Captain Cee Bee Leads McManus One-Two
1st (3) Captain Cee Bee 17-2
A day after his 57th birthday, JP McManus, the most prodigious owner in National Hunt racing, got a present worth waiting for when Captain Cee Bee and Binocular, wearing the famous green and gold hoops, gave the Irishman a one-two in the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices Chase, the opening race of the 2008 Cheltenham Festival.
The winner, Captain Cee Bee (17/2) , trained by Eddie Harty, was McManus’s 28th Cheltenham success, but it was Binocular (8/1), from the Jonjo O’Neill stable, who was predicted to be the more likely McManus winner and was the choice of the owner’s retained jockey Tony McCoy.
“From what I was hearing he [Tony McCoy] was very happy with his choice, but both trainers were expecting their horses to run well. With Binocular, if there was a worry, it was if he was experienced enough having only two runs. I did not know which to fancy,” said McManus, who added that he couldn’t ask for more than see both his horses coming up the hill clear.
“At the last I was looking to see how the rest of field was getting on. It was a shame that one of my horses had to lose. It was a great race - very exciting.”
For trainer Eddie Harty, son of the jockey of the same name, it was an astonishing success for Captain Cee Bee was his first ever runner at the Festival. Moreover, a jubilant trainer felt the horse didn’t how it full ability. “We knew he was pretty special.
"We'll have our 40 minutes of fame and see what happens after that! We've always loved the horse, he won a Flat race last year over a mile and three by nine lengths and that vindicated to me how good the horse was and he's just proven it now. We've always felt that he was Cheltenham material.
"To be honest, he didn't like the ground today. Choc was saying that he never travelled that well early on in the race because of the ground. I was slightly worried about my fella at the top of the hill - he was slightly niggling at him. I watched it on the big screen across the track at that point and I was slightly worried that he was dropping away. But then, when he jumped it, he was in contention. Binocular seemed to be cruising but my fella jumped it well.
"It's unbelievable - you dream about things like this and you think it will never happen. It's a strange feeling to be honest. It's not the euphoria; it's the release of the pressure of the last four months. You train the horse for the one day; you have certain things go wrong, not been able to get a run into the horse. You come here after a hundred and something days with no run hoping you're not going to leave Cheltenham with egg on your face. It's a relief more than anything else.
"My grandfather, my father's father, was Captain C B Harty and he was one of the members of the first Irish team to jump when Ireland had independence. He was a trainer in his own right, a trainer of trainers, a trainer of horses, a trainer of jockeys.
"My father rode successfully but never actually got to ride a winner at The Festival even though he rode many winners at Cheltenham. When he bought this fella, he named him Captain Cee Bee, which was a brave thing to do because horses named after people or places that mean something to you usually end up no good, but this fella is here today in the right spot. It's a family triumph in every sense of the word."
Robert Thornton, the winning jockey, said: “I wasn’t liking the ground early ground and, to be honest with you, I was off grinding behind the bridle from the first down the back straight.
“He’s picked up and held his position and the one thing he can do is jump which is a great attribute round here. Off the bend A P looked as though he was probably going better than me but I was half confident that Captain Cee Bee would pick up and he did. He missed the last and still got away with it. He’s gone well in ground he probably doesn’t like.
“The ground is described as good to soft and it has ridden soft for Captain Cee Bee, but he doesn’t like the ground and it depends on what you are sat on.
“If you were on a horse that loved that kind off ground then it would probably ride good to soft. You wait and see a couple of race before taking a view on what the ground is like.
“Its great to ride an Irish-trained winner, although I wouldn’t want to come in here carrying the Cross of St George!”
HENDERSON’S PLAN TO AVOID FRANCHOEK SCUPPERED BY ANOTHER MCMANUS RUNNER
Nicky Henderson, trainer of second-placed Binocular, said: “He
did nothing wrong, he jumped well, he travelled well and did everything
right. Ironically the whole point of running here was to avoid (J P McManus’s)
Franchoek (in the JCB Triumph Hurdle) and we were beaten by his horse
here! I don’t know what the plan will be now, it probably depends
where Franchoek and all the others go.”
Diana Whateley, owner of Snap Tie, who finished third, said: “We
lost The Grey Berry recently so to be placed at Cheltenham is wonderful
when everyone is trying so hard and in such a big field. The ground was
not quite what we wanted for him but I’m just thrilled.”
The horse’s trainer Philip Hobbs said: “We’re very
pleased. We’d have liked the ground to be better and it would have
been nice to be in the shake-up a little bit closer but we’re very
proud of him.”
Outsider Kalahari King claimed fourth at 40/1 to the delight of trainer Ferdy Murphy, who said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with him. It’s probably gone a little bit soft for him but it’s been a great experience and he’s a horse that can play at the big table. Tony (Dobbin) had a great spin round on him and this will do wonders for the horse’s confidence.”
Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle – Analysis
Oliver McKiernan’s Whatuthink finished third in that race, but
the six-year-old gelding had Cork All Star back in third when triumphing
in the Grade Two Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on December
27, with fellow entry Forpadydeplasterer, trained by Thomas Cooper, separating
Last year’s Grade One Weatherby’s Champion Bumper second
Sophocles could also return to The Festival. James Levy’s five-year-old
gelding recorded a good victory in a competitive maiden at Leopardstown
in December on his second start over hurdles.
Willie Mullins, who added to Tourist Attraction’s victory in this
race in 1995 with Ebaziyan last year, has five entries including progressive
hurdler C’Est Ca and last year’s Grade One Weatherby’s
Champion Bumper fifth Fiveforthree, while fellow dual winner Edward O’Grady
(1978 Golden Cygnet, 2003 Back In Front) could run Indian Spring, who
finished second in the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on December
Colm Murphy has engaged Megans Joy, who was a good winner of a Grade
Three Novice Hurdle at Down Royal in November before finishing fourth
behind Muirhead at Fairyhouse, while Gordon Elliott may run Harper Valley,
who won the Boylesports.com Best Odds Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle
at Cheltenham on December 15.
Nicky Henderson, who has won the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle twice before with River Ceirlog in 1986 and Flown in 1992, has made 14 entries, including impressive Newbury introductory hurdle scorer Khyber Kim, Working Title, who was an impressive 25-length winner on his hurdling debut, as well as Binocular, Zebra Crossing, Dave’s Dream and Doubly Guest, who have all enjoyed a winning start over the smaller obstacles.
The familiar Jim Lewis colours could be represented by the Paul Nicholls-trained
Breedsbreeze, who was a convincing winner of the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle
at Sandown on January 5.
The champion trainer, successful in this race with Noland in 2006, has six entries in total, including Cheltenham scorers I’msingingtheblues, victorious in the Grade Two Anglo Irish Bank Private Banking Novices’ Hurdle in November, and Five Dream, who scored in the Brightwells Cheltenham Bloodstock Auctions Handicap Hurdle on January 26.
Alan King has engaged his star hurdler Francheok among his 10 entries.
The four-year-old gelding, winner of the Grade One Future Champions Finale
Hurdle at Chepstow over Christmas, has twice won round Cheltenham this
season, including an impressive display in the Grade Two Wragge & Co
Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle on Festival Trials Day on January 26.
The Barbury Castle handler could also be represented by the third from
that race, Squadron, useful flat performer Group Captain, recent Grade
Two second Theatre Girl, and Oh Crick, who beat a host of older rivals
under top weight in the Club 16-24 Annual Big Bash “National Hunt” Novices’ Handicap
Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Philip Hobbs has engaged three horses, including Royal Country Zen, who finished second to I’msingingtheblues on his hurdling bow before winning his next two starts, including a three-quarter length victory over Andrew Turnell’s smart performer and fellow entry Blue Bajan.
The Minehead-based handler could also run Snap Tie, who chased home
I’msingingtheblues in the Grade Two Anglo Irish Bank Private Banking
Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in November, and former useful flat
performer Cutting Crew.
Another decent flat performer, Numide, who won a Group Two at Longchamp
before joining Gary Moore, could also take his chance. The five-year-old
gelding has made an impressive start to his hurdling career, winning
both his outings this season by wide margins.
Evan Williams has entered his classy six-year-old Deep Purple, who was
an impressive winner of a Grade Two Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot before
chasing home Breedsbreeze at Sandown in January, while compatriot Peter
Bowen has engaged Grade One Challow Novices’ Hurdle victor Souffleur.
Howard Johnson, who won the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
with Arcalis in 2005, has four entries, including Striking Article, who
was an easy winner at Wetherby in December on his only start over hurdles,
expensive Irish import Logans Run, and flat Listed-winner Scriptwriter.
Ferdy Murphy may run his exciting six-year-old Kalahari King, who was a facile winner over hurdles at Musselburgh in December, while Kahlil Burke has entered Lemon Silk, who finished third behind Francheok in The Grade Two Cleanevent Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in November before scoring in a Grade Two Junior Hurdle at Lingfield the following month.
ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES' HURDLE PREVIOUS RESULTS
2006-WINNER-NOLAND 5-11-07 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls;
Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/1
2005-WINNER-ARCALIS 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham
Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee: SP-20/1
2004-WINNER-BRAVE INCA 6-11-07 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm
Murphy IRE; Jockey-Barry Cash; SP-7/2 Fav
2003-WINNER-BACK IN FRONT 6-11-08 Owner-Dermot
Cox; Trainer-Edward O’Grady
IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-3/1 Fav
2002-WINNER-LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY 8-11-03 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy
Roche IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-7/4 Fav
2001 - Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-SAUSALITO BAY 6-11-08 Owner-The High Street Racing Syndicate;
Trainer- Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-14/1
1999-WINNER-HORS LA LOI III 4-11-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-Martin
Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-9/2
1998-WINNER-FRENCH BALLERINA 5-11-03 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Pat
Flynn IRE; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-10/1
1997-WINNER-SHADOW LEADER 6-11-08 Owner-James Blackshaw; Trainer-Charles
Egerton; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-5/1
1996-WINNER-INDEFENCE 5-11-08 Owner-Indef Limited; Trainer-Jenny Pitman;
Jockey-Warren Marston; SP-25/1
ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR
(Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle since 2006, Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2004-2005, Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2003, Gerrard Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2001-02, Capel Cure Sharp Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2000, Citroen Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1994-99,Trafalgar House Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1991-93, Waterford Crystal Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1978-90, Lloyds Bank Champion Novice Hurdle 1974-1977, Gloucestershire Hurdle before 1974)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE FACTS AND FIGURES
1. The Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was known as the Gloucestershire Hurdle until 1974. Anglo Irish Bank sponsors the race for the third time in 2008. Capel Cure Sharp backed the contest in 2000 and the company, which became Gerrard Wealth Management, supported the race until 2003. Racecourse caterers Letheby & Christopher became the sixth sponsor since the initial backer Lloyds Bank in 1974 when supporting the contest in 2004 and 2005.
2. The Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the only race
at The Festival to have been divided. From 1946-1971 when known as the
Gloucestershire Novices’ Hurdle, it divided on no less than 25
occasions. In 1963 and 1946 there were even three divisions.
3. The oldest horse to have won was 12-year-old Beau Caprice in 1966
(Div One). Three eight-year-olds have also been successful - Like-A-Butterfly
in 2002, Sondrio in 1989 and Boys Hurrah in 1956 (Div One).
4. The 1993 winner, Montelado, holds a unique position in the history
of The Festival at Cheltenham. He is the only horse to have won consecutive
Festival races, landing the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 1992, the last
race of that year’s meeting, and returning to win the Anglo Irish
Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1993, the first race 12 months
5. The Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has thrown up
one winner of the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and three Smurfit Kappa
Champion Hurdle heroes. L'Escargot won in 1968, before consecutive Gold
Cup triumphs in 1970 and 1971. Bula scored in 1970, before Champion Hurdle
victories in 1971 and 1972, the 2002 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle winner
Hors La Loi III took the race in 1999, and Brave Inca took the Champion
Hurdle in 2006 having landed the novice event two years earlier.
6. The race has been won by Irish-trained raiders on no less than 36
occasions, and by the French once. Of the 16 divisions from 1952-59,
Vincent O'Brien won 10. Ireland also kept a stranglehold on the race
for seven years from 1977-83 and has won five of the last seven runnings.
7. The smallest field was in 1950, with nine runners in Division 1,
and the largest, 30 runners, for both Harry Hastings' win in 1985 and
French Ballerina in 1998. The maximum field allowed is now 24.
8. Since the race ceased to be divided, big-name jockeys have found
the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle difficult to win.
Tony McCoy, successful on Hors La Loi III in 1999, is the only one of
the last four champion jockeys to have scored in this particular contest,
and only Charlie Swan (1993 and 2002), Tommy Carmody (1980 and 1983)
and Niall Madden (1978 and 1981) have been successful twice.
9. The longest-priced winner was Arctic Kinsman at 50/1 in 1994, while
last year’s victor Ebaziyan is one of only two 40/1 shots to have
scored. The shortest-priced winners at 4/9 were Tsaoko in 1950 and Flyingbolt
in 1964. Favourites have been successful eight times in the 35 runnings
since 1972, with three of the last six winning.
10. The fastest time for the winning horse was achieved by Montelado in 1993 at 3m 50.6s. French Ballerina came close to that record in 1998 when her time was 3m 50.9s
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