BUCKLEY WORKING TO PRODUCE PREFECT GROUND FOR GLORIOUS GOODWOOD
FIRTH GOES FORTH AS DASCOMBE LOOKS AT VINTAGE OPTION
CLIFTON DANCER SPARKLES AHEAD OF OAK TREE STAKES
Goodwood is renowned for producing superb underfoot conditions for each of the five days of Glorious Goodwood and Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley has been working with his team to ensure the best possible racing surface.
Buckley revealed today: “Having walked the course this morning, I am delighted with the condition of the track, it is in excellent order with a lovely covering of grass. It has recovered well after our earlier meetings this season and I am officially calling the going today good in the straight and good to firm on the loops.
“We have been selectively watering over the last two weeks, keeping moisture in the ground, as is our policy at Goodwood. Our weather forecast expert is telling me that we may have rain on Friday as the weather breaks down slightly. The weather will then settle down again as high pressure comes into our area and it should be dry and sunny through race week.
“We will water as necessary throughout the week in order to maintain the present condition of the ground.”
Buckley will also take measures to ensure there is fresh ground throughout the meeting.
He reported: “The rail in the last six furlongs of the mile course has been moved out approximately six yards, from the six-furlong marker on the lower bend to the winning post, adding approximately 16 yards to the distance of the races run on that course.
“The top bend has been dolled out approximately two and a half yards right the way round the bend and the rail will be moved throughout the week, providing fresh ground on a daily basis on different parts of the course.
“As always, we are really excited about the start of Glorious Goodwood. It will be a fabulous week of great racing and we are striving to produce the perfect racing surface.”
Glorious Goodwood 2008 runs from Tuesday, July 29, through to Saturday, August 2, inclusive.
FIRTH GOES FORTH AS DASCOMBE LOOKS AT VINTAGE OPTION
Tom Dascombe has his sights set on further Group race success with the progressive Firth Of Fifth, who will be entered for the £85,000 Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (2.50pm) at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday, July 30, 2008.
The in-form Lambourn trainer saddled the tough bay colt to victory in the seven-furlong Group Two Weatherbys Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 11, a race run over the same distance as the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes.
Dascombe revealed today: “Firth Of Fifth will be entered in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes and we will make a decision about his participation after that. There are also a couple of exciting races at Belmont and Saratoga that we may go for but nothing has been firmed up yet.
“The horse has got to scope well this week and be fit and healthy. If he is, he ‘ll go to Goodwood and if anything goes wrong or we change our mind, he’ll go to America.
“There’s the possibility of going over for the Futurity Stakes at Belmont (September 13) and the Hopeful Stakes (September 1) at Saratoga but he will be entered at Goodwood and that is very much an option.”
Firth Of Fifth, who is yet to finish out of the frame, broke his maiden at the fifth attempt over seven furlongs at Lingfield on June 21 and readily followed up at Newmarket. The colt showed his class and determination on the July Course as he made all under an astute Richard Kingscote to readily hold the challenge of Weald Park, with Shaweel in third.
The trainer continued: “It was a cracking performance at Newmarket. People have knocked him and have said that the jockey stole the race but the horse won by a length and a quarter, so it’s not like it was a fluke.
“He really wants a mile and I should think, depending on how we get on, we need to step him up in trip. The problem is we’ve only got the Royal Lodge later on in the season or the Racing Post Trophy, but we’ll enter him in everything and see how we get on.”
Regarding ground conditions, Dascombe said: “The faster the better for this horse.”
The trainer, who registered further Group race success at Newmarket’s July Festival with Classic Blade in the TNT July Stakes, is eyeing more big-race glory with his smart filly Clifton Dancer.
The three-year-old is on a hat-trick, having added a Listed success at Warwick last time to a handicap triumph at Newbury, both over seven furlongs, and will take a deserved first step into Group Three company when contesting the £70,000 Oak Tree Stakes (5.15pm), over that distance on the fourth day of Glorious Goodwood, Friday, August 1.
Dascombe reported: “Clifton Dancer goes for the Oak Tree Stakes. She won a Listed race last time and now takes her chance in a Group Three. She’s in top form and I’m thrilled with her.”
The Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes has a distinguished history and last year’s renewal saw Godolphin’s Rio De La Plata triumph prior to tasting Group One glory in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp.
This season’s star older horse, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Duke Of Marmalade, was a neck runner-up to Strategic Prince in the 2006 race, while 2005 witnessed the following season’s Derby winner, Sir Percy, storm to victory.
Champion juvenile Shamardal, who went on to be a brilliant Classic-winning three-year-old, saw off Breeders’ Cup Juvenile victor Wilko in the 2004 Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes.
Other top-class winners include champion British-trained two-year-old Lucky Story in 2003, No Excuse Needed (2000), subsequent Sussex Stakes hero Aljabr (1998), Central Park (1997), champion juvenile Alhaarth (1995), 2,000 Guineas winner Mister Baileys (1993) and Derby winner Dr Devious (1991), while another Derby victor, the imperious Generous, was third in the 1990 renewal.