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Tuesday, September 5, 2010


Vision D’Etat will aim to plunder another of Britain’s top Group One contests when he makes his final European appearance in the £350,000 Emirates Airline Champion Stakes, highlight of Champions’ Day at Newmarket on Saturday, 16th October.

The Eric Libaud-trained five-year-old stormed to a half-length victory over Tartan Bearer on his only previous appearance in Britain in the 10-furlong Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot.

He ended last year with another major success over the same distance in the Group One Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin in December but suffered an interrupted preparation to the Group One Dubai World Cup on Tapeta at Meydan in March, when he finished down the field behind Gloria de Campeao.

Vision D’Etat returned to form with a comfortable length success in a 10-furlong Group Three contest at Deauville on 14th August and is now set to bid to become the third French-trained winner of the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes in the past five years following on from Pride (2006) and Literato (2007).

Victoria Libaud, part-owner and wife of trainer Eric, reported: “The plan is for Vision D’Etat to come over to Newmarket for the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes. He is well at the moment and has come on since his victory at Deauville in August.

“We had considered running him in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but his distance is 10 furlongs and a mile and a half at Longchamp is a true test for a horse, especially on soft ground. His best form has always been at around 10 furlongs and the main objective was always to go to Newmarket with him.

“He has won four Group One races at around 10 furlongs, so we hope that he would go to Newmarket with a good chance. We will see how he gets on there, but the aim is for him to then go to Hong Kong to defend his title in the Hong Kong Cup and then he is heading off to stud.”

This year’s Emirates Airline Champion Stakes looks set to be another superb renewal with last year’s winner, the Henry Cecil-trained Twice Over, and dual Oaks heroine Snow Fairy, representing Ed Dunlop, among those set to do battle on the Rowley Mile.

Gitano Hernando, a Grade One winner in the US for Marco Botti last year, is also on course for Newmarket following a winning return to action in a Dundalk Group Three on 1st October after his close sixth in the Dubai World Cup.

The fabulous Champions’ Day also features the £300,000 Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, which is set to be one of this season’s most eagerly anticipated races. Frankel has won his two latest starts by an aggregate of 23 lengths, including an effortless 10-length verdict in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot, while Saamidd has also made an impressive start to his career, shown by a facile victory in the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Dream Ahead may also return to Newmarket and step up a furlong, having posted a stunning nine-length success in the six-furlong Group One Shadwell Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on 1st October. Unbeaten Group winners Dunboyne Express and Native Khan add further lustre to what promises to be the defining juvenile contest of the season.


Goodwood hosts its final fixture of 2010 this Sunday, October 10, when the afternoon kicks off with the unique Three Musketeers Trophy Handicap (2.00pm) over two miles.

First run in 1995, the Three Musketeers Trophy has been generously sponsored since its inception by the Marquesa de Moratalla’s Childwick Bury Stud and commemorates her three great chasers - Ucello II, Ubu III and The Fellow - who all trained by Francois Doumen in France and collectively known as “The Three Musketeers”. Its position in the racing calendar is unique in that it is restricted to jump jockeys, with the roll of honour including such famous names of the winter game as Paul Carberry, Robert Thornton, Richard Johnson, Timmy Murphy and Paddy Brennan, successful in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Imperial Commander.

This year’s race has attracted a total of 30 entries and one jockey hoping to be in the line-up on Sunday is Mattie Batchelor, who is based locally at Brighton and is best known as the regular partner of Lord Oaksey’s decent chaser Carruthers, who ran a fine race to finish fourth in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Batchelor is set to take the mount on Double Whammy, trained at Lewes by Jamie Poulton, in the Three Musketeers Trophy.

Batchelor said today: “I spoke to Mr Poulton the other day and the intention is for Double Whammy to run on Sunday. Hopefully, I will go down to his yard and ride out the horse on Friday to get a feel for him.

“I have had a few rides on the Flat over the summer, so it won’t be that much of a change for me. I started off over the Jumps but I was apprenticed to Gary Moore’s father Charlie for a while and rode a few winners before concentrating on the National Hunt side of things.

“I also spent some of the summer riding in the Channel Islands - Jersey has one meeting a year and Guernsey has about eight or nine. I had about 40 rides out there, with seven winners, but Vince Slattery was champion jockey.

“The Three Musketeers Handicap is always a good laugh but I have never done any good - Leighton Aspell seems to be the race specialist! I think that Double Whammy will stay the two miles and hopefully he can give me a nice spin around Goodwood.”

The richest contest of the afternoon is race two on the card, the £10,000 Toyo Tires Speed Handicap (2.35pm) over six furlongs for which there are 32 entries. Toyo Tires have been great supporters of Goodwood in 2010 and were the official tyre partner for the 2010 Goodwood Revival.

Regular Goodwood sponsors Blue Square back four races during the afternoon, the Bet At Bluesq.com Median Auction Maiden Stakes (3.45pm), the Blue Square Bet EBF Maiden Stakes (4.20pm), the Exclusive Live Shows At Bluesq.com Handicap (4.55pm) and the concluding Play Roulette At Bluesq.com Handicap (5.30pm).


The going at Goodwood is currently SOFT.

Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley explained: “We have experienced a significant amount of rain in the last few days and the going is currently soft and I expect it to stay the same for when we race on Sunday.

“The course has taken the rain well and the forecast is for drier conditions from Wednesday onwards with no rain currently forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It has been another fantastic season at Goodwood and the course has stood up remarkably well during the year. It was regrettable that we lost one of our meetings in August due to waterlogging but I would like to pay tribute to all the groundstaff at Goodwood who have worked incredibly hard to produce an excellent racing surface throughout the season, particularly for our first 15 racedays when we had hardly any rain at all.

“During Festival week we had more than 500 runners over the five days and I didn’t receive a single complaint about the state of the going.

“The highlights for me this year was the dominance of the Richard Hannon/Richard Hughes combination during Glorious Goodwood, while it was fantastic to see Midday land her second Blue Square Nassau Stakes.

“It was also very gratifying to see Workforce, who began his career with an impressive victory at Goodwood last year, hits such great heights with his victories in the Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2010.”


Sunday’s raceday will also mark the retirement at the end of 2010 of Rob Fabricius, who steps down as Goodwood’s Managing Director after 28 years at the course. He will be succeeded by Adam Waterworth, who was formerly Managing Director at Doncaster Racecourse and joined the Goodwood team earlier this year.

Rod’s involvement with Goodwood will continue as he has been appointed a non-executive director of the racecourse.

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