Tizzard Hoping for Lively Start to Cheltenham’s Season at The Showcase 14/10/08
Turnell Aiming Bible Lord at Showcase Glory 13/10/08
In-Form Lord Ryeford Pencilled In for the Showcase
Cheltenham Marks Mick Fitzgerald’s Retirement at The Showcase
Jewson Final the Plan for Vaughan’s Money
Williams has Cheltenham in Mind for Butler
The feature race of the two-day meeting takes place over the same course and distance as the £150,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, the centrepiece of The Open (November 14, 15 and 16). Last year’s winner, Knowhere, went on to finish third in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and it is a route that Williams will be keeping in mind for William Butler.
The eight-year-old notched up a quartet of victories in handicap chases within 11 days in July, over distances ranging from two miles to two miles and five furlongs. He then ran an encouraging third in the Listed Summer Plate over an extended two miles and six furlongs at Market Rasen three days after the fourth win.
William Butler was given over a month off before returning to action in the Listed Lord Mildmay Memorial Handicap Chase at Newton Abbott, but jumped awkwardly at the first and parted company with his rider. On his most recent start, he recorded a comprehensive victory in a novice hurdle at Uttoxeter on September 11.
Williams said: “The Dick Francis “Silks” Handicap Chase is certainly a race that we will look at for William Butler - it’s definitely a race that he could end up in. We’ll probably run him at the end of the month, at Market Rasen perhaps, and then the race at Cheltenham would be something we will look at.
“He came out of his hurdle win really good - he seems really fresh and well. He just seems to grow in confidence with every win. It’s unbelievable really what he’s won this summer.
“He keeps surprising us and gets better with every run. As I said, he seems to get more confident with every race he wins, so fingers crossed he could end up at Cheltenham.”
Looking ahead, Williams added that William Butler would need to prove himself before the trainer would consider stepping him up in class for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, November 15.
He added: “We wouldn’t want to get too excited - we’ll take every race as it comes. He ran such a good race at Market Rasen at the end of his sequence when he wasn’t a fresh horse, so we’ll probably look to go back there and build on things.
“If he could develop into a horse who could run in the Paddy Power Gold Cup - he’d get in with a nice light weight - it might be something that we would look to do. He would have to go and prove himself around Cheltenham first though and The Showcase meeting would be the ideal place to start him off.”
Elliott Planning Showcase Raid at Cheltenham
Cheltenham Racecourse is gearing up for a busy and exciting 2008/09 season and starts the campaign with The Showcase on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18, boasting total prize money of £252,000, which represents a £20,000 (8.6 per cent) increase on last year.
The feature race of the two-day meeting is the £50,000 Dick Francis “Silks” Handicap Chase (2.50pm) on the Saturday, which is sure to offer some clues for the £150,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, the centrepiece of The Open (November 14, 15 and 16).
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, who has made a number of successful trips to Britain already this season, is looking forward to The Showcase and hopes to have a strong team to send across from his County Meath base.
The Grand National winning trainer wants to improve on the two wins that he has notched up at Prestbury Park already during his career, while the prize money on offer is also encouraging him to come over.
He said: “Franc Villez will run in the two and a half mile novice chase (Tiger Developments Novices' Chase - 2.55pm) on the Friday, all being well. He will go to Perth next week and that should leave him right for Cheltenham.
“He has won two and been placed second twice for us at Perth already in July, so he has been very consistent over there this year and is in good form at home. I’d be hopeful of another good run from him.
“Valerius, who won two days in a row at Perth in late July, will probably go for the two-mile and five furlong novice hurdle (Lemington Novices' Hurdle - 2.20pm), the first race on Friday. He will go to Perth before as well. He’s in good form at home - in good condition - and will be campaigned mostly in England this season.
“Tchang Goon, who was a reserve in the bumper at Listowel on Tuesday, could possibly go for the bumper (Betfair Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race - 5.45pm) at Cheltenham on the second day.
“I’ll have a few others for the handicap hurdles as well, maybe Mhilu, who also won at Perth in July. I’m just a bit undecided still about who else is definitely going to go over, I'll have to see how they all are in the next couple of weeks.
“The prize money is very good over the two days of The Showcase and I will definitely be trying to pick up some of it, so hopefully I’ll have a good team going across.”
IG INDEX SPONSORS FOR FIRST TIME
The highlight on the opening day is the inaugural running of the £30,000 IG Index Handicap Chase (4.05pm) over three miles and half a furlong, while the valuable £25,000 Jewson Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Race Final (3.30pm) is also on the excellent seven-race card.
IG Index is sponsoring a race at Cheltenham for the first time, thereby extending an existing relationship as advertiser and box holder.
Spokesman Jeremy Scott said: “We’re hugely excited to be sponsoring at Prestbury Park as Cheltenham opens its doors for the new season. IG Index has been associated with Cheltenham for many years and regularly entertains at the course but this is something new, being the first time we’ve taken on a race sponsorship.
“We see this as a prime opportunity to get IG Index in front of the Jump Racing fraternity while extending hospitality to guests at one of the world’s greatest sporting arenas.”
The Showcase Exhibition during the two-day meeting brings together information about breeding, owning, training, riding and caring for horses in their retirement, plus demonstrations covering aspects as diverse as how a horse is saddled and how a fence is built.
Prior to racing, racegoers can visit the parade ring and the weighing room, normally off limits to the public, and even win the chance to judge the Best Turned Out horse in a race, watch a race as an owner or make a trophy presentation.
This year, The Showcase also coincides with the famous Cheltenham Literature Festival, which runs from October 10 to 19. Names such as Julie Walters, Roger Moore, Sheila Hancock, Ray Mears, John Barrowman and Richard Attenborough are appearing at events in The Centaur at the racecourse.
JUMP RACING DVD LAUNCHED
Cheltenham has also announced the release of a double DVD reviewing the 2007/08 Jump Racing season.
From Monet’s Garden at Aintree in October to Monkerhostin at Sandown in April, 100 races from last season are reviewed, with expert comment from former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody (www.richarddunwoody.co.uk).
The Festivals at Aintree and Cheltenham are extensively covered, with Denman’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victory and the John Smith’s Grand National win of Comply Or Die shown in full. This is the best and most comprehensive review of last season and is available for just £19.99 via www.cheltenhamcollection.co.uk or 01242 513014.
Meeting - The Showcase, Cheltenham Racecourse
Admission prices - Club/Tattersalls from £18. Best Mate from £9. Accompanied children under 16 admitted FREE to all enclosures. FREE car parking. Tickets available from www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 08445 793 003.
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