Qatar Goodwood Festival all set for a glorious start

July 28, 2015 8:02 am
Trainer Richard Hannon feels the drop in grade gives Toormore an excellent chance at winning The Qatar Lennox Stakes.

Trainer Richard Hannon feels the drop in grade gives Toormore an excellent chance at winning The Qatar Lennox Stakes.

The first edition of Qatar Goodwood Festival is all set to get underway to a glorious start at the magnificent Goodwood Racecourse in Hampshire, England, today. The five-day festival will witness top class racing action with the best Thoroughbreds in the world competing for top honours.
Qatar signed a 10-year partnership with Goodwood Racecourse, which is the single biggest sponsorship deal ever done for the benefit of British racing. Commencing in 2015, this makes the Qatar Goodwood Festival one of the most significant and valuable meetings in the world.
The partnership results in over £2 million being invested into prize money for eight key races during the Qatar Goodwood Festival 2015 as well as a commitment to increase this year-on-year. Total prize money on offer for the week now totals £4.5 million, with Qatar once again demonstrating their passion and support for British racing.
The Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes, scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, has a total prize fund of £1 million cementing its position as one of the most valuable mile races in the world.
The Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, the feature race on the Saturday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival is now worth £600,000, making it the most significant mid-summer race for fillies.
Each Group II feature race, the Qatar Lennox Stakes, the Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Qatar King George Stakes are now worth £300,000, recognising their recent records for attracting some of the best horses at their respective distances. In addition, Qatar has guaranteed that if any current Group II race achieves Group I status, the prize money will rise to at least £500,000.
Other races to benefit from increased prize money are the two Group II races for two-year-olds, The Qatar Vintage Stakes and The Qatar Richmond Stakes, each of which will run for £200,000, supporting their status as the proving grounds for future champions.
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup is the headline handicap of the week with prize money now totalling £250,000 and as part of this uplift, the consolation race rises to £75,000. This is a perfect example of how strongly Goodwood and Qatar feel about supporting racing at all levels.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, The Qatar Goodwood Cup and The Qatar Nassau Stakes will remain part of the QIPCO British Champion Series.

PURE ARABIAN TRIPLE CROWN

The highlight of the race meetings would be the launch of the Triple Crown, which will have the best Pure Arabians in the world matching strides with each other in the first leg of the championship.
The Triple Crown will feature a bonus of USD $1,000,000 for the winner of three of the world’s most prestigious Arabian races, beginning with the inaugural running of the £400,000 Qatar Harwood International Stakes on Saturday, the concluding day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. The second leg will be the Qatar Arabian World Cup in Paris in October, followed by HH The Emir’s Sword in Doha in March 2016.
This represents a major development in the global promotion of Arabian racing, linking three major festivals and strengthening the alliance with European racing. With American Pharoah having won the Triple Crown of American racing, one could hope one of the Pure Arabians goes on to win the championship which is quite difficult but not impossible.
The Qatar Lennox Stakes is the feature event of the opening day’s races. The £300,000 prize money event has attracted 10 top class Thoroughbreds. Trainer Richard Hannon has two contenders in Toormore and Tupi, which go into the contest with outstanding chances.
Hannon feels the drop in grade gives Toormore an excellent chance of returning to winning ways.  The four-year-old runs in the Godolphin blue for the first time having been sold by Middleham Park Racing earlier this month.
His last three runs have been at Group I level and he has performed creditably each time, most recently when fourth behind Solow in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
With wins in the Richmond Stakes at two and a narrow defeat in this race last year under his belt, he has vital course form in the book.
Hannon also has a strong second string to his bow in Tupi, twice winner at Listed level this season and not far behind Dutch Connection in the Jersey Stakes.
“Toormore has been to Goodwood twice, winning the Vintage Stakes as a two-year-old and being beaten only a neck in this race last year, and previous experience of this track is always a help,” Hannon said.
“The rain won’t be a problem for him either as the ground was very testing when he bounced back to run a blinder in finishing third in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, and I have been really pleased how well he has run in his two races this year, a close second in the Lockinge and another good effort in the Queen Anne at the Royal meeting, where he was only beaten three lengths by Solow.
“Dropping down a grade must give Toormore an excellent chance here, and it would be great if he could click first time up in the blue of Godolphin.
“However, our other runner Tupi would also be in with a shout. He ran well at Royal Ascot in between winning twice in lesser grade at Newmarket, and remember he did finish second to Highland Reel in the Vintage at this meeting 12 months ago.”
Also running in Godolphin blue is Safety Check for trainer Charlie Appleby, although he faces a stiff task giving away upwards of 4lb to all of his rivals due to two Group II wins in Dubai, where he was unbeaten in three runs and is having his first run since the Carnival.
“He was our flagbearer in Dubai,” said Appleby.
“The positives for him are that he’s handled Goodwood before and seven furlongs is his ideal trip. On the negative side he’s carrying a penalty, though that is for a reason, and the ground is a concern. We will be keeping an eye on it and will see how it rides for the first two races as he likes it quick.”
“After this we’ll be looking towards the Hungerford in a couple of weeks as his penalty there will be less.”

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