Thursday, July 29, 2010

Richard Hughes leads the Goodwood race: Canford Cliffs makes it three Group I races in row

Richard Hughes has ridden five winners in the first three cards of the five-day Glorious Goodwood meeting. Hughes is the second choice in the market to be leading jockey at Goodwood. On Tuesday, he connected with Zebedee, a 2-1 favorite and Martyr, a 7-1 chance. Ryan Moore, the 11/10 chalk to win the jockeys’ race had one winner. Kieren Fallon rode one winner.

The Group I Sussex Stakes on Wednesday at Goodwood was won by Canford Cliffs, trained by Richard Hannon. Hughes was the rider and he also struck with King Torus, a 11-4 chance, in the Group II Vintage Stakes. Ryan Moore had two winners, Verdant, a 5-1 chance and Dance East, the 7-4 favorite.

Thursday’s racing saw Hughes win one race and take his meeting tally to five. He steered Kalahaas, a Richard Hannon trainee and a 9-2 chance, to victory in a maiden event for fillies. Kieren Fallon was successful aboard Borderlescott in the Group II King George Stakes over 1000 metres.

Let us take a look at the Goodwood action. The Sussex win gave Canford Cliffs, a Tegula sophomore, his third consecutive Group I win. Closing with a rush, Canford Cliffs caught Rip Van Winkle close home. The latter was defending his Sussex title.

Encompassing, Colm O’Donoghue up and a 200-1 outsider, set out on a strong gallop. Rip Van Winkle tracked his stablemate. Canford Cliffs stayed covered up and was fifth and in striking range. Ryan Moore on Rip Van Winkle drew first blood. The Aidan O’Brien pupil ran past Encompassing and took a two or three-length lead with 300 metres to run. Hughes switched to the out and put Canford Cliffs in top gear. Rip Van Winkle in full fight and Ryan Moore on the lead and the situation must have caused a moment or two of anxiety to the supporters of Canford Cliffs. In the waning yards, it became clear that Canford Cliffs would not be denied.

The time was 1 37.44 for the 1600-metre trip. Canford Cliffs was the 4/6 favorite. At places, you could get 7/10. That was the fifth win in eight career starts for Canford Cliffs who is by Tegula out of Mrs Marsh by Marju. The winning margin was a neck. The race was worth 179,677 pounds to the winning connections.

Richard Hannon told his website. “He’s the best I have trained. He is the complete package. His ability to quicken is what sets him apart from other horses.”

Jockey Hughes paid a compliment to his mount. “I could not sleep Tuesday worrying what the Ballydoyle tactics (Encompassing and Rip Van Winkle) would be. When I left the gate, I was confident. I let Canford Cliffs take me where I wanted. I told the boss (Hannon) that he ( C Cliffs) had improved seven to 10 pounds since Royal Ascot.”

Prix Moulin on September 25 at Longchamp is an option for Canford Cliffs. Another is the Q E II Cup at Ascot on September 25. Richard Hannon has indicated that there are offers from breeding establishments but he is keen to race Canford Cliffs as a four year-old.

Wednesday's races at Goodwood brought more glory to the Hannon-Hughes team. The Grade II Vintage Stakes over 1400 metres resulted in a runaway win for King Torus. A freshman, King Torus, a 11-4 chance ran the 1400-metres in 1 27.13 seconds.

Jockey Hughes said, "I have never finished that fast on a two year-old at Goodwood. That was impressive."

Here is more news about Eastern Aria. The Mark Johnston-trained filly was a winner at Newmarket on July 17. It was a listed race and the distance was 2400 metres. Eastern Aria did not have too many friends at 7-1.

On Thursday at Goodwood, Eastern Aria, again ridden by Richard Hills, was in Group company in the Hennessy Fillies' Stakes. She was dismissed at 16-1 because she had a lot more on her plate. The distance was 2800 metres and Eastern Aria won by two and three quarter lengths in 2 58.05. By Halling out of Badraan who is by Danzing, Eastern Aria has Indian connections. Sharan Kumar had a story about this recently in Racingpulse.

The Artemis Goodwood Cup over 3200 metres was run on Thursday. Age of Aquarius, touched off in the Ascot Gold Cup, was the odds on favorite. John Murtagh, after serving a suspension, went to the front with the Coolmore flagbearer. With 800 metres left, Age of Aquarius was going along when tragedy struck. Age of Aquarius was eased and Murtagh got off. It was revealed that there was ligament damage below the front right fetlock. According to the Racing Post, Age of Aquarius was taken back to Ireland with his leg supported by a splint.

Victory went to Illustrious Blue, Jim Crowley up, who ran down Electrolyser in the final furlong. An 8-1 chance, Illustrious Blue is trained by William Knight who stated, "he is one of the best stayers. Goodwood is his favorite course and there are other races here in the agenda."

Here is a paragraph about Galway in Ireland. C D Hayes rode Ask Jack, 9-1, to victory on Tuesday. Pat Smullen, favored to be leading rider, had two winners. Zaminast at 4-1 and Parlour at 4/5 were his winners.

Wednesday saw jockey Smullen get another two winners. Rock Critic won at 7/2 and Unaccompanied clicked at 13/8.

Joe O'Brien, Aidan O'Brien's son, got a riding double on Thursday. Luttrell Lady, a 9/2 chance, won for Joseph who got his second winner with the 25/1 Dusty Trail. Joe O'Brien has three winners so far at Galway. In the 'jumps' department, Paul Towend is in the lead with two winners.

Goldikova will be in action this Sunday at Deauville. She heads the nine-runner field in the Prix Rothscild over a straight mile at France's premier summer course. Three others from the Werteimer Brothers camp are also in the field. Music Show and Rainfall, first and third in Newmarket;s Falmouth, oppose the brilliant French miler.

Rene Douglas was one of the top riders in North America. He was paralyzed in a spill at Arlington Park in May 2009. Douglas was on a visit to Panama. He was impressed by a two year old and he bought the young colt in partnership with other friends. Golden Moka, three for three in Panama, was making his fourth career appearance in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on Sunday. Fort Erie is in Canada and near Niagara Falls. The 1900-metre Prince of Wales is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. A Golden Missile colt, Golden Moka, ridden by Anthony Stephen, a name Indian fans should readily recognize, disputed the lead with Mobil Unit and drew clear in the lane to win by two and three quarter lengths. A 10-1 chance, Golden Moka timed 1 56.45 seconds. The Prince of Wales Stakes carried a purse of $482,600. Big Red Mike, winner of the Queen's Plate, finished third.

Jockey Douglas is determined to walk again. His recovery has been slowed by complications. He was leading rider several times at Arlington Park.

Last Sunday at Saratoga, jockey Javier Castellano rode five winners in a row. This is the third time that the 32 year-old Castellano has had five winners at Saratoga. Yawkey Way was the first winner at $7.60. Cody Samora was the second at $3.80. Desert Key, the third winner, returned $8.80. The fourth winner was Fiddler's Chaparito who paid $5.10. Stand Proud, the fifth winner, was away slowly and moved from last to first in the stretch. A $2.00 win ticket paid $27.00.

Jockey Catellano spoke. "It is so amazing. I am so thankful and blessed. I appreciate all the trainers that give me support and they got a lot of confidence in me."

The other jockeys who have ridden five winners at Saratoga are, John Velasquez, Jerry Bailey, Ron Turcotte, Julie Krone, Angel Cordero, Jr and Mike Smith.

Here are the big races coming up this weekend. The Nassau Stakes is Goodwood's feature on Saturday. Sir Henry Cecil's Mid Day is a tepid favorite.

Saratoga hosts the Grade II Jim Dandy on Saturday. Fly Down, who won the Dwyer and ran second in the Belmont Stakes, is the 3-1 choice in the $500,000 event.
The other big race at Saratoga that day is the Grade I Diana. Forever Together, two-time defending champion, heads the field. Seven will go. Maram, the 2008 BC Juvenile Turf winner, will take her chances. Proviso, one-time top freshman filly in France, will also line up.

Sunday at Saratoga is another special day. The big contest is the Grade I Ruffian Invitational. The purse is $250,000. A field of six is likely. The winner of the Ruffian gets a berth in the BC Ladies' Classic. Unrivaled Belle, who beat Rachel Alexandra in Churchills's La Troienne, is fancied.

Monmouth Park will feature the million-dollar Haskell Invitational at week's end. Super Saver, the Kentucky Derby hero, will take on Lookin At Lucky, the Preakness winner. Ice Box, second in the Derby and the beaten chalk in the Belmont Stakes, is in. First Dude and Trappe Shot, a promising entrant to the sophomore ranks, will be there too.

Thistledown (Cleveland, Ohio) will have the 76th running of the Grade III Ohio Derby. It is over 1700 metres on the main track and the purse is $100,000. Pleasant Prince, a loser in a photo in the Florida Derby, is the 6-5 morning line favorite. Alex Solis will ride. Wordly, second in Churchill's Northern Dancer Stakes, is a contender and will have the services of Luis Antonio Gonzalez, top Thistledown reinsman. Shane Sellers rides Dixie Band who at two, won the Arlington Washington Futurity and the Spectacular Bid at the Chicago thoroughbred track.

Last Tuesday at Presque Isle Downs, the 3/10 favorite, Informed Decision made it all in the 1600-metre $100,000 Windward. Julien Leparoux and Informed Decision made it all. The fractions were soft. The time was 1 38.53 seconds. Presque Isle Downs is in Pennsylvania. There is a Casino and a great dining area. I was there last August and had a great time.

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard commented. "I am very happy. It was not a blowout but very workmanlike and authoritative."

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