2019 Celebration Mile tips – Haggas’ 9/4 charge can get back to winning ways with Group Two success at Goodwood
Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to the big race field for Saturday’s Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
While much of Saturday’s attention will be focussed on York and the conclusion of the Ebor Festival meeting, it is perhaps easy to overlook the fact that there is some classy horse racing action going to post elsewhere in the afternoon at Goodwood where the Sussex track stages the latest renewal of the Celebration Mile.
This cracking Group Two prize gets underway at 2.05pm as the second race of the afternoon at Goodwood, and a £75,000-plus first prize will see six winners face the starter over one mile of the Sussex downs.
The ill-fated Beat The Bank won this contest twelve months ago, while dual-winner Lightning Spear, Poet’s Voice and Raven’s Pass are other notable winners of this contest from recent years.
The latest renewal forms part of ITV Racing’s Saturday coverage, and Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at the big race field for Goodwood’s weekend feature race.
Mark Johnston is always to be respected with runners here, and the Middleham trainer sends his Nyaleti (12/1, Ladbrokes) to the Sussex venue where the Arch filly will be hoping to get back on track.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan for her since she won over course and distance in last seasons’ Conquerer Stakes, and she is proving hard to win with although her sights have been kept high throughout.
She spent the second half of last season globe-trotting, taking in races at Arlington, Keeneland and Capanelle, and she shaped encouragingly back in the UK when chasing home Worth Waiting in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on her return.
She has struggled since though, and having run over a number of different trips between one mile and twelve furlongs, she returns to the lesser distance for this latest outing. She did run well behind Sun Maiden over ten furlongs in the Group Three Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle back in June, but subsequent outings in Group One and Two company have again showed her limitations at this level and she is likely to find a couple too good once more.
Duke Of Hazzard (5/2, Coral) is 2-2 at this venue and Paul Cole’s charge could prove to be a tough nut to crack once again back at this track.
The Lope De Vega colt progressed well last term, winning a maiden here in August prior to contesting in Listed and Group Two races before getting back on the scoresheet in a French Listed contest at Deauville where he beat Art Du Val.
He has taken some time to find his stride this term, but after four defeats where he ran creditably each time, he got off the mark for the season when outbattling Momkin at Newmarket in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes, and he followed up in some style when beating that rival and Turjomaan again to win the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes where he overcame some trouble in running.
Open to further improvement and proven here, he ought to be in the mix once more despite perhaps needing to find a shade more improvement to land his hat-trick.
Another progressive sort, Beat Le Bon (9/2, Ladbrokes) represents the Richard Hannon team who are in good form at present, and the Wootton Bassett colt arrives here having won his last three starts.
Two of those successes have come here, the latter over this distance where he outgunned Vale Of Kent under a penalty to win the Golden Mile, scoring a shade easily, and he looks well worth a try at this level.
Held up towards the rear, he had to pick his way through up the rail where the gaps came for him at the right time, and he finished off the race well. That form has been done no harm when the runner-up filled the same spot at York during the week in the Clipper Logistics Handicap, and he could well be a Pattern performer.
This will demand more stepping out of handicap company, but he looks sure to have further improvement and it would be no surprise to see another bold effort from him.
However SKARDU (11/4, Coral) could appreciate having his sights eased in the wake of outings at the top- table, and William Haggas’ charge can get back on the scoresheet here.
A winner of each of his first two starts either side of a break, scoring on his debut and sole juvenile start at Newmarket to follow up back there in the Group Three Craven Stakes on his return, he has since tackled Group One company on all three subsequent outings which includes both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas.
Third behind Magna Grecia in the Newmarket Classic, he went on to finish fourth at the Curragh behind Phoenix Of Spain; and he filled the same position behind Circus Maximus in the St James’s Palace Stakes when last seen out.
Beaten just over one length on that occasion, he finished off the race well and reversed the Irish 2000 Guineas form with Phoenix Of Spain who finished behind him. The form hasn’t been done any harn, with third-placed Too Darn Hot winning twice since which include the Group One Sussex Stakes here, where John Gosden’s charge gained revenge on Circus Maximus.
That one meanwhile, along with the runner-up both performed with some credit in the Juddmonte International at York during the week, and so on form the Haggas runner sets a pretty solid standard.
Drying ground will be in his favour, and he should appreciate an ease in grade so there appears every chance of a bold bid to regain the winning thread.
Happy Power (6/1, Paddy Power) won twice earlier in the campaign, scoring wins at Newbury and York either side of a third-place finish at Haydock; but Andrew Balding’s charge hasn’t been seen at his best in two subsequent starts at Ascot and here last month, and the Dark Angel colt looks to have a bit to find here.
A winner of two of his four starts last term, beating the reopposing Beat Le Bon at Doncaster, he finished a creditable seventh in the Jersey Stakes before crossing the line two lengths’ adrift of Too Darn Hot in the Sussex Stakes where he ran past beaten horses but had no chance of catching the front pair.
He is clearly a useful performer, but his form leaves him short with a couple of these rivals. His winning form to date this term has come in softer ground, so the prospect of drying conditions is likely to go against him, and while he can improve on his form to date he could find a couple too good.
Completing the six-runner field, Turgenev (10/1, Coral) won twice last term at Newcastle and Newmarket before performing with credit in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster where he finished seventh.
John Gosden’s charge has shown some useful form this term without adding to his tally, finishing third to Cape Of Good Hope in a Listed contest at Epsom before crossing the line in fifth behind Telecaster in the Dante Stakes at York.
Dropped into a handicap for his next outing he almost won the Britannia Stakes, but he was unable to hold off the strong finish of the winner Biometric, and he could only finish fourth behind Duke Of Hazzard at Newmarket latest.
Likely to be the pace angle to the race, this is tougher and he will have his work cut out to reverse form with that rival who has won again since, and first-time blinkers are deployed now in a bid to eke out some further improvement.
This is likely to prove too much of a step back up in class for the Gosden runner however, and it would be something of a surprise to see him come home in front.
Some improving types to consider with Duke Of Hazzard and Beat Le Bon in the line-up; but SKARDU (11/4, Coral) has his sights eased out of Group One company, and the drop to a lesser grade can see William Haggas’ charge come home in front.
The Shamardal colt has been set some stiff assignments this term, but he has run with credit in each of those runs in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas, and also the St James’s Palace Stakes where his form figures read 344.
The latter outing at Ascot has worked out quite well, and with the drying ground in his favour then he can get back on the scoresheet dropping down into a relatively weak Group Two contest.
2019 CELEBRATION MILE SELECTION – SKARDU (11/4, Coral)