Saturday, July 2, 2011
AWESOME CORAL-ECLIPSE SEES SO YOU THINK DEFEAT WORKFORCE IN TITANIC BATTLE UP THE SANDOWN PARK HILL
O’Brien extends “Trainer of the Series” lead
The ex-Australian star, So You Think, now trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, emerged victorious by half a length after a titanic battle with last year’s Investec Derby and Arc winner, Workforce, in a scintillating Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park this afternoon.
It was a third victory for Aidan O’Brien in the QIPCO British Champions Series following St Nicholas Abbey’s win in the Investec Coronation Cup and Fame And Glory’s triumph in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. It was a first Series victory for the winning jockey, Seamie Heffernan.
Basing today’s form around the consistent summer campaigner, Sri Putra, who was beaten five and a half lengths in third, the BHA’s Senior Handicapper, Phil Smith, has assessed So You Think to have run to his current rating of 126.
“I’m taking the view that Sri Putra, who performs to his best in the summer, ran to the same form that he did at Ascot, when I gave him a rating of 116,” said Smith.
“The five-and-a-half length margin between him and So You Think, which is probably nearer five and three-quarter lengths judged on the time, is equivalent to 10 pounds over a mile and a quarter, so that puts So You Think on 126. I’ve therefore taken the view that he, like Sri Putra, ran to his Prince of Wales’s Stakes form.
“I’ve yet to decide whether Workforce ran to 125 or 124, but either way he has run three or four pounds below his rating of 128. That’s not surprising as he gained that over a mile and half which is clearly his best trip and I won’t be changing his overall rating on the basis of this performance.”
Workforce is now likely to contest the fifth Middle Distance leg of the QIPCO British Champions Series, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) at Ascot over a mile and a half on Saturday 23 July, while So You Think could run in the sixth leg, the Juddmonte International at York over a mile and a quarter on Wednesday 17 August.
TRAINER OF THE SERIES (AFTER 16 RACES)
JOCKEY OF THE SERIES (AFTER 16 RACES)
Both championships are decided on the number of winners ridden/trained across the 35 race series. In the event of a tie, the number of seconds and thirds (and, if necessary, lower placings) will be taken into account. The winners will be presented with a specially commissioned trophy on QIPCO British Champions at Ascot on Saturday 15 October and their nominated charity will receive a cheque for £25,000.
The Coral-Eclipse Stakes was the 16th race overall in the QIPCO British Champions Series and the fourth in the Middle Distance division:
1. Investec Coronation Cup (1½ miles, 4yo+), Epsom, Friday 3 June – won by ST NICHOLAS ABBEY
2. Investec Derby (1½ miles, 3yo), Epsom, Saturday 4 June – won by POUR MOI
3. Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1¼ miles, 4yo+), Royal Ascot, Wednesday 15 June – won by REWILDING
4. Coral-Eclipse Stakes (1¼ miles, 3yo+), Sandown Park, Saturday 2 July – won by SO YOU THINK
5. King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) (1½ miles, 3yo+), Ascot, Saturday 23 July
6. Juddmonte International (1¼ miles, 3yo+), York, Wednesday 17 August
7. QIPCO Champion Stakes (1¼ miles, 3yo+), Ascot, Saturday 15 October
The upcoming QIPCO British Champions Series races in July are:
Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (1m, 3yo+ fillies & mares), Newmarket, Friday 8 July (FILLIES & MARES)
Darley July Cup (6f, 3yo+), Newmarket, Saturday 9 July (SPRINT)
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) (1½m, 3yo+), Ascot, Saturday 23 July (MIDDLE DISTANCE)
QIPCO Sussex Stakes (1m, 3yo+), Goodwood, Wednesday 27 July (MILE)
Artemis Goodwood Cup (2m, 3yo+), Goodwood, Thursday 28 July (LONG DISTANCE)
Nassau Stakes (1¼m, 3yo+ fillies & mares), Goodwood, Saturday 30 July (FILLIES & MARES)
HIGH-CLASS OPENING TWO DAYS AT 2011 PIPER HEIDSIECK JULY FESTIVAL AT NEWMARKET
SAHPRESA LOOKING FOR FURTHER GROUP ONE GLORY AT NEWMARKET IN ETIHAD AIRWAYS FALMOUTH STAKES
REDWOOD AIMING TO GO ONE BETTER IN FEATURE PRINCESS OF WALES’S sportingbet.com STAKES
Newmarket’s summer highlight, the Piper Heidsieck July Festival, kicks off on Thursday, 7th July, with Grand Arcade Ladies Day and continues on Friday, 8th July, Abu Dhabi Day, before ending on Saturday, 9th July.
Trainer Rodolphe Collet is hopeful that Sahpresa can record a third Group One victory at Newmarket in the £160,000 Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (3pm), highlight of the second day of the Piper Heidsieck July Festival, Friday, 8th July.
A total of 13 contenders remain in the tremendous mile contest, the fourth race in the Filly & Mare category of the British Champions Series, following today's six-day confirmation stage.
Sahpresa has already triumphed in the latest two renewals of the mile Group One Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes on Newmarket's Rowley Mile course and the six-year-old looked better than ever when easily landing a seven-furlong Group Three on her seasonal return at Longchamp on 4th June.
Collet reported today: “Sahpresa is coming over to Newmarket and she is very well at the moment. I was very pleased with her victory at Longchamp because she was very impressive that day and has improved since that run.
“She has obviously won twice on the Rowley Mile but she will be my first runner on the July Course, so it's a new experience for both if us. Sahpresa has won on a variety of ground and the only going that she hates is heavy so I am sure that she will have no concerns at Newmarket.
“It is going to be an interesting race but Sahpresa looks very well and I am hopeful that she can win another Group One at Newmarket.”
Sahpresa's main opposition in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes may come from the Aidan O'Brien-trained Misty For Me, who registered a fourth Group One success with a stunning victory over Midday in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on 25th June.
Globe-trotting eight-year-old River Jetez has filled the runner-up spot in Group One contests in Dubai and Singapore for trainer Mike de Kock already this year, while Richard Hannon may be represented by last year's Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes winner Memory.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Antara produced a string of excellent efforts in Group One company last term and started the current season with a comfortable victory over First City, from the stable of David Simcock, in the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom Downs on 3rd June.
Taking centre stage on the first day, Thursday, 7th July, is the £80,000 Group Two Princess of Wales’s sportingbet.com Stakes (3.00pm) over a mile and a half.
A total of 17 confirmations go forward for this prestigious contest including Redwood, who only found subsequent Group One Irish St Leger victor Sans Frontieres two and a half lengths too strong in the race last year. The Barry Hills-trained five-year-old subsequently went on to land the Grade One Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine in Canada and on his latest two starts has finished second in Group One company in Hong Kong and Dubai. The form of the second in the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 26 has worked out perfectly, with his conqueror Rewilding going on to land the Group One Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Charlie Hills, assistant trainer to his father, commented: "Redwood is likely to go to Newmarket at the moment for the Princess of Wales’s sportingbet.com Stakes.
“We decided to give Saint-Cloud a miss last weekend after the ground went against him but he is in very good nick at the moment and we are really happy with him.
"His form out in Dubai could hardly have worked out any better and he was beaten by a very good horse in the race last year.
"He doesn't get a penalty for his Grade One victory in Canada last year and he would return to Newmarket with a nice chance.”
The combination of owner Khalid Abdulla and trainer Barry Hills could also be represented by Slumber. The lightly-raced three-year-old son of Cacique made a winning return in a conditions race at Epsom Downs in April before showing a good level of form to take third in the Group Three Chester Vase and then second in the Group Three Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Charlie Hills continued: "Slumber has got some very good form as well - he was third behind Treasure Beach and Nathaniel at Chester and was unlucky at Ascot. We will decide whether to go to Newmarket nearer the time but he has a nice future ahead of him."
Other possible starters in the Princess of Wales’s sportingbet.com Stakes include the Godolphin pair of Campanologist and Cavalryman, both Group One winners, while Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the race on no less than seven previous occasions, has left in Crystal Capella, twice successful in the Group Two Pride Stakes over a mile and a half on the Rowley Mile. Mark Johnston, who sent the last three-year-old to win the race (Soapy Danger in 2006) has four from the Classic generation to choose from this time around including Group Three Lingfield Derby Trial victor Dordogne and Namibian, who was triumphant in the Group Three Queen’s Vase over two miles at Royal Ascot.
Grand Arcade Ladies Day kicks off with the £50,000 Group Three Bahrain Trophy (1.20pm) over a mile and five furlongs, which often provides pointers towards the final Classic of the season, the St Leger at Doncaster. Mark Johnston has entered the same quartet of horses from the Princess of Wales’s sportingbet.com Stakes in this contest as well - Dordogne, Namibian, Hurricane Higgins and Eternal Heart - while other possible starters include Solar Sky, the neck runner-up to Namibian at Royal Ascot and Investec Derby eighth Masked Marvel.
Top-class juvenile action comes courtesy of the £60,000 Group Two TNT July Stakes (1.50pm) over six furlongs. Frederick Engels, impressive winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, holds an entry in this contest, along with Coventry Stakes second Roman Soldier. Champion trainer Richard Hannon, who has won the race four times, including with Libranno in 2010, has made three entries - recent Group Two Railway Stakes victor Lilbourne Lad, North Star Boy, who ran better than his finishing position suggested when seventh in the Coventry Stakes and impressive Salisbury maiden scorer Harbour Watch.
Thursday’s card also includes the £50,000 sportingbet.com Handicap (2.25pm), the £12,000 Earl of Euston EBF Conditions Stakes (3.35pm), the £13,000 Portland Place Properties Conditions Stakes (4.05pm) and the concluding £13,000 Three Chimneys Handicap (4.40pm).
For further information, including details of the “Fashion At The Festival” competition and to book tickets, please visit www.newmarketracecourses.co.uk
The Piper Heidsieck July Festival continues on Friday, 8th July 8th with Abu Dhabi Day when the highlight is the Group One Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes and concludes on Saturday, 9th July, when the feature Group One Darley July Cup takes centre stage.