Racing: Irish on Schedual for success

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The Independent Online
CRATHIE and Cheltenham are the sites for name-swapping this afternoon. While the Princess Royal becomes Mrs Tim Laurence in the Scottish village, the main event at Prestbury Park is run for the first time as the Tripleprint Gold Cup.

The Cheltenham race, renamed this week after the business collapse of Tony Budge, the previous sponsor, has been changing its name with the frequency of a Franco-German border town.

Since Massey-Ferguson pulled out in 1980, other backers to fire the race with romance have been Still Forks Trucks, Kennedy Construction and Glen International (the company run by another stricken businessman, Terry Ramsden).

What has been consistent in the history of the race, however, is the infrequency of success for the Irish, who last made the winners' enclosure in 1971 with Tom Dreaper's Leap Frog. This handicap often goes to an improving tenderfoot, such as Kings Fountain 12 months ago, and Ireland may be about to re-enter calculations with a horse in this bracket, Second Schedual (1.55).

A promising novice last year, when he concluded the season with a beating of 13 rivals including Jodami at Punchestown, Arthur Moore's gelding still looked to be progressing when fourth in the H & T Walker Gold Cup at Ascot last month. Another Coral, second in the race last year, looks booked for a place again.

The other race to appear with a new title is the Laurels Novice Hurdle, captured last season by the subsequent Festival winner Thetford Forest. There are those who consider Satin Lover (12.45) will follow a similar path.

Granville Again was a winner on this card last year, but appears to have a difficult task in attempting to follow up in the Bula Hurdle. Martin Pipe's gelding again has to contend with his full- brother, Morley Street, who gave weight and a beating to his younger sibling over course and distance last month.

That race, though, was run as if the field was in a cortege. Given a better pace today, Granville Again (1.20) should take family honour for the first time in three encounters with his brother.

The horse chasing the biggest prize this afternoon is Lonesome Glory, the American participant in a leg of the Sport Of Kings Challenge. The four-year-old, trained by Bruce Miller and ridden by his daughter Blythe, has already won a race in the series and would earn dollars 75,000 for a second success. Al Mutahm (2.30), who was recently bought by Andrew Lloyd Webber, should save the sponsors' bonus money.

Racing in the north will see Peter Cheesbrough, who took over the Crawleas stable of his uncle, Arthur Stephenson, last week following the trainer's death, attempting to build on his debut win with Castle King at Doncaster yesterday when he sends runners to Edinburgh. And Tony Budge will at least get his name into one race card today when he is represented by Native Mission and Bellton at Doncaster.

Town Moor also sees the reappearance of Docklands Express (1.45), who has the King George VI Chase as his main objective this month but who should still be fit enough to dispose of rivals who are out of the handicap.

Other likely winners here are Ringland (next best 1.10), the improving ex-plater Our Slimbridge (2.15), and a horse which is a member of one of racing's few burgeoning clubs, that of animals which were formerly trained by Jenny Pitman, DIS TRAIN (nap 2.45).