THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY
1st (14) Voy Por Ustedes 15-2
VICTORY FOR VOY
Voy Por Ustedes extended his unbeaten run over fences to five in the highest possible company when capturing The Irish Independent Arkle Chase, billed by many as the race of The Festival beforehand, by one and a quarter lengths from Monet’s Garden.
“I have always wanted a decent two-mile chaser, we had a lot when I was with the Duke (David Nicholson) and it’s great to have one now,” said winning trainer Alan King.
“I said to Choc (jockey Robert Thornton) last night that the danger was Monet’s Garden, the grey horse, but he said that he wouldn’t be quick enough. The first thing he said when he came in was ‘I told you so’!
“My conditional Gina Carenza has done a lot of the work with the horse so he must take a lot of credit because this is a difficult horse, he’s very volatile. When the race he was due to run in at Warwick was abandoned, I’m very thankful they rescheduled it at Wincanton, we’d have been in deep trouble otherwise.
“The horse has just progressed all season, this looked a very strong race beforehand, it was his biggest test and he has proved himself.
“I’m just happy to enjoy today but I suppose we could think of Aintree, I’ll talk to his owner Sir Robert Ogden.”
Ogden bought Voy Por Ustedes from the Million In Mind dispersal at Doncaster’s May Sale last year for 106,000 guineas and the owner’s racing manager Barry Simpson said: “Alan King trained him for Million In Mind and he put the horse up to us so there was massive pressure on him for it to perform so all credit to Alan.
“We came very close to winning this race with Squire Silk and it’s a race we’ve always wanted to land, the only sadness is that Sir Robert is away and so was not able to be here.”
Winning rider Robert Thornton said: “He’s brilliant. He actually missed one at the top of the hill, but it just got him to take a blow - turning the bend, he was running away with me again. His jumping was very good - very efficient. He’s a bold jumper - early on he was a little bit too bold maybe. But he seems to have got the measure of things now. At the last [where he made a mistake] I just had to keep pressing - it happens. I got to the other side and he won.”
Race 2 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
Flat-out Monet’s does Richards proud
After Monet’s Garden had finished second in the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, his trainer, Nicky Richards, said: “He’s a grand horse. He was probably going as fast over the first as he was at the last. He went as fast as he could for two miles, but when the other fellow [winner Voy Por Ustedes] nicked a couple of lengths on the final bend he couldn’t pull it back.
“He jumped great and ran up the hill very well. He doesn’t take a great deal of racing - I doubt he’ll go to Aintree, but I might take him to Ayr for a three-mile novices’ chase to end the season a high note. He wants three miles.
“If he were to come back here next year it wouldn’t be for the Champion Chase - it would more likely be the Ryanair Chase [2m5f].”
Thierry Doumen, trainer of third-placed Foreman, said: “I’ve nothing to say against him. He ran a great race, considering it was his first time over the Cheltenham fences. He never lost any ground at the fences, but the two horses who made the running [winner and second] never gave up and made such a strong gallop that it gave little chance to the back runners.
“The only one going forward in the home straight was Foreman, so he ran a very good race. I’ll see him at home in his box and how he recovers, but we would have to consider bringing him back for Aintree.”
Noel Meade, trainer of fourth-placed Wild Passion, said: “He stumbled at the second last and it may have cost him a place, but he wouldn’t have beaten the first two. The race for him could be the Power’s Gold Cup, a Grade 1 chase at Fairyhouse over two and a half miles on Easter Sunday.”
Race Two - Irish Independent Arkle Trophy - Beaten Favourite
DEMON NEEDS FURTHER
Racing Demon, the 9/2 Favourite, could only finish seventh seventh in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy under Sam Thomas, with trainer Henerietta Knight stating afterwards that she believes the two miles was too short for her charge.
The West Lockinge handler commented: “He didn’t do anything wrong and he’s jumped well.
“I just think that it was too quick for him today on this ground. I think he is really a three-miler for the future.
“It was probably a mistake to run him in this race rather than in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase tomorrow, but he had been winning his races over two miles so well we thought we would let him take his chance. Certainly his run in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle last year suggested he is a stayer.
“He looks fine and lives to fight another day. I don’t know if he will run again this season, it depends if we can find a race for him on suitable ground.
“He will never be another Best Mate but is a good horse for the future.”
Class 1, Grade One, Total Prize Fund £140,000, 2.35pm, Cheltenham,
Tuesday, March 14, 2006, two miles. For novice 5-y-o & upwards. Weights:
5-y-o 11st 2lb; 6-y-o & upwards 11st 7lb. Allowances: mares 7lb.
Entries closed January 18, entries revealed January 23 (57 entries),
forfeit stage February 21 (40 remain), five-day confirmation stage March
9, final declaration stage 10.00am, March 13. Form figures supplied by
Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday,
February 20, 2006. May not include some overseas form.
IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY CHASE
1 VOY POR USTEDES (FR) (Sir Robert Ogden) Alan King 5-11-02 Robert Thornton
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY 10/01/06
The 57-strong entry for the Irish Independent Arkle Chase, run on Tuesday, March 14, is one horse just short of the previous best.
The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has an unprecedented 19 entries from Ireland including Nickname, an 11-length winner at Leopardstown on January 15, the Paul Nolan-trained Accordion Etoile, winner of the Grade 2 Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in November, Justified, who scored at Newbury earlier this month, and 2005 Weatherbys Champion Bumper hero Missed That.
Champion trainer Martin Pipe is seeking his third successive Irish Independent Arkle Trophy success following Well Chief in 2004 and Contraband last year and has five entered - Tamarinbleu, Whispered Secret, Don’t Be Shy, Marcel and Medison. Pipe is seeking his fifth win overall in the two-mile contest, having also triumphed with Or Royal (1997) and Champleve (1998).
Paul Nicholls, who saddled Flagship Uberalles to victory in 1999 and followed up with Azertyuiop four years later, has seven engaged, namely the promising Hoo La Baloo, Albuhera, Cerium, 2002 Smurfit Champion Hurdle hero Hors La Loi III, Le Volfoni, Cornish Sett and Turthen.
Henrietta Knight’s hugely exciting Racing Demon, last seen out when capturing the Henry VII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on the third day of December and the Alan King-trained Voy Por Ustedes are other members of a strong home team. An intriguing entry, also in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase is Mid Dancer, a winner on all of his nine starts for French trainer Arnaud Chaille-Chaille.
The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase has attracted 57 top-class entries, the second highest number ever, including 19 from Ireland and two from France.
Ten-times champion trainer Martin Pipe has won the contest for the past two years, and four times in total, courtesy of Or Royal (1997), Champleve (1998), Well Chief (2004) and Contraband (2005), and this year can choose from five entries.
Recent Ludlow victor Tamarinbleu was a decent hurdler, winning the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Sandown in 2005, and made a promising chasing debut when a short-head second to Accordion Etoile in the Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on November 13, while Whispered Secret won over an extended two and a half miles at Cheltenham on October 26 before running fourth to Albuhera in a novice chase at Exeter.
Don’t Be Shy, Marcel and Medison represent powerful owner David Johnson, who has supplied Pipe with his four winners to date, and all three boast decent hurdle form without having won over fences before last weekend.
Paul Nicholls, who saddled Flagship Uberalles to victory in 1999 and followed up with Azertyuiop four years later, has a team of seven engaged, including Hoo La Baloo, whose record of two wins from three starts over fences features a victory in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Boxing Day.
Albuhera has won twice over fences and chased home Mister McGoldrick in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby last time out on December 27, while Cerium, who finished fourth in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at last year’s Festival, has a two-from-three record over the larger obstacles, having finished third behind Racing Demon in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on December 3.
Hors La Loi III, winner of the 2002 Smurfit Champion Hurdle and a novice chase at Taunton, Le Volfoni, successful in his last three novice chases, Cornish Sett and Turthen complete the Nicholls contingent.
Unbeaten in two starts over fences, Racing Demon is an exciting prospect. Henrietta Knight’s star was second to No Refuge in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival last year, and his two chasing victories this season have included a four-length defeat of Hoo La Baloo in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on December 3.
Philip Hobbs has three to consider, in the shape of Chilling Place, Supreme Serenade and Symphonique, as does Alan King, who has Handy Money, Nyrche and Voy Por Ustedes entered, the last-named having won all three novice chase starts in impressive style.
Nicky Henderson, who has a great record in the Arkle, having taken the contest on three occasions with Remittance Man (1991), Travado (1993) and Tiutchev (2000), has Fleet Street and Perle de Puce in this year, while Jonjo O’Neill relies on Bold Bishop and Neptune D’Anzy, the latter a hurdles winner in France but yet to run in ths country.
Another trainer doubly-represented is Howard Johnson, who has Coat Of Honour and Iron Man engaged for main patrons Andrea and Graham Wylie, while Henry Daly has Billyvoddan and Green Tango entered.
James Fanshawe’s possible is Pole Star, who finished fourth behind No Refuge and Racing Demon in last year’s Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle, but who fell on his chasing debut at Leicester, while Nicky Richards’ Monet’s Garden also has an entry in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase, as does Paul Webber’s Shuhood.
The British-trained entries also include the Mark Rimell-trained Crossbow Creek, Malcolm Jefferson’s Roman Ark, Alex Hales’ Sharp Rigging, John Quinn’s Aleron, Mark Pitman’s Without A Doubt, and Phar Out Phavorite, from Emma Lavelle’s stable.
Irish-trained horses have a good record in the race, having taken three of the last 10 renewals, and one of the leading contenders this year is Accordion Etoile.
The Paul Nolan-trained seven-year-old finished fourth behind Hardy Eustace in last year’s Smurfit Champion Hurdle, and followed up his chase debut second to Watson Lake at Limerick by landing the Grade Two Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting on November 13. He could be joined in the contest by stablemate Kill Devil Hill.
Two of the most exciting novice chasers seen out this season are Justified, trained by Eamon Sheehy, and winner of three novice chases, including a Grade Two contest at Punchestown on November 20, and Martin Brassil’s Nickname, who has won both starts over fences, demolishing the opposition on each occasion.
Arthur Moore, who scored back in 1982 with The Brockshee and again in 1995 with Klairon Davis, has Mansony and The Railway Man engaged, while Edward O’Grady, who landed the prize in 1996 with Ventana Canyon, has Back In Front, winner of the 2003 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Monjoyau and On The Net entered.
Noel Meade is responsible for the quartet of Augherskea, Father Matt, Wild Passion and Zum See, and Willie Mullins has two entries in the form of Missed That, winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at last year’s Festival and twice a victor over fences this season, and Davenport Democrat.
The Irish entry is completed by Michael O’Brien’s pair of Doctor Linton and In Compliance, the Michael Hourigan-trained Arteea, and Mr McAuley, from the Ian Ferguson yard.
The two French-trained entries are Thierry Doumen’s Foreman, whose finest moment came when taking the 2004 Irish Champion Hurdle, and last - but by no means least - Mid Dancer, winner of all nine career starts, in the care of La Palmyre-based handler Arnaud Chaille-Chaille.
1. The Arkle Challenge Trophy was inaugurated in 1969, after Arkle's three wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (1964-66). In its first year, the race was worth £1,365, and won by Chatham (10/1), trained by Fred Rimell and ridden by Terry Biddlecombe. The 2006 running has total prize money of £140,000. It was known as the Cotswold Chase before 1969.
2. The Irish Independent, which backed the Arkle Chase for the first time in 2000, is only the race’s third sponsor. Guinness sponsored from 1994 until 1999, having taken over from Waterford Castle, who had supported since the first sponsored running in 1991.
3. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has always been a fiercely contested
event, and the following have gone on to other Championship victories
at the Cheltenham Festival:
4. The lowest number of runners has been 8 (1982), the highest 19 (1987 & 2005).
5. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has seen several trainers and jockeys run up strings of wins. Peter Easterby trained three winners - Alverton 1978, Clayside 1981 and Ryeman 1983 - as have current handlers Nicky Henderson (Remittance Man 1991, Travado 1993 and Tiutchev in 2000) and Martin Pipe, who notched up successive wins with Or Royal in 1997 and Champleve in 1998 before Well Chief in 2004 and Contraband last year gave him another brace of victories. Paul Nicholls has won the contest twice, with Flagship Uberalles in 1999 and Azertyuiop in 2003. Among jockeys, Jamie Osborne won it three times, and that was a hat-trick between 1992 and 1994 on Young Pokey, Travado, and Nakir for three different trainers, Oliver Sherwood, Nicky Henderson and Simon Christian. Tony McCoy equalled Osborne’s three wins in 2004 when scoring on Well Chief, having also been aboard Or Royal (1997) and Champleve (1998).
6. Irish trainers have won The Irish Independent Arkle Chase nine times, including three of the last 10 runnings with Klairon Davis (1995), Ventana Canyon (1996) and Moscow Flyer (2002).
7. The longest-priced winner of The Irish Independent Arkle Chase is Gala's Image, successful at 25/1 in 1987, while Pendil (1972) and Chinrullah (1979) are the shortest-priced scorers at 10/11. Six other favourites have won - Canasta Lad (1974), Clayside (1981), Bobsline (1984), Remittance Man (1991), Klairon Davis (1995) and Azertyuiop (2003).
8. The fastest time for the two miles of The Irish Independent Arkle Chase was 3m 46.5s by Tiutchev in 2000, beating the previous best of 3m 52.5s set by Or Royal in 1997.
9. Until 1980, The Irish Independent Arkle Chase was always run on the Wednesday of the National Hunt Festival. It now takes place on the opening day, Tuesday.
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY CHASE Previous Results
2005-WINNER-CONTRABAND 7-11-07 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-7/1
2004-WINNER-WELL CHIEF 5-11-03 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-9/1
2003-WINNER-AZERTYUIOP 6-11-08 Owner-John & Lisa
Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-5/4 Fav
2002-WINNER-MOSCOW FLYER 8-11-08 Owner-Brian Kearney; Trainer-Jessica
Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/2
2001 - Cancelled
2000-WINNER-TIUTCHEV 7-11-08 Owner-The Liars Poker Partnership; Trainer-Nicky
Henderson; Jockey-Mick FitzGerald; SP-8/1
1999-WINNER-FLAGSHIP UBERALLES 5-11-00 Owner-Elizabeth
Gutner & Michael
Krysztofiak Racing; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-11/1
1998-WINNER-CHAMPLEVE 5-11-00 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-13/2
1997-WINNER-OR ROYAL 6-11-08 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-11/2
1996-WINNER-VENTANA CANYON 7-11-08 Owner-Philip
Myerscough; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody;
1995-WINNER-KLAIRON DAVIS 6-11-08 Owner-Chris Jones; Trainer-Arthur
Moore IRE; Jockey-Francis Woods; SP-7/2 Fav
1994-WINNER-NAKIR 6-11-08 Owner-Jim Lewis; Trainer-Simon Christian;
Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-9/1
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE ROLL OF HONOUR
(The Irish Independent Arkle Chase since 2000, Guinness Arkle Chase 1994-99, Waterford Crystal Arkle Chase 1991-93, no sponsor 1969-90, Cotswold Chase before 1969)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
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