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Tuesday, July 13, 2010



KNIGHT HOPES FOR ILLUSTRIOUS GOODWOOD CUP VICTORY




Illustrious Blue has already notched two victories at Glorious Goodwood down the years and the popular seven-year-old course specialist will bid for the biggest success of his career at the five-day summer festival in the £100,000 Group Two Artemis Goodwood Cup (3.25pm) over two miles on Thursday, July 29.


Trainer William Knight took a bold step earlier this year in stepping his talented charge up to two miles from middle distances and connections were rewarded with a Group Three triumph in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April.


A good fourth to Akmal followed in the Group Two Blue Square Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May, before a return to the Esher track on July 3 brought an unlucky runner-up finish to King Of Wands in the Listed Coral Marathon Stakes over the same two-mile distance.

But it is at Goodwood that the Dansili horse really thrives and his race record includes six wins at the picturesque West Sussex venue, including those two festival successes, the most recent of which came last season in the Group Three Coutts Glorious Stakes over a mile and a half.


Knight, who trains locally at Angmering Park, revealed today: “Illustrious Blue will go for the Artemis Goodwood Cup, that’s the plan if all goes well. Two miles is now his trip and we will stick to that distance with him.


“He ran a blinder at Sandown giving 5lb to the winner and he was probably a shade unlucky as well. He didn’t get the clearest run so it was a very good performance and they clocked a good time that day. If you take that into account, I think he will have a leading chance in the Artemis Goodwood Cup.


“He is in great order and loves Goodwood, as his record shows, so that obviously is in his favour as well.”

Knight is yet to capture the prestigious prize, unlike last year’s winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who was enjoying his second Goodwood Cup triumph with Schiaparelli, having also scored with Kayf Tara in 1995.


The Goodwood Cup, founded in 1812, is one of the highlights of the five-day summer festival at Goodwood that also features the £300,000 Group One Sussex Stakes over a mile on Wednesday, July 28 and the £200,000 Group One Blue Square Nassau Stakes over just short of 10 furlongs on Saturday, July 31.



CHELTENHAM SEEKS NEW SPONSOR FOR INTERNATIONAL MEETING




Cheltenham Racecourse today announced that leading Irish bookmaker Boylesports is to end its sponsorship at the International Meeting, which takes place in mid-December, after a highly successful four-year partnership.


The International Hurdle, feature race of the two-day meeting, has been won by some of the best hurdlers around during that period, including Binocular, who captured the race in 2008 (when transferred to Ascot) and Khyber Kim, who won in 2009. These two horses went on to fight out the finish of the 2010 Champion Hurdle.

Peter McNeile, Cheltenham's Director of Sponsorship, commented today: “I would like to thank Boylesports for their enthusiastic support of racing at Cheltenham and, in particular, for helping to develop the International Meeting in December and turning the International Hurdle into one of the most important hurdle races of the season.

“The Boylesports team has been a pleasure to work with and gave a real energy to this meeting. We now have an exciting proposition to discuss with potential new backers.”

Mark Nunan, Head of Marketing, Boylesports, said today: “Boylesports is proud and honoured to have been associated with the International Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse over the past four years.


“We would like to thank all the staff at Cheltenham for their help in making the sponsorship one of the premier meetings in the racing calendar. The original objective of the Boylesports.com International Hurdle was to build brand awareness in Ireland and the UK.

“We can safely say that this objective was successfully achieved and we look forward to exploring more opportunities in racing in the coming year.

“While our sponsorship of the International Meeting comes to an end, we are in no doubt that we will be working with Cheltenham Racecourse on other opportunities in the future.”



ABDULLA HOPING FOR COMMAND PERFORMANCE IN LADBROKES ST LEGER AT DONCASTER




After seeing his colours carried to glory in the 1000 Guineas by Special Duty and the Derby with Workforce, Prince Khalid Adbulla is going for a third British Classic success this season with the progressive Total Command, who is on course for a tilt at the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday, September 11.

The regally-bred son of Sadler’s Wells, out of 1999 1000 Guineas heroine Wince, followed up a promising victory for Sir Michael Stoute in a 12-furlong maiden at Goodwood on May 6 with a fine third behind fellow potential Ladbrokes St Leger contenders Mikhail Glinka and Theology in the Group Three Queen’s Vase over two miles at Royal Ascot on June 18.


He is now set to try and better the efforts of his full-sister Quiff, who was beaten a head by Rule Of Law for the same Stoute/Abdulla combination in the 2004 renewal of the Ladbrokes St Leger.

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid Abdulla, revealed today: “Total Command is a likely contender for the Ladbrokes St Leger at the moment.

“He holds an entry in the Great Voltigeur Stakes but he will probably head to Goodwood for the Gordon Stakes on July 27.

“He ran very well at Ascot and got a super run on the inside. He just actually failed to stay out the two miles and he would probably like a mile and three-quarters better.

“We hope that he is quite progressive and he won his maiden very well at Goodwood, so the Gordon Stakes looks like a natural next step for him. “

Entries for the £500,000 Group One Ladbrokes St Leger must be made by noon on Tuesday, July 20. This year’s closing date for entries is three weeks later than has been the case in recent years to give trainers and owners more time to decide if they have Classic contenders. Entries for the Ladbrokes St Leger will be revealed on Wednesday, July 21, while entries for both the Group Two Park Stakes and the Group Two Champagne Stakes, which also have to be made by midday on noon, July 20, will be announced on Thursday, July 22.


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