Thikriyaat’s ‘logical’ target
View from connections ahead of the Group Two Doom Bar Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday.
Thikriyaat(centre) returns to Goodwood for the Celebration Mile
Sir Michael Stoute is renowned for never over-facing his horses too early so the fact he was keen to supplement Thikriyaat for the Doom Bar Celebration Mile at Goodwood speaks volumes.
The Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned colt is progressing gradually in the style of a typical Stoute improver.
In five career starts – he only raced once as a juvenile – the Azamour gelding has met with defeat just one time, when second to subsequent Group One winner Ribchester in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After that defeat he went to Goodwood for the Thoroughbred Stakes and, as had looked likely at Ascot, he relished the step up to a mile in beating stablemate Forge.
Angus Gold, racing manager for Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "It looks like the logical next step and going through the race there are all the hardened types in there like Toormore and he (Thikriyaat) is a young gun coming through.
"At Ascot, he was crying out for a mile and in time I'm sure he'll stay 10 furlongs.
"He's a lovely horse in that all he wants to do is please you. He's not flashy in any way. He just does enough and is progressing very nicely.
"We're looking forward to it and it's the obvious race to go for. We also know he can handle the track."
The other three-year-old in the field is Clive Cox's Zonderland.
A fair sixth in the 2000 Guineas earlier in the season, he looked good when winning a Listed race at Sandown before finishing down the field in a Group One in France.
He got his career heading back in the right direction when winning the Group Three Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury last time out.
Cox is charting the same route as he did with Kodi Bear, successful in this race last year.
"He did it nicely at Salisbury and we are following the same route we did with Kodi Bear," said Cox.
"That is where the similarities end, though, as Kodi wants cut in the ground and this fellow wants top of the ground. They are two nice horses, though.
"He's progressing, and it was pleasing to see him do what he did at Salisbury.
"We've always thought he was a nice horse."
"He is in great form and has had a nice break since the Sussex. The form of that race has obviously turned out really well, with the third going on to win the Jacques le Marois at Deauville. I think Toormore should have an outstanding chance."
Peter Chapple-Hyam has endured a miserable summer as one of the Newmarket trainers affected by a virus.
He runs the Qatar Racing-owned Arod, who has not had much fortune since a spell in Australia last year and was never a factor in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on August 14.
"He seems very well, no problems whatsoever," Chapple-Hyam told At The Races.
"We've had an on-and-off year as my horses have been very, very sick, but I'm sure they're right now.
"The key to this horse is the ground, he hasn't been very healthy but he's 100 per cent now.
"We went to Deauville expecting fast ground as it was 28C all week. Then when I got there the day before I saw two big tankers haemorrhaging water all over the track and so I turned right, got a beer and asked myself what we were doing there.
"We've left the cheekpieces off. We only put them on last time as it was a Group One and we tried something different.
"Going to Australia and over a mile and a quarter took a lot out of him. It took him a while to recover.
"Sir Michael's and Clive's look progressive, they are the two to be worried about.
"He's a better horse round a bend, so here's hoping."
Representing the same owners is David Simcock's Lightning Spear, with the field completed by Toormore, who must concede weight to the other four runners.
The latter's trainer Richard Hannon told www.godolphin.com: "The Celebration Mile looks a nice race for Toormore.
"He is in great form and has had a nice break since the Sussex Stakes.
"The form of that race has obviously turned out really well, with the third Ribchester going on to win the Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
"I think Toormore should have an outstanding chance on Saturday."