Sporting Index Handicap Chase - Tue Mar 13th 2007 

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Sporting Index Handicap Chase 13/03/07

1st (11) Heads Onthe Ground 5-2 Fav
2nd (3) Silver Birch 14-1
3rd (5) Le Duc 8-1
4th (1) Spot Thedifference 6-1
16 ran

Nina provides Carberry Double 13/03/07

Limerick-based trainer Enda Bolger won the Sporting Index Handicap Chase for the second time in its three-year history when 5/2 favourite Heads On The Ground scored under Nina Carberry. Bolger also trained the fourth home, topweight Spot Thedifference, who won the inaugural running of the race and had been second in 2006.

The victory completed a wonderful day for the Carberry family - Nina’s brother, Philip, had ridden Sublimity to victory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.

Bolger was full of praise for Nina Carberry, who was recording her second Festival win - she landed the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle in 2005 on Dabiroun. Bolger said: “Nina rode a brilliant race and deserves all the credit. She was squeezed up at one point, but she’s some rider, and that seemed to wake the horse up. He grabbed hold of the bit with her and she was able to ride him for home.

“I was also watching for Spot - J T [McNamara] said he missed the bank the final time and that put him further back than he wanted. He’s 14 but I don’t think he’s finished yet and at level weights he’s very difficult to beat. The race back here in November is tailor-made for him.

“I have one of the best owners in the world [J P McManus, owner of both Bolger runners] and he lets me get on with the job. I must also thank Dessie Hughes who had Heads On The Ground before me and has given me plenty of help in telling me about the horse. The lads at home are a great help, too, but this was Nina’s day.”

Nina Carberry: “If you could have these days every day it would be great! The gap was there turning into the straight and that's the way race-riding goes - I was just lucky I had enough horse underneath me to get there. He did stop with me [when he hit the front] but he had enough there to keep going.”

Runner-up Silver Birch is now bound for the John Smith’s Grand National. “He ran a blinder and the winner was getting a lot of weight from us,” said trainer Gordon Elliott. “I couldn’t be happier and he’ll go to Aintree now. The Pardubice is the long-term plan.”

Bookmakers cut Silver Birch for the John Smith’s Grand National. Totesport now offer 25-1 from 40-1, while Paddy Power make Silver Birch a 33-1 shot from 40-1.

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Heads Onthe Ground
E Bolger
Miss N Carberry
10st 2lbs
5 - 2
Silver Birch
G Elliott
J M Maguire
11st 0lbs
14 - 1
3 1/2 lengths
Le Duc
P F Nicholls
S Thomas
10st 10lbs
8 - 1
12 lengths
Spot Thedifference
E Bolger
Mr J T McNamara
11st 12lbs
6 - 1
5 lengths
Omni Cosmo Touch
Mrs S J Smith
D O'Meara
10st 1lbs
25 - 1
5 lengths
Royal Auclair
P F Nicholls
J Tizzard
11st 5lbs
10 - 1
11 lengths
Florida Dream
N A Twiston-Davies
Tony Evans
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
1 length
Never Compromise
T M Walsh
Ms K Walsh
10st 0lbs
12 - 1
12 lengths
Marcus Du Berlais
A L T Moore
D N Russell
10st 6lbs
20 - 1
19 lengths
Native Jack
P J Rothwell
J Cullen
10st 12lbs
20 - 1
6 lengths
Ivoire De Beaulieu
Ferdy Murphy
A O'Keeffe
10st 7lbs
14 - 1
14 lengths
Hever Road
D Pearson
C Honour
10st 0lbs
100 - 1
17 lengths
Il De Boitron
T O'Leary
P A Carberry
10st 0lbs
25 - 1
B N Pollock
T Messenger
10st 2lbs
66 - 1
P F Nicholls
P Merrigan
10st 10lbs
10 - 1
Star Performance
Oliver McKiernan
T G M Ryan
10st 5lbs
10 - 1


Facts and Figures:

1. The Sporting Index Handicap Chase was introduced to the expanded four-day Festival in 2005

2. It is one of three races run over the cross-country course at Cheltenham during the season and follows on from the Sporting Index Chase at The Open in November and the Sporting Index Handicap Chase at the Boylesports International in December.

3. In the 2004/05 season, all three races were won by Spot Thedifference.

4. Cheltenham’s cross-country course was established in 1995.


Sporting Index Handicap Chase Previous Results

(First running in 2005)

2006-WINNER-NATIVE JACK 12-10-08 Owner-Gerard Burke/R J Bagnall/N O’Farrell/K Sexton; Trainer-Philip Rothwell IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-7/2 Jt Fav
2ND-Spot Thedifference 13-11-12 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Enda Bolger IRE; Jockey-Mr J T McNamara; SP-12/1
3RD-Buauiltes And Fadas 11-9-11 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Enda Bolger IRE; Jockey-Miss Nina Carberry; SP-6/1
4TH-Il De Boitron 8-10-06 Owner-Clonakilty Racing Club; Trainer-Thomas O’Leary IRE; Jockey-Andrew McNamara; SP-100/1
16 ran, Time-8m 30.10s, Dist-2, 5, 5 7/2 Jt Fav Good Step (6th)

2005-WINNER-SPOT THEDIFFERENCE 12-11-12 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Enda Bolger IRE; Jockey-Mr J T McNamara; SP-4/1
2ND-Luzcadou 12-10-13 Owner-A G Chappell; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Alan O’Keeffe; SP-22/1
3RD-Mrs Be 9-9-12 Owner-J H Burridge; Trainer-Grant Cann; Jockey-Miss Polly Gundry; SP-20/1
4TH-Lord Noelie 12-11-08 Owner-Executive Racing; Trainer-Bridget Nicholls; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-14/1
16 ran, Time-8m 44.00s, Dist-2.5, 6, .75 100/30 Fav Comanche War Paint (Fell)

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