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Thursday, September 3, 2009


A high-class entry has been received for the £25,000 Debenhams Frenchgate Conditions Stakes (3.10pm) at Doncaster on the opening day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Wednesday, September 9, 2009, with the Henry Cecil-trained Group Two winner Twice Over and Grade One South African Derby victor Kings Gambit among the 21 horses engaged.

The 10-furlong contest is part of a fantastic six-race card that features the £40,000 Listed DFS Scarbrough Stakes (3.45pm) over five furlongs.

In recent years, Group race winners Kirklees (2007) and Echo Of Light (2005) have landed the Debenhams Frenchgate Conditions Stakes and Newmarket trainer Marco Botti is hoping that the lightly-raced Gitano Hernando can use the contest as a springboard to a higher grade.

The three-year-old was last seen in public on May 8 when a head runner-up to South Easter in the Group Three Dee Stakes at Chester, having previously landed a handicap over the course and distance at Doncaster’s Lincoln Meeting in March.

Botti revealed today: “The plan is to run Gitano Hernando in the Debenhams Frenchgate Conditions Stakes as long as the ground is good to soft. He won’t run on quick ground. He had a small injury after the Dee Stakes. The ground was very quick that day and he came back sore - he had a set-back so we had to stop with him.

“Now he is fine, he has been working well at home and we are happy with his condition. It has been the plan to run him at Doncaster for a while.

“I think he is capable of competing at Group race level. He ran a great race in the Dee Stakes and was perhaps a bit unlucky. He is an improving horse and is getting better with time so we don’t know his limits yet. He could improve a bit more and turn out to be a Group Two horse. He has that potential.”

Botti is hoping for another Town Moor triumph before a return to Group Three company in the Diamond Stakes (a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race) at Dundalk on October 2. The Hernando colt won his maiden on Wolverhampton’s Polytrack so Dundalk’s artificial surface holds no fears.

The trainer continued: “We have entered him at Dundalk because he won his maiden on the all-weather. There are other options after Doncaster, it just depends how he runs and then we can make a plan. The Dundalk race is over a mile and a quarter and at the moment we want to keep him to that distance.”

Also among the entries is Godolphin’s German Group Three winner Peligroso, last year’s winner Perks, trained by John Dunlop for Benny Andersson of Abba fame, the progressive Fanjura from the Barry Hills yard and the Paul Cole-trained Serva Jugum, unlucky when a close fourth to Campanologist in the Group Three Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor recently.

The Tom Tate-trained King’s Gambit is a dual Grade One winner in his native South Africa and was a good third to Kirklees on his British debut in the Group Two York Stakes in July before seeming not to stay an extended 13 furlongs on his latest outing in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

Speed is the name of the game in the Listed DFS Scarbrough Stakes and 24 sprinters have been entered for the five-furlong test, headed by Godolphin’s Dandy Man who returned to form with an easy victory at Leicester on September 1.

William Haggas saddled Majestic Missile to win the race in 2005 and the Newmarket handler has engaged Triple Aspect, last seen when runner-up to Ialysos in the Group Three Coral Charge at Sandown on July 4.

Bryan Smart has engaged a smart trio in Captain Gerrard, Moorhouse Lad and Spin Cycle, while Kevin Ryan has entered last season’s Group Two Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes heroine Madame Trop Vite and the useful Jargelle.

The David Evans-trained Star Rover scored in Listed company at York last month and is the pick of six juveniles that have been entered to take on their elders.

The Ladbrokes St Leger Festival commences with the competitive seven-furlong £15,000 Wilkinson Frenchgate Nursery Handicap at 2pm, which has attracted 35 entries, and continues with the Sainsbury’s Frenchgate Conditions Stakes over six furlongs, which has attracted an entry of 23 promising juveniles.

Also on Wednesday’s card are the £20,000 New Look Frenchgate Handicap (4.20pm) over seven furlongs and the five-furlong £10,000 Evans Frenchgate Handicap (4.50pm).

The Ladbrokes St Leger Festival runs from Wednesday, September 9, until Saturday, September 12, when the four-day highlight takes place, the historic Group One Ladbrokes St Leger.


The going at Doncaster is currently GOOD TO FIRM with GOOD patches on the round course. The current GoingStick reading is 8.8. Showers are forecast for Friday, September 4, with the following day predicted to be dry.


A thrilling contest is in prospect for the Group One Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown this Saturday, September 5, with nine horses remaining following today’s final declaration stage.

The 10-furlong contest is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge, an international series of 63 races whose winners earn qualifying positions into a corresponding race at the World Championships, following the payment of applicable entry fees on October 26. The Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes is one of 11 Challenge races held in Europe this year and the winner of Saturday's event is guaranteed a place in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Saturday, November 7.

Those declared for Saturday’s race include the John Oxx-trained Sea The Stars, who is unbeaten in four Group One events this season - the stanjames.com 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Investec Derby at Epsom, the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and the Juddmonte International at York . The son of Cape Cross faces a formidable opponent in Fame And Glory, who chased him home at Epsom before recording a hugely-impressive five-length success in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. Fame And Glory’s handler Aidan O’Brien has also declared Mastercraftsman, twice successful over a mile in Group One company this season and runner-up behind Sea The Stars at York last time, as well as Grand Ducal, Rockhampton and Set Sail.

The older generation is represented by Casual Conquest, from the Dermot Weld stable. The four-year-old has won two of his four starts this season, including an authoritative five-and-a-half length success in the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May.

Completing the field are the veteran campaigner Lord Admiral, who races in the colours of the late Vincent O’Brien’s widow Jacqueline and is trained by their son Charles, and Loch Long.

After the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes, the next European races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge take place at Ascot on September 26. The three Ascot contests are the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (winner receives a place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf), the Group One Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile (winner receives a place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf) and the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, one of Europe’s premier all-aged mile contests for which the victor will be guaranteed a place in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile.

For the full schedule of the Breeders' Cup Challenge races, please visit http://www.breederscup.com/content.aspx?id=40070

About Breeders' Cup
The Breeders' Cup administers the Breeders' Cup World Championships; Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of 14 races and $25.5 million in purses, which makes it the richest event in sports. At last year's Breeders' Cup, more than $100 million in winning wagers were returned to fans at betting locations around the globe. The Breeders' Cup also administers the Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifying series, and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program. Breeders' Cup has offices in Lexington, Kentucky, and in New York City. Breeders' Cup press releases appear on the Breeders' Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You may follow the Breeders' Cup on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BreedersCup

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