The two feature races on the opening day of the July Meeting at Newmarket tomorrow, the £200,000 UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation Falmouth Stakes (Group 1) and the £70,000 Chippenham Lodge Stud Cherry Hinton Stakes (Group 2), have attracted top class fields of seven and eight respectively, while for the first time at this meeting all five of the supporting races have attracted maximum fields of twenty. In addition, seven runners will go to post for the top-class Arab Race, the President of the UAE Challenge Derby, which takes place at 12.50pm.
Michael Prosser, Newmarket's Clerk of the Course, said today: "This was the meeting that we identified four years ago when the new management team took over as the one with the greatest potential for growth. It had slipped behind the level of class and competitiveness of Britain's other big summer festivals, but I feel that we have really made an impact now thanks to a host of race upgrades, the reframing of several other races and major injections of prize money to increase the three day total by 66% over the last four years to well over £1m.
"The Falmouth and Cherry Hinton are both really strong races and to have maximum fields in tomorrow's three handicaps and two maidens is absolutely fantastic. It promises to be the start of a tremendous three days of racing on the July Course."
RECORD CROWD ASSURED
A record crowd for the opening day of the July Meeting is assured, with the Members' Enclosure already sold, the first time that this has happened on any day at the July Meeting. Overall attendance on Ladies' Day has increased year on year, from 7,388 in 2000 to 12,808 last year and that figure is set to increase substantially tomorrow.
"We are guaranteed a capacity crowd of 10,000 in the Members Enclosure, so we are set to smash last year's overall Ladies' Day record," said Lisa Hancock. "There is no problem with capacity in the Grandstand & Paddock and Family Enclosures and tickets will be on sale at the turnstiles tomorrow. While advance sales have also been good for Wednesday and Thursday, tickets for all three enclosures will be available on the day on both days."
Michael Prosser gave the following update at 1.30pm: "The track looks in great shape and the going remains Good after light drizzle this morning. Showers are forecast during this afternoon and evening which could amount to 4mm. Tomorrow morning promises to be dry, with rain forecast to come in mid-afternoon. The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday is unsettled."
MINUTE'S SILENCE FOR TOM HALLIDAY
There will be a minute's silence for Tom Halliday, the jump jockey who lost his life in a fall at Market Rasen yesterday, just prior to the first thoroughbred race at Newmarket tomorrow, due off at 1.20pm.
SUPERSTAR RAKTI SOLD TO STAND AT HUMA PARK STUD
Rakti, one of the greatest modern-day milers and a six-time Group 1 winner, will stand at Huma Park Stud in Co Kildare for the 2006 breeding season. Huma Park Stud has reached an agreement to purchase 100 percent of the horse.
The six-year-old is to be syndicated but will race in Gary Tanaka's colours for the remainder of this year with his three principal targets being the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on July 27, the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park on October 29 and the Grade 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on December 11, after which he will be retired to Huma Park Stud.
He boasts a racing record that few modern-day performers could rival, earning £1.85 million (2.7 million euros) in prize money so far during his glittering career.
At three he won the Group 1 Italian Derby when trained in Italy by Bruno Grizzetti and moved to Michael Jarvis the following year, when he enjoyed Group 1 successes in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, defeating an outstanding field that included Russian Rhythm, Alamshar and Nayef, and the Premio Presidente della Repubblica in Rome. He also finished runner-up to Nayef in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and to Falbrav in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
Last year he made a brilliant seasonal return when capturing the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and returned to Ascot later in 2004 to enjoy a further Group 1 victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, an effort described by the Racing Post as "a performance of complete authority." He was jointly rated the world's champion miler in the 2004 World Thoroughbred Rankings and was champion miler in the British Horseracing Board's 2004 Flat Awards.
But there was better still to come on his seasonal debut this year in the Group 1 Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May. Rakti strolled to an effortless five-length success and lowered the mile course record at Newbury by no less than 1.04 seconds. BBC television commentator Jim McGrath wrote in The Daily Telegraph that "it could well be the performance of the season." The victory prompted Rakti's vastly-experienced trainer Michael Jarvis to declare: "He's the best I've trained in 37 years."
On his most recent start, Rakti finished second to Valixir in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot at York.
Rakti, out of the Rainbow Quest mare Ragera (a daughter of the dual classic-placed Smageta), is by Polish Precedent and therefore a grandson of Danzig, the most successful modern-day sire of sires. Danzig's many successful stallion sons include Danehill, Green Desert, Chief's Crown and Anabaa.
Hubie de Burgh, joint-owner of Huma Park Stud, said today: "We are absolutely delighted to be standing Rakti at Huma Park Stud for the 2006 season. It is not often you get an opportunity to stand a horse who has won six Group 1 races (to date) and was the joint highest-rated miler in the world from the stallion-producing Danzig line. When I went to see him at Michael Jarvis's yard, I was immediately struck by his imposing looks. He is a truly outstanding racehorse with looks to match.
Marc de Chambure, de Burgh's partner in Huma Park Stud, added: "Rakti will be syndicated now although will race in Gary Tanaka's colours for the rest of the year. He has an exciting campaign ahead with his main targets being the Sussex Stakes, Breeders' Cup Mile and Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile, after which he will retire to Huma Park Stud."
TWO MEETINGS OF EVENING FUN AT SALISBURY IN JULY
Racegoers have two opportunities to enjoy some fun evening racing at Salisbury in July, with fixtures on Saturday, July 9 and Saturday, July 23. The two evenings are always popular, with an enticing mixture of good quality racing and fun for all members of the family.
This will be the second year that Salisbury's evening fixtures have both taken place on a Saturday. The move from their traditional Friday slot first took place last year and proved a great success.
Saturday, July 9 is LADIES EVENING at the racecourse, with a number of good quality prizes on offer for the best-dressed ladies, giving everyone the perfect opportunity to don their finest attire.
The evening features a six-race card with the added bonus of a race for Purebred Arabian horses, the EMIRATES ARABIAN APPRENTICE HANDICAP (6.05pm) over a mile and a quarter, which opens proceedings. On the thoroughbred side of the card, the richest race of the evening is the concluding £18,000-added EBF LADIES EVENING HANDICAP STAKES (9.05pm).
Action gets underway with the CARNARVON AMATEUR RIDERS' HANDICAP (6.35pm) followed by the £5,000-added PETER & SARAH GRUBB WEDDING ANNIVERSARY NOVICE AUCTION STAKES (7.05pm) over six furlongs. In 2004, the latter race fell to Ralph Beckett's Johnny Jumpup, who went on to be placed twice in Group Three company at Newbury and earlier this season finished runner-up in the Group Two German 2,000 Guineas at Cologne. The third race of the evening is the £6,500-added GEORGE SMITH HORSEBOXES EBF MAIDEN STAKES (7.35pm) followed by the £10,000-added SWATTON GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY HANDICAP (8.05pm) over a mile, which in 2004 was landed by Patrick Chamings' Take A Bow, who went on to finish runner-up in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket later in the season. Completing the July 9 card is the £5,000-added EDMUND NUTTALL HANDICAP (8.35pm).
On Saturday, July 23, the feature race of the evening is the £12,000-added CITY CABS SALISBURY FILLIES' HANDICAP (9.05pm) over seven furlongs.
Opening the evening is the £6,500-added FAMOUS GROUSE MAIDEN STAKES (6.05pm), a race which in 2002 fell to Zafeen, subsequently successful in the Group One St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2003.
Completing the action are the £7,500-added TISBURY GENERAL STORES MAIDEN STAKES (6.35pm), the £5,000-added AUTECNIQUE SAAB CLAIMING STAKES (7.05pm), the £5,000-added ACORN TAVERNS HANDICAP (7.35pm) and the £5,000-added SARAH McQUILLEN 30th BIRTHDAY HANDICAP (8.05pm).
Jeremy Martin, Clerk of the Course at Salisbury, said: "June was a very busy month here at Salisbury and it was a very special day when Lester Piggott opened the new Wiltshire Stand on June 23.
"The decision to move our two evening meetings to a Saturday proved hugely popular last season and we look forward to another two fun-filled nights in 2005 on July 9 and July 23."
Admission prices for both of the evenings are Members' Enclosure £18, Tattersalls Enclosure £11 and Course Enclosure £6, but reduced rates are available for all enclosures up to seven working days in advance. Accompanied children under 16 are admitted FREE and car parking is FREE. The gates open at 4.30pm on both days and a big screen showing all the action as well as full-colour racecards will be available, along with children's entertainments.
"GNER LADIES DAY" A SELL OUT IN MEMBERS
Doncaster Racecourse would like to announce that the Members Enclosure for GNER Ladies Day (Thursday, September 8) is sold out. (The Members Enclosure for Ladbrokes St Leger Day (Saturday, September 10) itself sold out last week).
However, tickets for the Grandstand and Family Enclosure are still readily available on both GNER Ladies Day and Ladbrokes St Leger Day.
Badges and Tickets (in all three enclosures) are still available for the first and third day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival (Wednesday, September 7 and Friday, September 9).
Ted Taylor, Managing Director of Doncaster Racecourse, said: "We've enhanced the quality of the prizes being offered for the winners of the Best Dressed Lady' competition this year and this has really raised the profile of the day resulting in healthy ticket sales."
The wonderful first prize is an Audi TT Convertible for a year, courtesy of Doncaster Audi. A panel of judges will select contestants during the day from all enclosures.
There are still a few Hospitality Packages available for the Saturday, however Ladies Day is now sold out.