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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

FRANKEL HEADS 37 ENTRIES FOR QIPCO SUSSEX STAKES

GLORIOUS GOODWOOD’S HIGHLIGHT IS THE TARGET FOR STRONG SUIT

Last year’s winner, the outstanding Frankel, heads 37 entries for the £300,000 Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes, which is staged on the second day of Glorious Goodwood, Wednesday, August 1.

Run over a mile, the QIPCO Sussex Stakes is the fifth race in the mile division of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Frankel is owned by Khalid Abdulla, trained by Sir Henry Cecil and has been ridden by Tom Queally on all his starts. The four-year-old Galileo colt is unbeaten in 10 races, six at Group One level, and is the best racehorse in the world with a rating of 136 in the latest World Thoroughbred Rankings.

He returned to action in the mile Group One JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19, when he easily brushed aside his old rival Excelebration to score impressively by five lengths.

Among Frankel’s Group One victories in 2011 was his devastating five-length victory over five-time Group One scorer and top older miler Canford Cliffs in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, a contest termed the “Duel on the Downs”.

Canford Cliffs, who won the Sussex Stakes in 2010, has now retired to stud but his trainer Richard Hannon, who also won the race in 2003 with Reel Buddy and has collected the Dick Hern Trophy for the leading trainer at Goodwood in each of the past four years, has four entries - Dubawi Gold, Harbour Watch, Strong Suit and Trumpet Major.

Strong Suit was on the scoresheet at Glorious Goodwood in 2011 with a comfortable success over Red Jazz in the Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs, while Harbour Watch landed the Group Two Audi Richmond Stakes over six furlongs at the same meeting and is unbeaten in three starts.

David Redvers, racing manager to Qatar Racing Limited, the owners of Strong Suit and part-owners of Harbour Watch, said today: “Strong Suit is definitely being aimed at the QIPCO Sussex Stakes - it’s his big target if everything goes right for him.

“We know he enjoys the track at Goodwood and we think the race will be perfect for him.

“The plan at the moment is for him to make his reappearance at Royal Ascot next month in the Queen Anne Stakes, which should hopefully bring him on nicely for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.

“We will also definitely look at the race for Harbour Watch. He may run also run at Royal Ascot if he is ready in time or alternatively could head straight to Goodwood.

“If he were to go to Goodwood first time out, then we might consider the bet365 Lennox Stakes for him instead.

“So at this stage, we could run one or the other of them in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, or possibly both of them.”

Adam Waterworth, managing director of Goodwood Racecourse, commented: “We would be delighted to welcome Frankel back to Goodwood for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes which he won so impressively last year.

“This year’s entry is two higher than in 2011 and it is refreshing that so many trainers and owners are willing take on Frankel.

“The strong representation of three-year-olds is very pleasing and the QIPCO Sussex Stakes is the first opportunity for milers of that age to meet the established stars at Group One level.”

Champion Irish handler Aidan O’Brien made no less than 14 of the 37 entries including the winners of both Newmarket mile Classics, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, Camelot and Homecoming Queen, as well as Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Power.

The trainer is also responsible for four-year-old Excelebration, who joined Ballydoyle for the 2012 season having previously been trained by Marco Botti. Excelebration has finished second to Frankel on three occasions. Multiple Group One winner So You Think is another possible starter for O’Brien, who has won the QIPCO Sussex Stakes four times - Rip Van Winkle (2009), Henrythenavigator (2008), Rock Of Gibraltar (2002) and Giant’s Causeway (2000).

There are 16 Irish-trained entries in total, with Jim Bolger having entered last season’s Group One Dewhurst Stakes victor Parish Hall, who missed the Irish 2,000 Guineas because of a minor setback. John Oxx could be represented by Born To Sea, who is a sibling to the outstanding Sea The Stars and ran a good race when fifth on his latest start in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Other leading contenders from the three-year-old generation include Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Foxtrot Romeo and the Roger Charlton-trained Top Offer, who looked a horse of huge potential when scoring at Newbury last season but ran a disappointing race on his reappearance behind Camelot in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

Marco Botti has two to choose from, headed by Crackerjack King, who recently joined the Newmarket-based handler after being trained in Italy by the trainer’s cousin Stefano. Crackerjack King was a high-class performer in Italy, winning the Italian Derby in 2011, while he returned to action with an impressive victory in the Group One Premio Presidente Della Repubblica at Rome’s Capannelle racecourse on May 13. Botti’s other possible starter is Planteur, who ran a good race when third in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp on Sunday (May 27).

Other contenders include Chachamaidee, also trained by Sir Henry Cecil, who was successful in the Group Three Oak Tree Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last season. There are three entries from Godolphin including the Australian import Helmet, who won the Group One Caulfield Guineas in October, 2011, and is now in the care of Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Glorious Goodwood is staged at the world’s most beautiful racecourse over five days, from Tuesday, July 31 through to Saturday, August 4, 2012 inclusive.

For further information and to buy tickets, please go to www.goodwood.co.uk

14 RUN IN INVESTEC OAKS

- BECKETT HAPPY WITH COLIMA

Final declarations were made today for the £366,500 Investec Oaks, the highlight of Investec Ladies’ Day at Epsom Downs this Friday, June 1. All of the 14 fillies who stood their ground at Saturday’s six-day confirmation stage remain engaged and a highly-competitive contest is in prospect for the fillies’ Classic, which takes place at 4.05pm over a mile and a half.

Trainer Ralph Beckett has already tasted success in the Classic with Look Here, who was an impressive winner of the Oaks in 2008 and this year he is looking forward to running Colima, a twice-raced daughter of 2007 Derby hero Authorized.

Colima made a good start to her career with a comfortable two-length success in a mile maiden at Nottingham in November. She reappeared this season in the Listed Betfred Oaks Trial on Polytrack at Lingfield on May 9, when she ran well to finish second to Vow, trained by William Haggas. William Hill, Official Betting Partner of the 2012 Investec Derby Festival, make Colima a 14/1 chance, while Vow is the 9/2 third favourite.

Beckett, based at Kimpton Downs Stables in Hampshire, said today: “We are happy with Colima. Her work at the weekend was good and we are looking forward to running her.

“I think she has improved for her run at Lingfield. I wouldn’t be confident of bridging the gap on Vow; I’m not confident about anything, but we live in hope.

“I think she has the right attributes; she is a well balanced filly and she has a very good temperament, so both of those are on our side. However, whether that is enough to see us over the line in front is a different thing altogether.

“The ground at Epsom wouldn’t concern me at all.”

Heading the market for the Investec Oaks with William Hill is Maybe (5/2), one of six runners for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien. The Galileo filly was undefeated as a juvenile in 2011, when her five victories included the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes. She finished third behind stable companion Homecoming Queen in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, the first fillies’ Classic over a mile at Newmarket on May 6.

Maybe is joined in the Investec Oaks by stable companions Betterbetterbetter (40/1), runner-up in the Listed Cheshire Oaks, Group Three 1000 Guineas Trial second Devotion (40/1), the unbeaten Kissed (6/1), an impressive winner in a Listed event at Navan on April 29, Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes second Twirl (25/1) and Was (25/1), who came home third in the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes at Naas on May 16. O’Brien is seeking his fourth success in the Investec Oaks following Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001) and Alexandrova (2006).

The Fugue, 11/4 second favourite with William Hill, is owned by Lord Andrew and Lady Madeleine Lloyd-Webber and trained by John Gosden. She finished fourth in QIPCO 1000 Guineas before making a quick reappearance in the Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes over an extended 10 furlongs at York on May 16, when she was the ready four and a half-length winner from Twirl.

Godolphin has enjoyed Oaks success with Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995) and Kazzia (2002) and the Maktoum family’s racing operation is represented in 2012 by Kailani (8/1), a daughter of Kazzia who was supplemented at a cost of £20,000 on Saturday. The Monsun filly is undefeated in two starts, having taken the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on May 6 last time out.

Also set to line up at Epsom Downs on Friday is the Hughie Morrison-trained Coquet (25/1), who was triumphant in the Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood on May 24. She will be joined by stable companion Shirocco Star (16/1), who was the short-head runner-up in the Listed Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Newbury on May 18.

Completing the field are the Mick Channon-trained Nayarra (50/1), a Group One winner in Italy last term who was fourth behind Coquet in the Height Of Fashion Stakes, and recent Newmarket maiden third Toptempo (100/1), from the stable of Mark Tompkins.

Investec Ladies’ Day features a seven-race card getting underway at 1.40pm with the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By Investec).

LATEST GOING

The going at Epsom Downs is currently:

GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES

Andrew Cooper, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing at Epsom Downs, said today: “I would call the ground at Epsom good, good to firm in places, and it would ride as good fast ground if we raced on it at this particular moment in time, which is the type of ground summer Classics should be run on.

“I think in terms of where we would want to be when the meeting starts on Friday, it would be on that sort of ground, so the ground on Saturday would be no worse than good to firm.

“The last few nights we have had suggestions of thunderstorms that have missed us completely. The only prospect of rain for us is today, with showers coming in from the west to our neck of the woods. The showers are not predicted to be particularly heavy and then it looks like it is going to cool down and stay dry.

“We will see where we are mid-afternoon today because there is no doubt that if we don’t receive any rain today, to achieve what I have said, we will need to step back in and do something to the track.

“It is just a question of keeping the track where it is and on a daily basis we will have to put on somewhere in the region of three millimetres of water.”

LATEST ODDS FOR THE INVESTEC OAKS FROM WILLIAM HILL, OFFICIAL BETTING PARTNER OF THE 2012 INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL

5/2 Maybe; 11/4 The Fugue; 9/2 Vow; 6/1 Kissed; 8/1 Kailani; 14/1 Colima; 16/1 Shirocco Star; 25/1 Coquet; 25/1 Twirl; 25/1 Was; 40/1 Betterbetterbetter; 40/1 Devotion; 50/1 Nayarra; 100/1 Toptempo

Each-way ¼ 1,2,3


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