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Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup 2012  

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Walkon Heads 36 for December Gold Cup
29/11/12

Alan King is bidding for Cheltenham compensation with Walkon in the £100,000 Grade Three Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup over two miles and five furlongs on day two of The International, Saturday, December 15.

Walkon
© Racehorse Photos

Walkon

The seven-year-old was narrowly denied major honours at Cheltenham for the second time in his accomplished career when finishing three lengths behind impressive winner Al Ferof in this month's BetVictor Gold Cup (and 12 lengths ahead of the third Nadiya De La Vega). He filled the same spot behind Zaynar in the 2009 Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle when beaten three quarters of a length.

King revealed: "Walkon came out of the Paddy Power Gold Cup well and the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup is the plan.

"He didn't surpass my expectations at all in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. We were very pleased with him beforehand and we were expecting a big run and we got one.

"He has gone up five pounds which seems acceptable but I can't do much about that - it is a bit frustrating but you have to learn to live with it."

King has also entered lightly raced nine-year-old Bakbenscher, who returned from a 609-day absence to come home an eye-catching fifth in the Grade Three Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow in October.

King added: "Bakbenscher is unlikely to run and I have put him in there just in case. He will run this weekend over hurdles but I am still undecided where he will go at the moment."

The race is being sponsored by the Stewart family, headed by well-known businessman and racehorse owner Andy Stewart, who has enjoyed tremendous success with four-time Ladbrokes World Hurdle hero Big Buck's.

One of Andy's sons, Paul, suffered a severe spinal injury in a snowboarding accident in December, 2008, and was paralysed from the waist down. He was initially told by doctors that he would never walk again but he is embarking on a remarkable challenge next year when participating in an Ironman/Quadathalon-style event.

Poquelin
© Racehorse Photos

Poquelin
The Stewart Family is involved with four of the entries which include dual-winner Poquelin, who carried big weights to victory in 2009 and 2010, and classy performers Tataniano and Ghizao, all of whom are overseen by champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls has enjoyed a wonderful start to the season and could also saddle smart French import Unioniste, owned by Al Ferof's owner John Hales, and Down Royal Grade Two scorer Cristal Bonus. Lightly-raced nine-year-old The Knoxs completes his sextet.

Hunt Ball, trained by Keiran Burke, was one of the stories of last season after improving a remarkable 88lb, but he couldn't continue that progress in the Paddy Power Gold Cup when pulling up.

The talented course winner Hell's Bay could have his first start for Burke after leaving Colin Tizzard, while Nicky Henderson could be represented by last season's winner Quantitativeeasing, Nadiya De La Vega and impressive Ascot victor Roberto Goldback.

Notus De La Tour
© racing-images.co.uk

Notus De La Tour
Trainer David Pipe has also started the season in excellent form, saddling four winners at The Open, and his sole entry is Notus De La Tour, who enjoyed a fine first season over fences last term which included two placed efforts in Grade One events at Leopardstown.

Philip Hobbs won the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup in 2004 with Monkerhostin and has two high-class entries in Grade One-winning novice chaser Menorah and Wishfull Thinking, who triumphed by 18 lengths in the two-mile Shloer Chase at The Open on November 18.

Other notable entries are Ferdy Murphy's Divers, who won the Listed Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase at The Festival in 2011, and last weekend's stylish Ascot scorer The Rainbow Hunter, trained by Kim Bailey.

The International takes place at Cheltenham on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15, and also includes the £130,000 Grade Two StanJames.com International Hurdle over two miles and a furlong. One of the most valuable hurdle races of the season, it regularly attracts the leading British and Irish hurdlers with recent scorers including Binocular, Harchibald and Rooster Booster.

 

THE PAUL STEWART IronSpine CHARITY CHALLENGE GOLD CUP

Class 1, Grade 3, £100,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.30pm, Cheltenham, Saturday, December 15, 2012. For 4yo+, 2m 5f. Penalties: after November 2, a winner of a chase 5lb (no penalty to increase a horse's weight above 11st 12lb). Entries closed November 27, entries revealed November 28 (36 entries), weights revealed December 5. Five-day confirmation stage December 10, final 48-hour declaration stage 10.00am, December 13. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, November 26.

Form Horse  Age Owner   Trainer

21021-4 ASTRACAD (FR) 6 Raymond Mould  Nigel Twiston-Davies

1/531U/-5 BAKBENSCHER 9 Three Line Whip  Alan King

05110-P CALGARY BAY (IRE) 9 Camilla Radford  Mick Channon

216PP-4 CARRICKBOY (IRE) 8 Trevor Hemmings  Venetia Williams

0/11P2-1 CRISTAL BONUS (FR) 6 Robin Geffen  Paul Nicholls

03602-3 DE BOITRON (FR) 8 Mrs J Morgan & Lindsey Shaw Ferdy Murphy

3U040-0 DIVERS (FR)  8 Let's Live Racing  Ferdy Murphy

2/460-13 GHIZAO (GER) 8 The Johnson & Stewart Families Paul Nicholls

313-51P GOLDEN CHIEFTAIN (IRE) 7 Brocade Racing  Colin Tizzard

P/12432/- HAVE YOU SEEN ME (IRE) 9 The Maple Hurst Partnership Nigel Twiston-Davies

123F2-0 HAVINGOTASCOOBYDO (IRE) 7 D Bishop C Bowkley M Parker M Thornton Martin Keighley

23201-P HECTOR'S CHOICE (FR) 8 James and Jean Potter  Richard Lee

P00P0-2 HELL'S BAY (FR) 10 A G Fear & A J Norman Keiran Burke

11113-P HUNT BALL (IRE) 7 Anthony Knott  Keiran Burke

030533 IMPERIAL SHABRA (IRE) 8 Rita Shah  Oliver Brady IRE

F-211FP KINGSMERE  7 Hamer & Hawkes  Henry Daly

1F314-3 MENORAH (IRE) 7 Diana Whateley  Philip Hobbs

0124-5P MICHEAL FLIPS (IRE) 8 M Tedham  Andy Turnell

03/10-13 NADIYA DE LA VEGA (FR) 6 J P McManus  Nicky Henderson

11323F- NOTUS DE LA TOUR (FR) 6 D Bradshaw, J Dale, P Deal, J Smee, W Walsh David Pipe

5U26-4P POQUELIN (FR) 9 The Stewart Family  Paul Nicholls

02105-P QUANTITATIVEEASING (IRE) 7 J P McManus  Nicky Henderson

P1110-3 QUINCY DES PICTONS (FR) 8 Stephen Spence  Alan Jones

F/4010F- QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 8 J P McManus  Willie Mullins IRE

51PP-34 RENARD (FR)  7 ROA Arkle Partnership  Venetia Williams

32000-1 ROBERTO GOLDBACK (IRE) 10 Simon Munir  Nicky Henderson

4U1F10 ROMANESCO (FR) 7 Annie Flora Joan Bowles Gordon Elliott IRE

06050-6 TARTAK (FR)  9 Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd Tim Vaughan

21/35/1-5 TATANIANO (FR) 8 The Stewart Family  Paul Nicholls

00/015U- TATENEN (FR) 8 The Stewart Family  Richard Rowe

1/15001- THE KNOXS (IRE) 9 Andrea & Graham Wylie Paul Nicholls

204-311 THE RAINBOW HUNTER 8 May We Never Be Found Out Partnership Kim Bailey

1110-2P TRIOLO D'ALENE (FR) 5 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr  Nicky Henderson

165-113 UNIONISTE (FR) 4 John Hales  Paul Nicholls

1345P-2 WALKON (FR)  7 McNeill Family  Alan King

6F25-21 WISHFULL THINKING 9 Diana Whateley  Philip Hobbs

36 entries

3 Irish-trained

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