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Thursday, July 23, 2009



DOZEN MILERS GO FORWARD IN SEARCH OF BGC SUSSEX STAKES GLORY




This year’s renewal of the £300,000 Group One BGC Sussex Stakes (3.25pm) looks set to be a true clash of the generations with the leading milers taking each other on in the feature race of the second day of Glorious Goodwood, Wednesday, July 29.


A dozen horses remain in the prestigious contest after today’s six-day confirmation stage and the seven three-year-olds are headed by the brilliant filly Ghanaati, who powered to an impressive victory in the Group One 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket at the start of May.


Trained by Barry Hills, the Giant’s Causeway filly is set to tackle colts and older horses for the first time this season after further enhancing her burgeoning reputation as an outstanding miler with a commanding victory in the Group One Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.


This season’s Classic form is set to be further represented by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Rip Van Winkle, whose has performed with great credit in Group One company on all three of his starts this season.

After finishing fourth behind Sea The Stars in both the 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby, the son of Galileo further proved himself as a genuine Group One performer when coming second to the John Oxx-trained superstar in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 4. O’Brien, chasing a fourth BGC Sussex Stakes success, may also be represented by three-year-olds Malibu Bay, Rockhampton and Set Sail as well as the four-year-old Windsor Palace.


Lord Shanakill, second in last year’s Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes, is due to return to Glorious Goodwood following a first Group One success in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on July 5, while the Mick Channon-trained Lahaleeb has already proven herself as one of the leading three-year-old fillies when coming second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.


The older generation may be headed by last year’s Group Two Betfair Cup winner Paco Boy, who ended his 2008 campaign with an emphatic victory in the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October.

The Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old proved himself as a leading player over a mile with victory in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and could return to that distance after staying on to take fourth in the Group One July Cup over six furlongs at Newmarket on July 10.

Richard Hannon jnr, assistant to his father, commented today: “We have kept Paco Boy in the BGC Sussex Stakes but the race is a possibility at the moment and nothing more. We are also looking at the Prix Jacques le Marois and the Prix Maurice de Gheest and we still have to decide whether to go to Goodwood or Deauville with him.


“I was pleased with his run in the July Cup and he was running on at the end - he was a little bit out of his ground but, apart from that, it was a decent run. He’s proven he gets the mile trip well in the Queen Anne Stakes and he won at Goodwood last year so the course will hold no fears.”

Beacon Lodge gave Clive Cox a first Group race success when taking the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury in October, 2007,and the four-year-old will attempt to provide the Lambourn-based handler with a first success at the highest level following a comfortable three-length victory in a Group Thee at Chantilly in mid-June.


The remaining entries are five-year-old Mia’s Boy, from the stable of Chris Wall, and the lightly-raced four-year-old Forgotten Voice, who stormed to success on his turf debut in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot for Jeremy Noseda before disappointing on his latest start at Doncaster on July 16.


Wednesday’s superb seven-race card also features one if the leading juvenile contests of the season, the £80,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (2.45pm). The seven-furlong contest boasts a rich pedigree of producing future Classic winners, with Troy (1978), Doctor Devious (1991) and Sir Percy (2005) going on to triumph in the Derby, while Don’t Forget Me (1986) and Mister Baileys (1993) have been victorious at Goodwood prior to success in the 2000 Guineas.


This season’s race looks set to be another classy renewal, with a host of major stables represented among the 15 entries. The Richard Hannon-trained Big Audio may re-oppose Emperor Claudius, from the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien, after the pair were separated by a short-head in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Godolphin could run impressive maiden winners Buzzword and Chaperno.


Other notable contenders include the Rod Millman-trained Roi De Vitesse, who has both Big Audio and Emperor Claudius behind him when coming second in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 10, Group Two Coventry Stakes runner-up Xtension and the Jim Bolger-trained pair of Marfach and Reiteration.


A total of 33 entries have been received for the £60,000 Racing UK Heritage Handicap (4.00pm). The fiercely competitive mile and a half contest has been won by Spinning, Midnight Legend and Pilsudski in previous year’s and this season’s renewal looks set to unearth some more middle-distance talent, with the likes of Parthenon and Braveheart Move among the possible contenders.


All six heritage handicaps at Glorious Goodwood will have two reserves for the first time this year, apart from Saturday’s Bluesquare.com Stewards’ Cup which has the Rolf Group Stewards' Sprint Stakes as a consolation race. Reserves can be utilised prior to 9.00am on the day before the race.


Wednesday’s racing action gets underway with the £50,000 Goodwood Handicap (2.10pm) and 39 stayers have been entered in the marathon contest, run over two miles and five furlongs, while further handicap action is provided by the nine-furlong £20,000 EBF Fillies’ And Mares’ Handicap (5.10pm), for which 21 entries have been received.

Potential stars of the future will be on display in the £20,000 Markel International Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (4.35pm), with 23 juveniles entered in the six-furlong contest, while the card is completed by the seven-furlong £20,000 Kennels Classified Stakes (5.45pm), which has attracted 25 entries.

GROUND

The going at Goodwood remains GOOD, with a GoingStick reading of 8.4



NINE GO IN SKY BET YORK STAKES - CHAPPLE-HYAM HOPING RAIN STAYS AWAY FOR MONITOR CLOSELY




Saturday’s £100,000 Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes (3.10pm) has attracted a field of nine at the final 48-hour declaration stage and a high-class renewal of the extended 10-furlong event is in prospect on the Knavesmire.


Monitor Closely, a 6/1 chance with Sky Bet, is no stranger to York, having finished two lengths fourth to Black Bear Island in the Group Two Dante Stakes over the course and distance in May.


The Oasis Dream three-year-old heads to the Sky Bet York Stakes after a decent effort at Royal Ascot when third to Glass Harmonium in the Listed Hampton Court Stakes. Monitor Closely made the frame in that mile and a quarter contest despite racing keenly and finding trouble in running.

Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam revealed this morning: “Monitor Closely seems in good form and if the rain stays away we will be taking him to York on Saturday. He likes fast ground, so he would not want it wet on the Knavesmire.


“I wound him up a little bit at home before Royal Ascot, I possibly made him a little bit too keen and it showed in the race. The aim is to get him settled and in a nice rhythm at York.

“He wants 10 furlongs at the moment, so this race is ideal, and we’ll see whether he wants further as the season progresses.”

John Gosden saddled the 2008 Sky Bet York Stakes victor, Pipedreamer, and this time around is represented by Tazeez (9/2 with Sky Bet). The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned five-year-old is bidding to following a similar route to Pipedreamer in that he won the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket last season.


Godolphin enjoyed success in the Sky Bet York Stakes with Stage Gift two years ago and this time around is represented by Kirklees, a Listed winner over 10 furlongs at Sandown last time out and currently 7/4 favourite with Sky Bet.

Luca Cumani saddles Curtain Call (9/2), a Group Three winner at the Curragh in May who finished a close fourth in the Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on June 28, while fellow Newmarket handler Michael Bell runs Allied Powers (7/1), successful in a Listed handicap at Hamilton on his penultimate start.



Hopes of keeping the valuable prize in Yorkshire rest primarily with the Tom Tate-trained Kings Gambit (12/1), who will be making his British debut but is a dual Group One winner in South Africa.


Completing the field are the Mick Channon-trained Halicarnassus (16/1), last year’s Lincoln Handicap victor Smokey Oakey (20/1) and Macorville (33/1) from the Middleham yard of George Moore.


SKY BET YORK STAKES - LATEST ODDS FROM SKY BET
Kirklees 7/4, Tazeez 9/2, Curtain Call 9/2, Monitor Closely 6/1, Allied Powers 7/1, Kings Gambit 12/1, Halicarnassus 16/1, Smokey Oakey 20/1, Macorville 33/1 Each Way terms: 1/5 the odds 1, 2, 3

MAXIMUM FIELD OF 20 FOR SKY BET DASH

This Saturday at York also features the hugely-competitive £50,000 Sky Bet Dash Heritage Handicap (3.45pm) over six furlongs for which a maximum field of 20 will go to post.

Heading the market at 9/1 with Sky Bet are the Kevin Ryan-trained Roker Park, who has landed competitive handicaps at Newcastle and Doncaster so far this season, recent course and distance winner Striking Sprit, one of four starters for sprint king David Nicholls along with top-weight Valery Borzov, Something and Tanjeed.


Other leading contenders include Knot In Wood from the Richard Fahey stable who collected the Group Three Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle on his penultimate appearance and recent Newmarket scorer Biniou from the Robert Cowell stable.


SKY BET DASH HERITAGE HANDICAP - LATEST ODDS FROM SKY BET
Roker Park 9/1, Striking Spirit 9/1, Knot In Wood 10/1, Cheveton 11/1, Biniou 12/1, Al Khaleej 12/1, River Falcon 12/1, Something 12/1, Valery Borzov 12/1, Tajneed 14/1, Kaldoun Kingdom 14/1, Mullein 14/1, Aldermoor 14/1, Viking Spirit 14/1, Pusey Street Lady 20/1, Barney McGrew 20/1, Excusez Moi 20/1, Bond City 20/1, Intrepid Jack 25/1, Damika 28/1

Each Way terms: 1/4 the odds 1, 2, 3, 4

GROUND

The going at York is currently Good to Soft, Good in Places (GoingStick 6.9 at 7.00am today).


Thursday’s forecast is for a mixture of sunshine and passing showers, with some thundery showers arriving later. Friday should see showers through the day giving way to a dry, fine evening for racing in the evening. Saturday should be dry and sunny, with temperatures set to reach 20 degrees Celsius.


MUSIC SHOWCASE WEEKEND

As part of the racecourse’s two-day Music Showcase Weekend, X-Factor singing stars will perform around the racecourse on Saturday, July 25, at the conclusion of the fantastic seven-race card, sponsored exclusively by Sky Bet.


The X-Factor contestants Eoghan, Austin, Laura and Ruth take centre stage after racing at 5.40pm on the back of a sell-out nationwide arena tour. The extravaganza concludes at 7.10pm.


Sky Bet Day at York, part of the Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival, is the second day of York’s Music Showcase Weekend meeting that commences on Friday, July 24. Friday’s action, York’s only evening fixture of the season, includes the Listed EBF Lyric Stakes (7.30pm) and the Sky Bet Supporting The Yorkshire Racing Festival Claiming Stakes (8pm).


Friday evening’s entertainment concludes with music from the tribute act Rollin’ Clones.



SECOND SKY BET JOCKEYS’ DASH AT YORK ON SATURDAY




Can last year’s hard-held winner David Allan defy his penalty?

Horsepower will be replaced by manpower prior to racing at York on Saturday, July 25, as jockeys take each other on in the second Sky Bet Jockeys’ Dash, a 50-metre sprint on the Knavesmire.


The race has been organised by Sky Bet and will give racegoers the unique opportunity to see some of their favourite jockeys thundering across the turf as they battle it out to find out who is the fastest in the weighing room.

Apart from bragging rights over the rest of the field, the winning jockey will receive £500 courtesy of Sky Bet, who will also give £200 to the runner-up and £100 to the third home.

The Harrogate-based firm, which is sponsoring all seven races at York on Saturday including the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes and the competitive six-furlong Sky Bet Dash Heritage Handicap, will also give a donation to the Injured Jockeys Fund for every jockey that takes part.


Sky Bet PR Director Dale Tempest was delighted with the inaugural event in 2008 and is looking forward to another exciting spectacle this year.


He said: "Last year’s event proved to be a great success all round and we look forward to another exciting spectacle.


"Last year’s runaway winner David Allan is sure to have his supporters once again this year but after winning ‘hard-held’ 12 months ago, he will be handicapped with a three-metre penalty this time around. Can he defy his new mark or is he still a good thing?!”



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