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Monday, July 20, 2009




The £160,000 Group Two DFS Park Stakes, one of the highlights of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster (Wednesday, September 9, to Saturday, September 12), closes tomorrow, Tuesday, July 21, at noon, as does the £100,000 Group Two DFS Champagne Stakes.

This year marks the first time that the seven-furlong DFS Park Stakes closes early as the Doncaster executive looks to advance the merits of the prestigious race, which it is hoped will one day attain Group One status.

Staged on Saturday, September 12, the DFS Park Stakes forms part of a superb card alongside the Ladbrokes St Leger, the world’s oldest classic race, and this year carries record prize money. The lucrative purse is £10,000 up on 2008 and marks a considerable leap from the £100,000 on offer two years ago.

For the second year running, the conditions of the DFS Park Stakes mean that Group One and Group Two winners line up without penalties. There is currently no Group One race in Britain or Ireland for three-year-olds and upwards over seven furlongs.

Stimulation emerged as a fantastic performer over seven furlongs last term, winning the Group Two Challenge Stakes and Listed Free Handicap at Newmarket, as well as going down narrowly to Paco Boy in the Group Two Betfair Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

The Choisir four-year-old is yet to race this term as trainer Hughie Morrison prepares him for Doncaster.

The East Ilsley-based trainer revealed: “He had a set-back in the winter and he is now back in training. He has only just started cantering so we will have to be optimistic to make it but that is our initial target.

“After Doncaster, we would then look at the Challenge Stakes again or the Group One Prix de la Foret, depending on how we get on. There are not that many seven-furlong races to aim at and most of those are at the end of the season. In that respect, it has not really mattered that he has taken time to come back. Having said that, it would have been nice to have won the Lockinge and the Queen Anne and now be looking at the Sussex Stakes!

“The DFS Park Stakes will be his first outing of the season, if we can get him there.”

Last season’s victor, Arabian Gleam, became the second consecutive dual winner of the DFS Park Stakes when defeating Major Cadeaux by half a length. That was the Jeremy Noseda-trained colt’s first success since winning the prize 12 months previously when he proved a head too good for the Irish raider, Duff.

Arabian Gleam found the going too quick for his liking when down the field in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last time but had previously performed admirably under a 5lb penalty when third behind the classy pair of Main Aim and Beacon Lodge in the Group Three Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock in May.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, revealed: “Arabian Gleam is heading for the DFS Park Stakes. It is a long way off but he has won it for the past two years and it is the target again.

“He will no doubt have a run before then but he is not an easy horse to train as he often comes back stiff after his races. He just found the ground a bit fast at Ascot but the form of his previous run has worked out well with Main Aim finishing second in the July Cup and Beacon Lodge winning a Group Three in France.

“He tends to run those sorts of races, he runs well but just can’t quite win under his Group Two penalty. That is one of the great draws of the DFS Park Stakes - he doesn’t have to carry that penalty.

“All being well, he will make it to Doncaster and we will be hoping he can pull off the hat-trick.”

Iffraaj preceded Arabian Gleam when winning the DFS Park Stakes in 2005 and 2006. His first success came on Town Moor when in the care of trainer Michael Jarvis before switching to Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor. He landed his second DFS Park Stakes triumph at York while Doncaster underwent a stunning redevelopment.

One of the highlights of the two-year-old calendar, the £100,000 Group Two DFS Champagne Stakes also closes early, with entries to be made by noon tomorrow (Tuesday, July 21).

The historic seven-furlong contest is also part of the fantastic card on Ladbrokes St Leger Day, Saturday, September 12.

Numerous champions of the turf have triumphed in the DFS Champagne Stakes, with names like Grundy (1974), Mahmoud (1935), Mumtaz Mahal (1923), The Tetrarch (1913), Pretty Polly (1903), La Fleche (1891) and Beeswing (1835) echoing from the past.

More recently, the hugely-talented Dubai Destination accelerated past the subsequent record-breaking 2,000 Guineas victor Rock Of Gibraltar to land the spoils in 2001. Other notable winners in recent memory include 2,000 Guineas winners Don’t Forget Me (1986) and Rodrigo De Triano (1991), as well as champion milers Warning (1987) and Noverre (2000).

Westphalia landed the spoils in 2008 for trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Johnny Murtagh. The Danehill Dancer colt defeated the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Zacinto by a neck and went on to take the runner-up berth behind Donativum in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, California.

This season, Westphalia has finished third in both the Group One Poule d’Essai des Poulains and the Group One Prix du Jockey Club.

DFS is sponsoring both races for the first time and is also backing three other Group Two races during the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, the DFS Park Hill Stakes, the DFS Doncaster Cup and the DFS May Hill Stakes, which close at the six-day stage, to mark DFS’s 40th anniversary.


After blitzing his way to course records at Leicester and Warwick, Peter Island is aiming to post another super-fast time in the inaugural Racehorse Owners Association “Speed Bonus” at Goodwood on Sunday, September 13.

An innovative day of racing will consist of eight handicaps, run over distances ranging from five furlongs to two miles, with a possible £100,000* bonus being awarded to the horse recording the fastest time per furlong of the day, as compared to Racing Post standard time

In order to qualify for the “Speed Bonus” horses must be in the ownership of a member of the Racehorse Owners Association at the time of final declarations (Friday, September 11). The eight races that form the “Speed Bonus” are all handicaps and restricted to horses rated 85 and below. If a horse registered for the “Speed Bonus” subsequently attains a rating higher than 85, the registration fee will be reimbursed to connections.

Registration for horses costs £250 up to and including August 12 and then rises to £1,000 between August 13 and September 10 (all dates are inclusive). There were an encouraging 109 registrations by the initial deadline of June 30.

Peter Island, trained by John Gallagher, shaved more than two-thirds of a second off the six-furlong record at Warwick when taking a handicap in June last year and powered to victory in a Leicester handicap over the same trip on April 25, lowering the previous record by nearly half a second. The six-year-old also holds winning form at Goodwood, having stayed in strongly to take a six-furlong handicap in September.

Gallagher revealed: “The “Speed Bonus” is a big possibility for Peter Island. He’s broken the track record at Warwick and the mark he bettered at Leicester had stood for 19 years. He’s got one way of running - that’s pretty fast - and I would be reasonably confident that he could go very well.

“He has won at Goodwood before, so the course holds no fears, and he’s in good nick at the moment. He could go for the Rolf Group Stewards' Sprint Handicap (Friday, July 31) at the Glorious Meeting back over six, providing he gets in.

“I’ll have a look at running him in either the ROA Speed Bonus Opportunity Handicap over six furlongs or the ROA Speed Bonus Prize Handicap over five. He can dominate when he races over six furlongs but sometimes he doesn’t quite make it to the line whereas he doesn’t get such an easy lead over five which means he ends up doing too much work.

“If he pings out and gallops, then the others will have trouble catching him and he seems stronger then ever this year. We will see how he gets on before deciding which “Speed Bonus” race to have a pop at.

“I think that the “Speed Bonus” will go to a sprinter, especially if it is a true run race in fast ground. The majority of Peter Island’s times have been fast and a lot of sprinters seem to hold their form better then other horses. I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on.”

Devon-based handler Rod Millman is also hopeful that speedy mare Ocean Blaze can stake her claim to the “Speed Bonus” in the five-furlong ROA Speed Bonus Prize Handicap. The six-year-old made most of the running to triumph over the same course and distance in September, 2007, and broke the Racing Post standard time when going down by a nose in a five-furlong turf handicap at Lingfield in May.

Millman said: “Ocean Blaze is certainly a possibility for the “Speed Bonus”. Things haven’t been working out in her races recently and she was struck into badly at Doncaster when fifth on May 30. She had her first run since at Bath last week. She’s a very fast filly and if she gets fast ground on the day, then I think that she can win it.

“I haven’t really gone into the maths of it, but I am hopeful that a sprinter could take the “Speed Bonus”.

“She’s got an entry at Epsom this week and the “Speed Bonus” is at the back of our minds. She’s a course winner at Goodwood and she’s a very quick filly. If she gets good to firm ground then I think that she would have a good chance of setting a very quick time.”

Trainer Ron Harris has registered five sprinters as he bids for the £100,000* bonus in the inaugural Racehorse Owners Association “Speed Bonus” at Goodwood on Sunday, September 13.

The quintet from Harris's Monmouthshire yard includes the speedy three-year-old filly Glamorous Spirit, who made a winning debut for Jeremy Noseda at Ascot in May, 2008, before going on to break the all-aged track record for five furlongs at Kempton Park for current connections in November and made all to win a Chester five-furlong handicap on July 10. The danger for her is that she may be too highly rated to run.

Harris revealed: “If Glamorous Spirit gets the right ground, then she would be a serious contender for the ROA Speed Bonus Prize Handicap over five furlongs. If the ground was good, then she's a very quick filly and it's quite possible that she can post a fast time. She's a very exciting filly for us.

“She's by Invincible Spirit, like Fleeting Spirit, and Jeremy Noseda previously trained our filly as well - but I don't think that he would have sold us a future July Cup winner! Having said that, she's a lightning quick filly and I am hoping to get her to Goodwood.”

Harris is also keen to let veteran speedster Misaro take his chance at Goodwood. The eight-year-old gelding, a 15-time winner, broke the five-furlong course record at Wolverhampton in October, 2005, and was far from disgraced when beaten by less than three lengths in a Group Three contest over the same trip at Newbury in October.

Harris continued: “The one horse I am really keen on is Misaro. He lowered the track record at Wolverhampton and his times throughout his career have been very good.

“He won at Salisbury recently (June 28), when he ran the five furlongs there in under a minute, and things didn't go his way at Haydock last time out (fifth on July 4) - the ground rode a bit soft and he was poorly drawn.

“If it rode good or faster, then he would have a big chance in the ROA Speed Bonus Bonus Prize Stakes. I know that he's an eight-year-old but he is still very quick.”

The potential Harris team also includes seven-year-old Don Pele, who landed a six-furlong handicap at Goodwood in September, 2007 and ran most recently at Southwell on the evening of July 14, and 10-year-old veteran Golden Dixie, who has twice been victorious at the Sussex course.

The trainer added: “Don Pele is another possible and he could go for the six-furlong ROA Speed Bonus Opportunity Stakes. He was a serious horse as a juvenile, when he won a Listed contest at Newbury, and he has won round Goodwood.

“We will probably give him a break beforehand and, if there is some cut in the ground, then he would have a good chance as well.

“Golden Dixie is getting on a bit but he's got some good form as well. Everything has to fall into place for him but he has been a fantastic servant for his owners this season and we thought that we would enter him for the Speed Bonus and give him a chance. He would be another possibility for the ROA Speed Bonus Opportunity Stakes.”

Harris's quintet is completed by the talented five-year-old mare Dressed To Dance, who joined the trainer's yard after winning a Bath seller in May, having notched up five wins in just seven starts for previous handler David Evans last summer.

Harris continued: “Dressed To Dance has some amazing form - she won off a mark of 86 last season - and the previous connections decided to drop her to selling class. I know she didn't win by far but she's a much better mare than that.

“She was fourth at Salisbury on her first start for us and that was her first appearance for nearly two months - she will have come on for it.

“It's going to be difficult to work out who is going to win the “Speed Bonus”, distance wise, because nothing like this has been done before.

“It's a lot of money to win and opportunities like this don't come along every week for small yards like mine. My owners actually came to me because they were keen to run in the “Speed Bonus”. It's very important to get the owners involved in things like this and these incentives look the way forward for racing.”

Callum MacKay, Marketing & PR Manager at Goodwood, commented: “We were pleased with the 109 registrations received by the first deadline for the inaugural ‘Speed Bonus’ and this exciting new concept really seems to have caught the attention of owners.

“We would like to remind them that registration by August 12 at £250 is now the most cost-effective way of going for the £100,000* bonus.”

*size of bonus will depend on level of take up


Trainer Rod Millman is hoping that his promising juvenile Roi De Vitesse can power to glory in the £80,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (2.45pm) at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday, July 29.

The two-year-old Chineur colt is set to remain at seven furlongs following an excellent second on his first start over the trip in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 10, when he took up the running in the closing stages before being headed near the line by Silver Grecian.

He had previously recorded two good efforts over a furlong shorter, staying on to take second in a Listed contest at Cork on June 14 and comfortably landing a conditions race at Pontefract on May 22.

Millman revealed: “We are looking at running Roi De Vitesse in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He also holds an entry in a Listed race at Ascot on Saturday but I would prefer some cut in the ground to make it a test of stamina and dropping back down in class might be a bit of a backward step.

“He came out of his run at Newmarket in superb shape and I could have run him four or five days later if I wanted to. He’s a tough, hard horse and he keeps improving with every run.

“I was hoping he was going to run well in the Superlative Stakes and he would have won if Johnny Murtagh had kept Emperor Claudius straight. The winner was without doubt the best horse in the race but he wouldn’t have got through if Johnny had not moved across, which was a bit of a shame.

“We went to Cork with him because we knew that he wouldn’t win over six furlongs at Royal Ascot, he’s a real seven-furlong horse, and we thought that we go for an easier Listed option. We declared him on yielding ground but he ended up racing on good going, which emphasised the speed of the track.

“He still ran well there but and didn’t have enough tactical speed and was caught a little flat-footed. He lost his position on the rail and had nowhere to go - I think that we would have won the race if it had been over seven furlongs.

“He keeps running well and hopefully we can pick up one of theses top races. We don’t over-work him at home, I prefer to keep my galloping to the racecourse, and it’s no good looking at him in his box.”

One of the leading juvenile races of the season, the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes has been a notable pointer to Classic success since its inception in 1975. Troy (1978), Doctor Devious (1991) and Sir Percy (2005) have all gone on to triumph in the Derby, while Don’t Forget Me (1986) and Mister Baileys (1993) have tasted victory at Goodwood prior to success in the 2000 Guineas.

Recent winners of the seven-furlong contest include Shamardal, who was crowned champion juvenile in 2004 after an unbeaten campaign that included victory in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes. As a three-year-old, the Giant’s Causeway colt went on to be victorious in the French 2,000 Guineas, the French Derby and the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Glorious Goodwood’s other Group Two race for the juveniles, the £80,000 Richmond Stakes (4.00pm), can also boast a rich tradition of producing future Classic winners, with the likes of Derby winners Persimmon, Pommern and Mahmoud all gaining the six-furlong contest, which is this year run on Friday, July 31.

Bachir followed up victory in the 1999 Richmond Stakes with success in the French and Irish 2,000 Guineas while, more recently, the emphasis of the Richmond Stakes has shifted towards speed, with recent winners including subsequent Group One Middle Park Stakes runner-up Strike The Deal, who triumphed in 2007.

A host of speedy two-year-olds are also set to contest the £60,000 Group Three Betfair Molecomb Stakes (4.00pm) on the first day of Glorious Goodwood, Tuesday, July 28. The five-furlong contest has been won by Enticing (2006), who returned to Goodwood the following year to take the Group Three Audi Stakes, while the 2007 winner Fleeting Spirit, has gone on to triumph in this year’s Group One July Cup. Last year’s renewal went the way of Finjaan, who was beaten by two noses in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Glorious Goodwood, which runs from Tuesday, July 28, to Saturday, August 1, inclusive, features five days of outstanding racing action at one of the world’s most beautiful racecourses. With tickets selling well for all five days, racegoers are advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment

To book tickets please call 01243 755022 and to reserve restaurant places call 01243 755027 or alternatively visit the website www.goodwood.com and book online.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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