FOOTSTEPSINTHESAND & ANTONIUS PIUS RETIRE TO COOLMORE
Coolmore is adding two highly qualified newcomers to its stallion roster for the forthcoming season. One, Footstepsinthesand, is a winner of this year's English 2,000 Guineas in England, while the other, Antonius Pius, is a Classic winner in all but name as he was a very unlucky loser of the 2004 equivalent in France.
The arrival of the unbeaten FOOTSTEPSINTHESAND, just a few months after his magnificent victory in the Gr.1 2,000 Guineas, will be all the more welcome because he is a son of Giant's Causeway, the so-called Iron Horse" who has made such a sensational start as a stallion. In addition to Footstepsinthesand, Giantıs Causeway has also enjoyed Group 1 success with Shamardal and Maids Causeway, who recently completed the very difficult St Jamesıs Palace-Coronation Stakes double at the Royal Ascot meeting.
A niggling problem with the foot he bruised on the very fast ground at Newmarket has forced Footstepsinthesandıs premature retirement. Although nothing major, the injury requires rest, which would rule him out of the summer's major mile events.
Footstepsinthesand was never seriously challenged in his three
appearances. After leading throughout for a highly impressive 4 1/2 length debut victory in a 20-runner maiden race over 6f. last October, the blue-blooded colt immediately stepped up to Group company. Tackling the Gr.3 Killavullan Stakes over 7f. eight days later, he landed the odds by two lengths, with the rest well beaten off.
Aidan O'Brien decided not to give Footstepsinthesand a preparatory race for the 2,000 Guineas, in which the colt clashed with another unbeaten colt, Dubawi.
The Racing Post reported that "he was thoroughly convincing and clearly the best horse in the race. Having raced keenly, fairly prominent towards the outside, he took it up from the Clive Brittain pair Kandidate and Tony James over a furlong and a half from home and stayed on strongly up the hill. He is now vying for favouritism with Motivator for the Derby."
In winning the Gr.1 2,000 Guineas, Footstepsinthesand went one better than his sire, who suffered one of his few defeats in the Newmarket classic.
Giant's Causeway and Footstepsinthesand were both unbeaten at two and so were Footstepsinthesand's first two dams, Glatisant and the high-class Dancing Rocks. Glatisant won the Gr.3 Prestige Stakes over 7f. at Goodwood, where Dancing Rocks triumphed in the Gr.2 Nassau Stakes over 10f. Glatisant is also the grandam of this yearıs Gr.2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner Thakafaat.
ANTONIUS PIUS will be a welcome addition to the stallion ranks on the strength of his being by the great Danzig, sire also of the immortal Danehill.
Antonius Pius ranked among the ten highest-priced yearling colts in the USA in 2002, his price of US$1,500,000 reflecting the fact that he is the first foal of Catchascatchcan, an unbeaten winner of the Gr.1 Yorkshire Oaks. Catchascatchcan had cost US$4,700,000 while carrying Antonius Pius.
The Danzig colt quickly justified his purchase price, winning his first two starts as a two-year-old including the Gr.2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh. With his rider needing to use only hands-and-heels, Antonius Pius added his name to the illustrious list of Railway Stakes winners, which also features Nijinsky, El Gran Senor, El Prado and Rock of Gibraltar.
Antonius Pius confirmed his class with a series of high-class
international performances over 8f. as a three-year-old. He looked assured of victory when he moved into a length lead in the closing stages of the Gr.1 French 2,000 Guineas, only to edge right and lose his momentum when he collided with the rails 75 metres from the finish. He then had the winners of the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas behind him when a close third to Azamour in the Gr.1 St Jamesıs Palace Stakes. Back in France he was beaten only a length in the Gr.1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and the next stop was Texas, where many considered him unlucky to be beaten half a length when second in the Gr.1 Breedersı Cup Mile. Timeform rated him 123.
Antonius Piusı pedigree represents a blend of speed, through his sireDanzig and broodmare sire Pursuit of Love, and stamina, from his
distinguished female line. His fourth dam Ostrya won the Gr.2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and so did his third dam Catalpa and Catalpa's daughter Strigida. Ostrya herself was a half-sister to Oncidium, a high-class colt who twice became champion sire in Australia.
"NEWMARKET NIGHTS" SALES 30% UP - A record four sell-outs assured, but tickets available on the gate for tomorrow evening
Record advance sales for the "Newmarket Nights" series on the July Course, when Friday evening racing is followed by a concert, will see at least four of the remaining six Friday evenings sell out completely in advance. Overall, advance sales are over 30% up compared with the same time last year.
Tomorrow sees the second Newmarket Night of the series and there will be tickets and badges for sale on the night in all Enclosures (£27 Day Members, £18 Grandstand & Paddock, £8 Family Enclosure). The brilliant young singer Lucie Silvas, for whom stardom beckons, will be making her July Course debut on stage after the last race.
A three week break follows before a run of five Newmarket Nights, the first four of which are now guaranteed sell-outs with a total crowd of around 19,000 at each. Ronan Keating (15th July) is already sold out, while only a limited number of tickets remain for Jools Holland (22nd July), Will Young (29th July) and Status Quo (5th August). Sales for Brian McFadden (12th August) are also going very well and advance booking is advised.
Last Friday, a crowd of nearly 12,000 enjoyed the racing followed by a performance from the Queen tribute band, "They will Rock You", to launch the 2005 Newmarket Nights series.
Gaynor Haxby, Newmarket's Marketing Manager, said: "We managed four sell-outs two years ago, but we're on course to reach that point much earlier this year. The popularity of the Newmarket Nights, which have been running for almost 20 years now, is clearly still on the up.
"The two June dates always draw smaller crowds than the run of five July and August dates, but the atmosphere last Friday was fantastic and I'm sure it will be tomorrow."
bet365 LAUNCH AT THE RACES' 'BET AND WATCH' LIVE VIDEO SERVICE
bet365 have become the next of At The Races' bookmaker partners to launch its live, online video stream service, 'Bet and Watch'. The service, which went live on bet365.com last week, allows bet365's internet customers to watch any ATR broadcast race free of charge.
The pioneering 'Bet and Watch' live service creates a simple pop up video on users' PC screens through which the live ATR TV broadcast video is then streamed. The stream is activated two minutes before the start time of each race and lasts for ten minutes.
John Coates, Chief Executive of bet365, said "By adding the 'Bet and Watch' feature to the site, we have improved our first-class racing product even further. The new service has been popular so far, giving added value to customers betting on all these races."
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of At The Races, said "Our 'Bet and Watch' service has been very well received by our bookmaker partners and we are pleased that bet365, with whom we have a very productive relationship, have been able to launch the service so quickly. This is testament not only to the very simple technical integration process but also to a belief that 'Bet and Watch' is a valuable marketing tool and will help drive incremental betting turnover."