Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sky Bet Media Release

For immediate release, Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sky Bet "It matters more when there’s money on it"

The best flat racing of the season is upon us and to celebrate Sky Bet have put together some great customer offers and some fun racing markets including a selection of Frankie specials

Royal Ascot Offers From Sky Bet
Sky Bet know what it feels like to be ready to place a bet on a horse you’ve picked out only to see that the price has been cut because it’s been tipped in the Racing Post. At Sky Bet the prices you see advertised in Racing Post Pricewise boxes in the morning during Royal Ascot will always be held for 1 hour behind the interactive red button available on all Sky digital channels including At The Races and 15 minutes via the internet and telephones from the moment our call centre opens at 9am.

Pricewise Guarantee
Interactive TV - Red button guarantee 1 Hour - 9am to 10am
Internet and telephone betting guarantee 15 minutes - 9am to 9:15am

A Quarter The Odds All Races
Each-way bets will be settled to quarter the odds a place on every race

One 110% Race A Day
This means that Sky Bet’s prices are better value for money than other bookmakers who are betting to a higher percentage - please see daily press releases and the Racing Post for selected races.

Fifth Place Payout
Paying 5 places on the Royal Hunt Cup and the Wokingham

Royal Ascot Racing Specials
Sky Bet are also offering a range of special fun markets ahead of the start of Royal Ascot, including odds about which race will produce the biggest winning distance on the opening day.
Sky Bet quote 100/30 for the Queen Anne Stakes, which currently harbours Tuesday’s shortest priced favourite in George Washington (5/4), to be won by the largest distance.
Sky Bet also offer 14/1 for Frankie Dettori to ride a winner a day and 25/1 for him to ride four or more winners on any given day during this year’s festival.
A variety of other specials are available, including 5/1 for it to be a case of ‘poetry in motion’ next week, with a win for both Yeats and Dylan Thomas in their respective races.

Sky Bet odds: Which Race Will Produce The Biggest Winning Distance on Tuesday?
Ascot Stakes evens
Queen Anne 10/3
St James’s Palace 9/2
Coventry 10/1
Windsor Castle 10/1
King’s Stand 14/1

Sky Bet odds: Frankie Dettori Specials
Dettori to ride a winner a day at Royal Ascot 14/1
To ride 4 or more winners at 2007 Royal Ascot on any given day 25/1
To win 2008 Derby 7/1
To win 2008 Oaks + Derby 50/1

Sky Bet odds: Ascot Specials
Poetry In Motion
Dylan Thomas and Yeats Both To Win Their Respective Races 5/1
Aussie Rules
Australian Trained Horse Not To Be Placed In The King’s Stand (first 3) 8/1

War Zone
Soldiers Tale And Sergeant Cecil Both To Win Their Respective Races 100/1

French Connection
Zidane And My Paris Both To Be Placed In Their Respective Races 20/1

Sky Bet Odds: Royal Ascot Top Jockey
Kinane M 9/4
Spencer J 4/1
Dettori F 9/2
McEvoy K 8/1
Fortune J 8/1
Sanders S 12/1
Moore R 12/1
Hughes R 16/1
Murtagh J 20/1
Darley K 25/1
Fanning J 25/1
Heffernan JA 25/1
Bowman JH 25/1
Callan N 33/1
Durcan T 33/1
Soumillon C 33/1
Hills R 33/1
Note: Others on request

To view these markets please click on the links below
Royal Ascot Top Jockey
Ascot specials
Dettori Specials

4 Ways To Bet - One Account
Freephone 08000 722 421
Internet -
Sky digital interactive TV - Just press red

For further information, please contact;
Helen Jacob
Sky Bet Entertainment Manager

Tim Reynolds
PR & Events Manager

Sky Bet, a wholly-own ed subsidiary of BSkyB is one of the country’s leading betting and gaming companies and industry leaders in the development of interactive TV betting.

To access Sky Bet just press red on your Sky Digital remote when watching a Sky Channel, alternatively you can visit or call Freephone 08000 724 221 for Sky Bet Debit betting.



Friday, June 15, 2007


for immediate release, Monday, June 11, 2007

Trainer Geoff Huffer this evening revealed that an offer of £10 million had been received for Cockney Rebel ahead of the dual Classic winner’s bid for Tuesday’s (June 19) Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

But the Stan James 2000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas hero’s owner, Essex insurance broker Phil Cunningham, will not consider any offers until after the Royal Meeting.

"We’ve had lots of offers and a firm bid of £10 million for him, that’s not a bad return on the 30,000 guineas he cost as a yearling - I only wanted to spend 20,000 guineas at the time but it doesn’t seem so bad now," said Huffer, speaking on a Royal Ascot press visit to Newmarket. "Nobody’s bought him at the moment and Phil Cunningham doesn’t want to do anything until after the St James’s Palace Stakes.

"Cockney Rebel is worth that now and if he wins the St James’s Palace Stakes he’ll be worth more - he won’t devalue. He’s a dual Classic winner so he can stand at £15-£20,000 at stud whatever happens."His owner is a sporting man and money is not the main factor, which is that the owner can keep the horse for the rest of the season."

Looking ahead to the St James’s Palace Stakes, for which Coral quote Cockney Rebel as 6/4 favourite, Huffer is hopeful that his stable star can prevail once again against Stan James 2000 Guineas third Dutch Art.
" Mine’s improving all the time and you haven’t seen the best of him yet," added the trainer. "You can never be totally confident, he’s got to run his race, but Dutch Art has to catch us up.

People say Dutch Art was unlucky in the Guineas and won the race on his side but he was drawn next to us and we had to go right round Strategic Prince. I would say they are more frightened of us than we are of them but that’s what horse racing is about and I don’t mind who takes us on. If he gets beat then he gets beat but I find it hard to think he will.

"He quickens off a good gallop and then quickens again, very few horses do that. He’s run a time of 11.91 seconds a furlong which is nearly sprinting time. Persian Heights, who I trained, was a great horse but this one’s better - he’s already a legend.

"As a two-year-old, he’d gallop with three-year-olds and leave them standing still and he goes on any ground bar very soft.
"They didn’t go fast enough for him in the Irish Guineas so he pulled to hard. Olivier Peslier is a world-class jockey but had to go too early in Ireland because of the pace and the horse just idled in front a bit.

"But you don’t get many slow-run races at Ascot and if they do try and go slow there I’ve got a trick for them - I’m not telling you what it is though!"

Huffer added that, after the St James’s Palace Stakes, Cockney Rebel will bid for the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in August before returning to Ascot in September to take on his elders in the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. ENDS


Royal Ascot Australian Horse Factfiles 2007


6yo ch g Peintre Celebre (USA) - Tycoon Joy (AUS) (Last Tycoon)
Owner: Gai Waterhouse & George Mooratoff Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
Jockey: Nash Rawiller Breeder: Davilora Lodge
Form in 2007: -4111
Bentley Biscuit
Bentley Biscuit has emerged as one of the leading Australian sprinters in 2007, with his last three outings all resulting in wins at the very highest level. Having scored at Group Three level in 2006, the son of Peintre Celebre began this year by finishing fourth to fellow Royal Ascot contender Magnus in the Galaxy Handicap over five and a half furlongs at Warwick Farm on March 25. On April 7 he showed he had progressed from that outing by taking the Group One T J Smith Stakes over six furlongs at Randwick, scoring by a length and a quarter from Black Ink. Just a week later he handled the step up to seven furlongs with ease when successful in the Group One All-Aged Stakes at Randwick, again defeating Black Ink by a length and a quarter. His most recent outing came in the BTC Cup at Doomben on May 12, when he recorded his most significant success to date in defeating last year’s Royal Ascot victor Takeover Target by a short-neck in the six-furlong contest. Bentley Biscuit is currently housed at James Fanshawe’s stable in Newmarket and the plan is for him to run in both the King’s Stand Stakes and the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
Gai Waterhouse & George Mooratoff
Gai Waterhouse once had a role alongside Tom Baker in Dr Who during the 1970s and starred in the Australian soap opera The Young Doctors,. Born on September 2, 1954, she is ‘the First Lady of Racing in Australia’. She has a massive training establishment at Randwick and is without a doubt one of the finest trainers ever to grace the Australian turf. Her father Tommy Smith was champion trainer in Sydney for 33 seasons over four decades before his death in 1998. After serving as assistant to her father for 15 years, she took out her own licence on January 3, 1992. Her licence had been initially rejected due to her marriage to then disqualified bookmaker, Robbie Waterhouse. Her first winner was Gifted Poet at Hawkesbury on March 15, 1992 and her first Group win came soon after when Moods took the Group Three Gosford Cup the following month. By the end of her first season, she had also won her first Group One race with Te Akau Nick in the AJC Metropolitan Handicap. Te Akua Nick was subsequently second to Vintage Crop in the 1993 Melbourne Cup. Nothin’ Leica Dane became her first Classic winner in 1995 when landing the Victoria Derby and almost created history when second in the Melbourne Cup three days later. In 2002 she matched her father’s record of training 156 metropolitan winners in a season. Her best horses have included Juggler, Grand Armee, Dance Hero, Assertive Lad, Fashions Afield, Al Maher, All Our Mob, Shamekha, Lotteria, Hasna, Pharaoh, Excellerator and Desert War. She has been a regular visitor to Royal Ascot for many years. Waterhouse and her husband Robbie have two children - Katie (the 2003 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival ambassador) and Tom, who has followed his father into bookmaking. 73-year-old George Mooratoff lives in Surrey, where he retired to 15 years ago, having been born in Shanghai to Russian parents. He lived in Sydney for a long time and worked in the media industry for Australia’s 2CH and Channel Seven and America’s MCA Television and Paramount Studios. His previous trainers include Albert McKenna and Bill Mitchell, who trained Victoria Derby winner Stylish Century. The owner shares Bentley Biscuit with Gai Waterhouse. Mooratoff wanted to name the horse plain Bentley after the famous car marque - he currently drives green one - but this was unavailable, so his wife Jill suggested Bentley Biscuit after the duo had watched the film Seabiscuit.
Nash Rawiller
Born on December 8, 1974, Nash Rawiller’s father was an outstanding trainer and driver of harness horses before becoming a jump jockey. Rawiller served his apprenticeship with his father and rode his first winner on Mac’s Cheval at St Arnaud in 1989. In 1995 he became stable jockey to Tony Noonan and rode his first Group One winner on Bulta in the 1998 South Australian Derby at Morphettville. As well as Bentley Biscuit, Rawiller was also associated with another of Australia’s best horses in recent years - Elvstroem, who defeated the mighty mare Makybe Diva in the 2004 Caulfield Cup, won the Dubai Duty Free at Nad Al Sheba the following year and campaignerd in Europe, finishing third with Rawiller up in the in the 2005 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot at York.

5 b h Flying Spur (AUS) - Scandinavia (AUS) (Snippets (AUS))
Owner: R Crabtree Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockey: Damien Oliver Breeder: C Fleming & R Crabtree
Form in 2007: 2341
Magnus opened his account in a three-year-old maiden over five furlongs at Werribee on October 8, 2005. The colt progressed through the ranks and posted some decent placed efforts in Listed class before making his Group One debut in the Cleanevent Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley in September, 2006. The son of Flying Spur ran with credit to finish three and a half lengths fifth of 13 in the six-furlong contest behind the victorious Miss Andretti. A runner-up finish to Bentley Biscuit in the Group Three Short Stakes came the following month, as did a second placing in the Group Two Caulfield Sprint. A second tilt at Group One company resulted in Magnus finishing 10th to Dance Hero in the six-furlong Seppelt Salinger Stakes at Flemington on November 4, 2006, but he returned to the course and distance seven days later to secure the Group Two AGE Classic from Undue. Peter Moody’s charge again found Miss Andretti too good when a length and a half runner-up to the mare in Group One Coolmore Lightning Stakes over five furlongs at Moonee Valley in February. Undue gained revenge at Caulfield later that month when relegating Magnus to a close third in the Group One Ultra Tune Oakleigh Plate over five and a half furlongs. He was again behind that rival on March 10, when fourth in the six-furlong Group One Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap at Caulfield won by Miss Andretti. Magnus gained a deserved first Group One triumph when taking the Bisley Workwear Galaxy Handicap by a neck from Fast ‘N’ Famous. Ridden by Damien Oliver, the five-year-old had Bentley Biscuit just over a length back in fourth in the extended five-furlong Warwick Farm contest on March 25.
Peter Moody
Raised in Charleville, Queensland, Peter Moody worked for legendary trainers T. J. Smith and Colin Hayes, and spent 10 years as foreman to Bill Mitchell before being granted a trainer’s licence in his own name. Initially based in Queensland, his first Group One success came in November 2001 when Amalfi took the VRC Derby. In 2003, Moody moved his operation to Caulfield racetrack in Melbourne, Victoria. His first full season in Victoria saw him win the Victoria Country Trainers premiership and finish second in the Victorian Premiership. His most successful season to date was the 2005/2006 season when he saddled 160 winners to finish third in the Metropolitan premiership with over 50 winners, second in the Victorian and Victorian Country premierships and fifth nationally. Sky Cuddle took the 2004 Group One Emirates Classic for Moody and his longstanding patrons and friends Stuart and Trish Ramsey. The Ramseys teamed up again with Moody for a poignant victory in the Group One Doomben Cup on May 19, which Moody described as "the greatest moment of my racing life". Cinque Cento’s success in the Doomben contest came two weeks after the Ramseys’ 18-year-old daughter Sherilee died in her sleep of natural causes. Further Group One successes have come with Ancient Song in the 2003 Salinger Stakes, Testifiable in the 2006 SA Derby and Magnus in this year’s Galaxy Handicap. Magnus is Moody’s first overseas runner. The trainer arrived in Newmarket on June 7, to oversee his charge’s preparation for Royal Ascot.
Damien Oliver
Born July 22, 1972 in Perth, Western Australia, Damien Oliver rode his first winner aboard Mr Gudbud at Bunbury, Western Australia in March 1988, and is one of Australia’s top riders. His father Ray, a former champion apprentice, died in a fall at Kalgoorlie in 1975 and his brother Jason died in October, 2002 during a race trial at Belmont racetrack in Perth. He himself suffered a horror fall at Moonee Valley in March, 2005, which left him with two broken vertebrae. He returned to action at Flemington in June, 2006. He was raised by his mother Pat and her partner, Perth trainer Lindsay Rudland. A leading apprentice in Perth in 1988-89 with 66 winners, Oliver is Melbourne’s seven-time champion jockey and six-time winner of the coveted Scobie Breasley medal for excellence in riding. After securing the Perth apprentice title despite riding for only six months of the season, he was invited to join Lee Freedman’s stable. He won his first Group One on the Bart Cummings-trained Submariner in the 1990 Vic Health Cup and, at the age of 19, became the first Australian apprentice to win the Australian Derby. His 71 city winners in the 1990-91 season clinched the Victorian Metropolitan premiership as an apprentice and he finished his apprenticeship with a record 19 Group One wins. With over 1,700 wins on the board, including more than 400 black type contests and 70 Group One prizes, he is currently behind only George Moore on the Australian all-time winning-most riders’ list. He rode in Ireland for a three-month period in 2000, based at trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables, during which time he partnered Alluring to victory in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. His big-race successes include Melbourne Cup wins aboard Doriemus (1995) and the Dermot Weld-trained Media Puzzle (2002). His victory on Doriemus clinched the coveted Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double that season. He also partnered Northerly to win three Group One races including the 2001 Cox Plate, while he enjoyed four Group One successes on 2004 Vinery Stud 1,000 Guineas heroine Alinghi.

6 b m Ihtiram (IRE) - Peggie’s Bid (AUS) (Marooned)
Owner: Sean Buckley Trainer: Lee Freedman
Jockey: Craig Newitt Breeder: Keith & Peggy Beauglehole
Form in 2007: -111
Miss Andretti
With three straight victories in 2007 - all at Group One level - Miss Andretti is undoubtedly one of the classiest sprinters on the planet. The six-year-old mare captured the Lightning Stakes, the first leg of the 2007 Global Sprint Challenge, over five furlongs at Moonee Valley on February 3, breaking the course record as she blitzed to a length and a half success over Magnus. Miss Andretti returned to the Melbourne track two weeks later for the second leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, the six-furlong Australia Stakes, and showed blistering acceleration to account for Any Suggestion by a length and a quarter. On her most recent outing in the Newmarket Handicap at Caulfield over six furlongs on March 10, Miss Andretti cracked another course record as she held off Gold Edition by a head, conceding 8lb to the runner-up, with Magnus close up in fourth place. After her latest triumph, trainer Lee Freedman compared Miss Andretti with the great three-time Melbourne Cup heroine Makybe Diva, who he also trained.
Lee Freedman
Born August 12, 1956, Lee Freedman is one of the most successful Australian racehorse trainers of the past 25 years. Having sent out his first winner, Sitting Bull, at Canberra in 1983, Freedman has gone on to land a total of 119 Group One races. His Interest in racing developed when his father, Tony, retired as a property developer to concentrate on training and breeding. Freedman dropped out of university to run the family stud farm in Yass, NSW, before setting up as a trainer with his brothers Anthony, Richard and Michael, initially at Warwick Farm, Sydney and later at Avenel and Caulfield. He enjoyed phenomenal success in the late 1980s through to the mid-1990s with a host of big race wins. Suspended for four months in 1995 after substituting a horse at a barrier trial, Freedman was subsequently embroiled in the Encosta de Lago affair, in which the top three-year-old he trained tested positive for a prohibited substance but was allowed to run in the 1996 Bill Stutt Stakes, which he won. His fortunes declined between the 1997/98 and 2002/2003 seasons as he saddled only 15 Group One winners compared to 13 in the 1995/1996 season alone. However, he radically changed his training set-up after the 2000 Melbourne Cup, moving to ‘Markdel’, Rye, his purpose built training establishment named after his intellectually handicapped brother Mark and mother Del. More recently, Freedman acquired a two-year-old training facility at Tuerong, Denistoun Park. He trained the phenomenal mare Makybe Diva to land the second and third legs of her Melbourne Cup treble (2004 & 2005), a contest he also took with Tawrrific (1989), Subzero (1992) and Doriemus (1995). Freedman has also won the Caulfield Cup four times (1992 Mannerism, 1994 Paris Lane, 1995 Doriemus, 2003 Mummify), the Golden Slipper four times(1993 Bint Marscay, 1994 Danzero, 1995 Flying Spur, 1996 Merlene) and the Cox Plate twice (1992 Super Impose, 2005 Makybe Diva). He trained his 100th Group One winner with Mummify in the Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield on October 9, 2004, and paid his first visit to Royal Ascot last year with Falkirk, who finished a fine fourth behind compatriot Takeover Target in the King’s Stand Stakes. Miss Andretti’s success in the 2007 Australia Stakes gave Freedman the full set of Victoria Group One races (27 in total). He is married to Janelle and has two daughters, Emma and Georgia.
Craig Newitt
Born March 10, 1985, Craig Newitt was always destined to become a jockey - his parents, Guy Newitt and Virginia Wells, were both jockeys, as were their fathers, Geoff Newitt and Tas Wells. From the age of nine, he mixed the pony club and riding track-work. After being granted an apprenticeship in 2000, Newittt rode his first winner on Kimbra’s Way at Elwick, Hobart, Tasmania, in November 2000, and quickly established himself as a fine rider, landing the Tasmanian jockeys’ premiership in 2000/01. In 2002, he was offered the chance to ride in Melbourne and joined Lee Freedman’s stable, taking the 2002/03 Victorian apprentices’ premiership. His first Group win was on the Freedman-trained True Glo in the 2003 Queensland Guineas at Eagle Farm. In June, 2004, Newitt’s career took a nosedive when he was disqualified by the Racing Victoria stewards for 18 months, after giving false evidence at the Leone Chiara enquiry, which stemmed from an enquiry into Newitt’s ride on the horse seven months earlier. However, he was soon back in the big time after returning to ride in November, 2005, ending the season with four Group One winners, including the Australian Cup with 50/1 chance Roman Arch.

8 b g Celtic Swing - Shady Stream (AUS) (Archregent (CAN))
Owner: Joe & Ben Janiak Trainer: Joe Janiak
Jockey: Jay Ford Breeder: Meringo Stud Farm
Form in 2007: 521
Takeover Target
Joe Janiak bought the broken down and unraced Takeover Target for less than AUS$1,500 (£600) - variously AUS$1,450, AUS$1,400, AUS$1,350 and AUS$1,250 have been put on the value of the purchase. The gelding made a resounding early impression on his trainer/owner, leaving Janiak with 30 stitches to a head wound after flooring him before a barrier trial. He was put out to grass for six months after that incident but went on to secure seven straight victories when finally making it to the track. The first of those came in a maiden over six furlongs at Queanbeyaan on April 23, 2004, and the last in the sequence was the Group One Seppelt Salinger Stakes at Flemington on October 30 of that year. He continued to run respectably in top events without winning until securing the Group Three Summer Stakes at Doomben on December 10, 2005. He proceeded to rattle off a hat-trick, adding a Listed contest 14 days later and then taking his second Group One prize, the five-furlong Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February 2006. Two further starts, including victory in the Group One Newmarket Stakes at Flemington the following month, preceded a trip to Britain. Takeover Target made a stunning British debut when taking the Group Two King’s Stand Stakes at Ascot by a short-head from Benbaun and finished a creditable third to Les Arcs in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes four days later. The gelding failed to fire when two lengths seventh to Les Arcs in the Group One July Cup at Newmarket in July. Takeover Target left for Japan and ran second in the Grade Two Centaur Stakes in September before landing the Group One Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama on October 1, by two and a half lengths from Meisho Bowler. The gelding was controversially prevented from competing in Hong Kong in December after medication was found in his system. He was crowned Global Sprint Challenge champion for 2006. His return to Australia brought a fifth to Bentley Biscuit in the Group One All-Aged Stakes at Randwick on April 14, and that was followed by a close second to the same rival over six furlongs at Doomben in the TBC Cup. He returned to top form in the seven-furlong Group One Carlton Draught Doomben 10,000 on May 26, when he swept aside star filly Gold Edition for a half-length verdict.
Joe Janiak
Joe Janiak is now based at Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, where he moved his 10-strong string of racehorses to after success with Takeover Target in last year’s Group Two King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. He said after that success: "This is a big dream that’s come true - I would never have thought that I would train a winner at Royal Ascot." Born to Polish parents on a boat travelling to Australia, the 60-year-old is a former baker and taxi driver who shovelled manure at stables as a child to pay for school. He trained a couple of racehorses in a part-time capacity and lived for over 12 years a caravan at Queanbeyaan, a country racetrack outside Canberra. During this time, he bought the broken down and unraced Takeover Target for less than AUS$1,500 (£600). He suffered 30 stitches to a head wound when the gelding floored him before a barrier trial but Takeover Target has since done him proud round the world.. He owns Takeover Target in partnership with his sons Ben and Scott and has trained around 100 winners.
Jay Ford
Based in Sydney, New South Wales, Jay Ford began riding Takeover Target as a 20-year-old apprentice in 2004 and has partnered the gelding to all of his 14 wins to date and 25 of his 26 starts. The star sprinter’s trainer Joe Janiak gave Ford his first career win. He was New South Wales Champion Apprentice in 2003/2004 and, on July 10, 2004, became the first junior in over 25 years to ride five winners in a day at a Sydney Metropolitan meeting. He began riding in 2001 and spent the latter part of his apprenticeship with Rosehill trainer Kim Waugh. Takeover Target provided him with his first Group One win when taking the Seppelt Salinger Stakes at Flemington on October 30, 2004. As well as his global exploits on Takeover Target, Ford’s big-race wins also include the 2005 Spring Champion Stakes and the 2006 Randwick Guineas aboard Hotel Grand.

Australians in good heart before Royal Ascot

for immediate release, Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Australia’s exciting and powerful four-strong challenge for next week’s two Royal Ascot sprints involved in the Global Sprint Challenge was unveiled this morning at Newmarket.
Last year’s King’s Stand Stakes winner Takeover Target, trained by Joe Janiak, Bentley Biscuit, from Gai Waterhouse’s stable, Magnus, who will be saddled by Peter Moody, and the Lee Freedman-trained Miss Andretti were all put through their paces this morning.
Takeover Target, Magnus and Miss Andretti all worked early on the Limekilns gallop, while Bentley Biscuit came up the July Course in a solo spin under big-race pilot Nash Rawiller.
"That was his main hit before (the Group Two £200,000 King’s Stand Stakes five furlongs) next Tuesday and it’s great to come out of a gallop like that so well," said Rawiller. "There’s only a couple of lengths between the four of us but my bloke’s coming into it having won his last three and if you watch him beating Takeover Target last time that was one of his best performances.
"The more pace the better at Ascot and I missed the kick on him last time - I wouldn’t want to do that again. The horse has a will to win and an amazing ability to find the winning post.
"The experience from having come over here two years ago with Elvstroem will be a big help. He ran some terrific races for us then and, from that point on, I’ve just wanted to come back here and win a Group One - winning at Ascot would mean everything. I’ve been privileged to win a Caulfield Cup but to win a race at Royal Ascot would be a chance in a lifetime."
For trainer Gai Waterhouse - known as the ‘First Lady of Australian Racing’ - it is a dream come true to be heading to Royal Ascot with a leading contender.
"I lived in England for three years in the 1970s and I think I’ve only missed Royal Ascot five times since then," she said. "Ascot is probably the premier meeting in the world, I don’t know where else you’d find a better track now it has been done up.
"But it’s expensive to travel and you’re not just going to come over for the sake of it, you’ve got to have the right horse. We’ve come a long way and we are not over just for the nice breakfast we had this morning!
"I was delighted with Bentley Biscuit’s work this morning, I wanted him to fold into it over six furlongs, going faster over each furlong and we were very privileged to have the use of the July Course - it’s a wonderful track.
"I’m biased but my horse has really pleased me. Takeover Target had beaten the best horses here last year and then we beat him on our last run. Takeover Target then went on to beat Gold Edition, the best filly we’ve seen since Sunline.
"Miss Andretti has shown brilliant speed at home and is the best we have, Takeover Target is proven at Ascot and Magnus beat us in the Galaxy but we also have the local horses and jockeys, who have the home advantage, to think about.
"They are four different types of horses and we’ve constantly been up against each other and there’s a great camaraderie between all the connections."
Waterhouse hopes to contest both Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes and Saturday’s Golden Jubilee Stakes (June 23, Group One & worth £350,000) with the six-year-old.
"I think the Golden Jubilee trip of six furlongs will suit mine better and if he pulls up well after Tuesday’s race he’ll be back on Saturday - but, if he’s not going to be competitive, I won’t run him," she added. "We’ll take each race as it comes and if he continues running well we’ll be at Newmarket for the Darley July Cup. He’s a very competitive animal and hates to be beaten, he’s a real cool dude."
Freedman, whose Miss Andretti is disputing favouritism for both legs of the Global Sprint Challenge at Royal Ascot next week, has learnt from his experience of bringing over Falkirk last year.
The 50-year-old commented: "This mare is different to the horse we brought last year. Falkirk was a weak big thing although he was an entire - he had foot trouble nearly all the time he was here and it was a case of trying to hold him together rather than carry on as normal and train.
"Miss Andretti has done very, very well so we can train her a bit more which should be an advantage and she is a 119-rated at home while he was 109. She is a significantly better horse. I am always disappointed if I don’t win but it won’t shock me.
"I think she has travelled very well - it is always a risk when you travel a mare. She is very adaptable - she has had a bit of racing and had a bit of travelling. Once she got here and settled into the surroundings - she has a paddock like she does at home - she was pretty happy.
"She is a very good mare - particularly when fresh and has won all her starts first up from breaks. She is probably best around a corner when she can kick off a bend but she won down the straight at Flemington last May in a Listed race - her first run for me - and finished third in a straight Group One. So I don’t think the straight course is going to worry her too much.
"Even though she has won big sprints, she is not what I call a speed horse - she doesn’t come out and lead them or sit right by them. She will probably sit off them and she is always very strong in the last furlong. We will play it by ear - our jockey (Craig Newitt) is used to her. He has never been here but he rides in a lot of big sprints at home so he understands about speed.
"The only horse we have not met since I have had her is Takeover Target and he is the one I worry about because I just don’t know how she will measure up against him. He has been here, done it, is very hard to see off and a brave horse.
"The Australians are getting all the attention but that is not always what you want and it is not going to be a four-horse race with 20 runners in it. We have to keep our guard up.
"As you get older you tend to compare horses with those who went before which you shouldn’t do. Miss Andretti is good at the moment but she has a bit of a way to go to be as good as Alinghi (a top two-year-old in 2004 and winner of the six-furlong Newmarket Handicap the following year before being sold to America).
"Miss Andretti has shown Group One ability since we had her - the trend is still going upwards. I want her to run in the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs because it will suit her. I think she has a better chance in that than in the six-furlong Golden Jubilee. She is used to climbing a gradient in her work."
Caulfield-based Peter Moody is paying his first visit to Britain and he hopes that the five-year-old Magnus will enhance his stud value with a good performance at Ascot.
"The horse’s long-term value is really why we’re here. He’s been offered places at stud in Australia but he would be worth far more if he won at Ascot," said Moody. "There’s nothing definite about which races we go for and we could even go home after Tuesday if we thought we we’re hurting his value by continuing to run him here. There are a lot of variables and if he wins one and the oil wells come calling then they can have him.
"I’ve had it in mind to bring one over here ever since Choisir’s wins at Ascot in 2003 - that gave me the confidence to have a crack if I had the right horse. I’ve had Group One sprinters for the past four years but they’ve tended to be mares at the end of their career but this fellow is improving - although he needs to. I think he has more improvement than any of my fellow travellers as he’s a baby. It’s my first time here and, if it works out, I might bring a longer distance horse over in the future and shake a few people up!
"Mark Wallace is a good friend of mine and he’s going to show me some of the races that have been run over here. I watched his horse Benbaun work this morning and he went very well. Horses like that have to be at an advantage if they don’t need to travel.
"Ascot will not be dissimilar to the major sprints we have at Flemington, the pressure and speed are on the whole way and we’re used to the pressure cooker situation.
"Damien Oliver has just successfully delayed a suspension so he’ll be able to ride and hopefully be on a plane over here later today."
Joe Janiak, who has seen it all before, is pleased with Takeover Target’s condition. He said: "He weighs at the moment 512 and has won weighing 530. I have trimmed him off a little bit and he seems better for it.
"I think as he has got older he has lost a bit of his early speed and when we get home I may try him over a mile. I think the six-furlong Golden Jubilee is gong to suit him better than the five of the King Stand’s Stakes this year.
"He will be nice and fresh for Tuesday and that should top him up for the six-furlong race. He will go home after Royal Ascot."
Chris Stickels, Ascot’s Clerk of the Course, reported this morning that the going at Ascot is good to firm.
He explained: "We are currently good to firm and on the fast side of that. We had a dry weekend and it was quite hot. The forecast is for the weather to turn wet and we could see up to an inch of rain before Saturday which will save me having to water at least.
"Following that, the forecast is for high pressure to come in so we are looking at a generally more settled week from Sunday. There is the chance of an odd light shower with temperatures between 20 and 21 degrees Celsius."
Royal Ascot take place on five days between Tuesday, June 19 and Saturday, June 23.

For more information, please contact Nick Smith on 07771 791449.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cornelius elected by SLA

By David Ashforth - Racing Post 31st May 2007

JIM CORNELIUS, an experienced trade union official, has been elected as chief executive of the Stable Lads' Association. Cornelius, 57, will take up his full-time post on September 3 and, while fulfilling other commitments before then, will work in a part-time capacity. Cornelius defeated two ‘internal' candidates, George McGrath and Don Stacey, in an election in which 187 votes were cast, representing a turnout of about 15 per cent of registered SLA members. Viv Baldwin, the SLA's finance secretary, said: “That is actually a good turnout for this kind of election. It was a fair election and, while I am disappointed for the losing candidates, it is probably best for the SLA to have an experienced trade unionist. It is a positive result.” Jeremy Corkell, chairman of the SLA's national committee, promised his support for the new chief executive. Corkell said: “I pledged to support whoever was elected and I think Cornelius has the trade union background to help us move forward. We will be meeting on Monday, we have good office staff, and I hope we will now begin to get the respect we need from bodies in racing.” McGrath was also quick to offer his support. He said: “I am disappointed to have lost and Cornelius's lack of racing knowledge is of some concern but he is probably the right man for the job, and I will be there to help him. “If Stacey or I had been elected we would have needed to employ a consultant. That won't now be necessary so there may be funding available for an office in Lambourn.”

Cornelius, who was an official with NUPE for almost 30 years, said: “I am delighted to have been elected and look forward to working with McGrath and Stacey, and with others on the national committee to turn the organisation around. There is a lot that needs to be looked at, and we will be drawing up a list of priorities.

“One of these is the national negotiations with the NTF, which have broken down over the SLA's attempt to put forward a new memorandum of agreement to address grievances put forward by members. I have been a negotiator at national, regional and local level for many years and we will see if we can find a way forward.”

Cornelius continued: “I have read the Donoughue Report and, although I don't want to give an uneducated view, I think it is a positive and progressive document, which presented useful ways forward for the industry. It is not clear to me that all these have been picked up.”

The SLA's new leader is likely to want to approach the BHB to discuss the situation regarding the stable staff's share of prize money, about £170,000 a year.

This was formerly allocated to the SLA but is held in an escrow account until the BHB is satisfied that the SLA is equipped to manage the funds properly.

Cornelius's election, the first contested election since the SLA's formation in 1976, followed the resignation last December of Bill Adams, national secretary since 1986. ENDS