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Saturday, May 16, 2009



Goodwood hosts its two-day May Meeting on Wednesday, May 20, and Thursday, May 21, and taking centre stage on the opening day is the £40,000 Listed Cocked Hat Stakes (3.25pm), run over 11 furlongs for three-year-old colts and geldings.

An entry of 10 has been received for the Cocked Hat Stakes, headed by the Queen's unbeaten three-year-old colt Free Agent. Free Agent has yet to race in 2009 but won both his starts in 2008, landing a Leicester maiden most impressively by five lengths before taking the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. He is trained by Richard Hannon, the leading trainer at Goodwood in 2008 and winner of the Dick Hern Award.

Godolphin could be represented by the interesting Chock A Block. A son of the high-class racemare Choc Ice, Chock A Block was successful on his only start in France last season. Local Arundel handler John Dunlop has entered Palavicini, who was a staying-on second in Listed company at Newmarket earlier this month, while Mick Channon, successful in the 2007 Cocked Hat Stakes with Halicarnassus, has three to choose from - Canwinn, Some Time Good and Too Much Trouble.

Other possible starters are Alwaary from the John Gosden stable, Barwell Bridge, a winner at York on May 13, Beauchamp Xerxes and the Henry Cecil-trained Sight Unseen, successful at Newbury in April before finishing fourth in the Group Three Chester Vase. Free Agent, Chock A Block, Palavicini, Alwaary and Too Much Trouble hold entries in the Derby at Epsom Downs on June 6.

The seven-race programme on Wednesday kicks off at 2.15pm with the Racing UK Handicap over nine furlongs and concludes at 5.45pm with the TurfTV.co.uk Apprentice Handicap over the minimum trip of five furlongs. Also featuring on the card are the EBF Cucumber Maiden Fillies' Stakes (2.50pm), the Sussex Stayers Handicap (4.00pm), the toteexacta Median Auction Maiden Stakes (4.35pm) and the Goldring Security Services Maiden Fillies' Stakes (5.10pm).

Thursday's highlight is the £40,000 Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes (4.00pm), a contest for three-year-old fillies run over just short of 10 furlongs. Godolphin has entered the Group One-placed Copperbeech, while the Mark Tompkins stable could be represented by Dulcie, who won well despite starting at 33/1 when successful at Goodwood last season.

Newmarket-based David Lanigan has made an entry for Say No Now, who made an impressive seasonal reappearance on May 8 at Nottingham in a maiden over an extended mile. Last season the Refuse To Bend filly finished runner-up on both starts over seven furlongs at Kempton, finishing one place in front of subsequent 1,000 Guineas winner Ghanaati on her second appearance in September.

Lanigan revealed: "The plan is to let Say No Now take her chance in the Height Of Fashion Stakes and I am just hoping that there is some rain between now and next Thursday because we wouldn't want the ground to be too fast for her.

"She just about got away with firm ground at Nottingham but I needed to get her to a racecourse and I was pleased to see her win. Stepping up to 10 furlongs will be no problem for her and we wanted to run her in a Listed race so we can see what she might be capable of.

"Her juvenile form was very good - she finished in front of Ghanaati on her second start and Moonlife, who beat her on her debut, went on to be second in a Group Three race at Newmarket.

"She holds some entries in big races but she needs to take it to the next level now so we can see where to go next with her."

Say No Now, along with Copperbeech and Dulcie, is still entered in the Oaks at Epsom Downs on June 5.

Moneycantbuymelove has already shown form at this level, having taken third place in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on May 3 while Luca Cumani's home-bred Splashdown also finished third in Listed company at Newmarket at the end of last season. John Dunlop could be represented by Fallen In Love, a Haydock maiden winner last season

Thursday features a seven-race programme and gets underway at 2.15pm with the EBF Racing To School Median Auction Maiden Stakes and runs through to 5.40pm with the Double Trigger Restaurant Handicap (5.40pm). Also on the card are the O'Sullevans Café Handicap (2.50pm), the M-Real Handicap (3.25pm), the TurfTV Handicap (4.35pm) and the New Horsewalk Restaurant Maiden Fillies' Stakes (5.10pm).


Goodwood's Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley said this morning: "We missed the rain on Thursday night and selectively watered yesterday. There has since been seven millimetres of rain and the ground is now heading towards good, having been good to firm.

"There are more showers forecast over the next few days and it looks like we will be offering lovely ground next week.

"The course is in great condition and some excellent entries have been received for the two days."


The Racehorse Owners Association President Paul Dixon has become the first owner to register horses for the ‘Speed Bonus', a unique event due to be held at Goodwood on Sunday, September 13.

He said: "I am determined that this exciting concept gets a good lift-off.

"The ‘Speed Bonus' is a fantastic idea and I'm starting by registering eight horses. I intend to have runners in as many of the eight races as possible."

Each race on the Speed Bonus card will be a handicap over distances ranging from five furlongs to two miles and the winner of the bonus will be the horse that puts up the best winning time performance on the day. This will be based on Racing Post Standard Times and adjusted for distance.

He continued: "The more support the ‘Speed Bonus' has, the more money there will be for the winning connections.

"It's important the event builds up an impetus so the proposed £100,000 bonus becomes a reality. It could go beyond that if owners really get behind it."

The ‘Speed Bonus' is an initiative of Goodwood Racecourse and the Racehorse Owners Association. Eligible horses must be owned by members of the ROA and registered for the event.

Owners will this week receive a brochure giving details of how the ‘Speed Bonus' works, together with a registration form. It costs £150 to register a horse for the event up to June 30, £250 up to August 12 and £1,000 between August 13 and September 10. The winning owner of the ‘Speed Bonus' will receive 80 per cent of the total collected, the trainer 10 per cent, the jockey 5 per cent and the winning stable 5 per cent.

Dixon concluded: "This is a great opportunity for your average horse in training to win a really big prize. All ROA members who register will have a chance of winning the ‘Speed Bonus' which will reward the achievement of the fastest horse on the day."

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