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Friday, September 3, 2010


Day two of the 2010 Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, Thursday, September 9, is DFS Ladies Day and in addition to all the fine fashion on display, fillies and mares take centre stage on the track in the £100,000 Group Two DFS Park Hill Stakes (3.45pm), popularly known as the “Fillies’ St Leger”.

This year’s renewal of the DFS Park Hill Stakes, run over the full St Leger distance of one mile, six furlongs and 132 yards, has attracted an entry of 15 including Meeznah. The three-year-old showed herself to be a high-class filly at Epsom in June when, only three weeks after winning her maiden, she finished a neck runner-up to Snow Fairy in the Group One Investec Oaks.

The David Lanigan-trained filly was subsequently fourth to the same rival on ground softer than ideal in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh in July and was a staying-on fourth on her latest outing behind the victorious Midday and runner-up Snow Fairy in the Group One Yorkshire Oaks on August 19, again over a mile and a half.

Lanigan is hoping that the Dynaformer filly will relish the extra distance at Doncaster.

He revealed today: “The DFS Park Hill is the plan. She does her last piece of work tomorrow and we will see how she is then.

“Hopefully, the extra distance will be fine. You don’t know until they try it but everything she has shown so far suggests that she won’t have a problem with it.

“The ground will be ideal for her and all being well everything will go ok - hopefully she will run a good race.”

Representatives of the Classic generation also include Investec Oaks fourth Rumoush from the Marcus Tregoning stable, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ship’s Biscuit, who is a half-sister to Hi Calypso, successful in the 2007 renewal of this contest and Dyna Waltz, who has not been seen out since taking the Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial in May.

The four-year-old Roses For The Lady was runner-up to Sariska in the Group One Irish Oaks in 2009 but was not seen again until making a winning return in the Listed Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan in April.

The John Oxx-trained filly has raced only twice more this term, finishing third to Tactic in the Group Three Curragh Cup over a mile and three-quarters at the Curragh in June and filling the same berth over that course and distance behind Rajik on August 21.

Oxx revealed today: “I would say Roses For The Lady is a likely runner in the DFS Park Hill Stakes. Obviously, she likes soft ground, which she is not going to get but I would say we are quite likely to run her at Doncaster - it would be nice to get a drop of rain.

“It has been a terribly dry summer here in Ireland and we have had fast ground all the way through. She tolerates it but it doesn’t suit her. It has restricted her a bit and we were happy to wait for an autumn campaign hoping that the weather would change but there is still no sign of that, so we will just have to grin and bear it and let her take her chance.

“We were delighted with her first run this year at Navan when she won because the ground was on the firm side of good that day. She ran an even better race in the Curragh Cup, a tougher race, when she was third again on fast ground.

“She disappointed the other day at the Curragh in the Ballycullen Stakes but she got quite worked up beforehand and didn’t run her race. If we can keep her a bit more relaxed in the preliminaries this time, hopefully she will return back to one of her better performances.”

The older generation is well-represented in the DFS Park Hill Stakes with the likes of the Mark Johnston-trained pair Eastern Aria, a Group Three winner at Glorious Goodwood and Lady Eclair, successful in a Listed handicap at Chester last month. Irish handler Jim Bolger has entered the unexposed Myrine, a 10-length winner over two miles at Wexford last month.

DFS Ladies Day gets underway at 2.00pm with the EBF crownhotel-bawtry.com Maiden Stakes (2.00pm), which has attracted an entry of 33 juveniles. The mile contest has proved to be a good pointer to future success at Doncaster with the two divisions in 2008 falling to subsequent Ladbrokes St Leger runner-up Kite Wood and The Miniver Rose, who claimed the 2009 DFS Park Hill Stakes.

Thursday’s most valuable race is the Weatherbys Insurance £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes (3.10pm) over an extended six furlongs. A bumper 57 two-year-olds remain engaged in this event, which offers prize money down to tenth place, including a trio from sales race specialist Richard Hannon, while the Richard Fahey-trained Wootton Bassett, unbeaten in three starts, could attempt a lucrative sales race double following his victory in the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes at York last month.

Other highlights on Thursday’s seven-race programme include the £40,000 EBF Carrie Red Fillies’ Nursery (4.20pm, 34 entries) and the £40,000 Listed Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (4.55pm), a seven-furlong event for fillies and mares which has attracted 22 entries.


The going at Doncaster remains Good to Firm, with watering taking place as necessary.


Surrey Star went close to tasting Group Three glory at Sandown last month and trainer Roger Teal is confident of another bold show on Tuesday, September 7, when he sends the talented colt to Goodwood for the £23,500 Listed Peter Willett Stakes (3.45pm).

The Dubawi two-year-old is already a winner over the seven-furlong distance and proved his class at Sandown last time when third to the highly-regarded Native Khan in the Alexis Catchpole Celebration Solario Stakes.

Teal revealed this morning: “We are going to work him tomorrow (Saturday) and if we are happy with him we plan to go to Goodwood for the Peter Willett Stakes.

“He ran an absolute cracker at Sandown last time and probably wasn’t helped by being in front so long. He took it up at the bottom of the straight and we were hoping to get more of a lead but he was travelling so well, it was just the way the race worked out.

“He had a bit of a look around coming up the hill - a bit of greenness still - but we were delighted with him. Native Khan has a big reputation so we were dead chuffed with Surrey Star.

“He showed so much speed that day that Liam (Keniry - jockey) was tempted to drop him back to six furlongs. He is one of those horses that has such a lovely, high cruising gear but then again he stayed the seven well at Sandown and in time he will stay much further, he just needs to learn to settle a bit.”

Surrey Star broke his maiden at Epsom on July 15 and contested the Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stake over the course and distance at Glorious Goodwood 13 days later but enjoyed no luck in finishing last of seven behind King Torus.

Teal said: “Surrey Star was the meat in the sandwich at Goodwood. I couldn’t believe it because he was drawn two, so I thought at least he would be out of trouble there and it turned out that we were the ones that got caught in it all.

“He got tightened up and bashed about not once but twice and when things like that happen it is game over. He ran a creditable race but never received the credit for it. The handicapper noticed because he stuck him up 16lb for finishing last.

“It just didn’t go his way that day but next time at Sandown he finished in front of the horses that beat him at Goodwood. Stentorian and Waltz Darling were second and fifth but he had them back in sixth and fifth at Sandown so he would have run a much better race at Goodwood if he’d had a trouble-free run.

“He is a lovely horse. To be fair, he will probably be a better three-year-old because he is developing each week. I think next year he will be quite exciting because he’s not the finished article, he’s a two-year-old and he’s still growing. His manners are fantastic and I’m really looking forward to next season.

“He has improved every time I have run him and the penny is slowly dropping. I would say that we go to Goodwood with a really live chance.”

The Peter Willett Stakes, registered as the Stardom Stakes, has attracted 17 exciting entries, including the Queen’s Royal Exchange, who completed a hat-trick for trainer Richard Hannon when winning the Listed Weatherbys Bank Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury on August 20.

Hannon has also engaged Auld Burns, Curragh Group Three third Big Issue, and Solario Stakes runner-up Measuring Time.

The Michael Jarvis-trained Toolain landed the Listed Jaguar XK Wiinkfield Stakes at Ascot in July, while The Paddyman, trained by William Haggas, was runner-up to Libranno in the Group Two Tanqueray Richmond Stakes over six furlongs at Glorious Goodwood, a race in which the Brian Meehan-trained The Long Game was fourth.

Meehan has also engaged Ascot maiden winner Titus Mills, while Godolphin has entered three once-raced maiden winners, Biondetti from the Mahmood Al Zarooni yard and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair of My Freedom and Saamid.

The Mick Channon-trained Fork Handles was third in the Group Three Prix du Calvados at Deauville last month, while Trade Storm was a staying-on sixth of 11 in the six-furlong Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York on August 18.

The seven-race card commences at 2pm with the popular £4,000 Bollinger Champagne Challenge Series Handicap (in association with the Daily Telegraph) for gentlemen amateur riders over a mile and three furlongs. The final race of the day is the 5.25pm Goodwood Freephone 08000 188 191 Handicap over seven furlongs.

Goodwood also races on Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12. The highlight of Saturday’s seven-race programme is the £57,000 Group Three Whiteley Clinic Select Stakes (2.45pm), run over just short of 10 furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards and won in the past by the likes of Dancing Brave, Mtoto, Singspiel, Nayef and Moon Ballad.

Sunday, September 12, plays host to the Racehorse Owners’ Association Speed Bonus. Successfully staged for the first time last year, the fantastic innovation lucratively rewards the fastest ROA-registered horse to compete during the captivating seven-race fixture. The Speed Bonus prize, guaranteed to be at least £10,000, will go to the ROA-registered horse that clocks the best per-furlong time in any of the day’s races at Goodwood. Assessment will be carried out according to the Racing Post Standard Time criteria.


The going at Goodwood is currently Good, Good to Firm in places with a GoingStick reading of 8.5.

Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley reported today: “The course is looking in great shape and has dried out tremendously after the August Bank Holiday meeting.

“We have benefited from some nice, dry early autumn days which has enabled the course to recover well.

“We will be dolling out the top and bottom bends to provide fresh ground.”

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