TWO WEEKS TO LIFT OFF FOR THE RITZ CLUB JULY FESTIVAL
Newmarket's Ritz Club July Festival (Wednesday 12th to Friday 14th July), which promises three days of top class racing on the picturesque July Course, is just two weeks away and already the big races have all the makings of top class contests. With well over £1 million on offer in prize money over the three days, many of the country's flat racing stars will be heading for Newmarket's big summer event as the entries for two of the races reveal today.
In addition to the racing, there will be all the glamour of Ladies' Day on the opening afternoon, the Classic FM concert on the Thursday starring the brilliant young singer, Hayley Westenra, and all the sparkle of Darley July Cup Day on the Friday, when the star Australian sprinter Takeover Target will be looking to sign off in style from his British tour.
TREBLE-SEEKING SOVIET HEADS 36 FOR FALMOUTH STAKES
The £200,000 UAE Equestrian And Racing Federation Falmouth Stakes, run at Newmarket on Wednesday, July 12, the opening day of the Ritz Club July Festival, has attracted a top class 36-strong entry.
The mile contest for fillies and mares aged three and upwards, upgraded to Group One status in 2004, has been won by some star performers in recent seasons, and this year's renewal could see Soviet Song bid for a remarkable and unprecedented third successive victory.
A brilliant winner in 2004, where she defeated the previously unbeaten Attraction, the James Fanshawe-trained mare followed up last year, coming home two and a half lengths clear of Alexander Goldrun, again displaying her potent turn of foot.
The popular six-year-old showed she retained all her ability with a comfortable two-length defeat of Echelon in the Group Two Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, with Royal Alchemist, Zayn Zen, Luas Line, Violet Park, Bon Nuit, Chantilly Beauty and Astronomia strung out behind.
Musicanna could also represent last year's winning trainer, looking for a fourth straight victory after Macadamia triumphed in 2003, while Alexander Goldrun, trained by Jim Bolger, could turn out again and is one of five Irish-trained entries, hoping for a first win in the contest since Rose Above triumphed in 1979.
Last year's third Peeress took the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury this season and along with Echelon and Wasseema could represent Sir Michael Stoute, who has claimed the race four times with Royal Heroine (1983), Sonic Lady (1986 & 1987) and Lovers Knot (1998).
The Stan James 1000 Guineas heroine Speciosa, trained by Pam Sly, could bid to become the first filly to follow up in the Falmouth since Waterloo took both Newmarket contests in 1972, while Nannina, impressive when landing the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, could run for John Gosden, who secured the prize in 1997 with Ryafan.
Flashy Wings, trained by Mick Channon, ran a fine second that day and may seek revenge, along with stablemate Silver Touch, while the likes of Nasheej, Race For The Stars, Rajeem, Silca's Sister, Vague, Nantyglo and Mostaqeleh could also bid to turn around the Coronation Stakes form.
The Pascal Bary-trained Price Tag, a disappointing eighth in the Coronation Stakes, finished first past the post in the French 1,000 Guineas only to be disqualified and placed third behind fellow entrants Tie Black and Impressionnante, the last-named trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, who struck with Ronda in 1999. Chantilly Beauty from the Rupert Pritchard-Gordon stable completes the four-strong French challenge.
Other interesting contenders include the Michael Bell-trained Red Evie, who made it five out of five for the season when taking the Listed Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot, Queen Cleopatra, in the care of Ballydoyle supremo Aidan O'Brien, who was third to Confidential Lady in the French Oaks at Chantilly last time, and Star Cluster, trained by Henry Cecil, who has won the race twice with Chalon (1982) and Chimes Of Freedom (1990).
UAE EQUESTRIAN & RACING FEDERATION FALMOUTH STAKES
Class 1, Group 1, £200,000 Total Prize Fund. For 3yo+ fillies & mares, Newmarket, Wednesday, July 12, 2006. 1m. Weights: 3yo 8st 10lb; 4yo+ 9st 5lb.Entries closed June 21, entries revealed June 28 (36 entries), five-day confirmation stage & £15,000 supplementary entry stage July 7, final declaration stage, 10.00am, July 10. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys & correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, June 25, 2006.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
3300-52 ALEXANDER GOLDRUN (IRE) 5 Miriam O'Callaghan Jim Bolger IRE
4124-50 ASTRONOMIA (NZ) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
44-0551 BAHIA BREEZE 4 S Balfour Rae Guest
520-(0)40 BON NUIT (IRE) 4 Howard Spooner Geoff Wragg
546-033 CAPE COLUMBINE 4 Mrs R F Lowe David Elsworth
4100-20 CHANTILLY BEAUTY (FR) 4 Robert Ng Rupert Pritchard-Gordon FR
141-112 ECHELON 4 Cheveley Park Stud Sir Michael Stoute
1123-02 FLASHY WINGS 3 Jaber Abdullah Mick Channon
41-121 IMPRESSIONNANTE 3 Wertheimer et Frere Carlos Laffon-Parias FR
1160-45 LUAS LINE (IRE) 4 Evie Stockwell David Wachman IRE
3-133 MAKDERAH (IRE) 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum Marcus Tregoning
311-520 MOSTAQELEH (USA) 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum John Dunlop
1113-02 MUSICANNA 5 Whatton Manor Stud/Ne'er Do Wells III James Fanshawe
5311-01 NANNINA 3 Cheveley Park Stud John Gosden
330-100 NANTYGLO 3 Usk Valley Stud Michael Bell
13-1303 NASHEEJ (USA) 3 Malih L Al Basti Richard Hannon
1314-14 PEERESS 5 Cheveley Park Stud Sir Michael Stoute
515-330 PRICE TAG 3 Khalid Abdulla Pascal Bary FR
5-24133 QUEEN CLEOPATRA (IRE) 3 Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
011-044 RACE FOR THE STARS (USA) 3 Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
11-(0)505 RAJEEM 3 Saeed Manana Clive Brittain
0-11111 RED EVIE (IRE) 3 Terry Neill Michael Bell
23-(1)233 ROYAL ALCHEMIST 4 The Ridgeway Partnership Mark Usher
141-310 SHORT DANCE (USA) 3 Khalid Abdulla Barry Hills
511-46 SILCA'S SISTER 3 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
10 SILVER TOUCH (IRE) 3 Jaber Abdullah Mick Channon
6/312-41 SOVIET SONG (IRE) 6 Elite Racing Club James Fanshawe
31-1140 SPECIOSA (IRE) 3 Michael Sly, Dr Tom Davies. Pam Sly Pam Sly
1-24 STAR CLUSTER 3 Khalid Abdulla Henry Cecil
21-1311 TIE BLACK (IRE) 3 J Gispert Francois Rohaut FR
4321-30 UGO FIRE (IRE) 3 Norman Ormiston Kevin Prendergast IRE
224-(1)(1)0 VAGUE (USA) 3 Paul Reddam Jeremy Noseda
202-(2)16 VIOLET PARK 5 Mrs J Cash Brian Meehan
11223-6 VIOLETTE 3 C G Rowles Nicholson Sir Mark Prescott
3-01 WASSEEMA (USA) 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum Sir Michael Stoute
5(1)(4)-034 ZAYN ZEN 4 Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Michael Jarvis
CLASSY ENTRY OF 30 FOR PRINCESS OF WALES'S STAKES
A total of 30 high class horses have been entered for the £90,000 Princess of Wales's wbx.com Stakes, run at Newmarket on Thursday, July 13, the second day of the Ritz Club July Festival.
The Group Two contest, run over 12 furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards, has been won by some top-notch performers in recent seasons. This year looks like a cracking renewal and the race is generously support by wbx.com, the new the international betting exchange which will offer betting opportunities on a range of sporting events across the globe.
Godolphin has yet to land this famous event but looks to hold a strong hand with six entries, headed by Electrocutionist, the impressive winner of the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba in March and a fine second to Ouija Board in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier this month.
Shawanda and Pinson, both yet to race for Godolphin, showed progressive form last season when trained in France. The former secured a Group One double and was last seen finishing sixth to Hurricane Run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, while the latter landed a Group Two event at Deauville. Guadalajara, Pictavia and Perfectperformance complete the team.
Sir Michael Stoute made it a fifth win in the race with Gamut last year and is responsible for the trio of Maraahel, Mountain High and Hard Top, who all contested the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, where Maraahel came out best.
Bandari, victorious in 2004, could go again for trainer Mark Johnston, whose six entries also include Soapy Danger and Linas Selection, successful in the Queen's Vase and King George V Stakes respectively at Royal Ascot, and Atlantic Waves, bidding to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Epsom Derby last time.
John Dunlop, who took the honours in 1995 with Beauchamp Hero and in 2002 and 2003 with Millenary, could saddle Munsef, while John Gosden, trainer of 1997 victor Shantou, has last year's second Day Flight entered.
Ireland supplies four entries including Heliostatic, trained by Jim Bolger, who last struck gold for the Irish with Desert Team in 1993. Aidan O'Brien has entered Ascot Gold Cup hero Yeats and the consistent Ace, while Noel Meade has Arch Rebel, successful twice in Listed company this season, engaged.
Other fascinating contenders are the Geoff Wragg-trained Dragon Dancer, runner-up to Sir Percy in the Derby at Epsom, and who is entered along with stable companion Ivy Creek, and Petrovich, trained by Jeremy Noseda, who finished a close second in the Listed Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Enforcer ran a fine third for trainer William Muir in both the Vodafone Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs and the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, with connections nominating this contest a possible target after his latest start.
PRINCESS OF WALES'S wbx.com STAKES
Class 1, Group 2, £90,000 Total Prize Fund. For 3yo+, Newmarket, Thursday, July 13, 2006. 1m 4f. Weights: 3yo colts & geldings 8st 3lb; fillies 8st. 4yo+ colts & geldings 9st 2lb; fillies 8st 13lb. Penalties: after September 1, 2005, a winner of a Group 2 race 3lb; of a Group 1 race 5lb (races won at 2yo not to count for penalties). Entries closed June 21, entries revealed June 28 (30 entries), five-day confirmation stage July 8, final declaration stage, 10.00am, July 12. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys & correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, June 25, 2006.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
432-240 ACE (IRE) 5 Sue.Magnier, Michael.Tabor,Mrs Harry .McCalmont Aidan O'Brien IRE
33/0-141 ARCH REBEL (USA) 5 Pat Garvey Noel Meade IRE
15-10 ATLANTIC WAVES (IRE) 3 Jaber Abdullah Mark Johnston
21-6330 BAAN (USA) 3 Hamdan Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
124-360 BANDARI (IRE) 7 Hamdan Al Maktoum Mark Johnston
212-124 DAY FLIGHT 5 Khalid Abdulla John Gosden
0-(3)222 DRAGON DANCER 3 Jeff Pearce Geoff Wragg
113-(1)(1)2 ELECTROCUTIONIST (USA) 5 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
1-64533 ENFORCER 4 D G Clarke & C L A Edginton William Muir
6/21600- FRANKLINS GARDENS 6 Maggie Barwell Mark Tompkins
5265-62 GLISTENING 4 P Makin, G Peterson & O Glenn Luca Cumani
11123-6 GUADALAJARA (GER) 5 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
115-055 HARD TOP (IRE) 4 Ballymacoll Stud Sir Michael Stoute
51-1203 HAZEYMM (IRE) 3 Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum Mick Channon
3102-13 HEARTHSTEAD WINGS 4 Hearthstead Homes Ltd Mark Johnston
21-2061 HELIOSTATIC (IRE) 3 Jackie Bolger Jim Bolger IRE
1126 IVY CREEK (USA) 3 Mollers Racing Geoff Wragg
041-211 LINAS SELECTION 3 Renata Jacobs Mark Johnston
33-(6)311 MARAAHEL (IRE) 5 Hamdan Al Maktoum Sir Michael Stoute
140-122 MOUNTAIN HIGH (IRE) 4 Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor Sir Michael Stoute
113-220 MUNSEF 4 Hamdan Al Maktoum John Dunlop
12110/5- PERFECTPERFORMANCE (USA) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
12 PETROVICH (USA) 3 Michael Tabor Jeremy Noseda
300322- PICTAVIA (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
211110- PINSON (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
111116- SHAWANDA (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
(1)21211 SOAPY DANGER 3 Renata Jacobs Mark Johnston
21046-1 YEATS (IRE) 5 Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle Aidan O'Brien IRE
031-130 YOUMZAIN (IRE) 3 Jaber Abdullah Mick Channon
RECORD ATTENDANCES AT ROYAL ASCOT AS ATR ATTRACTS ALMOST 800,000 VIEWERS ACROSS THE WEEK
At The Races, the UK and Ireland's most watched horseracing channel, capped an impressive week at Royal Ascot with 789,559 different individuals tuning into the channel during the period.
As the Royal Meeting drew record attendances on three of the five festival days, At The Races' broadcast recorded a 5% increase in BARB rated audiences over last year's Royal Ascot at York despite the significant impact of the World Cup on ratings performance.
At The Races is also pleased to report excellent feedback on the trial launch of ATR Active, the channel's enhanced interactive service. Throughout the meeting Sky digital viewers had access to a second uninterrupted channel feed, ATR Xtra, that provided live, dedicated parade ring coverage with commentary and followed the horses going to post. The successful trial of ATR Active during the Royal meeting augurs well for a full launch with further functionality in September.
A Royal Ascot microsite also helped attheraces.com achieve record traffic during the meeting with page views up 51% and visits up 61% versus 2005. The site was visited by a total 441,000 unique users in the 31 day period, 25 May to 24 June.
At The Races broadcast all 30 races from Royal Ascot live with six races shown exclusively. A daily highlights programme also rounded up the action every evening at 10pm.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of At The Races, said:
"We are delighted that such a significant number of people tuned into ATR last week to enjoy the excellent coverage provided for the Royal Meeting. Thanks must go to our award-winning production team and presenters, not just for what they achieved last week but also for the work they put into the features and profiles broadcast in the weeks leading up to Royal Ascot. We were all treated to a magnificent five days of high quality Flat racing from a breathtaking setting and our excellent audience numbers and website traffic only goes to reinforce the enduring popularity of the Royal Meeting."
NEWMARKET WILL NOT SHOW ENGLAND'S WORLD CUP GAME ON SATURDAY
Cambridgeshire Constabulary have announced that they will not be providing a "pro-active police presence" for the screening of the final rounds of the World Cup at major public events throughout the county and as a result England's World Cup quarter final against Portugal will not now be shown at Newmarket's July Course during racing there this Saturday afternoon, July 1, nor will the Germany vs Argentina and Ukraine vs Italy quarter finals on Friday evening, June 30. While the NatWest Rowley Mile is in Suffolk, the July Course is just over the border in Cambridgeshire.
Gary Tate, Newmarket's Finance Director who is standing in for Managing Director, Lisa Hancock, while she is on maternity leave, said: "Cambridgeshire police have made it clear to all major venues in the county that they will not provide any police cover if they show the football on either large or small screens and we feel that it would be irresponsible for a major racecourse to stage a raceday without any police presence.
"We have a good working relationship with Cambridgeshire police and accept their stance. We would like to apologise to anyone who was hoping to watch the football here this weekend and will now be endeavouring to alert as many of our racegoers as possible. We will of course keep people updated on the score over the public address system.
"Looking on the positive side, the July Course will be the place to be for anyone who wants an enjoyable, football-free Friday evening or Saturday afternoon this weekend - they may be in a minority, but I suspect there are quite a few of them out there! And I'm sure there are many more who would struggle to cope with another uninspiring England performance, so our message to them is to come here and enjoy some quality racing on the picturesque July Course and, if England play well and win, you can watch the highlights at home later!"