Tag Archives: cheltenham

Biggest Chelt Fest preview night 2012

The Boylesports.com Cheltenham preview night is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday 7th March, in the Leopardstown Pavilion. Boylesports.com is hosting this event in association with the Irish Racing Post and Leopardstown racecourse and all proceeds from the night will go to the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association (IMNDA).

The star-studded preview panel on display at this event sets it apart from every other Cheltenham preview night, with the UK and Ireland’s top racing experts sharing their opinion and knowledge.

The panel consists of Jonathan Mullin, Willie Mullins, Tom Segal, Anthony Bromley, Davy Russell and Paudie Hassett.

In addition, this is the only panel on which Willie Mullins will sit in Ireland which means attendees on the night can expect exclusive insights from the Mullins’ yard. Also, more sporting legends such as Jimmy Magee, RTE’s famous sportscaster, known as the ‘Memory Man’ is confirmed to appear during the night.

There is an expected attendance of over 600 people on the night. Tickets are available for purchase on http://www.leopardstown.com and will be left out for collection on the night. Tickets are also available in selected Boylesports shops; Suffolk St. / Camden St. / Parnell St. / Blackrock / Shankill / Bray / Crumlin / Dundrum / Kimmage / Greystones. Pre-booking is advised but tickets will be available on the night on a first-come first-served basis.

For anyone who cannot make it on the night but would like to contribute, donations can still be made by visiting http://www.imnda.ie. A video recording of the night will also be available on the Boylesports website.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this fantastic event. The panel for Wednesday’s preview night is exceptional and promises to provide ample information and tips ahead of the highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival. We are especially pleased that all proceeds will be going to a very special cause, the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association. I would like to thank Boylesports and the Racing Post for organising what will be a wonderful and informative night’s entertainment.”

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Leopardstown slip into Cheltenham mode

Leopardstown racecourse has enjoyed three hugely successful race meetings so far this year; the January Jumps weekend featuring the Boylesports.com Handicap Hurdle, the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle and the highly acclaimed Hennessy Gold Cup.

Year after year, these races have provided racegoers with informative clues as to potential winners in Cheltenham. The Road to Cheltenham series invited racegoers to come and see some of the leading contenders go into battle during the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival.

Traditionally this race meeting has been used by many trainers to finalise racecourse work on some of their principle contenders in preparation for hopeful Cheltenham glory and this Sunday is no exception with a competitive seven card meeting.

The feature race, The Carrickmines Handicap Steeplechase at 4pm presents a dozen runners with the weights headed by recent Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup runner-up, Roberto Goldback, while last year’s Irish Grand National hero, Organisedconfusion and the promising Ted Walsh trained novice, Colbert Station, are also in the line-up.

Two more interesting runners are last season’s Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup winner, Follow The Plan, and the Tony Martin-trained Montan, who has been running consistently well over fences and hurdles this season.

In other races, the Ballsbridge Hurdle has attracted seven competitors to face the starter and here the Charles Byrnes trained Pittoni clashes with the Dermot Weld trained New Phase while other interesting runners in a tight contest are the 2008 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle runner-up, Osana, the useful Won In the Dark and the smart mare, Oilily.

The concluding Killiney Pro-Am Flat Race sees the Jessica Harrington trained Jezki bid to follow up his winning debut effort over this course in late January.

Finally, in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Steeplechase, Noel Meade’s recent Grade 2 Navan winner, Donnas Palm is likely to start favourite to follow up.

For rugby fans, you won’t miss the action at Stade de France. Leopardstown will bring a little of ‘Les Blues’ and of course ‘Les Verts’ to the racecourse where racegoers can watch the match on the large screens around the racetrack, Tote hall and numerous bars. There will also be a little French gastronomic flavour to the day with French-themed food offerings including:- ham and cheese croissant with coffee for €5, French baguette with roast beef, brie, onions and blue cheese dressing for €5.60 and finally for the foodie, beef bourguignon with a glass of wine for €14.

After the last race, some of the Cheltenham festival-bound horses will school on the track including; Lucky William, Forpadydeplasterer, Barel of Laughs, Lord Windermere, He’llberemembered, Moon Dice, Becauseicouldntsee, Realt Dubh, Silverhand, Fisher Bridge, Dylan Ross, The Midnight Club, White Star Line, Deal Done, Rick (FR), Chill, Magnanimity, His Own, Quiscover Fontaine, Prince de Beauchene, Allee Garde, Soll, Boxer Georg, Sir Des Champs, Blackstairmountain, Raptor, Up the Beat, Call the Police, Your Busy, Daffern Seal and Merchant Royal.

The schooling will also be shown on the big screen and every horse will wear a numbered saddlecloth, making the commentary easy to follow.

Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse said: – “This Sunday will be a great sporting occasion as Leopardstown delivers fantastic live racing action and the perfect location for the sport enthusiast to watch the Rugby, our caterers are have come up with French-themed food offering too. It should be a fascinating day when opinions and tips will be flying right, left and centre. Quite simply it is the perfect pre-Cheltenham experience.”

Last Instalment ruled out of Cheltenham trip

As first reported on The Irish Field’s Twitter feed ysterday afternoon, Last Instalment has been ruled out of the RSA Chase at Cheltenham after suffering a slight injury when winning the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The Philip Fenton-trained seven-year-old, owned by the Gigginstown House Stud, had been a leading fancy for honours at the Festival after taking his unbeaten run over fences to four and notching his second Grade One success after he took the Fort Leney Novice Chase at Leopardstown in December.

Eddie O’Leary, Gigginstown racing manager, was speaking The Irish Field’s Ryan McElligott at Goffs Sales when the news broke about the unfortunate injury.

Later, Fenton said to At The Races: “He’s not going to run again this season. He was a little sore after Leopardstown, so I thought we’d play safe.”

China Rock going straight to Cheltenham

Mouse Morris reported at Fairyhouse this afternoon that China Rock will swerve this Saturday’s Grade 2 Red Mills Chase after scoping badly on Monday.

China Rock, who finished fifth in last weekend’s Hennessy Gold Cup, was one of the nine original entries for the race but will not run in the Gowran Park showpiece.

Morris’s entries for Saturday had already been made before the results of the scope were known, and the nine-year-old will now head straight to Cheltenham where he holds a Gold Cup entry.

CHELTENHAM – The 100 Years War

As this year’s Cheltenham Festival draws ever closer the appearance of CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL CENTENARY 1911–2011 – An Irish Tribute could not be more timely.
Lavishly illustrated, with a foreword by the Festival’s most successful owner, JP McManus, this comprehensive record details the role of Irish owners, breeders, trainers, riders, punters and horses in making the Crucible in the Cotswolds a uniquely Irish overseas arena.
This remarkable book gathers together for the first time the triumphs and disasters that attended annual Irish forays to Prestbury Park in March. In addition to comprehensive indexes of horses and humans, it contains tables of every Irish-trained Cheltenham Festival winner.
From Ballinode in 1925 to War Of Attrition in 2006, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has crossed the 1rish Sea 21 times. Cottage Rake took it on three occasions, as did Arkle subsequently. The Champion Hurdle followed suit 18 times, from Distel in 1946 up to Hurricane Fly in 2011. Hatton’s Grace took the spoils three times, as Istabraq would later do.
Inkslinger, the only horse ever to win two steeplechases at the same Cheltenham Festival, was trained on the Curragh. Montelado, the only horse ever to win successive Cheltenham Festival events, was prepared to do so in Waterford.
Limerick handler, Delma Harty became the first of her sex to saddle a Cheltenham Festival winner, just as Caroline Beasley became the first woman ever to ride a winner at the Olympics of national hunt racing.
Ireland’s Cheltenham Festival record has actually mirrored the fortunes of Irish racing. From a record haul of nine winners in 1958, the Irish fortunes fell to an all-time low in 1989 – zero. That 1958 record stood until 2006, and was extended further with and extraordinary 13 Irish-trained winners last year.

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL CENTENARY 1911 – 2011 – An Irish Tribute
PB 240pps
Daletta Press
ISBN 978-0-9534389-3-8
RSP €25.00 – Stg £20.00

CONTACT
Guy Williams,
The Thatch,
Cloneygath,
Monasterevan,
Co Kildare
045 523449
guywilliams@eircom.net

Guy Williams Biography
Guy is a freelance author, columnist, racing historian and publisher.
A member of the famous Irish distilling family that produced Tullamore Dew, Guy was an executive of the company, specialising in brand creation and development for 14 years.
Throughout that period, he became immersed in horse racing as an owner, trainer and amateur jockey, having winners in all three guises under Rules and point-to-points.
He took out a licence to train publicly in 1979 and produced Daletta to win the Irish Grand National the following year. That success earned him the Young Trainer of the Year award.
That was to prove the highlight of his training career, but he retained an involvement in racing, as a stipendiary steward of the Jockey Club. Guy also held that role in Macau in the early ‘90s, where other duties included all administrative functions covered here by Horse Racing Ireland, the Turf Club and Weatherbys.
By this stage, Guy was a published author and he has continued to produce works of quality and detail. He is currently a racing columnist and co-compiler of Ireland’s long awaited Racing Archive.
Guy was married to Anne Harty in 1966 and they have five adult children.

PUBLISHED WORK
Racing
History of the Irish Derby (1980)
History of the Irish Grand National (1995)
Racing Lodges of the Curragh (1997)
Winner all right (1999)
Martin Molony – a Legend in his Lifetime (2001)
Cheltenham Gold Cup IMMORTALS (2003)
T.P. BURNS – A Racing Life (2006)
Plantation Stud – Derby Dreams (2007)
The Irish National Stud (2009)
Non-Racing
A Sea-grey House (1995)
A Year in Connemara (1998)
The Renvyle Letters (2000)
FIREBRAND – The Life and Times of Herbrand Alexander (2010)

World Hurdle entries headed by Big Buck’s

Big Buck’s features among 34 entries for this year’s £260,000 Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle as he bids to capture the three-mile championship contest for a record fourth consecutive time at The Festival on St Patrick’s Thursday, March 15.

A total of 11 Irish-trained entries include eight possible runners from the stable of Willie Mullins, headed by dual Grade One winners Thousand Stars and Quevega, Mourad, So Young, Zaidpour and Mikael d’Haguenet, plus the Colm Murphy-trained Voler La Vedette, who has won her latest three starts impressively.

However, Big Buck’s is unbeaten in 14 starts over the smaller obstacles since contesting the Hennessy Gold Cup in November, 2008, and looked as good as ever when sauntering to a comprehensive eight-length success on his latest start in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 17.

His trainer Paul Nicholls is considering letting Big Buck’s take his chance in the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle over three miles on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on January 28 in preparation for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. If the nine-year-old were to capture both races, he would equal the record for consecutive wins over jumps in Britain set by three-time Champion Hurdle winner Sir Ken, who recorded 16 straight victories in the 1950s.

Big Buck’s is rated a 4/7 chance for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with the race sponsor, which has Oscar Whisky, also entered in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, as the 4/1 second favourite. The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old has yet to race over three miles but boasts some excellent form over shorter distances, including a fine third in last year’s Stan James Champion Hurdle and a facile success over an extended two and a half miles on his latest start at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Restless Harry was ninth behind Big Buck’s in last year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle but Robin Dickin’s stable star posted an excellent performance when comprehensively winning a Grade Two Hurdle at Wetherby in October. The eight-year-old subsequently made the frame in two starts over fences before returning to hurdles to finish third behind Big Buck’s at Ascot in December.

Dickin revealed: “The Ladbrokes World Hurdle is on the radar for Restless Harry and we will make a decision whether to keep him over hurdles or return to chasing in due course.

“He will probably be entered in the Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham and he could go for the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase on the same card. If he didn’t run there, I might look at the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock instead.

“He never runs a bad race and his Wetherby run at the start of the season was astonishing. I am not quite sure what that was about so I am not sure how to recreate it – I would have thought that the run would have brought him on.

“Going chasing isn’t off the agenda with him but the season is getting on and there are such huge prizes on offer with the long-distance hurdles. He got a little bit chopped coming round the top turn in last year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle and I think that he has improved slightly since then.”