Surrey Star went close to tasting Group Three glory at Sandown last month and trainer Roger Teal is confident of another bold show on Tuesday, September 7, when he sends the talented colt to Goodwood for the £23,500 Listed Peter Willett Stakes (3.45pm).
The Dubawi two-year-old is already a winner over the seven-furlong distance and proved his class at Sandown last time when third to the highly-regarded Native Khan in the Alexis Catchpole Celebration Solario Stakes.
Teal revealed this morning: “We are going to work him tomorrow (Saturday) and if we are happy with him we plan to go to Goodwood for the Peter Willett Stakes.
“He ran an absolute cracker at Sandown last time and probably wasn’t helped by being in front so long. He took it up at the bottom of the straight and we were hoping to get more of a lead but he was travelling so well, it was just the way the race worked out.
“He had a bit of a look around coming up the hill - a bit of greenness still - but we were delighted with him. Native Khan has a big reputation so we were dead chuffed with Surrey Star.
“He showed so much speed that day that Liam (Keniry - jockey) was tempted to drop him back to six furlongs. He is one of those horses that has such a lovely, high cruising gear but then again he stayed the seven well at Sandown and in time he will stay much further, he just needs to learn to settle a bit.”
Surrey Star broke his maiden at Epsom on July 15 and contested the Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stake over the course and distance at Glorious Goodwood 13 days later but enjoyed no luck in finishing last of seven behind King Torus.
Teal said: “Surrey Star was the meat in the sandwich at Goodwood. I couldn’t believe it because he was drawn two, so I thought at least he would be out of trouble there and it turned out that we were the ones that got caught in it all.
“He got tightened up and bashed about not once but twice and when things like that happen it is game over. He ran a creditable race but never received the credit for it. The handicapper noticed because he stuck him up 16lb for finishing last.
“It just didn’t go his way that day but next time at Sandown he finished in front of the horses that beat him at Goodwood. Stentorian and Waltz Darling were second and fifth but he had them back in sixth and fifth at Sandown so he would have run a much better race at Goodwood if he’d had a trouble-free run.
“He is a lovely horse. To be fair, he will probably be a better three-year-old because he is developing each week. I think next year he will be quite exciting because he’s not the finished article, he’s a two-year-old and he’s still growing. His manners are fantastic and I’m really looking forward to next season.
“He has improved every time I have run him and the penny is slowly dropping. I would say that we go to Goodwood with a really live chance.”
The Peter Willett Stakes, registered as the Stardom Stakes, has attracted 17 exciting entries, including the Queen’s Royal Exchange, who completed a hat-trick for trainer Richard Hannon when winning the Listed Weatherbys Bank Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury on August 20.
Hannon has also engaged Auld Burns, Curragh Group Three third Big Issue, and Solario Stakes runner-up Measuring Time.
The Michael Jarvis-trained Toolain landed the Listed Jaguar XK Wiinkfield Stakes at Ascot in July, while The Paddyman, trained by William Haggas, was runner-up to Libranno in the Group Two Tanqueray Richmond Stakes over six furlongs at Glorious Goodwood, a race in which the Brian Meehan-trained The Long Game was fourth.
Meehan has also engaged Ascot maiden winner Titus Mills, while Godolphin has entered three once-raced maiden winners, Biondetti from the Mahmood Al Zarooni yard and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair of My Freedom and Saamid.
The Mick Channon-trained Fork Handles was third in the Group Three Prix du Calvados at Deauville last month, while Trade Storm was a staying-on sixth of 11 in the six-furlong Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York on August 18.
The seven-race card commences at 2pm with the popular £4,000 Bollinger Champagne Challenge Series Handicap (in association with the Daily Telegraph) for gentlemen amateur riders over a mile and three furlongs. The final race of the day is the 5.25pm Goodwood Freephone 08000 188 191 Handicap over seven furlongs.
Goodwood also races on Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12. The highlight of Saturday’s seven-race programme is the £57,000 Group Three Whiteley Clinic Select Stakes (2.45pm), run over just short of 10 furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards and won in the past by the likes of Dancing Brave, Mtoto, Singspiel, Nayef and Moon Ballad.
Sunday, September 12, plays host to the Racehorse Owners’ Association Speed Bonus. Successfully staged for the first time last year, the fantastic innovation lucratively rewards the fastest ROA-registered horse to compete during the captivating seven-race fixture. The Speed Bonus prize, guaranteed to be at least £10,000, will go to the ROA-registered horse that clocks the best per-furlong time in any of the day’s races at Goodwood. Assessment will be carried out according to the Racing Post Standard Time criteria.