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Tuesday, June 29, 2004


James Given is aiming Summitville at the 100,000 bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday (July 3), although the Lincolnshire trainer is hoping that rain stays away from the North-West course during the next few days.

"The bet365 Lancashire Oaks would be the intention for Summitville subject to having conditions to suit her - it will depend what the weather does this week as we're pretty certain she does not like soft ground," he said.

"We've run her a couple of times now on loosish ground and, as she's a big long-striding filly, if she can't have faith in her footing then she loses confidence and she doesn't enjoy it."

Last season Summitville was third in the Vodafone Oaks at Epsom and the Yorkshire Oaks at York, both Group One races. In the former, she went down by three-quarters of a length to Casual Look and then stayed on strongly to finish four lengths adrift of Islington in the Yorkshire Oaks.

This term the four-year-old Grand Lodge filly has been placed in two Group Three events including in the Noblesse Stakes at Naas on June 16, when just finding Danelissima, who has also been entered here, half a length too powerful.

"Summitville came out of Naas a little bit stiff - the ground was pretty quick that day and she was lumping a fair old weight. She seems in good heart and we're looking forward to the rest of the season," said the Lincolnshire-based handler.

Given feels that Summitville's performance in Ireland was a fair run although he is disappointed that his filly continues to run well without winning.

"I can't be disappointed with Summitville but you do get frustrated. We not only had weight for age in Ireland, which was obvious, but there was also a 3lb penalty which was a hangover from her win as a two-year-old," he explained.

"A purist handicapper would tell you that a 3lb penalty would have made the difference between winning and losing at Naas beaten half a length. Things haven't been particularly in our filly's favour but when we get to the Lancashire Oaks and other races, there will be no penalties for her."

There are 12 other fillies in the Group Two bet365 Lancashire Oaks including Godolphin's Echoes In Eternity, the winner of a Group Two event at Newmarket on her final start last year, the Marcus Tregoning-trained Sahool, the one and a half length runner-up to Punctilious in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, and New Morning, trained by Michael Jarvis, who was fourth in the same event.

While soft ground would not assist Summitville, Given believes a bit of cut will suit his two possibles for the 70,000 bet365 Old Newton Cup on the same card, Crow Wood and Grampian.

They are two of 24 entries which have been received for the historic mile and a half handicap including the Barry Hills-trained Trust Rule.

"The bet365 Old Newton Cup is a possibility for Trust Rule," today revealed Joe Mercer, racing manager for Abdulla Buhaleeba, owner of the four-year-old Selkirk colt.

Trust Rule finished 10th behind Wunderwood in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot on June 19 and last season he was victorious twice plus being placed on seven further occasions.

Connections believe that their charge was unsuited by the fast ground prevailing at Royal Ascot.

"Trust Rule didn't really like the firm ground at Ascot - he just wasn't letting himself go," explained Mercer. "It was very firm for him there and he didn't travel very well.

"I assure you that he was very disappointing there as I thought he had a big chance of winning the race. Let's hope he can bounce back at Haydock."

Another likely runner is the Mark Johnston-trained Fort, owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Lyric Fantasy Syndicate.

Kirkland Tellwright, the clerk of the course at Haydock, revealed the current going as: "Good". He added: "The current weather forecast is unsettled and I think the probability is that we will be good or on the easier side of good ground on Saturday."

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