Keighley hoping bandwagon can roll on to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day

Keighley hoping bandwagon can roll on to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day

Local trainer Martin Keighley enjoyed his first Grade One success at Kempton Park on Boxing Day with Annacotty in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and is hoping the stable’s good form can continue at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day (Wednesday, January 1, 2014).


Stable star Champion Court was an early casualty in the Grade One William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park yesterday, when he was hampered and unseated Ian Popham at the fifth fence.


He could bid for compensation in the richest race of the day on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham, the £50,000 Fairlawne Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs.


Keighley, based at Condicote, said today: “We will see how Champion Court comes out of the King George, but if all is well with him, he could run at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.


“Although he only got as far as the fifth yesterday, he didn’t do himself any favours by running and jumping round for a circuit after he had lost his jockey! He seems OK today though.”


One horse that is definitely heading to Cheltenham on Wednesday is Coyaba, who runs in the concluding £20,000 Listed EBF High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire’s” Junior Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race over an extended mile and six furlongs.


The son of Midnight Legend has won impressively on both his starts, scoring by seven lengths at Ffos Las on November 10 and by four and a half lengths at Towcester 20 days later.


Keighley continued: “Coyaba is a real nice horse and has done everything right in his two runs so far.


“He worked well this morning and the plan is now to go to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day with him.


“If all goes well then, we would probably then give him a break with a view to bringing him back to Cheltenham for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival.”



The going at Cheltenham is currently Soft, Good to Soft in places, with the weather forecast remaining unsettled.


Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing at Cheltenham, said today: “The forecast is for light rain today and over the weekend, with some heavier rain predicted to arrive on Monday.”


New Year’s Day at Cheltenham

New Year’s Day at Cheltenham offers the perfect opportunity to see in 2014 with a bang, offering a seven-race card running from 12.10pm through to 3.40pm.


The two richest races on the card are the £50,000 Grade Three Fairlawne Handicap Chase (2.30pm, 17 entries) and the £32,000 Grade Two Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase (1.20pm, 10 entries), which in recent years has been won by horses of the calibre of Champion Court (2012), Calgary Bay (2009), My Way de Solzen (2007) and The Listener (2006).


New Year’s Day is also a highlight for Pony Club members and their families, who have the chance to look behind the scenes in special racecourse tours.


Family Fun Zone will also be open on New Year’s Day offering free fun for the kids including face painting, balloon modelling, colouring and loads more including special appearances of Peppa Pig at selected times.


It is located in the shopping village and open from 10.30am until the last race. Adults need a Club/Tattersalls ticket to access the Family Fun Zone and children must be accompanied at all times.


Gates open at 10.30am and accompanied children aged under 18 gain FREE admission.


About Cheltenham Racecourse


Cheltenham Racecourse is situated in Prestbury on the outskirts of the historic spa town of Cheltenham. The Home of Jump Racing, Cheltenham Racecourse is the venue for the world’s pre-eminent Jump Racing meeting, The Festival, which takes place in March every year. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Racecourse is a stunning natural amphitheatre and offers the highest-quality action throughout the Jump season.


Please find more details at and through Twitter (@CheltenhamRaces) and Facebook


Cheltenham Racecourse is part of The Jockey Club, which has been at the heart of British racing for more than 260 years. Today the largest commercial group in the sport, The Jockey Club runs the largest racecourse group in the UK by turnover (2012: £142.1m), courses (15) including those at Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket, attendances (2012: 1.8m), total prize money (2012: £35.3m), contribution to prize money (2012: £16.5m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races); more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds in Newmarket and Lambourn; The National Stud breeding enterprise and education provider; and the charity for racing’s people in need, Racing Welfare. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny The Jockey Club makes it puts back into British racing. More information is available at

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