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Chicago Grey jumps the 3rd last fence as they win the 4m amateur riders novices chase Cheltenham 16.03.2011

Chicago Grey: the NH Chase winner's sire Luso is now based in Britain

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Pistolet Bleu's sole Irish crop fires again

5,20pm Cheltenian justifies his hefty price tag with a convincing Champion Bumper victory.

The five-year-old Astarabad gelding was heavily backed on his debut for trainer Liz Doyleat Punchestown in October before a date at the Brightwells Stars of the Future sale at Cheltenham one month later.

Cheltenian topped the sale at £210,000 after a duel for him between prominent jumps owners Roger Brookhouseand Richard Kelvin Hughes.

It was Brookhouse who was triumphant and Cheltenian, now trained by Philip Hobbs, carries the Warwickshire-based owner's colours.

Cheltenian had beaten subsequent winner Montbazon on hisdebut for Hobbs at Kempton last month.

Cheltenian was bred in France by Jean-Charles Haimet and J-Pascal Liberge.

He is by Haras de la Croix Sonnet stallion Astarabad, winner of the Prix Ganay and also sire of prolific French hurdler Questarabad and Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle scorer Gaspara.

Astarabad shares his sire, Alleged, with other jumps stallions Flemensfirth, Flying Legend, Sir Harry Lewis and Shantou.

Cheltenian is out of the 11-year-old Mansonnien mare Salamaite, a placed half-sister to Grade 1-placed French hurdler Gilder, from the further family of Grade 2-winning chaser and Royal & SunAlliance Chase third Toto Toscato.

He was originally bought by Guy Petit for €27,000 at the 2007 Arqana October yearling sale.

4.45pm: Hard to believe Doyen will stay in Germany for stud duties next year after his son Kumbeshwar confirms his class with a brave second in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Doyen is a well-bred son of Sadler's Wells who won the King George - the same credentials as this year's leading jumps sire King's Theatre.

But the Fred Winter honours go to another Irish horse, the Arthur Moore-trained filly What A Charm.

By Key Of Luck, What A Charm was bred by Kenilworth House Stud out of the middle-distance Flat-winning Linamix mare Atalina.

She is a sister to Australia Day, winner of the Listed Summer Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen last July, and half-sister to Marjalina, winner of the Group 3 Park Express Stakes over 1m at three.

Key Of Luck - who stands at Tara Stud at a fee of €4,000 - is best known as the sire of top middle-distance colt Alamshar. His other top jumpers include smart hurdlers Mamlook and Starluck.

What A Charm was bought by Kevin Ross as a yearling at the 2008 Goffs Million sale for €110,000.

4.10pm: Owner Michael O'Leary and trainer Gordon Elliott double up on day two of the festival with Carlito Brigante strolling to victory in the Coral Cup.

Five-year-old gelding Carlito Brigante was bred by Ballylinch Stud to excel on the Flat. He is from the first crop of 2,000 Guineas and Champion Stakes winner Haafhd and is a half-brother to four-times jumps winner Peak Raider.

Peak Raider is around a 12-1 shot for Friday's Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase.

The dam, the GreenDesert mare Desert Magic, won the Listed Athasi Stakes over 7f at the Curragh. She was bought by Hugo Merry for €29,000 at the Goffs breeding stock sale in November 2009. Traditionally, many of Merry's Goffs mare purchases head for India.

It is the family of Group 1 winners Alexander Goldrun, Getaway and Royal Rebel.

Carlito Brigante was originally a €400,000 Deauville yearling purchase by Demi O'Byrne. He made 17,000gns at the 2009 Tattersalls autumn horses in training sale and was sold on for £40,000 at the DBS December sale in 2009.

3.25pm: Last year's Arkle winner Sizing Europe gives more reason to lament the relatively short life of his sire Pistolet Bleu with a fluent success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Pistolet Bleu, winner of the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, had finished covering his first Irish book as a Coolmore National Hunt stallion when he suffered from colic and died aged 13.

The son of Top Ville's previous crops sired in France yielded Triumph Hurdle winner Katarino and Christmas Hurdle scorer Geos.

Hissole Irish-sired crop - now nine-year-olds - also includes Grade 2-winning hurdler I'msingingtheblues, Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase winner Copper Bleu, Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Snap Tie and Dipper Novices' Chase winner Seven Is My Number.

Sizing Europe was bred by Angela Bracken out of the unraced Mandalus mare Jennie Dun. His half-brother The Spoonplayer, also trained by Henry de Bromhead, has won four races.

Bracken sold Sizing Europe as a foal for €9,000 at the 2002 Tattersalls Ireland November sale.

3pm: Fermoy farmer Lyle Buttimer is responsible for reigning Champion Chase hero Big Zeb. He bred 13 foals out of the dam, the Deep Run mare Our Siveen, and he says that Big Zeb "was the worst-looking one of the lot".

If Master Minded wins the Champion Chase, it would set up a potentially famous double for his French breeders Benoit and Marie-Christine Gabeur. They also produced Friday's Gold Cup hope Long Run. It would be an outstanding achievement to breed the winners of two of the festival's crown jewels (the Champion Hurdle, ChampionChase, World Hurdle and Gold Cup) in one year.

Another fantastic double would be achieved if Golden Silver wins. He was bought from France by ex-jockey Richard Hobson, who also sourced from the country Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly.

Mad Max bids to restore family honour after his half-sister Carole's Legacy was narrowly beaten in yesterday's Spinal Research Handicap Chase.

2.45pm Bostons Angel holds off Jessies Dream in the RSA Chase, thus providing his sire Winged Love with a first Cheltenham Festival winner and denying Presenting a double after the victory of First Lieutenant in the Neptune.

Winged Love formerly stood in Germany, where he sired brilliant 2m chaser Twist Magic, but in 2001 he was purchased by Alfred Buller and Hugh Suffern.

Winged Love - an Irish Derby-winning son of the Sadler's Wells stallion In The Wings, and so holding a similar profile to Old Vic - initially stood at Buler's Scarvagh House Stud but has stood at Suffern's Tullyraine House Stud in County Down since every season since 2007.

Winged Love is also sire of Magnanimity, who gave the sire a Grade 1 one-two when runner-up to Bostons Angel in the Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase last month.

Irish-bred seven-year-oldBostons Angel is out of Lady Boston, winner of a Listed hurdle over 2m2f at Auteuil. She is by the late outstanding French jumps sire Mansonnien - sire of Golden Silver in the next race, the Champion Chase.

2.30pm So Young could only finish third in the Neptune, so maybe Mikael D'Haguenet, another Willie Mullins-trained son of Lavirco, can make amends in the RSA Chase.

Lavirco died aged only 16 in 2009, but his French Champion Hurdle-winning brother Laveron stands at the Haras des Chartreux in France and has produced a few good domestic winners including Grade 3-winning chaser Katenko.

Lavirco and Laveron are by Konigsstuhl, also sire of Monsun, and from the outstanding German 'L' family of Lomitas.

2.10pm Oscar was a bit unlucky not to have the Neptune Investment Management Novices'Hurdle winner there.

Oscars Well had a handy lead when falling at the last and Rock On Ruby was nailed on the line by First Lieutenant.

So reigning champion jumps sire Presenting - second to King's Theatre in this year's standings by progeny earnings - gets some all-important first-place prize-money.

His son First Lieutenant was a game winner to collect his second Grade 1 winner after the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown in December.

The six-year-old gelding is trained by Mouse Morris for Gigginstown House Stud. So it is the same combination of sire, trainer and owner as Gold Cup hero War Of Attrition.

GigginstownHouse Stud has also enjoyed dual Cheltenham victory with another son of Presenting, Weapon's Amnesty.

First Lieutenant, bred by Mary O'Connor, is the first foal out of the Fourstars Allstar mare Fourstargale, who was trained by O'Connor to win her ninth and 11th starts in bumpers. Fourstargale is out of Listed-winning chaser Sea Gale.

First Lieutenant was bought from O'Connor as a foal for €26,000 at the 2005 Tattersalls Ireland November sale. The purchaser, Redpender Stud, hit the jackpot when reselling him as a three-year-old for €255,000 to top the 2008 Tatts Ireland Derby sale.

1.40pm A first victory for a British-based jumps sire at the festival as Chicago Grey takes the National Hunt Chase.

Chicago Grey is by Luso, who stood at Garryrichard Stud in County Wexford until last year, when he moved to the Southern Sport Horse Centre in Surrey.

Luso, a 19-year-old son of Salse out of the fine broodmare Lucayan Princess, so half-brother to Needle Gun (also stands in Britain) and Warrsan, is also sire of Irish National winner Hear The Echo and dual Thyestes Chase scorer Preists Leap.

Eight-year-old Chicago Grey is out of the Lord Americ mare Carrigeen Acer, a half-sister to Listed-placed chaser Carrigeen Kerria, the dam of Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase winner Carrigeen Victor and Listed Phil Sweeney Memorial Chase winner Carrigeen Kalmia.

Carrigeen Acer's dam, Carrigeensharragh, was a triple-winning Listed chaser. It is the further family of top chaser Central House.

Chicago Grey was originally bought by his owner John Earls for €11,500 as a foal at the Tattersalls Ireland November sale. Earls had a lucky escape, as he offered the horse in the same sale ring as a three-year-old but he was unsold at €34,500.

1.25pm Willie Murphy on Twitter is hoping Oscar can stake his claim to champion sire honours.

"My mare Shuil Mo Ghra has a hot date with him in a few weeks time. Sold a cracking colt foal by Flemensfirth out of the mare to JP. She just had another colt by Milan"

1.15pm Oscar is currently fourth in the table of jumps sires for 2010/11, with progeny earnings of £980,320 compared to the leader King's Theatre's tally of £1,252,348.

But he could bridge the gap today with a strong hand on the second day at Cheltenham.

He is sire of Big Zeb, who has a strong chance of defending his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

He also has a remarkable three leading fancies in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle - Minella Class, Oscars Well and Rock On Ruby.

And as if that wasn't enough, he also has Felix Yonger and Oscar Magic in the Champion Bumper.

Aberdale could kickstart the red letter day for Oscar in the first race, the National Hunt Chase.




King's Theatre £948,417
Presenting £889,316
Oscar £772,014
Beneficial £757,104
Milan £711,606
Westerner £562,432
Flemensfirth £516,588
Kayf Tara £470,195
Stowaway £400,859
Midnight Legend £396,669