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Monday, August 6, 2007


Excitement is building as Salisbury Racecourse makes the final preparations ahead of its fantastic seasonal highlight, the two-day Salisbury Splendour Summer Festival on Wednesday, August 15 and Thursday, August 16, which boasts a feast of thrilling racing.

Families can enjoy the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, with children’s entertainment provided, including a bouncy castle, Penalty Shoot Out, Pulsar Lazar game, clowns and a children's activity tent.

Each Salisbury fixture benefits from a big screen so that racegoers miss none of the enthralling action on the track.

Group Three totesport.com Sovereign Stakes

The most valuable race of Salisbury’s season, the £65,000 totesport.com Sovereign Stakes is the feature event of the popular two-day meeting and has already established itself as the fifth top-rated Group Three contest for older horses. With 53 such races each season, this is a remarkable achievement, given that the event was only granted its current status three years ago.

The inaugural running of the mile showpiece in 2004 produced one of the finishes of the season when the David Elsworth-trained Norse Dancer pulled out all the stops to overhaul the previous year’s top-rated British juvenile colt Lucky Story by a short-head in what was officially the highest-rated British Group Three race of the year.

Victories by the high-class Godolphin pair Layman (2005) and Belenus (2006) have helped establish the totesport.com Sovereign Stakes as one of the most competitive and prestigious Group Three races in the calendar.

The totesport.com Sovereign Stakes takes place on Thursday, August 16.

Listed EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes

The highlight of the first day of Salisbury Splendour, Wednesday, August 15, is the Listed European Breeders’ Fund Upavon Fillies’ Stakes (4pm), which carries generous prize money of £38,000 and is often a stepping stone to Group race success.

The 10-furlong race is always hotly contested and last year saw a very good winner in the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Pictavia, third in the 2005 Group One Vodafone Oaks, who franked the form of her Salisbury success when capturing the Group Three Select Racing UK On Sky432 Stakes at Goodwood on her next start.

The 1997 winner Dust Dancer also stepped up to land a Group Three victory on her next appearance when taking the Prix de la Nonette at Deauville, while Chorist took the EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes in 2002 before progressing to the highest level when defeating the brilliant Alexander Goldrun in the 2004 Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

The 2003 winner Hoh Buzzard went on to be Grade Two placed at Santa Anita, USA, behind the champion mare Megahertz, while the 2004 winner New Morning defeated the Derby winner North Light on her first start the following season in the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes.

The rest of the Salisbury Splendour Summer Festival action

The six–race card on day one (August 15) commences at 2.30pm with the Sovereign Windows UK EBF Maiden Stakes over six furlongs and is followed by the seven-furlong Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Nursery Handicap (3pm).

The Goldring Security Services Pembroke Cup (3.30pm) over a mile precedes the featured Listed contest, which is followed by the 10-furlong Stella Artois Handicap (4.30pm). The day concludes with the Axminster Carpets Apprentice Handicap over seven furlongs.

Salisbury is renowned for attracting future big-race winners and the 2006 Vodafone Derby winner Sir Percy famously won at the track on his second start as a two-year-old, while Budweiser Irish Derby and 2007 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes winner Dylan Thomas was runner-up to Blitzkrieg in the Group Three Autumn Stakes at the Wiltshire course in 2005.

Racegoers can look forward to the possibility of future stars in the Champagne Joseph Perrier Maiden Auction Stakes (2.30pm), which kicks off day two (August 16) of the Salisbury Splendour Summer Festival. Last year’s renewal was so popular that the seven-furlong race was split into two divisions, the first of which was won by the Sylvester Kirk-trained Caldra, who subsequently captured the Group Three Autumn Stakes, which had returned to its Ascot home.

Division Two went to the Andrew Balding-trained Streets Ahead, who held the Kirk-trained Worldly and returned to Salisbury next time for the Listed Stonehenge Stakes, which he duly won. Worldly has gone on to capture a Grade Three double at Hollywood Park for new trainer Ben Cecil this year.

The six-race card continues with the seven-furlong Mary Wort Memorial Maiden Stakes (3.05pm) and the £10,000 European Breeders’ Fund Fillies’ Handicap.

The totesport.com Sovereign Stakes is followed by the UKW - Knights & Co Handicap (4.50pm) over one and three-quarter miles and two days of fantastic sport concludes with the six-furlong Carmen Wines Fillies’ Handicap (5.20pm).

Salisbury Racecourse’s Clerk Of The Course Jeremy Martin said: "We really look forward to our two-day Festival because we always get such nice horses here.

"We call it Salisbury Splendour because it showcases our two biggest races and is such a popular occasion for holiday-makers who come up from Bournemouth or the New Forest.

"We have found that running the races above the required minimum value does help to attract better quality horses, and that makes for fantastic racing and a great atmosphere.

"When Chorist won the EBF Upavon Fillies’ Stakes, William Haggas said it was the prize money that really attracted him and she turned out to be a top filly.

"The highlight of the year so far has been Sakhee’s Secret winning the Axminster Carpets Cathedral Stakes. He’s certainly one of the best horses we’ve had here in recent years along with Sir Percy and Dylan Thomas."

Listed Weatherbys Bank Stonehenge Stakes

Salisbury Racecourse’s racing on Friday, August 31, is the final evening fixture of the British summer and features the £22,500 Listed Weatherbys Bank Stonehenge Stakes (6.10pm) for two-year-olds.

Last year’s mile contest saw the Andrew Balding-trained Streets Ahead follow a seven-furlong maiden success at the course with a length victory over Shergar Cup Juvenile winner Eddie Jock, who subsequently landed the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor enjoys his share of success at Salisbury and he saddled Perfectperformance to an impressive three-length victory in 2004. The colt went to Ascot for his next start and emphasized his class when winning the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes, defeating subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko.

The evening begins at 4.40pm with the Bathwick Tyres Lady Riders’ Series Handicap over a mile, which is followed by the Setsquare Recruitment Now In Southampton Nursery (5.10pm) over the same distance, which was won last year by the subsequent Listed winner and Group Three Musidora Stakes third Sweet Lilly.

The James & Sons Maiden Auctions Stakes over six furlongs takes place at 5.40pm, which preceded the evening’s showcase contest, the Listed Weatherbys Bank Stonehenge Stakes.

The 10-furlong Ford Civil Engineering 25th Anniversary Maiden is due off at 6.40pm, the 12-furlong Stephen & Jennifer Tilley Memorial Handicap takes place at 7.10pm and the evening concludes with the 7.40pm Westover Group Handicap over one and three-quarter miles.

Jeremy Martin is looking forward to fine summer weather continuing for the upcoming August fixtures at Salisbury.

He commented: "Looking at the BBC weather forecast, August is going to be a better month so hopefully we should have nice weather and decent summer ground for the meeting, not sploshing up through the mud."

Ticket prices for Salisbury Racecourse are Members’ Enclosure £18 (dress code applies - see the website www.salisburyracecourse.co.uk), Tattersalls Enclosure £11, Course Enclosure £6. Accompanied children under 16 are admitted FREE. Car parking is FREE.

Book online and save 10% www.comehorseracing.com/salisbury for more details.

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