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Thursday, July 21, 2011




Triple Group One winner Twice Over (2/1 favourite with Sky Bet, see full list of prices below) heads seven declared runners for a cracking renewal of the £100,000 Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes (3.05pm) over an extended 10 furlongs at York on Saturday, July 23.


One of the stars of recent seasons, Twice Over captured the last two renewals of the Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket as well as the 2010 Group One Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.


The Sir Henry Cecil-trained horse began 2011 with victory in the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round Three at Meydan, Dubai, in March but disappointed in the Group One Dubai World Cup there later that month.


After finishing sixth to Canford Cliffs over a mile in the Group One Lockinge Stakes, Twice Over came home 17 lengths fifth behind Rewilding in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, and connections are keen for the six-year-old to get his season back on track. Tom Queally will take the ride again.


Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdulla, revealed today: “We were a little disappointed at Ascot, we thought Twice Over would run a lot better than he did. He has come out of the race fine and he has been training really well and enthusiastically, so we thought a little drop down in grade would be a confidence booster.


“There are never any gimmies in this game and there are some good horses in there, but we hope that the Sky Bet York Stakes will set up nicely for him.


“He was second to Rip Van Winkle in the Juddmonte International over the course and distance last year, so he knows the place. I would think there will be some ease in the ground, which would not upset him - we will see how much rain they get between now and Saturday.”


The Sky Bet York Stakes is the showpiece of York’s fantastic seven-race card, sponsored exclusively by the Leeds-based bookmaker.


The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Eleanora Duse, the mount of Silvestre De Sousa, has top-class form on the Knavesmire, having finished third behind the victorious Midday and Oaks heroine Snow Fairy in last year’s renewal of the Group One Yorkshire Oaks.


That effort against two of the best fillies in the world set up the Ballymacoll Stud homebred for a game victory in the Group Two Blandford Stakes over 10 furlongs at the Curragh  in September. Most recently, she was fourth behind Gertrude Bell in the Group Two Lancashire Oaks over 12 furlongs at Haydock on July 2.


Stoute, who won the first running of the Sky Bet York Stakes in 2006 with Best Alibi, is also set to saddle Class Is Class who defeated the John Gosden-trained Tazeez by four lengths to take the Listed Gala Stakes over the distance at Sandown on July 1.


First season trainer Roger Varian has opted to send the progressive colt Dominant to the Sky Bet York Stakes for a first start in Pattern company rather than the Group Two Prix Eugene Adam in France. The Cacique colt impressed when winning the £150,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Cup over 10 furlongs at Newmarket in June. The only three-year-old in the field is owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Isinglass Syndicate.


The Barry Hills-trained Ransom Note landed the Group Three Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket in April before finding Canford Cliffs and Goldikova too hot to handle in Group One company, while the Brian Ellison-trained Saptapadi was fifth in the John Smith’s Cup over the course and distance on July 9.


Sky Bet York Stakes, York, Saturday, sponsor’s betting:


2 Twice Over, 3 Dominant, 5 Class Is Class, 13/2 Tazeez, 15/2 Eleanora Duse, 9 Ransom Note, 18 Saptapadi


Place terms: 1/4 odds, first 2 places





Roker Park (16/1 with Sky Bet) has been in fine form of late and trainer David O’Meara is looking for that to continue in the six-furlong £50,000 Sky Bet Dash (3.40pm) at York on Saturday, July 23, which has attracted a maximum field of 20 runners.


The six-year-old gelding, named after the former home of Sunderland Football Club, famed for the atmospheric “Roker Roar”, scored at Catterick in June and at Chester earlier this month before clinching third behind Quest For Success on his most recent start in the John Smith’s Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton on July 15.


O’Meara revealed: “Roker Park has been in good form. He ran well at Hamilton last time out in a race that was probably very hot. The time of that race was very good, it was just a fraction outside of the course record that has stood for about 30 years.

“Six furlongs at York will be fine for him. He loves soft ground, so I think he will go on the ground. He is in good form and I hope he can run well.”


Hoof It heads the market and the weights for the Sky Bet Dash with sponsor Sky Bet making the Mick Easterby-trained four-year-old the 9/2 favourite for the competitive York sprint.


Hoof It, shouldered with top-weight of 9st 10lb on Saturday, scored over the course and distance in May before finishing seventh to Deacon Blues in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot.


At the opposite end of the handicap is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Entitled on 8st 6lb and the Cheveley Park Stud owned four-year-old is another with winning form over the course and distance. The current 8/1 second-favourite triumphed on the Knavesmire in June.


The David Simcock-trained Fathsta was third to Brae Hill in the Bunbury Cup over seven furlongs at Newmarket on July 9, while the David Evans-trained Star Rover and Corporal Maddox from the Jamie Osborne stable were second and third respectively to Roker Park at Chester the same day, and the Kevin Ryan-trained Racy finished fourth to Proud Citizen over six furlongs at Ascot, also on July 9.


The Dandy Nicholls-trained Tajneed was fifth in the John Smith’s Scottish Stewards’ Cup last time, while the Derek Shaw-trained Baby Strange was runner-up to Swiss Franc in a five-furlong Newmarket handicap recently.


Others of note are the Tim Easterby-trained Midnight Martini, Irish Heartbeat from the Richard Fahey stable, the Nicholls-trained Silaah and Singeur from Robin Bastiman’s yard.


Sky Bet Dash, York, Saturday, sponsor’s betting:


9/2 Hoof It, 8 Entitled, 9 Fathsta, 12 Corporal Maddox, Racy, 16 Irish Heartbeat, Roker Park, Baby Strange, Tajneed, 18 Midnight Martini, 20 Mister Hughie, Star Rover, Swilly Ferry, Favourite Girl, 22 Medici Time, R Woody, Singeur, 25 Ginger Ted, 28 Silaah, 40 Befortyfour


Place terms: 1/4 odds, first 4 places








There are now just six days to go until one of the most eagerly-awaited races of recent years is staged, the £300,000 QIPCO Sussex Stakes. The Group One mile contest takes place at 3.05pm on Wednesday, July 27, day two of Glorious Goodwood.


The “Duel on the Downs” sees the four-year-old Canford Cliffs, who captured the QIPCO Sussex Stakes in 2010, take on the three-year-old Frankel, who is unbeaten in seven starts.


Canford Cliffs, who is trained by Richard Hannon, has been in imperious form this season with victories on his two starts in the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, with both of those triumphs coming over a mile. The Henry Cecil-trained Frankel was the joint top-rated juvenile of 2010 and is currently rated the joint-best horse in the world according to the World Thoroughbred Rankings following his latest two victories over a mile in the Group One QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Canford Cliffs is the joint third-best horse in the world at the moment.


There are a total of nine confirmations at the six-day stage for the 2011 QIPCO Sussex Stakes. Godolphin could be represented by Rio De La Plata, a three-time Group One winner and successful on his only previous start at Goodwood when taking the 2007 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes. The Maktoum family’s racing operation has also left in Delegator, winner of the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes at York in May, although connections have stated that he is more likely to start in Tuesday’s Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs. Neebras is a third possible starter for Godolphin and finished fourth behind Frankel in the St James’s Palace Stakes.


Richard Hannon could be doubly represented as he has left in Dick Turpin, successful in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last year and a winner on his latest start in the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot on July 9.


Aidan O’Brien has won two of the last three runnings of the QIPCO Sussex Stakes and  Zoffany is his possible representative this time around. Zoffany, a Group One-winning two-year-old in 2010, got to within three-quarters of a length of Frankel when a fast-finishing second in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and was subsequently the head runner-up in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on July 3.


The last French horse to capture the QIPCO Sussex Stakes was Bigstone in 1993 and the possible French representative in 2011 is Rajsaman. Trained by Freddy Head, he finished a close third behind his illustrious stable companion Goldikova in the Group One Prix D’Ispahan at Longchamp on May 22 and had previously landed the Group Two Prix Du Muguet at Saint-Cloud on May 1.


Completing the possbile line-up is Red Jazz, although assistant trainer Charlie Hills stated today that he is much more likely to start in Tuesday’s Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes.


Wednesday’s card gets underway with the £30,000 Goodwood Handicap (2.00pm) and the marathon two mile, five furlong contest (the longest race run over the five days of Glorious Goodwood) could feature a Grade One-winning hurdler in the shape of Spirit Of Adjisa.


The seven-year-old, one of 37 entries, has enjoyed a meteoric rise under trainer Tim Vaughan’s guidance and ended a superb first jumping campaign for the Glamorgan handler by taking the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in May.


Vaughan revealed today: “Spirit Of Adjisa definitely heads to Goodwood. We were planning to send him to Royal Ascot but he had a little setback after Punchestown, which we have put right now.


“He definitely deserves another crack on the Flat after improving so much over hurdles and he looks well handicapped at the moment. The one question mark we have is over the trip but everything that he has done over hurdles suggests that he will get the two miles and five furlongs.


“He hasn’t had much racing over the past year because we turned him out after he won at Bangor last June with the aim of getting one run into him before the big spring festivals, but a little niggle meant we had to wait until Punchestown.


“I spoke to the jockeys’ agent Tony Hind and he said that he would get Ryan Moore or Richard Hughes and it looks like Ryan will probably be on board.


“Goodwood is a lovely venue and a lovely day out for the owners and it’s certainly a bit different to have a horse going straight from Punchestown to Goodwood.”


Wednesday, July 27, also features the £60,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (2.35pm), run over seven furlongs for two-year-olds and often an indicative pointer to the future with subsequent Classic winners Shamardal and Sir Percy featuring on the roll of honour in recent seasons. This race has reopened for entries until 11.00am tomorrow.


The richest handicap of the day is the £40,000 UBS Handicap (3.45pm), over a mile and a half for three-year-olds, which has attracted 26 entries, while the remaining races on the card are the Markel International Fillies’ Maiden Stakes (4.20pm, 20 entries), the Harwoods E.B.F. 'Hellvelyn' Classified Stakes (0-95) (4.55pm, 26 entries) and the concluding E.B.F. Nayef Fillies' And Mares' Handicap (5.30pm, 34 entries).




The going at Goodwood remains Good to Soft, Good in places.


Seamus Buckley, Clerk of the Course at Goodwood, reported today: “The last 24 hours have been dry and the going at Goodwood remains good to soft, good in places.


“I have been out on the course this afternoon and am delighted with its current condition.


“We are drying out but the course has retained plenty of moisture and I would anticipate that we will be starting Glorious Goodwood on goodish ground next Tuesday. We are certainly heading in the right direction.


“There is still the chance of showers, but that will lessen after tomorrow and we should see warmer and drier conditions at the weekend.”


Glorious Goodwood happens over five days, from Tuesday, July 26 to Saturday, July 30 inclusive.




Excelebration stormed to a seven-length victory in the Group Two German 2,000 Guineas in May and the Marco Botti-trained colt, who has twice finished in Frankel’s slipstream this season, is one of 31 fantastic entries for the £100,000 Group Two Park Stakes (3.40pm) at Doncaster on Saturday, September 10.


The contest, which is run with Group One conditions, is part of an outstanding seven-race card on the final day of the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, which features the world’s oldest Classic, the £500,000 Group One Ladbrokes St Leger (3.05pm).


Botti’s charge was runner-up to Frankel over the Park Stakes’ seven-furlong distance when four lengths behind the unbeaten superstar in the Group Three Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April. His most recent effort saw him close the gap to two and a quarter lengths when third in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14.


Between times, the talented three-year-old registered that impressive German Classic triumph on soft going in Cologne.


Prior to any decision on the colt’s Park Stakes participation, Botti could run his charge in the Group Two Celebration Mile Stakes at Goodwood on August 27, for which he already holds an entry, but the trainer is currently leaning more towards a tilt at the Group Two Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury on August 13.


Botti revealed today: “Excelebration has done extremely well this season. Physically, I am really happy with him and after the St James’s Palace I have given him a break and freshened him up, which has helped him. He has put some weight on so all is going to plan.


“Obviously, he will have other entries, probably at Newbury (Hungerford Stakes) and the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in France, but we want to have more options so after talking to the owner we decided to enter him in the Park Stakes and see how things go from now. 


“We will most likely aim to run him next at Newbury in the middle of August and from then it depends how the ground is, so it makes sense to have the Park Stakes as an option. 

“Our overall aim is to run in a Group One race again this year but there are not many left over a mile in England so, with ground a factor, a race like the Park Stakes has to come into consideration.


“I don’t think dropping back to seven furlongs would be a problem. He ran a good race at the distance in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury. I think his best trip is a mile but being by Exceed And Excel he has speed over seven, so if it was a fair gallop, I think seven furlongs should be fine.”


The Park Stakes has attracted a host of top level performers, among them the Aidan O’Brien-trained Zoffany, one of six entries from Ireland. Successful in the Group One Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs last year, the three-year-old almost collared Frankel when three quarters of a length second in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and was subsequently runner-up by a head to Mutual Trust in the Group One Prix Jean Prat on July 3. 


James Fanshawe could saddle his Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes (six furlongs) hero Society Rock alongside stablemate Deacon Blues who followed victory in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot with a Group Three triumph in the six-furlong Hackwood Stakes at Newbury on July 16.


Wootton Bassett won the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over a mile in October for trainer Richard Fahey and was seventh in the St James’s Palace Stakes last time, while last season’s Queen Mary stakes winner Maqaasid, trained by John Gosden, was third to Blue Bunting in the Group One QIPCO 1,000 Guineas in April.


Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has a strong hand with seven entries headed by  multiple Group One winner Rio De La Plata and Delegator, who was runner-up to Sea The Stars in the 2009 2,000 Guineas and triumphed over six furlongs in the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes in May.


The Godolphin contingent also includes this season’s Group Two Godolphin Mile hero Skysurfers, Group One placed filly Rainfall, Al Aasifh, Yaa Wayl and Group Two winner Shakespearean.


Freddy Head, one of France’s top trainers, has engaged the high-class three-year-old filly Moonlight Cloud, while other notable fillies among the entries are the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Chachamaidee and the Charles O’Brien-trained Bewitched.


The Clive Cox-trained Balthazaar’s Gift landed last year’s Park Stakes by half a length from the Chris Wall-trained Group Two winner Premio Loco. Duff, winner of the 2009 Park Stakes for trainer Eddie Lynam, was a close fourth.


Red Jazz from the Barry Hills stable won the Group Two Challenge Stakes at Newmarket over the distance in October, while other entries of note include Beacon Lodge, Eton Forever and The Cheka.




Newmarket trainer Marco Botti is also considering a tilt at the £75,000 Group Two One Call Insurance Champagne Stakes (2pm) over seven furlongs on Saturday, September 10, which has attracted an 81-strong entry of exciting two-year-olds.


His once-raced maiden Bartolomeu is well-regarded at Green Ridge Stables and, if he makes the necessary progress, could lock horns with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Power, the unbeaten winner of the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.


Bartolomeu made his racecourse debut over six furlongs at Doncaster on July 7 and created a pleasing impression in what appeared to be a good quality contest. The colt ran green before making late headway to take fourth behind Al Khan from the Peter Chapple-Hyam yard.


Botti said: “I was satisfied with Bartolomeu’s run at Doncaster. I think he is a nice horse, a big, scopey horse, so he needed the race. He didn’t really know what to do until the last furlong so when the penny dropped he ran on and finished a quite close fourth. I expect him to come on a lot from that.


“We plan to run him next week in a maiden but if he keeps progressing as we hope, we want to have an option in a Group race, so I thought it was safe to give him an entry in the One Call Insurance Champagne Stakes and see what happens between now and then.”


John Quinn has engaged Red Duke, who landed the Group Two Superlative Stakes over the distance from the Richard Hannon-trained Chandlery at Newmarket on July 9. Hannon could also saddle impressive Newmarket maiden victor Rougemont as well as course and distance winner Pearl Charm.


The Jeremy Noseda-trained Roman Soldier was runner-up in the Coventry Stakes and  filled the same berth behind Frederick Engels in the Group Two TNT July Stakes on July 7.


There are 17 Irish-trained entries and O’Brien has engaged 13 of those, including Power. Among the Ballydoyle contingent are impressive maiden winners Apollo, Furner’s Green, Reply, David Livingston and Listed Golden Fleece Stakes winner Tenth Star.


The four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival runs from Wednesday, September 7, through to Saturday, September 10, inclusive.


For further information and to book tickets, please go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk


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