GOODWOOD SPECIALIST DUNELIGHT AIMING FOR CELEBRATION SUCCESS
Trainer Clive Cox is hoping that the recent spell of wet weather will come to an end so that Dunelight can land a blow in the £100,000 Group Two totesport.com Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday, August 23, day one of the two-day August Bank Holiday Meeting.
The course and distance winner, who hasn’t been out of the first four on his six starts at the picturesque West Sussex course, was third on his most recent start in the Betfair Cup at Glorious Goodwood on July 28. He filled the same position in that race 12 months previously, after which he finished fourth to Echelon in the totesport.com Celebration Mile over a furlong further.
On his penultimate outing, the five-year-old landed his second Listed success in the toteexacta Midsummer Stakes at Windsor on June 28, while the five-time winner has earned almost £200,000 for connections.
“If it dries up, Dunelight will run in the totesport.com Celebration Mile. He’s a very positive performer at Goodwood but he would only be suited by a quicker surface,” explained Cox.
“We were very pleased with him the last day. He’s been third in the Betfair Cup for the last two years and obviously it’s a difficult time of year to give a chunk of weight away to the improving three-year-olds.
“He’s come out of the race very well. He’s a seasoned campaigner at the highest level and I was pleased that we were able to perform well at Goodwood, given the weather that we’ve had since.
“We’ve missed possible targets for him this week at both Salisbury and in Ireland, so I’m hoping that things dry up for the Celebration Mile.
“Dunelight is a proven Listed performer and we would dearly love to bag a Group Two or Three with him.
“He was fourth in last year’s race, so we’d like to improve that this year. He’s in as good a form as ever, he’s bigger and stronger this year, so we are hopeful, with the run of the race and dry conditions, that he’ll run a big race.”
Among the other entrants at this stage for the £100,000 contest is the Godolphin sextet of Rio De La Plata, Third Set, Alexandros, Il Warrd, Calming Influence and Elusive Warning, while Sir Michael Stoute, successful in five of the last 10 runnings, has entered Heaven Sent and Rob Roy.
John Gosden has entered the high-class Raven’s Pass, while Henry Cecil is responsible for both Kandahar Run and Phoenix Tower.
All 11 of the Irish-trained entries are in the care of Aidan O’Brien, headed by last year’s French 2,000 Guineas winner Astronomer Royal, who dead-heated for fifth with stablemate US Ranger in the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on August 10.
The other potential overseas challenger is the Jean-Marie Beguigne-trained Spirito Del Vento, a multiple Group winner in his native France.
The next confirmation stage takes place on Monday, August 18.
The programme on Saturday, August 23, also features the £55,000 Group Three toteswinger Prestige Stakes (3.45pm) and the £50,000 Listed Windflower March Stakes (2.35pm), while the highlight on Sunday, August 24, is the £44,000 Listed EBF Alice Keppel Stakes (3.20pm).
FAMILY FUN DAY ON AUGUST 24
Sunday, August 24, is Family Fun Day at Goodwood with plenty of attractions for racegoers of all ages.
The day gets underway at 1.00pm when there will be equine action of a different kind to that usually seen at Goodwood - pony racing!
In addition, youngsters will be kept amused by a bouncy castle, climbing wall, football skills challenge, face painting, magicians and lots, lots more throughout the afternoon in the Lennox Enclosure.
All of the activities on Family Fun day are FREE of charge while, as at all Goodwood fixtures, all accompanied children under 17 are admitted FREE.
Admission prices for adults on Saturday, August 23, and Sunday, August 24, are: Richmond Enclosure £27 and Gordon Enclosure £19. The Lennox Enclosure costs £9 on Saturday and £15 on Sunday and over 65s at £6 on both days.