be really interesting next year and could be very good in the big two-mile chases. Horses who gallop and jump like that can take a bit of catching and he could be good in a race like the Tingle Creek.”

Sanctuaire’s chasing victories have been class 4 small field events – from those to running a big race in the QM is an awful long way. But he’s only 6, we know from his hurdling career he has talent and his trainer seems to be eyeing the big 2m prizes for next season. He might not be good enough to beat Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham but he could easily be placed and at 50s, I think an EW bet is very good value.

Good luck.

79/1 Big Buck’s worth risking on the chance he’ll go for Gold Cup in 2013

The horse with the best engine in racing, Big Buck’s, can be backed at 80 on Betfair for next season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Connections have often declared that he will never return to fences but given the desolation shown by uber-competitor Paul Nicholls over his yard’s performance at this year’s festival, I’m certain the temptation will have crossed his mind.

I don’t think owner Andy Stewart would take too much persuading that the horse should be given another chance at steeplechasing. The horse has matured since his last outing over fences – more than four years ago – when, had he not unseated (the first time he failed to finish in 7 ‘chasing runs), he might well have become the first 5-y-o to win The Hennessy.

Synchronised made six mistakes when winning the Gold Cup. Long Run made four errors winning his. Big Buck’s would probably need to walk through every fence to lose the race given the standard of competitor likely to turn up next March.

I’m happy to take a chance at the price that the Nicholls ambition and persuasive powers will see the big horse turning out in the Gold Cup next year.  If so, the hardest part of Ruby’s job will be steering him away from the 3m hurdles start.

BHA rules not followed in last fence row in QM Champion Chase

Senior stipendiary steward William Nunneley and Jamie Stier, director of Raceday Operations and Regulation at the BHA both appeared on TV today to defend the procedure used in the bypassing of the last fence in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The summary of both interviews was that the regulations were carried out in a proper fashion and that ‘the jockeys had their heads down’.

BHA general instructions 3.7, section 10 b) states:

 as soon as possible after an obstruction occurs, plant the direction markers exactly opposite to the central position of any obstruction on the take-off or landing side, whether it be an injured horse or Rider or any essential equipment of the First Aid organisation dealing with such horse or Rider. No gaps should be left between each marker;

The markers were originally set out equally spaced, with gaps,  across the fence: how soon after that they were moved to the position designated above, I don’t know.

c) proceed further down the course on the opposite side to which the obstacle is being bypassed, and signal to oncoming Riders, by means of the Fox 40 whistle and the black and white chequered flag, the presence of a hazard ahead. The position taken up by the Fence Attendant should ensure that Riders have sufficient time to react to the situation ahead (see Annex C). This distance should be increased if the obstacle is positioned soon after a bend

j) if necessary, use the black and white chequered flag and Fox 40 whistle to signal the presence of a possible hazard ahead in other circumstances (e.g. a fall on the flat or between obstacles) where the hazard does not necessitate the stopping of
the race. The position taken up by the Fence Attendant should ensure that Riders have sufficient time to react to the situation ahead;

The annex (C) to the document explains the duties in more detail.

2. Either one or two Fence Attendants will also stand in a prominent position down the course, but on the opposite side to which the obstacle is to be bypassed, and:
i) blow a Fox 40 whistle, and;
ii) wave a black and white chequered flag to indicate the presence of a hazard

The position taken by the Fence Attendant(s) will be approximately 70 yards ahead of
the obstacle.

It is difficult to tell from TV footage how far from the last fence the flag was waved – I estimate it to be about ten horse-lengths, nothing like the 70 yards laid down in the document although a graphic offers some leeway on this 70 yard rule (I can find this leeway exemption only on the graphic and not as part of the document text).

Mr Nunneley and Mr Stier both justified the moving of the markers to the inside by mentioning the importance of protecting the vulnerable from a loose horse. In fact, that clustering of markers is what BHA procedure decrees.

But what is wrong with increasing the number of markers available at each fence, or, indeed, dolling the fence off fully with cones, so that jockeys are left in no doubt?

The Fox whistle is one used by referees of football matches among other personnel. I cannot comment on its effectiveness pitted against the noise of 50,000 punters yelling encouragement at two strongly fancied horses – especially when the whistle is not blown 70 yards away from the obstacle.

Ed Gillespie’s team normally do a superb job. As I said at the time of the Cross Country debacle in December, they should have put up their hands and agreed to ensure the course was signed and marked much more effectively. The executive did not agree and stated that they believed there was no fault on their part.

Everyone makes mistakes but racing is developing a ‘circle-the-wagons’ attitude that serves neither them nor the sport well.  An apology goes a long way with most people.  Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word.

List of bookmakers’ special offers for Cheltenham

I’ve trawled the sites of the major bookmakers and, where possible, clipped images of their special offers for the Festival.  Ladbrokes are advertising a free £5 bet for everyone, but the click-through on the thumbnail on the offer doesn’t work.

These offers appear to be for all customers.  There are many attractive offers for those wanting to open new accounts but as most readers of this blog probably already have accounts, the offers below should be of more interest.

You will need to click on each image to enlarge it or you’ll strain your eyes and be unable to pick winners.

Bookmakers – if I have missed anything on your site or you want to add something to what I’ve published, leave a comment or contact me on twitter and I’ll amend/include.

As ever it’s best to read the full terms and conditions as life (and Tom Waits) has taught us that the large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

Good luck



PPower Comp

Paddy Power






Quel Esprit now the Gold Cup value at 16/1 NRNB


The Racing Post will publish Willie Mulllins’ thoughts on his festival team tomorrow.  The Kremlin’s top inquisitors would baulk at getting anything out of Mr Mullins but on the off chance that he offers a positive word for Gold Cup entry Quel Esprit, I’m advising a bet at the 16s currently available NRNB.

Quel Esprit does not have the form to win a Gold Cup. But he’s improving, is unbeaten in the 4 completions (of 7 ‘chases), was leading, travelling strongly in last year’s RSA when coming down three out and might well have won had he stood up. It was a weak Grade 1 he picked up last time but his jumping was very slick bar a slight error at the 7th.  He races quite keenly and I think he benefited considerably from being allowed to stride on early last time. Hopefully P Townend will adopt the same tactics next Friday – the grey is a most efficient fencer, very quick from one side to the other.

Stamina is a question but I’m happy, at the price, to risk that he will set up a lead and hold onto it travelling well on the likely good ground.

Long Run’s dodgy jumping, Kauto’s confidence, age and interrupted prep might leave this Gold Cup vulnerable to an improver.  Weird Al was the value a few months back (tipped here at 20s) but I believe Quel Esprit is the best value bet now.

Good luck.


Cannington Brook must be backed at 50/1 NRNB for RSA

The RSA chase result might hinge on the participation of current favourite Grands Crus, around 2/1 for the race just now. But there must be a reasonable chance he will miss the race for the Gold Cup.  Even if he doesn’t, his freegoing style could see him emptying up the hill.

Bobs Worth is 2nd fav, at around 3/1. His official rating (a professional handicapper’s assessment of his ability) is 151. Cannington Brook (CB) who is rated 1lb inferior at 150 is a 50/1 chance  (non-runner, money back with Coral) and that simply must be taken by anyone who places value at the heart of their betting strategy.

Last time out CB won a 20 furlong race by 35 lengths. Before that he was 5th in the Welsh Grand National, a fine run in stamina-sapping conditions, especially coming just ten days after CB’s victory in the Tommy Whittle ‘chase at Haydock. These last three runs have been in heavy ground and I guess the bookmakers have him down as a slowcoach handicapper.

But he has a decent piece of form on good ground when 3rd in a Grade 1 hurdle at Aintree 2 years ago. The Racing Post summarisers had this to say about that run:

This was a fine effort from Cannington Brook, who started out the season over fences. Easy winner of a weak maiden hurdle at Ludlow latest, he is highly regarded by his trainer and showed why here, leading up the chasing pack and travelling well into the straight, but just lacking a telling change of pace on the ground. He could go a long way returned to fences next term.

The form comments of the first seven of his chase runs are peppered with ‘mistake’, ‘blundered’, ‘not fluent’, but he has been error-free in his last three runs and seems to be improving with every race.

His trainer, Colin Tizzard has been in sizzling form of late and given that Grands Crus might not turn up, Bobs Worth is probably over-rated as a fencer (and certainly under-priced), the Irish star Bog Warrior is reportedly staying at home, and the fancied Invictus is out with an injury, Cannington Brook’s price looks a major rick by Coral (Ladbrokes go 25s).

CB holds entries in two handicaps as well, but his twin attributes of speed and stamina, allied to his improved jumping, give him a fine chance in the RSA in my opinion. Let’s hope he lines up there and lands the value bet of the festival.


Latest news snippets for the festival

Defending champion Sizing Europe is one of 10 horses to stand their ground in the £320,000 sportingbet.comQueen Mother Champion Chase (3.20pm), the feature on Ladies Day at The Festival, Wednesday, March 14, following today’s six-day confirmation stage. 

The Henry de Bromhead-trained 10-year-old was an emphatic five-length winner of the two-mile chasing championship last season and this year he will be bidding for his third consecutive success at The Festival after taking the Racing Post Arkle Chase in 2010. He has been in fine form this season, winning three of his four starts including last time out when he slammed his old rival Big Zeb by 15 lengths in the Grade Two Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown on February 5. Prior to that he had put the cream of the British two-mile chasers in their place with an imperious eight-length victory in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in early December. Sizing Europe is priced at Evens by the race sponsor to win again. 

Despite that defeat at Punchestown last time, Big Zeb has also been in good form this season, claiming his third Fortria Chase at Navan in November before adding a sixth Grade One to his CV when readily beating Noble Prince in the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. He will be chasing a second victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase after capturing the prize in 2010.

 The Irish could also be represented by another strong contender in the shape of Noel Meade’s three-time Grade One winner Realt Dubh. The eight-year-old has not raced since May, 2011, but he boasts some very smart novice chase form which includes victories in the Irish Arkle and Powers Gold Cup either side of a fine third in the 2011 Racing Post Arkle Chase at The Festival.

 Meade, based in Co Meath, said: “Realt Dubh is currently 50-50 to run in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase. I am not sure yet, but we think he is in great shape and he seems well. We have been really pleased with his work – he worked at Navan on Monday and we were very happy with him.

 “He had a bit of a setback before Christmas, which took him some time to get over and it held us up so we haven’t had time to run him.

 “We have often wondered if he would get the full two miles and five furlongs around Cheltenham, hence why he is in the Queen Mother Champion Chase as well. We are still very much open minded about it and it would also depend on what is going to run in both races.

 “I think better ground suits him better. He is a very decent horse – he won three Grade Ones last season so he is a good horse.”

 The British challenge could be headed by Somersby, who finally gained his first Grade One success when fighting off Finian’s Rainbow in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot in January. Finian’s Rainbow, who finished second in last season’s Racing Post Arkle Chase, had made a successful reappearance at Kempton in the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase over Christmas, where he narrowly got the better of Wishfull Thinking.

 Kauto Star’s half-brother Kauto Stone is still engaged despite a disappointing effort in the Betfair Ascot Chase last time, but prior to that he had put up a decent performance behind Sizing Europe in the Tingle Creek Chase, when beaten eight lengths.

 Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins may run Blazing Tempo, the only mare left in, after her success in the Grade Two Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse on January 22. The confirmations are completed by Gauvainand the David Pipe-trained I’m So Lucky.


Latest prices from Sizing Europe Evens, Big Zeb 9/2, Finian’s Rainbow 9/2, Somersby 8/1, Kauto Stone 14/1, Wishfull Thinking 14/1, Realt Dubh 16/1, Blazing Tempo 25/1, Gauvain 28/1, I’m So Lucky 50/1

 Meade also has a leading chance in the £100,000 Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (2.05pm) in the shape of Monksland, who is one of 34 remaining entries for the two mile, five furlong contest.

 The five-year-old was an impressive winner of the Grade Two Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas in January and Meade is very pleased with him.

 Meade commented today: “Monksland is on course for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle. We are very happy with him and touch wood everything has gone well so far. He has finished all his work now, so hopefully we will get him there.”

 The opening four-mile £75,000 Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase (1.30pm), the longest race at The Festival, has 34 horses going forward including antepost favourites Harry The Viking, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and the Willie Mullins-trained pair Allee Garde and Soll.

 Grands Crus is one of 16 possible runners in the £130,000 Grade One RSA Chase (2.40pm), the extended-three-mile championship for novice chasers. Trained by David Pipe, the grey is unbeaten in three starts over fences, including the Grade One William Hill Feltham Novices’ Chase and still holds an entry in Friday’s Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 The £70,000 Coral Cup (4.00pm) is one of the most fiercely competitive handicaps at The Festival and a maximum field of 28 looks assured after 103 entries remain in the two mile, five furlong hurdle, while the £60,000 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (4.40pm) has 57 horses going forward including Alan King’s Vendor, who is one of three possible starters for the Barbury Castle handler.

 In the concluding £55,000 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (5.15pm) 25 horses remain and Willie Mullins, who has won the race six times, has left in four horses including leading fancy Champagne Fever.




The going at Cheltenham is currently:

Chase & Hurdle Courses – Good, good to firm in places (watering)

Cross Country Course – Good to firm, good in places (watered in parts)

Some festival snippets, just announced

The countdown to The Festival stepped up another level today with the unveiling of the six-day confirmations for Champion Day at Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 13, the first of four days at Jump racing’s biggest meeting

Hot favourite Hurricane Fly, 8/11 with the sponsors, put up a brilliant display to emerge victorious in last season’s £370,000 Stan James Champion Hurdle (3.20pm) and this year he is one of three entries remaining for Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins, who could also saddle Grade One winners Thousand Stars and Zaidpour. 

Jessica Harrington is set to run Oscars Well, who finished second to Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle on his most recent start. The 12 six-day confirmations also include 2010 victor Binocular, who warmed up for The Festival with an authoritative success in Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle, and last season’s JCB Triumph Hurdle hero Zarkandar, successful at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance last month. 

Kalann, who was an impressive winner over the course and distance in the Masters Holdings Hurdle at The Showcase in October, is likely to take his chance in the Stan James Champion Hurdle according to trainer Sabrina Harty. The outsider finished a respectable second to Zaidpour at Gowran Park on February 18 in a Grade Two contest on his latest start. 

The Co Kildare handler said: “We are leaning towards the Stan James Champion Hurdle. He has been in good form since Gowran, but he scoped badly afterwards so we put him on antibiotics and he is fine now. 

“He did it very easily when he won at Cheltenham in October and the way he did it was very impressive, but he was quite a small horse then and he has got bigger and stronger since then.” 

The five-year-old has been running well on softer ground since his Cheltenham success, finishing a length and a quarter behind The Real Article at Down Royal in November, before finding the ground too heavy behind Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle. 

Harty continued: “He is a good ground horse and all his runs in Ireland are on soft ground so we just put a line through them. He has never won on ground with soft in the description. In the Irish Champion Hurdle the ground was yielding the day before but on the day it was almost unraceable, so we just let him hack round and he had had a short break after Down Royal anyway. 

“He is a laid-back horse and that is why we hold him up as it appears to suit him.”


As well as Zarkandar, Paul Nicholls could saddle Rock On Ruby, who was second to Binocular in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton last time out, while Greatwood Hurdle winner Brampour is also a possible starter for the champion trainer along with 2009 runner-up Celestial Halo. 

Donald McCain saddled Peddlers Cross to finish second last year and he could be represented by the front-running Overturn, who gained his first success at Grade One level in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November. The six-day confirmations are completed by Olofi, who was second behind Brampour in the Greatwood Hurdle in November.


Latest Stan James Champion Hurdle betting:

Hurricane Fly 8/11, Binocular 5/1, Zarkandar 5/1, Rock On Ruby 8/1, Oscars Well 9/1, Thousand Stars 20/1, Overturn 28/1, Zaidpour 33/1, Brampour 50/1, Celestial Halo 66/1, Olofi 100/1, Kalann 200/1


The £100,000 William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle kicks off proceedings on Tuesday at 1.30pm, and 33 horses go forward at the six-day confirmation stage. In what looks a wide open renewal, all the leading protagonists have remained engaged including Nicky Henderson’s Darlan and McCain’s Cinders And Ashes, while the two leading Irish hopes Galileo’s Choice and Steps To Freedom also stood their ground.


For many Sprinter Sacre is the banker of the meeting in the £130,000 Racing Post Arkle Chase (2.05pm) after three effortless victories at Doncaster, Kempton and last time at Newbury where he broke the track record on the bridle. He could face a maximum of nine rivals including the 2010 Weatherbys Champion Bumper winnerCue Card.


A maximum field of 24 for the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase (2.40pm) looks assured after 41 entries remain at the six-day confirmation stage. Hold On Julio, who has been ultra impressive with two victories at Sandown this season, is engaged for Alan King, looking for a second successive win in the race after Bensalem’s gritty victory last year. Quantitativeeasing, winner of the Spinal Research 4Atlantic Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December, has also been confirmed.


Quevega heads 24 entries remaining in the Grade Two OLBG Mares Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy) as she chases her fourth consecutive victory in the £70,000 race. Possible challengers to her crown includeAlasi and fellow Irish raider Our Girl Salley.


Last season’s Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (4.00pm) victor Sizing Australia is on course to defend his crown in the £40,000 event, in which 28 horses have stood their ground including previous winners A New Story (2010), Garde Champetre (2009 & 2008) and 15-year-old Heads Onthe Ground (2007).


A maximum field of 20 looks guaranteed in the concluding Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase (5.15pm) with 44 horses still engaged at the six-day confirmation stage.




The going at Cheltenham is currently:


Chase & Hurdle Courses – Good, good to firm in places (watering)

Cross Country Course – Good to firm, good in places (watered in parts)


Simon Claisse, Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham, said today: “We are watering the Old and New Courses over the next three days, so that will take us up to Friday afternoon.


“Hopefully, we will have been able to water the ‘good to firm’ out of the ground.


“Then we will assess the ground and take a look at the forecast again, but my hunch is we will be watering at the weekend so we can start the meeting on the slow side of good, or good to soft.”

Festival race times, TV coverage, max field sizes, declarations info


NB Races in bold have 48 hours declaration stage – remainder, 24 hours.

Champion Day – Tuesday, March 13, 2012 (Old Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110y £100,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.05 Racing Post Arkle Chase (Grade One) 2m £130,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.40 JLT Specialty Chase (Handicap) Grade Three) 3m 110y £75,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110y £370,000 C4/RUK


48 hr
4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase (Handicap) 3m 7f £40,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
4.40 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy) (Grade Two) 2m 4f £70,000 RUK


24 hr
5.15 Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 110y






24 hr

Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 14, 2012 (Old Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase (Amateurs) 4m £75,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.05 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 5f £100,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.40 RSA Chase (Grade One) 3m 110y £130,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
3.20 Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade One) 2m £320,000 C4/RUK


48 hr
4.00 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade Three) 2m 5f £70,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 110y £60,000 RUK


24 hr
5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade One) 2m 110yTotal £55,000£810,000 RUK


24 hr

St Patrick’s Thursday – Thursday, March 15, 2012 (New Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 Jewson Novices’ Chase (Grade Two) 2m 4f £90,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.05 Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) 3m £70,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.40 Ryanair Chase (Grade One) 2m 5f £260,000 C4/RUK


48 hr
3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £260,000 C4/RUK


48 hr
4.00 Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade Three) 2m 5f £75,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateurs) 3m 1f 110y £50,000 RUK


24 hr
5.15 St Patrick’s Derby (Charity Race) 1m 5fTotal £805,000 RUK

Gold Cup Day – Friday, March 16, 2012 (New Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 1f £100,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 1f £70,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £100,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (Chase) (Grade One) 3m 2f 110y £500,000 C4/RUK


48 hr
4.00 Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Amateurs) 3m 2f 110y £35,000 C4/RUK


24 hr
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 110y £45,000 RUK


24 hr
5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110yTotal £75,000£925,000 RUK


24 hr

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY 2012 – £3,375,000 (average of £125,000 per race)

Qipco 2000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas entries and quotes from some connections

Entries are unveiled today for the opening two Classics of the 2012 Flat season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, both of which take place on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket during the first weekend in May. 

The great races each boast a prize fund of £350,000 and are the opening two contests in the QIPCO British Champions Series. The QIPCO 2000 Guineas is run on Saturday, May 5, with the QIPCO 1000 Guineas following on Sunday, May 6. 

There are 63 entries for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, including 16 from Ireland, four from France and one from Spain. 

French trainer Mikel Delzangles famously landed the mile Classic in 2010 with Makfi and he has two hopes entered this year, Dragon Pulse and Hermival. Dragon Pulse was trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland last season when he won two of his four starts, including the Group Two Futurity Stakes at the Curragh. He ended the campaign by taking second to the Aidan O’Brien-trained Power in the Group One National Stakes at the same venue. Hermival was successful on his only appearance to date, taking a mile newcomers’ event at Saint-Cloud in November. 

Delzangles commented: “The QIPCO 2000 Guineas is a race we are considering for both horses. They will both run once before that in the trials – one will run in the Prix Djebel (Maisons-Laffitte, 7f Group Three, April 5) and the other in the Prix de Fontainebleau (Longchamp, 8f, Group Three, April 15). We will see what happens there and then decide after that. 

“Dragon Pulse has been with me for three weeks. I was impressed with his Irish form, and he looks like he is a very decent horse. He has not done any work for me yet, but physically he has all the looks and size to make a champion. 

“Hermival won quite impressively at Saint-Cloud and I like him. He is not a show horse, but he is a very hard worker and if he improves he could be a very good horse. 

“Although he won on heavy ground, I think he will be fine on better ground.” 

Another possible starter from France is the appropriately-named French Fifteen, who is trained by Nicolas Clement and has been bought by H H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani. 

The son of Turtle Bowl landed four out of his six starts in 2011, culminating with a stunning success in the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on October 30. 

Speaking at Chantilly yesterday, his trainer Nicolas Clement said: “French Fifteen has done well during the winter and had his first work on the Polytrack at Chantilly this morning. He went solo and I was very pleased. 

“The plan now is to run him in the Prix Djebel and he is a colt who needs a true early pace to show his best. 

“He has a good turn of foot and could be ridden by Olivier Peslier if he isn’t claimed by the Wertheimer brothers as he now has a second retainer with Sheikh Al Thani.” 

The fourth French-trained entry is Jean-Claude Rouget’s Abtaal, who got the better of French Fifteen in a Group Three contest at Saint-Cloud on October 6. 

Matusalen is the Spanish-trained entry for Mauricio Delcher Sanchez, who has already enjoyed significant success in Britain having saddled Equiano to success in the 2008 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. 

Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, chasing a sixth 2000 Guineas victory, has 11 engaged including the unbeaten Group One Racing Post Trophy winner Camelot, the current ante-post favourite. 

The 16 Irish-trained entries also include Born To Sea, a sibling to the stunning 2009 2000 Guineas victor Sea The Stars and Parish Hall, winner of the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes on Future Champions Day at Newmarket last season. 

Richard Hannon has announced that he will retire by the end of the 2012 Flat season, but the veteran handler could saddle a fourth 2000 Guineas winner long before then. His eight entries in 2012 are headed by the unbeaten Harbour Watch, successful in the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Goodwood last season.




The QIPCO 1000 Guineas boasts a similarly cosmopolitan entry, with 17 hopefuls hailing from Ireland, eight from France and one from Spain. 

One of the Irish-trained entries is La Collina. Trained by Kevin Prendergast, the Strategic Prince filly successfully took on the colts in the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August last year, when she proved a neck too strong for Power. 

According to her trainer, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas is very much on the radar. 

Prendergast said: “The QIPCO 1000 Guineas is the prime option for La Collina at the moment. We have always liked her and always thought she was quite smart. 

“She beat the colt in the Phoenix Stakes (Power) that probably should have won the Dewhurst, and although she was a big price that day we did not pay much attention to that – we thought she would be hard to beat. 

“She had a fillies’ problem after the Moyglare Stud Stakes that we did not pick up before the race, and that is why she ran a bit disappointing, but we won’t worry about that too much. She had got a lot closer to Maybe in the Silver Flash Stakes earlier in the season. However, I am not confident we will reverse the form, but we will certainly be there fighting it out. 

“She has done very well over the winter and the ground will dictate whether or not she runs in a trial because I would not want to run her on heavy ground. She will have done enough work by the time the QIPCO 1000 Guineas comes around. She is not the biggest filly so she won’t be too hard to get ready. 

“I do not think the mile will be a problem to her, she won over seven furlongs on her first start.” 

As with the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, Aidan O’Brien is the trainer with the most entries to choose from, accounting for 10 of the 70 hopefuls at this stage, headed by the unbeaten antepost favourite Maybe. A five-time winner, Maybe ended her first season by taking the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in August. 

The Maktoum family’s Godolphin operation landed last year’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas with Blue Bunting and its seven entries this year, who are all trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, include the unbeaten duo of Discourse and Lyric Of Light. Discourse’s two victories both came on Newmarket’s July Course and included the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes, while Lyric Of Light’s three successes culminated with a victory over the course and distance in the Group One Shadwell Fillies’ Mile on September 23. Another Godolphin entry is last year’s Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes heroine Gamilati, who already has a Guineas victory to her name, having taken the UAE version in great style at Meydan last month. 

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, whose company QIPCO sponsors the race, has a strong contender in last year’s Group One Jaguar Cars Cheveley Park Stakes winner Lightening Pearl, while Elusive Kate, winner of the Group One Marcel Boussac Stakes at Longchamp, could represent John Gosden. 

French handler Criquette Head-Maarek, successful four times in the 1000 Guineas, has two entries in the Khalid Abdulla-owned duo of Postale and Preferential. Mauricio Delcher Sanchez supplies the Spanish-trained entry, Irish Cliff. 

Newmarket Racecourses’ Director of Racing, Michael Prosser, said: “We are delighted with the undoubted calibre and international nature of the respective entries for the QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas. 

“The two prestigious races not only invariably produce top-class winners, but also possess great depth in terms of quality. The QIPCO-sponsored Guineas always set up the forthcoming season – and set an exceptional standard in their own right.”


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Class 1, Group 1, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, £350,000 total prize fund.  Saturday, May 5, 2012. For 3-y-o entire colts & fillies, one mile. Weights: colts 9st; fillies 8st 11lb. Entries closed March 6, entries revealed March 7 (63 entries). Scratchings deadline April 24, five-day confirmation stage & £30,000 supplementary entry stage April 30, final declaration stage, 10.00am, May 3. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, March 5.


Form  Horse    Owner      Trainer

211-  ABTAAL (USA)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Jean Claude Rouget FR

412-  AKEED MOFEED  Jaber Abdullah     John Oxx IRE

1-  ALJAMAAHEER (IRE)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Roger Varian

031-  AMONG EQUALS  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier  Aidan O’Brien IRE

1-  APOLLO (IRE)   Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

662500- B FIFTY TWO (IRE)  Gary and Linnet Woodward   John Hills

1-  BEAUFORT TWELVE  Tony Foster & John Kelsey-Fry   William Jarvis

(1)222-  BOOMERANG BOB (IRE) R J Tufft     John Hills

12-  BORN TO SEA (IRE)  Christopher Tsui    John Oxx IRE

2-  BORN TO SURPRISE  Dr Ali Ridha     Michael Bell

114-  BRONTERRE   Michael Pescod    Richard Hannon

11-  CAMELOT   Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

231150- CASPAR NETSCHER  Charles Wentworth    Alan McCabe

1021-  CHANDLERY (IRE)  Julie Wood     Richard Hannon

211151- COUPE DE VILLE (IRE) Macdonald, Wright, Creed, Smith & Jiggins Richard Hannon

11221-  CRIUS (IRE)   Titan Assets     Richard Hannon

0141(6)- CRUSADE (USA)  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

141(0)-  DADDY LONG LEGS (USA) Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

2112-  DRAGON PULSE (IRE) Tan Kai Chah     Mikel Delzangles FR

13-  EASTERN SUN (IRE)  Prince A A Faisal & Rachel Hood  John Gosden

110-  EKTIHAAM (IRE)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Roger Varian

2115-  FARHAAN (USA)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    John Dunlop

21123-  FARRAAJ (IRE)  Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum   Roger Varian

313-  FENCING (USA)  George Strawbridge    John Gosden

144-  FOXTROT ROMEO (IRE) Andrew Tinkler     Bryan Smart

111121- FRENCH FIFTEEN (FR) H H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Thani Nicolas Clement FR

1044-  FURNER’S GREEN (IRE) Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

115000- GATEPOST (IRE)  Dr Marwan Koukash    Mick Channon

111-  HARBOUR WATCH (IRE) Robin Heffer & Qatar Bloodstock  Richard Hannon

020034- HAZAZ (IRE)   Saeed Manana     Clive Brittain

0-  HEAVY WEIGHT (IRE)  Jackie Bolger     Jim Bolger IRE

1-  HERMIVAL (IRE)  Gerard Augustin-Normand   Mikel Delzangles FR

133(1)-(2)(1) KINGLET (USA)  Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

2-  LIGHT HEAVY (IRE)  Jackie Bolger     Jim Bolger IRE

11-  MANDAEAN   Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

1111-5  MATUSALEN (SPA)  Cuadra Miranda      Mauricio Delcher Sanchez SPA

10-  MIBLISH   Saeed Manana     Clive Brittain

1-  MIGHTY AMBITION (USA) Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

  MINSTRELS GALLERY (IRE) The Three Honest Men    John Jenkins

213-  MOST IMPROVED (IRE) Iraj Parvizi     Brian Meehan

310-  NAWWAAR (USA)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    John Dunlop

11-  NEPHRITE   Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

12021-  PARISH HALL (IRE)  Jackie Bolger     Jim Bolger IRE

(2)(1)4- PEARL MIX (IRE)  Pearl Bloodstock Ltd    Ralph Beckett

2-  PERIPHERY (USA)  Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

111212- POWER   Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

(3)4(1)(1)- PRINCE ALZAIN (USA) Asaad Al Banwan    Gerard Butler

4012-  PTOLEMAIC   Fiona Denniff     Bryan Smart

41-  RAYVIN BLACK  R White & V J Walsh    Mark Tompkins

1010-  REBELLIOUS GUEST  John Guest Racing    George Margarson

311320- RED DUKE (USA)  Maxilead Limited    John Quinn

(1)1402- REDACT (IRE)   Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds III  Richard Hannon

315613- REPLY (IRE) Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith/Edouard Mordukhovitch Aidan O’Brien IRE

121541- ROCKINANTE (FR)  Coriolan Links Partnership III   Richard Hannon

15(3)362- SAIGON   Patrick Dalby & Richard Schuster  James Toller

(1)-  SOLAR DEITY (IRE)  Andrew Tinkler     Marco Botti

310-  SPIRITUAL STAR (IRE) Thurloe Thoroughbreds XXIX   Andrew Balding

2-  TAIGAN (USA)   Sue Magnier     Aidan O’Brien IRE

1-  TALES OF GRIMM (USA) Sir Robert Ogden    Sir Michael Stoute

1-  TOP OFFER   Khalid Abdulla     Roger Charlton

021415- TRUMPET MAJOR (IRE) John Manley     Richard Hannon

31131-  WROTE (IRE)   Sue Magnier,Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE

13-  ZUMBI (IRE)   Lady Rothschild    Sir Michael Stoute


63 entries

16 Irish-trained

4 French-trained

1 Spanish-trained




11 Entries

Aidan O’Brien IRE (2008 Henrythenavigator, 2006 George Washington, 2005 Footstepsinthesand, 2002 Rock Of Gibraltar, 1998 King Of Kings)


8 Entries

Richard Hannon (1990 Tirol, 1987 Don’t Forget Me, 1973 Mon Fils)


4 Entries

Mahmood Al Zarooni


3 Entries

Jim Bolger IRE

Roger Varian


2 Entries

Clive Brittain (1991 Mystiko)

Mikel Delzangles FR (2010 Makfi)

John Dunlop

John Gosden

John Hills

John Oxx IRE (2009 Sea The Stars)

Bryan Smart

Sir Michael Stoute (2001 Golan, 2000 King’s Best, 1997 Entrepreneur, 1988 Doyoun, 1985 Shadeed)


1 Entry

Andrew Balding

Ralph Beckett

Michael Bell

Marco Botti

Gerard Butler

Mick Channon

Roger Charlton

Nicolas Clement FR

William Jarvis

John Jenkins

Alan McCabe

George Margarson

Brian Meehan

John Quinn

Jean Claude Rouget FR

Mauricio Delcher Sanchez SPA

James Toller

Mark Tompkins



Class 1, Group 1, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, £350,000 total prize fund. Sunday, May 6, 2012. For 3-y-o fillies, one mile. Weights: 9st. Entries closed March 6, entries revealed March 7 (70 entries). Scratchings deadline April 24, six-day confirmation stage & £30,000 supplementary entry stage April 30, final declaration stage, 10.00am, May 4. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, March 5.


Form  Horse    Owner      Trainer

012056- AFTER (IRE)   Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick.Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE

5324-  AHIMSA (IRE)   Annemaire O’Brien    Aidan O’Brien IRE

12-  ALLA SPERANZA  Kirsten Rausing    Jim Bolger IRE

0(1)0-  AMTHAL (IRE)   A M A Al Shorafa    Clive Brittain

(2)-(1)  APPEALING (IRE)  Yvonne Jacques    Marco Botti

(1)(1)  AZEVILLE (GER)  Gerard Augustin-Normand   Francois Rohaut FR

11115-  BEST TERMS   Robert Barnett     Richard Hannon

100-  COCKNEY DANCER  Phil Cunningham    Charlie Hills

(4)(1)1- COQUET   Hon Mary Morrison & Partners   Hughie Morrison

00146-  DEVOTION (IRE)  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

21-  DIALA (IRE)   Abdulla Al Khalifa    William Haggas

11-  DISCOURSE (USA)  Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

42(2)-  DULKASHE (IRE)  Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum  Luca Cumani

4(1)1110- ELUSIVE KATE (USA)  Teruya Yoshida    John Gosden

112322- EXCELETTE (IRE)  Crossfields Racing    Bryan Smart

10415-(1) FALLS OF LORA (IRE)  Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

13-  FILLIONAIRE   Ann Black     Mick Channon

213-  FIRDAWS (USA)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Roger Varian

341222- FIRE LILY (IRE)  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier David Wachman IRE

2210-(1)(1) GAMILATI   Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

41-  GATHERING (USA)  George Strawbridge    John Gosden

13-  GRAY PEARL   Raymond Mould    Charlie Hills

(0)-  HELLO DUBAI   Abdulla Al Mansoori    David Simcock

4(3)121(0)- HOMECOMING QUEEN (IRE) Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE

121-  IRISH CLIFF (IRE)  Sunday Horses Club S.L.     Mauricio Delcher Sanchez SPA

160-  JANEY MUDDLES (IRE) June Judd & Jackie Bolger   Jim Bolger IRE

1-  KISSED (IRE)   Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

12-  KUNOOZ (IRE)  Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

1213-  LA COLLINA (IRE)  Jorg Vasicek     Kevin Prendergast IRE

1-  LACILY (USA)   Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

2100-  LADY GORGEOUS  Jaber Abdullah     Mick Channon

(2)(1)  LAUGH OUT LOUD  Ann Black, Mohammed Al Qatami & Khalid Al Mudhaf Mick Channon

21311-  LIGHTENING PEARL (IRE) Pearl Bloodstock Ltd    Ger Lyons IRE

3311-  LILY AMERICA (FR)  Pandora Stud Llc    Francois Rohaut FR

351226- LILY’S ANGEL (IRE)  Middleham Park Racing XLVIII   Richard Fahey

111-  LYRIC OF LIGHT  Godolphin     Mahmood Al Zarooni

122-  MASHOORA (IRE)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Jean Claude Rouget FR

11111-  MAYBE (IRE)   Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

10-  MISS AZEZA   Saif Ali      David Simcock

100224- MISS WORK OF ART  Mel Roberts and Nicola Meese   Richard Fahey

1-  MUAAMARA   Mohammed Al-Qatami & Khalid Al-Mudhaf Mick Channon

024331- NAYARRA (IRE)  Prince A A Faisal    Mick Channon

321-  PEARL DIVA (IRE)  John Davies     Peter Chapple-Hyam

5-  PETALUMA   Jon and Julia Aisbitt    Mick Channon

3121-(2)(5) PIMPERNEL (IRE)  Godolphin      Mahmood Al Zarooni

  POSTALE   Khalid Abdulla              Criquette Head-Maarek FR

1-  PREFERENTIAL  Khalid Abdulla              Criquette Head-Maarek FR

123-  RADIO GAGA   Multiplex Racing    Ed McMahon

1-  RECKONING (IRE)  The Hon William Vestey   Jeremy Noseda

2(2)221- REGATTA (FR)  Ecurie Wildenstein                Dominique Sepulchre FR

331411- RESTIADARGENT (FR) Guy Pariente     Alex Pantall FR

126-  RUSSELLIANA  Sir Evelyn De Rothschild   Sir Michael Stoute

62-  SAFARJAL (IRE)  Hamdan Al Maktoum    Charlie Hills

312321- SAMITAR   Nick & Olga Dhandsa, John & Zoe Webster Mick Channon

015062- SEMAYYEL (IRE)  Saeed Manana     Clive Brittain

3-  SHAME ON YOU (IRE)  Cavendish Investing Ltd   Charlie Hills

1-  STARSCOPE   Cheveley Park Stud    John Gosden

41025-  SUNDAY TIMES  Allan Belshaw     Peter Chapple-Hyam

1-  THE FUGUE   Lord Lloyd-Webber    John Gosden

4415-  TIFFILIA (IRE)   Jackie Bolger     Jim Bolger IRE

361111- TOPEKA (IRE)   Gerry Oldham     Robert Collet FR

54-  TOPTEMPO   Roalco Limited     Mark Tompkins

31-  TWIRL (IRE)   Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

0(1)4-  UP (IRE)   Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O’Brien IRE

4(1)06-  VILLENEUVE   Gary & Lesley Middlebrook   William Muir

2(1)1-  WADING (IRE)   Sue Magnier,Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien IRE

4510-  WAHYLAH (IRE)  Saeed Manana     Clive Brittain

016-  WHAT’S UP (IRE)  A & A      Kevin Ryan

(2)2-  WONDERFUL (IRE)  Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O’Brien IRE

124-  YELLOW ROSEBUD (IRE) Dr Ronan Lambe    Dermot Weld IRE


70 entries

17 Irish-trained

8 French-trained

1 Spanish-trained




10 Entries

Aidan O’Brien IRE (2005 Virginia Waters)


7 Entries

Mick Channon

Mahmood Al Zarooni (2011 Blue Bunting)


4 Entries

John Gosden (2000 Lahan)

Charlie Hills


3 Entries

Jim Bolger IRE (2007 Finsceal Beo)

Clive Brittain (1993 Sayyedati, 1984 Pebbles)


2 Entries

Peter Chapple-Hyan

Richard Fahey

Criquette Head-Maarek FR (2010 Special Duty, 1992 Hatoof, 1988 Ravinella, 1983 Ma Biche)

Francois Rohaut FR

David Simcock


1 Entry

Marco Botti

Robert Collet FR

Luca Cumani

William Haggas

Richard Hannon

Ger Lyons IRE

Ed McMahon

Hughie Morrison

William Muir

Jeremy Noseda

Alex Pantall FR

Kevin Prendergast IRE

Jean Claude Rouget FR

Kevin Ryan

Mauricio Delcher Sanchez SPA

Dominique Sepulchre FR

Bryan Smart

Sir Michael Stoute (2003 Russian Rhythm, 1989 Musical Bliss)

Mark Tompkins

Roger Varian

David Wachman IRE

Dermot Weld IRE


My thanks to Racenews for the information