Saigon bids to maintain his unbeaten status in a fantastic renewal of the £60,000 Group Two Tanqueray Richmond Stakes (3.45pm) at Glorious Goodwood on Friday, July 29.
James Toller’s charge is one of 10 declared runners for the six-furlong contest, alongside the highly-regarded Harbour Watch from the Richard Hannon yard.
Saigon followed a debut Yarmouth maiden win over the distance on June 30 with victory in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes, also over six furlongs, at Newbury on July 15.
That latest triumph was achieved in fine style as the Royal Applause colt finished strongly under Kirsty Milczarek to defeat the Alan McCabe-trained Caspar Netscher by a neck. That rival had previously been third to the hugely talented Frederick Engels in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Toller revealed today: “So far, Saigon has done nothing wrong. You can only beat what is put in front of you and I hope his form entitles him to have a shot at a race like the Tanqueray Richmond Stakes.
“The Newbury race was a pretty hot race, I think it was probably more like a Group Three than a Listed race.
“The form never works out exactly but you can get a line through it that puts him in the Tanqueray Richmond Stakes with a squeak - or a bit better than a squeak, hopefully.
“He seems well. It will be his third race in about four weeks, so we have kept him on the go, but he seems to have come out of that Newbury race very well and we have been happy enough with him and this race seems the logical next step. So far he has been very straightforward. A lot of people tell you that the better horses are easier to train than the bad ones and so far it has all been plain sailing with him.
“I’d like to think the ground at Goodwood will be fine for him, depending on what the weather throws at us. I’m hoping it stays the way it is rather than ebbing and changing. I wouldn’t mind if it dries but I wouldn’t want a lot of rain down there.”
Toller, who trained Bachelor Duke to land the 2004 Irish 2,000 Guineas and Compton Place to win the 1997 Darley July Cup, hopes that Saigon might in time also graduate to Group One company.
The Newmarket handler continued: “He is in the Dewhurst and the Middle Park Stakes and, as they close so early, he has to be put in those races. Time will tell whether I wasted my owners’ money but at this stage he is worth entering for them.”
Richard Hannon has landed the past three renewals of the Tanqueray Richmond Stakes (2008 Prolific, 2009 Dick Turpin and 2010 Libranno) and he relies on the unbeaten Harbour Watch, who has carried the Canford Cliffs colours of Robin Heffer to easy successes at Sandown and Newmarket. Hannon also has Eureka, who won his first two starts before taking fifth in the Weatherbys Super Sprint last time.
The Paul Cole-trained Silverheels was third to Red Duke in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival on July 9, the Mark Johnston-trained Bannock was third to Frederick Engels in the Group Two July Stakes at the same meeting, while the Mick Channon-trained Factory Time landed his first two races before filling third place behind Saigon at Newbury.
The Kevin Ryan-trained Bogart and the Brian Meehan-trained Right To Dream impressed when winning maidens on their most recent outing, while Parc De Launay from the Tom Tate yard is unbeaten in two starts.
Friday’s tremendous card also features the £125,000 totesport Mile (3.10pm) which has a full complement of 20 declared runners (plus two reserves), headed by totesport’s current market leader, the William Haggas-trained John Smith’s Cup victor Green Destiny (9/4 with the sponsor).
The Ed Vaughan-trained Dance And Dance tops the weights on 9st 10lb, while others of note in what is always a thrilling spectacle are the Jim Boyle-trained The Rectifier, Cai Shen from the Hannon stable, the Ed Walker-trained Riggins, the Roger Charlton-trained Proponent, Pintura, trained by David Simcock, the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Namecheck and Highland Knight from the Andrew Balding yard.
totesport Mile Betting – Betfred bet: 9/4 (from 7/2) Green Destiny, 9 (from 16) Riggins, 10 (from 12) The Rectifier, 12 Cai Shen, 14 Boom And Bust, Dance And Dance, Highland Knight, Namecheck, Pintura, Sooraah, 16 Proponent, 20 Confront, 25 Vainglory, 33 Dunn’o, Lovelace, Man Of Action, Mont Agel, Mr David, Pleasant Day, 40 Advanced. Reserve 1: 7/1 Sagramor; Reserve 2: 33/1 Pendragon.
There are also a pair of cracking Group Three races on the card, the first being the day’s opener, the £50,000 Coutts Glorious Stakes (2pm) over a mile and a half, which has 10 declared runners.
Among those are the Barry Hills-trained Grade One Northern Dancer Turf Stakes hero Redwood and the William Haggas-trained Harris Tweed, runner-up to Await The Dawn over the distance in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
The Mark Johnston-trained Jukebox Jury and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Campanologist have both scored at Group One level, while Distant Memories, trained by Tom Tate, was runner-up to Await The Dawn at Chester in May and landed a Listed contest at Pontefract on June 19.
Drunken Sailor, trained by Luca Cumani, was third in the Hardwicke Stakes, while the James Given-trained Indian Days landed the Group Three John Porter Stakes at Newbury in April.
The other Group Three contest on Friday is the £50,000 Oak Tree Stakes (4.50pm) for fillies and mares over seven furlongs. Among the record 17 declared runners is Tropical Paradise who took the prize last year for trainer Peter Winkworth.
A quality line up also includes the QIPCO 1000 Guineas third Maqaasid from the John Gosden stable and the Paul Cole-trained Rimth who held Sharnberry to win the Group Three Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury in April, while Memory, Rhythm Of Light and Chachamaidee are others of note.
An international field sees German raiders Magic Eye, trained by Andreas Lowe, and Rockatella from the Werner Hefter stable also in the field, while France is represented by the Mikel Delzangles-trained Thai Haku and Ireland relies on Dawn Eclipse, trained by Tom McCourt.
The £30,000 Listed RSA Thoroughbred Stakes (2.35pm) over a mile for three-year-olds sees Group Three Jersey Stakes third Western Aristocrat head the eight runners alongside smart performers Neebras, Tazahum and Slim Shadey.
The other two races on the card are the £15,000 Rothschild Waddesdon Wines Nursery Handicap (4.20pm, 15 runners) over seven furlongs and the £15,000 Turf Club Handicap (5.25pm, 13 runners) over five furlongs.