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Tuesday, August 21, 2007



FINICIUS RETURNS TO GOODWOOD FOR totesport.com CELEBRATION MILE




Finicius, who ran well when under four lengths sixth to Tariq in the Group Two Betfair Cup at Glorious Goodwood last time out, is set for a return to the picturesque West Sussex course having been supplemented at a cost of £10,000 for the £100,000 Group Two totesport.com Celebration Mile on Saturday, August 25.

Trained in Co Kilkenny, Ireland, by Eoin Griffin, the three-year-old son of Officer, impressive when taking a six-furlong Curragh maiden on his debut last year, was making only his fourth start in the seven-furlong Betfair Cup, and his handler is confident of an improved performance at the weekend when his charge is stepped up to a mile.

Griffin revealed today: “I was very happy with Finicius’s run in the Betfair Cup. That was his first start against the big boys and he acquitted himself very well - he was not beaten far and will have certainly learned a lot from the experience.

“We’ve been a little frustrated with him so far this season due to the ground in Ireland. The weather here has been dismal for the last couple of months, and he doesn’t want testing ground - he cannot handle it. He’s a good ground horse and does not want extremes of going.


“He came out of his last race very well and the travelling was no problem for him. The mile will suit him better - I think that is his best trip. He is a straight forward horse to ride. Although he lost his position early on last time, hopefully things will go better this time with the course experience on his side.



“I think Finicius can run a big race on Saturday - he carried a little overweight last time, and with a bit more progression, then he will be knocking on the door. This race will tell us more about where we can go with him in future, but he’s a horse we like very much. I’m hoping that Johnny Murtagh will be able to take the ride again.”

A total of 10 horses remained engaged at the latest confirmation stage for the totesport.com Celebration Mile, headed by the James Fanshawe-trained Cesare, who showed a fine turn of foot to take the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot on July 14, and Dunelight, who ran a cracker for the Clive Cox stable when third in the Betfair Cup last time.


Echelon, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, took the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on June 1, while John Quinn’s Blythe Knight out-pointed Godolphin’s Blue Ksar in the Group Three Diomed Stakes at Epsom on June 2. Winged Cupid is also entered for Godolphin, while Richard Hannon relies on Selinka, fourth to Wake Up Maggie in the Group Three Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood on August 3. Charlie Cool and Babodana complete the entry.

Also on Saturday’s fantastic seven-race card is the Group Three £38,000 totescoop6 Prestige Stakes over seven furlongs, which has 15 fillies engaged at the six-day stage.


Whitsbury trainer Ralph Beckett is looking forward to testing his Glorious Goodwood winner Celtic Slipper in Pattern company, and has also entered the Listed-placed Hobby.


He revealed today: “Celtic Slipper is the most likely to run and Hobby may wait for a Listed race the following week.”

Celtic Slipper was sixth on her debut over six furlongs at Lingfield in June, before springing a 33/1 shock when sweeping home on the outside under Seb Sanders for a length and a quarter victory in the EBF New Ham Maiden Fillies’ Stakes over the course and distance on August 2.

The Anabaa filly, owned and bred by Peter Savill, is primed for her first start outside of maiden company.


Beckett said: “She has done well since her last run and is in good form so I’m looking forward to running her. I’d prefer quicker ground rather than slower for her.


“She showed enough at home prior to her maiden win but I’m generally not in the habit of winning Goodwood maidens. She ran there because her owner was able to be there. He lives in Ireland now and doesn’t spend a lot of time in England.

“We hoped that she would run well and that it would set her up for a nice race two or three weeks later. She won that and now we have got to step her up into Pattern company.


“I’d be overtaking myself if I thought at this stage that she could be a Guineas filly but she’s a nice filly who her owner bred and this looks the best option for her as we seek some black type.”

The prestigious Group Three contest was won last year by the Marco Botti-trained Sesmen and has also been won in recent times by dual Group One winner Nannina (2005) and Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Gossamer (2001).


The entry also includes the unbeaten John Dunlop-trained Muthabara who had Hobby in third when winning a Sandown Listed race on July 26, as well as fellow Sandown Listed winner and Group Three-placed Sweepstake, trained by Richard Hannon.


The powerful stables of Mark Johnston, Sir Michael Stoute and John Gosden are respectively represented by once-raced maiden winners Lady Jane Digby, Mistress Greeley and Sense Of Joy, while Henry Cecil could run Winter Bloom, who landed a Redcar maiden on her second start.


Fly Kiss, seeking a hat-trick, would have to improve on the form she showed when winning a Beverley nursery on August 16, but the filly is on the upgrade and Clive Brittain-trained runners can never be discounted

The Irish challenge could include the Jim Bolger-trained Toirneach, runner-up in a Leopardstown maiden over the distance on August 19, and the Tracey Collins-trained Kyniska who won at Naas on her debut on August 6.


Saturday, August 25 is the first day of Goodwood’s Bank Holiday meeting and gets underway at 2.05pm with the Listed £30,000 Windflower March Stakes over a mile and three quarters, where the 17 entries include Samuel and Secret Tune - both of whom hold entries in the Ladbrokes St Leger.


The seven-race programme concludes at 5.25pm with the TurfTV Is for Betting Shops Maiden Handicap (5.25pm).


FAMILY FUN DAY ON SUNDAY

Sunday, August 26, is Family Fun Day at Goodwood and features the first race in the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series, which take place at 1.00pm. Now in its third year, pony racing is aimed at encouraging 11-15 year olds to become jockeys.


On Family Fun Day there is plenty of entertainment to keep the children amused with a whole host of free children’s entertainment in the Lennox Enclosure including a Crazy Cottage, Fun Castle, Swing Boat, Roundabout and a Soccer Challenge. If this was not enough, every child attending on Sunday will receive a FREE complimentary gift or ice cream.


The seven-race programme on Sunday gets underway at 2.10pm with the BBC Southern Counties Radio Handicap and runs through to the concluding GG Apprentice Handicap (5.40pm).




On both days the Howard Clarke Jazz Band will be entertaining guests on the Pavilion Lawn in the Gordon Enclosure, while the Caribana Steel Band will rove throughout the enclosures. Racegoers can take advantage of the Goodwood Champagne Giveaway, by purchasing four Richmond Enclosure badges, four racecards and a bottle of champagne for only £110. Richmond Enclosure badges are £24, Gordon Enclosure tickets are £17 and Lennox Enclosure tickets are £8 on Saturday 25 and £12 on Sunday 26 August. For further information or to book tickets please call 0800 018 8191 or visit www.goodwood.co.uk

GROUND

The ground at Goodwood is currently GOOD.


Seamus Buckely, Clerk of the Course at Goodwood, reported: “The ground is currently just on the easy side of good.


“The forecast for generally dry conditions for the remainder of the week and I would predict we will be racing on good ground on Saturday and Sunday.


“The recent damp weather has meant that the course has recovered well since the Festival Meeting and I delighted with its condition.

“We are looking forward to an excellent weekend of competitive racing.”


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