Newmarket boss upbeat ahead of meeting

NEWMARKET Racecourses managing director Lisa Hancock had an upbeat message ahead of the 2007 season which starts with the opening day of the Craven meeting on April 18.

By Tony Garnett

NEWMARKET Racecourses managing director Lisa Hancock had an upbeat message ahead of the 2007 season which starts with the opening day of the Craven meeting on April 18.

“For the first time I can look forward with unfettered optimism. We are going to have a transformed July course following a £10 million redevelopment behind the stands.

“The line-up of bands for Newmarket Nights is stronger than ever. Those already booked are INXS (June 22), Sugababes (June 29), Madness (July 20), Jools Holland (August 3), The Ordinary Boys (July 10) and Wet Wet Wet (August 17). The band for July 27 has yet to be confirmed.

“The Ritz Club July Festival will spread into the town itself for the first time with the launch of the Newmarket festival.”

Prize money will increase from £7.27 million to £7.4 million despite a downturn of £185,000 in the Levy Board prize money fund.

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The Stanley James Guineas Festival will be on May 5 and 6 with a new Friday-Saturday meeting on May 18 and 19 that will feature the Lester Piggott Day with all the Saturday races being names after Lester's seven Guineas winners.

At a dinner for trainers and Press, at which Lester Piggott was guest of honour, it was suggested in two speeches that his OBE should be reinstated or, better still, he should be awarded a knighthood in recognition of his fabulous career record. It is 50 years since he won his first Guineas.

A website will open in April 13. It is hoped that 40% of advance bookings will be completed on line with 20% booking discount for all meetings except the Newmarket Nights.

Ladies' Day on July 12 will be sponsored by Lanson, who are contracted as official suppliers of champagne and wine.

The Sir Alfred Munnings exhibition will be at the National Horseracing Museum until November 4 with more than 80 examples of his work, including oil studies and sketches.

“There are some stunning pictures on show including some that have never been seen in public before,” said Ms Hancock.

Newmarket has 3000 horses in training, 70 trainers, 60 stud farms and more than 100 miles of gallops on the world's largest expanse of tended grassland in addition to two racecourses. It is little wonder that it is regarded as the home of horse racing.

Trainers Jeremy Noseda and Peter Chapple-Hyam yesterday invited journalists and photographers to see their Classic hopefuls on the gallops and in the yard.

Noseda holds a strong hand in the Stan James 1000 Guineas with Sander Camillo, the ante-post favourite, Simply Perfect and Rahiyah. Noseda said: “It will be a hard job to match last year but we can try.”

Chapple-Hyam's leading 2000 Guineas contender is Dutch Art, the second favourite. He said that Authorized could run in the 2000 Guineas but is a Derby horse. He is third favourite for the Epsom classic.

Chapple-Hyam, who used to train for the late Robert Sangster at Manton, has worked in Hong Kong but is enjoying life at the St Gatien yard in Newmarket. He said that he expected have runners in France this season but that Authorized would only be going for the big races.

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