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Racing: FESTIVAL BLACKOUT; Farce as Ascot is snubbed in favour of a shinty match EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: Garry Owen (Alan Thomson)

Daily Record Friday, September 24, 2004 Page 80ARMCHAIR punters face a virtual Ascot Festival blackout tomorrow - because the BBC will be showing a Scottish shinty final.

And today isn't much better with only only two of the scheduled six Ascot-Haydock double-header races on television due to coverage of theSNPconference at Inverness.

The rest of Britain will see at least five live races from Ascot tomorrow.

But Scottish punters will only get the 1.55 and the feature QueenElizabeth11Stakesat4.10as the BBC will be covering the .

A BBc spokesman said: 'Digital sattelite viewers can watch all the network race coverage by tuning into channel 959.'

Meanwhile, Haafhd has been given the go-ahead to tackle tomorrow's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Doubts had arisen about the participation of the 2000 Guineas winner after connections mentioned next month's Champion Stakes at Newmarket as a possible target.

The Hamdan Al Maktoumowned colt has not run since disappointing in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July, finishing a distant n in th behind Soviet Song.

However, trainer Barry Hills is satisfied with Haafhd's condition and he will run in this weekend'sGroupOneshowpiece.

But Attraction will bypass the big race and head straight to Newmarket next week instead.

The dual Guineas winner will tackle the KingdomofBahrainSun Chariot Stakes rather than go for the pounds 250,000 feature at the Berkshire track.

Trainer Mark Johnston had expressed concerns earlier in the week that the watered ground at Ascot maygo against the Efisio filly.

A total of 14 have been declared and Soviet Song is a best-priced 11-4 favourite.

Ladbrokes: 5-2 Soviet Song, 5 RefuseToBend,9Haafhd,Nayyir,10 Ace,DiamondGreen,NorseDancer, Rakti, 12BachelorDuke,14 bar.

# NEXT year's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes will be run at Newmarket.

The Festival meeting has been transferred while Ascot undergoes massive redevelopment

CAPTION(S):

OUCH: Dean McKeown escaped serious injury when his mount Matsunosuke took a tumble and brought down Baileys Honour (left) at Pontefract
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 24, 2004
Words:325
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