Dec. 7, 2006 – Day One – Friday
The main events on the opening day are the Boylepoker.com Chase (now worth over £100,000) and the unique Sporting Index Handicap Cross Country Chase. Formerly known as the Mears Group Handicap Chase the Boylepoker.com Chase is run over 3m 1 ½f and has doubled in value from last years running.
In recent year’s trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Tony McCoy have been the most successful winning the race twice each, while all eyes will be on new trainer David Pipe to see if he can follow in his father, Martin Pipe, footsteps who landed the race three times in the last 10 years.
Another strong tip to note here is that the market leader has taken the contest 50% of the time in the last 10 years, while there have only ever been two Irish trained winners of the race and the best age group to look for are 7 and 8 year-olds – who have a 60% record in the last decade.
Last year, Grand National second, Royal Auclair for trainer Paul Nicholls won the race under up-and-coming jockey Liam Heard.
Day Two – Saturday
The second day sees the Boylesports.com International as the feature race of the meeting (now worth an incredible £200,000), making the race the second most valuable hurdle event in both Britain and Ireland, behind the Champion Hurdle. Run over 2m 1f the race was formerly known as the Bula Hurdle and always attracts the best hurdlers in training. Plus the sponsors have added £200, 00 if the winner goes on to win the Champion Hurdle in the same season, but only six horses have completed the double with the popular grey Rooster Booster being the last in 2002-2003.
Again be sure to have the jolly on your side as they have landed this race 16 times in the last 38 runnings, which is a huge 40%, while jockey Richard Johnson is also worth noting as he’s won the contest three times in the last 10 years.
Irish trained horses have won the race for the last two years, with the top class hurdler Harchibald coming over last year to take the prize at 10/11 favourite.
The other main race on the Saturday is the Boylesports.com Gold Cup. First run in 1963 the race has been formerly called the Tripleprint Gold Cup and more recently, last year, the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup.
Run over 2m 5f the race is worth £150,000 which in £40,000 up on last season.
Keep a close eye on past winners as you can probably rule any out that line up again, as no horse has one more than one Boylesports.com Gold Cup. In the last nine runnings (abandoned in 2001) the market leader has only won the race once, but a fancied horse does tend to win with 8 out of 9 winners returning at 9/1 or less.
Ireland have taken the race twice, including last year with Sir Oj and jockey Paul Carberry, while all of the last nine runnings have been won by 6,7 or 8 year-olds.
Past 10 Boylesports International Hurdle winners
2005 – Harchibald 10/11 fav
2004 – Back In Front 5/2 fav
2003 – Rigmarole 25/1
2002 – Rooster Booster 11/8 fav
2001 – Valiramix 1/2 fav
2000 – Geos 14/1
1999 – Relkeel 13/2
1998 – Relkeel 8/1
1997 – Relkeel 8/1
1996 – Large Action 5/4 fav
* All prices correct at time of writing.
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