Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle - Tue March 11th 2008 

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cheltenham festival / 2008 news / champion hurdle

Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle 2008 - Analysis

The 2008 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle has attracted 38 entries - 10 more than in 2007 - with a record 19 hailing from Ireland for the £360,000 event, run on the opening day of The Festival, Tuesday, March 11.

Last year's victor Sublimity is engaged once again, along with the 2004 and 2005 hero Hardy Eustace, who also finished third in 2006 and fourth last year. Afsoun (third in 2007) is also entered along with Kawagino (sixth in 2007).

Trained in Ireland by John Carr, Sublimity has only raced once since his three-length triumph over Brave Inca last year, when finishing fourth on his seasonal debut behind Osana in the International at Cheltenham on December 15.

The Irish challenge also includes Al Eile, winner of the Grade One December Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown last month when he was a length too good for Hardy Eustace with Jazz Messenger third, Ebaziyan fourth, Farmer Brown fifth and Clopf sixth.



The revitalised Harchibald, runner-up in 2005, is one four entries for Ireland's champion trainer Noel Meade along with Aitmatov, successful in the Grade One Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December, the 2006 Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle victor Nicanor, not seen out since winning at Punchestown in April, 2006, and Jazz Messenger.

Other leading Irish contenders include Silent Oscar, winner of the Grade One Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April, 2007, and Sizing Europe, who looked to be a progressive performer when landing the Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on November 18, proving four lengths too strong for Osana. The mare Lounaos, trained by Eoin Griffin, started favourite for the 2007 JCB Triumph Hurdle but only finished 10th. However, she looked back on track with a comfortable victory at Limerick on December 26.



The trainer with the largest number of entries is Nicky Henderson, who sent out the great See You Then to success in 1985, 1986 and 1987. In addition to Afsoun, the Seven Barrows sextet includes Amaretto Rose, third in the 2007 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Blue Shark, who was last seen on a racecourse when winning the Grade One Finale Hurdle at Chepstow in December, 2005, Chomba Womba, a winner of both her starts so far this season, Khyber Kim, a Listed class performer on the Flat who put up an impressive display on his hurdling debut at Newbury last month and Punjabi, successful in Grade One company at Punchestown in April.

One of the best novices of last season was Katchit, who gained his biggest success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival. The Alan King-trained five-year-old was successful on his seasonal reappearance at Aintree before coming third behind Harchibald and Al Eile in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. Last time out he returned to Cheltenham, going down by eight lengths when second to Osana in the International.

Straw Bear came close to Festival glory when runner-up in the 2006 Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle but broke a blood vessel when disappointing in last season's Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle. The Nick Gifford-trained gelding looked right back to his best last time out when scoring a brave head victory over Harchibald in the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Two entries with useful Flat form are Blythe Knight and Blue Bajan. Blythe Knight was a Group Three winner at Epsom on Derby Day, having already proved his ability as a hurdler by taking the Grade Two John Smith's Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree last season. Blue Bajan, Group-placed on the Flat, was a smooth winner at Leicester last month although his trainer Andy Turnell has stressed he is more likely to go down the novice route this season.

There are two entries from France, Cybergenic and Majadal. Both are trained by Richard Chotard for Kent-based owner Fergus Wilson but look short of the class required to win the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.



2007-WINNER-SUBLIMITY 7-11-10 Owner-Bill Hennessy; Trainer-John Carr IRE; Jockey-Philip Carberry; SP-16/1
2ND-Brave Inca 9-11-10 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/2
3RD-Afsoun 5-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-28/1
10 ran, Time-3m 55.70s; Dist-3, nk 6/4 Fav Detroit City (6th)

2006-WINNER-BRAVE INCA 8-11-10 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/4 Fav
2ND-Macs Joy 7-11-10 Owner-Mac's J Racing Syndicate; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-13/2
3RD-Hardy Eustace 9-11-10 Owner-Lar Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Conor O'Dwyer; SP-11/2
18 ran. Time-3m 50.00s; Dist-1, 3.5

2005-WINNER-HARDY EUSTACE 8-11-10 Owner-Lar Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Conor O'Dwyer; SP-7/2 Jt Fav
2ND-Harchibald 6-11-10 Owner-Des Sharkey; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-7/1
3RD-Brave Inca 7-11-10 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Barry Cash; SP-10/1
14 ran, Time-3m 51.50s; Dist-nk, nk 7/2 Jt Fav Back In Front (9th)

2004-WINNER-HARDY EUSTACE 7-11-10 Owner-Lar Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Conor O'Dwyer; SP-33/1
2ND-Rooster Booster 10-11-10 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-11/8 Fav
3RD-Intersky Falcon 7-11-10 & Jacqui O'Neill; Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill; Jockey-Liam Cooper; SP-8/1
14 ran, Time-3m 54.50s; Dist-5, 4

2003-WINNER-ROOSTER BOOSTER 9-12-00 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-9/2
2ND-Westender 7-12-00 Owner-Matt Archer & Jean Broadhurst; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Rodi Greene; SP-33/1
3RD-Rhinestone Cowboy 7-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Jonjo O'Neill; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/2Fav
17 ran, Time-3m 54.70s; Dist-11, 3

2002-WINNER-HORS LA LOI III 7-12-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-James Fanshawe; Jockey-Dean Gallagher; SP-10/1
2ND-Marble Arch 6-12-00 Owner-Martin Wilson, Rory Sweet and Mary Wilson; Trainer-Hughie Morrison; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-25/1
3RD-Bilboa 5-11-09 Owner-Jorg Vasicek; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Thierry Doumen; SP-14/1
15 ran, Time-3m 53.80s; Dist- 3, .5 2/1 Fav Istabraq (pu)

2001 Cancelled

2000-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 8-12-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O'Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-8/15 Fav
2ND-Hors La Loi III 5-12-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Dean Gallagher; SP-11/1
3RD-Blue Royal 5-12-00 Owner-Lynn Wilson; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-16/1
12 ran, Time-3m 48.10s; Dist-4, nk

1999-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 7-12-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O'Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-4/9 Fav
2ND-Theatreworld 7-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O'Brien IRE; Jockey-Tommy Treacy; SP-16/1
3RD-French Holly 8-12-00 Owner-Kieran Flood; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Andrew Thornton; SP-11/2
14 ran, Time 3m 56.7s; Dist-3.5, 2.5

1998-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 6-12-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O'Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-3/1 Fav
2ND-Theatreworld 6-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O'Brien IRE; Jockey-Tommy Treacy; SP-20/1
3RD-I'm Supposin 6-12-00 Owner-Nicholas Cooper; Trainer-Richard Rowe; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-6/1
18 ran, Time 3m 49.1s; Dist-12, 1

1997-WINNER-MAKE A STAND 6-12-00 Owner-Peter Deal; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/1
2ND-Theatreworld 5-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O'Brien IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-33/1
3RD-Space Trucker 6-12-00 Owner-Elaine Queally; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-John Shortt; SP-9/2
17 ran, Time-3m 48.4s, Dist-5, .75 7/2 Fav Large Action (pu)

1996-WINNER-COLLIER BAY 6-12-00 Owner-Wally Sturt; Trainer-Jim Old; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-9/1
2ND-Alderbrook 7-12-00 Owner-Ernie Pick; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-10/11 Fav
3RD-Pridwell 6-12-00 Owner-Jones, Berstock and Fleet Partnership; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Chris Maude; SP-33/1
16 ran, Time-3m 59.0s, Dist-2.5, 6

1995-WINNER-ALDERBROOK 6-12-00 Owner-Ernie Pick; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-11/2
2ND-Large Action 7-12-00 Owner-Brian Stewart-Brown; Trainer-Oliver Sherwood; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-4/1 Jt Fav
3RD-Danoli 7-12-00 Owner-Dan O'Neill; Trainer-Tom Foley IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-4/1 Jt Fav
14 ran, Time-4m 03.1s, Dist-5, 2



2m 1/2f Old Course, £360,000 guaranteed For 4yo+ which are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the Senior BHB Jump handicapper following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run upto and including March 6; horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain, Ireland or France may also be entered; such horses may be eligible providing the handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances up to and including March 6, would merit a minimum rating of 130; the decision of the Senior BHB Handicapper shall be final. Weights 4yo 11st 2lb; 5yo+ 11st 10lb Allowances FILLIES AND MARES 7LB Entries 28 pay £405 First Forfeit 20 pay £810 Confirmed 16 pay £405 Penalty Value 1st £205,272; 2nd £77,004; 3rd £38,556; 4th £19,224; 5th £9,648; 6th £4,824

1 SUBLIMITY (FR) (Bill Hennessy) John Carr 7-11-10t Philip Carberry 16/1
2 BRAVE INCA (IRE) (Novices Syndicate) Colm Murphy IRE 9-11-10 Ruby Walsh 11/2
3 AFSOUN (FR) (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Henderson 5-11-10 Mick Fitzgerald 28/1
4 HARDY EUSTACE (IRE) (Lar Byrne) Dessie Hughes IRE 10-11-10v Conor O'Dwyer 3/1
5 KAWAGINO (IRE) (K J Pike) Seamus Mullins 7-11-10 Wayne Kavanagh 100/1
6 DETROIT CITY (USA) (Terry Warner) Philip Hobbs 5-11-10b Richard Johnson 6/4 Fav
7 ASIAN MAZE (IRE) (Sheila Moore) Tom Mullins IRE 8-11-03 Robert Power 20/1
8 MARBLE GARDEN (USA) (Fergus Wilson) Richard Chotard FR 6-11-10tb James Davies 250/1
F 3 OUT IKTITAF (IRE) (Mrs P Sloan) Noel Meade IRE 6-11-10t Barry Geraghty 14/1
PU BEF 3 OUT STRAW BEAR (USA) (J P McManus) Nicky Gifford 6-11-10 Tony McCoy 7/1

10 ran
Non-runner: 1 Acambo (vet's certificate)
Distances: 3, nk, nk, 15, hd, .75, dist
Breeder: Stratford Place & Watership Down Stud
Breeding: b g Selkirk (USA) - Fig Tree Drive (USA)
Totes: Win: £16.20; Places: £2.90; £2.10; £4.80; Exacta: £165.20

Winning Trainer: John Carr Based: Maynooth, Co. Kildare Background: Former dairy farmer from Kildare. Scored his first Cheltenham Festival success when Sublimity landed the 2007 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle. Cheltenham Festival Winners (1): Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (2007 Sublimity) Winners in Britain (2003/04-2005/06): 3; 2; 5 Winners in Britain this season: 2

Winning Jockey: Philip Carberry Date of Birth: November 1, 1980 Background: Brother of Paul and Nina Carberry. Spent summer holidays working for Aidan O'Brien and Dermot Weld. First Winner: Native Status, Bellewstown, 01/07/1998 Cheltenham Festival Winners(1): Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (2007 Sublimity) Aintree Festival Wins: Cordon Bleu H'cap Hurdle (2000 Sharpaten) Other Big Race Wins: Irish Grand National (2006 Point Barrow), Kerry National (1999 Lanturn), Prix la Haye Jousselin (2006 Princesse d'Anjou), Grande Steeple Chase de Paris (2006 Princesse d'Anjou) Other Details: Has ridden in Australia as part of annual Irish Jump Jockeys Tour.

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