Arod seeking return to form in Celebration Mile

Arod defeated Lightning Spear last summer but has not won since

PICTURE: Getty Images Arod seeking return to form in Celebration Mile
By Mark Scully 11:58AM 25 AUG 2016

PETER CHAPPLE-HYAM hopes the bend in Goodwood's mile course will see Arod to best effect when the five-year-old lines up in Saturday's Group 2 Doom Bar Celebration Mile.

Arod faded out of contention when seen most revently in the Prix Jacques Le Marois – but the trainer feels conditions went against the Group 2 winner in Deauville.

The son of Teofilo remains on a losing run stretching back six starts to his Summer Mile success at Ascot in July 2015, a run that includes a trip to Australia to contest the Cox Plate, something Chapple-Hyam believes took its toll.

Speaking to At The Races, Chapple-Hyam also confirmed the cheekpieces Arod sported in France will not be retained this weekend.

"We were in a Group 1 and I thought I'd just try something different," he said.

"It didn't make too much difference though, he doesn't need those. He's a better horse round a bend too, so here's hoping.

"He seems very well, there have been no problems with him whatsoever. We've had an on-and-off year because my horses have been very sick but they're right now."

'What are we doing here?'

Chapple-Hyam said he had been pessimistic regarding the chances of Arod in the Prix Jacques Le Marois from the moment he saw ground staff watering the Deauville surface, with the entire most effective on faster ground.

"The key to him is the ground and we went over there expecting fast ground, because it had been 28 degrees all week," he said.

"I got there the day before and walking down to the track, I saw these two big tankers on there just haemorrhaging water all over the track.

"I just turned round, sat down and got myself a beer and talked to myself for a while, thinking 'what are we doing here?'"

Reflecting on his trip to Australia, Chapple-Hyam added: "It did [take a bit out of him]. He went a mile and a quarter in the Cox Plate and didn't stay.

"To run in a Cox Plate, it's like going to Chester and you really need a mile and a half horse because you get no chance to get a breather in. It took him a long time to recover."

Thikriyaat and Zonderland the dangers

Among Arod's rivals in Saturday's feature is Lightning Spear, a horse he defeated to win the Summer Mile last year but Chapple-Hyam is most concerned about the progressive Thikriyaat and the last-time-out Sovereign Stakes winner Zonderland.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Thikriyaat returns to Goodwood having landed the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes in July, having found only the subsequent Group 1 winner Ribchester too good in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

"The horse of Sir Michael's is a good horse, a progressive three-year-old," said Chapple-Hyam.

"Obviously Clive Cox's too, another one who's the same and they'll be the two you'd be worried about but we will see."

Arod was a general 7-1 outsider of the five runners in Saturday's race following Thursday's declarations, with Thikriyaatat 15-8, Zonderland at 5-2, Toormore a general 9-2 and Lightning Spear 6-1.

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