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Harrington Trio Heading To The Open On Sunday
07/11/06

Irish trainer Jessica Harrington is hoping to capture a trio of Cheltenham prizes on Sunday, November 12, the third and final day of The Open, with Callow Lake, Cork All Star and The Last Hurrah set to line up on what promises to be a thrilling afternoon of jump racing.

Harrington, who expertly handled the exceptional dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Moscow Flyer, revealed today: “At the moment all three are on course for Cheltenham on Sunday.”

The trainer is looking forward to fielding Callow Lake in the £45,000 Grade Two Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1.05pm) over two miles. The 137-rated handicap hurdler made a smooth transition to fences in a two-mile beginners’ chase at Tralee on August 29.

Harrington reported: “Callow Lake will run in the Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase. He won nicely at Tralee and I’m delighted with him. I’d like some good ground for him at Cheltenham.”

High-class opposition to Callow Lake could include the Paul Nicholls-trained Natal, Alan King’s 2005 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Penzance, Lennon and Astronomic from the Howard Johnson yard, and the Evan Williams-trained Backstage.

The last named, owned by Sir Robert Ogden, scored a 16-length triumph in the 15 Times Champion trainer Novices’ Chase over the course and distance on Martin Pipe Day, October 24, and the four-year-old’s trainer and owner are considering a return to the scene of that triumph.

Williams revealed today: “I will have to discuss it with Barry Simpson, Mr Ogden’s racing manager, before we make any definite plans for the horse. He’s entered in the Independent Newspapers Novices’ Chase and I would imagine a decision will be made around the middle of the week - but no decision has been made yet.

“I was absolutely delighted with his last run - over the moon. He seems very well in himself.”

The three-day extravaganza concludes with the Open Bumper at 3.55pm, in which Harrington could run the unbeaten Cork All Star who has landed bumpers at Cork (July) and Galway (August) in good style.

Harrington revealed: “Cork All Star seems to be going well at home. He’s won two from two so I’m happy enough with him.

“He’s slightly strangely bred being by Fasliyev but he’ll make a very nice hurdler in time - he’s a fine big horse. I’m expecting a big run from him.”

The race is a traditional stepping-stone to greater things and was won in 1999 by triple totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate. The contest went to subsequent Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle victor Back In Front in 2001, and in 2003 the top-class Rhinestone Cowboy took the spoils.

This year’s renewal is likely to produce yet another high-class performer with 22 entries remaining, including the unbeaten Jonjo O’Neill-trained Grecian Groom and stablemate Trucker’s Delight.

 

Battlecry has won his sole start for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, while the powerful yards of Nicky Henderson, David Pipe, Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs and Noel Chance could all field live contenders.

The highlight of the fantastic six-race card is the £65,000 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.45pm) over two miles, and Harrington is looking for a good effort from The Last Hurrah, who was fourth to Desert Quest in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on October 28.

The trainer said: “The Last Hurrah will take his chance in the Greatwood Hurdle. He’s slightly out of the handicap so we’ll see how he gets on.”

The Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, which is included in the Order of Merit and was won in 2002 by Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle hero Rooster Booster, sees the Howard Johnson-trained 2005 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle victor Arcalis head 20 remaining entries at the five day stage.

The high-class field could include Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle hero Detroit City and Grade One Anglo-Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Noland, as well as Crow Wood, successful in the Grade Two £1million totetentofollow Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday, November 4.

The Irish-trained challenge for the race may also include the Noel Meade-trained pair Sweet Wake and Jazz Messenger.

Sunday’s high-quality sport also sees a competitive renewal of the paddypowerpoker.com Handicap Hurdle (1.35pm) over two miles, five furlongs, which has five Irish-trained entries remaining at the five-day stage.

The Jersey Graduation Chase (2.10pm) over an extended three miles promises to be an intriguing contest with 17 smart chasers engaged, including the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Fundamentalist, winner of the Independent Newspapers Novices’ Chase at The Open in 2004 and victorious in the Grade One Royal & Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle the previous March.

Other potential starters in the race include the David Pipe-trained trio Bannow Strand, It Takes Time and Commercial Flyer, alongside Skybet Chase winner A Glass In Thyne, Copsale Lad, Cornish Sett, Idle Talk, Ladalko and Bob Bob Bobbin.

Rhinestone Cowboy’s exciting half-brother, Wichita Lineman, could line up for the Gideon Kasler Novices’ Hurdle (3.20pm) over two miles, five furlongs.

Jonjo O’Neill’s charge the impressive winner of a two and a half-mile novice hurdle at Aintree on October 28, could be up against Grade Two Ballymore Ontario Tower Persian War Novices’ Hurdle one-two Kanpai and Massini’s Maguire.

Others remaining at the five-day stage include the Howard Johnson-trained Tidal Bay who easily scored on his hurdles debut at Wetherby on October 27, the Paul Nicholls-trained Ornais, and his stablemate Paulo Dancer, winner of the Henry James Mayne Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on October 25.

 

GROUND

The ground at Cheltenham is currently GOOD.

Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, reported: “The ground is currently good and we are watering to maintain that.

“The forecast is for a generally dry week, with the possibility of some drizzle on Wednesday and Friday.”

TICKETS

Tickets will be available on the door for all three days of The Open. For advance bookings, go to www.cheltenham.co.uk

Friday/Sunday admission prices are Club/Tattersalls: £20 (16-24s: £15); Best Mate £8.

Parking is free on Friday and Sunday, with a £5 charge in operation on Saturday.

Saturday's admission prices are Club: £30 (16-24s £22); Tattersalls: £20: Best Mate £10.

For more information, please contact Peter McNeile, Director Of Sponsorship, on 01242 537600 or 07850 091523 or Rebecca Morgan, Commercial Executive, on 01242 537654 or 07767 612931, or go to www.cheltenham.co.uk

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