Sunday, 8 July 2012
: Abu Dhabi Day at the Piper-Heidsieck July Festival at Newmarket, Friday July 13, promises superb racing with a host of Group One winners from Britain, Ireland and France among the six-day confirmations for the £160,000 Group One Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (3pm).
A total of 21 contenders have stood their ground for the mile contest, which gives the Classic generation of fillies their first chance to take on the older generation of the fairer sex at the highest level.
Outstanding miler Goldikova won the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes for France in 2009 and a strong challenge from across the Channel this year is set to include dual French Classic winner Golden Lilac, from the stable of legendary Chantilly handler Andre Fabre. The four-year-old looked better than ever on her latest start when readily beating Cirrus Des Aigles in the Group One Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp in May.
Fellow four-year-old Giofra will head to Newmarket in search of a first Group One success, but her Chantilly trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre is hopeful that the lightly-raced filly can progress to victory at the highest level.
The daughter of Dansili recorded an impressive win in the Group Two Prix d'Harcourt on her debut in Pattern company at Longchamp in April and was runner-up to Cirrus Des Aigles on unsuitably heavy ground in the Group One Prix Ganay at the same course later the same month.
Royer-Dupre commented: "Giofra is coming over to Newmarket. She will have a final gallop on Sunday (tomorrow) morning but she looks very well at the moment. We didn't run her in the Coral-Eclipse because of the possibility of soft ground and I would prefer to let her take her chance against her own sex.
"She is a very good filly and I expect her to handle the step down to a mile. It's a straight mile at Newmarket and I think that she has enough speed for the drop in distance. Christophe Soumillon will be riding her.
"I think that she has the ability to win a Group One - I don't know when it will happen, but she has that quality."
Further French interest could be provided by Group Two Prix Corrida third Siyouma, whose trainer Francois Doumen is chasing a first Group One success on the Flat in Britain to add to his numerous big-race wins over jumps in this country.
No Irish-trained filly or mare has been successful since Michael Cunningham sent over Rose Above to glory in 1979 and a total of six confirmations from Ireland include the Dermot Weld-trained Emulous, winner of the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in September, and dual Group Three scorer Alanza, representing John Oxx.
A quartet of three-year-olds from the all-conquering stable of Aidan O'Brien includes Maybe, successful in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes last term, Group Three Jersey Stakes winner Ishvana plus Up and After, who finished second and fourth respectively in the Group One Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp in May.
John Gosden has been enjoying an hugely successful summer and the Newmarket handler has three fillies going forward including recent Royal Ascot winners Fallen For You, winner of the Group One Coronation Stakes, and Group Two Windsor Forest Stakes heroine Joviality. The trainer may also be represented by Elusive Kate, who captured the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp in October.
Mick Channon could run Samitar, who gave the former England football international a first major Classic success in the Group One Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 27, while Sir Henry Cecil has engaged Chachamaidee, who went down by a neck to Joviality at Royal Ascot.
Other notable contenders going forward include the Coronation Stakes third Irish History, representing Godolphin handler Mahmood Al Zarooni, and the Ralph Beckett-trained Moonstone Magic, who was the decisive winner of a Group Three at Newbury in April before disappointing in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile on her latest start.
The confirmations are completed by Barefoot Lady, Beatrice Aurore, Clinical, Lay Time and Fillionaire.
A seven-race card on Abu Dhabi Day also features a pair of valuable contests over six furlongs - the £60,000 Group Two Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes (2.25pm) and the £100,000 Betfred 'The Bonus King' Heritage Handicap (1.50pm).
The Piper-Heidsieck July Festival starts on Thursday, July 12, Goldsmiths Ladies Day, and concludes on Saturday, July 14, Darley July Cup Day.