Thursday, July 28, 2011

Richmond Stakes Racing Roundup

The British Isles Summer racing season for two-year-old thoroughbreds seeking to earn Group honors is in full swing and day four of the Glorious Goodwood five-day festival will feature the 6-furlong $93,500 Tanqueray Richmond Stakes (Group 2) at Goodwood Racecourse.

Leading flat turf trainer Richard Hannon has won the last three editions of the Richmond Stakes and Friday he will send Harbour Watch to the post as the Twinspires prohibitive 8-5 morning line favorite.

Undefeated in two starts, Harbour Watch is stepping up in class and making his first bid to win a Group race. But, if Harbour Watch repeats the form of previous races and lives up to his 111 Timeform rating he will be tough to beat.

Currently, Harbour Watch is tied with Maybe and Lilbourne Lad for third-place on the Timeform Top Ten list and it will take a top performance from one of the other nine horses entered in the race to upset the favorite.

Harbour Watch is a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line and since 1990 that line has produced seven Richmond Stakes winners: Libranno (2010), Dick Turpin (2009), Strike The Deal (2007), Hamoody (2006), Mister Cosmi (2001), Bachir (1999) and Polaris Flight (1995).

Acclamation, the sire of Harbour Watch, is also the sire of Lilbourne Lad, winner of the Dubai Duty Free Railway Stakes (Group 2), and he is ranked first on the Racing Post Top sires of two-year-olds list with 16 winners in 42 runners for a 38% strike rate.

Royal Applause, the grandsire of Harbour Watch, sired the Richmond Stakes winner Mister Cosmi.

Woodman, the damsire of Harbour Watch, was a prolific sire whose most notable offspring included the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Hansel, Timber Country, Hector Protector and Woodcarver. In addition, Woodman also was the damsire of Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando.

The tail-female line of Harbour Watch traces back to third dam Fall Aspen who was a Matriarch of the turf and the dam of Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Timber Country.

In addition to Timber Country, Fall Aspen was the dam of 13 winners from 13 runners and her most notable offspring include Hamas, Northern Aspen, Fort Wood, Elle Seule, Bianconi, Prince Of Thieves and Colorado Dancer (dam of Dubai Millennium).

Two long shots I like in the Richmond Stakes are Right To Dream (12-1­) and Eureka (10-1).

Right To Dream has never been out of the money in three starts and comes into the race with an impressive 5-length maiden stakes win at Royal Windsor Racecourse on June 25.

In the Oadby Maiden Stakes at Leicester Racecourse on May 31, Right To Dream finished second to Roman Soldier who went on to earn a 107 Timeform rating and finish second in the TNT July Stakes (Group 2) to Frederick Engels – ranked second by Timeform with a 113 rating.

While Right To Dream has never competed at the Group level, he has improved his performance in each race and I believe he has the breeding to be competitive.

Right To Dream is a descendant of the Danzig sire line. Oasis Dream, the sire of Right To Dream, was a top-class sprinter and is known for getting high-class sprinters and middle-distance runners. Oasis Dream has a 32% strike rate with six two-year-old winners in 19 runners.

Green Desert, the grandsire of Right To Dream, also was a champion sprinter in England and the grandsire of 1999 Richmond Stakes winner Bachir.

Irish River, the damsire of Right To Dream, was a Classic Champion miler in France and winner of the 1979 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas).

Born A Lady, the third dam of Right To Dream, was a stakes winner and the fourth dam, Natalma, was a Reine-de-Course and dam of Northern Dancer.

Eureka has been running in good company and he has twice won at 6-furlongs.

In his maiden win, Eureka narrowly defeated Burwaaz who, on the opening day of the Glorious Goodwood meet, finished second in the 5-furlong Bet365 Molecomb Stakes (Group 2). In his only race at 5-furlongs, Eureka finished fifth in the Weatherbys Super Sprint to Charles The Great, who ran to a third-place finish in the Molecomb Stakes.

Kheleyf, the sire of Eureka, is ranked 13th on the Racing Post Top sires of two-year-olds list with eight winners in 37 runners for a 22% strike rate.

One of the features that I look for in the pedigree is the presence of first-class champions and stallions on the tail-female line and the first three stallions of the tail-female line of Eureka were the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds: Quest For Fame, Affirmed and The Minstrel.

Good luck at Glorious Goodwood!

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