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WE got off to the perfect start when Darryll Holland brought CHAMPIONSHIP POINT from last to first in the final quarter mile of the Bank Of Scotland Investment Service Handicap at Goodwood this afternoon.

Holland handled John Livock's colt with the poker-cool confidence of a man holding a royal flush at poker, the combination successfully bearing down on Lake Poet to score by threequarters of a length. The success means that amazingly John's last six runners split between Mick, Roger Charlton and Richard Gibson in France have all won.

Mick revealed that Jimmy Tarbuck recently bought into the 8-1 winner, saying: "I'm delighted for John and for Jimmy who now has a leg in the horse.

"He's always been a decent colt and is effective at Goodwood, having won the Predominate Stakes here last season. He has a touch of class and that showed itself today, though I must admit I was worried when Darryll was sat last with just two furlongs left."

Mick praised Ted Durcan for 'looking after' Championship Point in the Derby. He added: "If it wasn't for Ted, who looked after him on that quick ground in the Derby, the horse wouldn't be racing today because he was an absolute cripple when he got home."

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BADEN BADEN looks like being the next port of call for YOUMZAIN following the colt's cracking run in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Mick is to target him at the Grosser Preis Von Baden, the richest race run in Germany and one in which the boss hasn't been represented before.

Mick says: "It's the obvious race to go for. It's a Group 1 and one I feel he can win if he's in the same form he was at Ascot.

"Then we would obviously look to run him in the Arc and a rematch with Dylan Thomas. Looking to the end of the year I wouldn't be averse to running him in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on December 9."

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I suppose I'd best mention that Friday's gallops are online. Much of the work took place on the Winter Gallops 7 Furlong loop which is far from ideal from a filming point of view. However, it's worth a look if only to see Hugh Bowman's gallop on Meeriss.

It might be that Hugh is looking to prolong his spell in the UK as a jump jockey. It would appear he decided to school Meeriss over our cones, presumably to alert Paul Nicholls of his abilities.

Cheltenham here we come?

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OUR best chance of a first day winner at Glorious Goodwood probably lies with 
MUTAWAAJID in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes (3.25).
The gigantic colt has come on in leaps and bounds for his first run for us in the
July Cup, according to Mick. He said:"Obviously we're very hopeful as he's in great
form and has improved for his run at Newmarket. The one problem is that as he was 
foaled in the southern hemisphere he is in fact a three-year-old running as a
four-year-old in Britain. He's actually only three and a half and has a Group 2
penalty to shoulder. Nevertheless, he's entitled to go well and this race made for
appeal than the alternative in France."
CHAMPIONSHIP POINT will get the best of the ground in the opening Bank Of Scotland
Investment Service Heritage Handicap and the boss observed: "He's in good heart and
the ground should be perfect for him. The handicapper has probably got hold of him
but the alternative was going either Listed or Group."
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MICK has strong feelings about preserving what is best in British racing and this morning delivered a blistering attack on the Press for its open criticism of the field for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The Racing Post led one of its editions with the headline 'Is The King George In Decline?' while several of the dailies crabbed the Ascot race for its lack of a Derby winner or indeed a single three-year-old.

Our own Youmzain finished a creditable second to Dylan Thomas, confirming their running in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, with the gallant Maraahel three and a half lengths back in third, half a length clear of Laverock.

Mick commented: "It's about time the media realized they are earning a living from the sport and have a responsibility to ensure we protect what is ours, otherwise all the best horses will end up abroad.

"It's true we didn't have Authorized or Andre Fabre's horse (Manduro) but it was no-one's fault that the Derby winner wasn't in the race. I'm not saying that great champions were there but the best horses turned out on the day. Trainers are working their arses off to put on a show and i'm very critical of the Racing Post for running its article."

Youmzain is owned by Jaber Abdullah and Mick continued: "We have to be careful we don't end up watering down the quality of the bloodstock industry and I can't believe what people were saying about it being a sub-standard race. We need to preserve the horses rated 116 to 120. It would be easy for the likes of Jaber to sell them to go to Hong Kong or the USA. We must be careful not to piss off valued owners like him who could become disillusioned  if they keep reading how much races like the King George have declined.

"Thank God for Jaber and Sheikh Hamdan who kept Maraahel in training and provided a benchmark. Okay we didn't have Authorized but you have to consider that in recent times many Epsom winners are never sighted after the Derby. And if you ask Aidan O'Brien why he didn't run Soldier Of Fortune the answer is because he couldn't have beaten Dylan Thomas."


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YOUMZAIN lived up to our every hope when finishing a four lengths second to Dylan Thomas in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot today.

Although no match for the impressive winner in the final furlong, there was a moment two out when Richard Hughes had his hands full and took a pull on Jaber Abdullah's colt.

But although picking-up well the colt was unable to make any impression on the well-backed winner.

Mick was delighted and said: "I was chuffed to bits with him. He ran an absolute cracker and I got very excited when he was still hard on the bridle. The big horse got a kick which took him clear but we've beaten the rest a long way.

"He's basically come to win his race and been beaten by a better horse on the day."

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THE boss is hoping we are blessed with enough dry weather to enable Goodwood to begin its magnificent 'Glorious' meeting on good racing ground next Tuesday.

The opening card should see a second appearance from MUTAWAAJID who is on course for the seven furlong Lennox Stakes, a Group 2 race.

Mick says: "He gets a 4lb penalty for his Group 2 win in Australia which doesn't help but he seems to have improved a bundle for his run in the July Cup.

He'll be moving up to seven furlongs but the trip shouldn't be an issue. Hugh Bowman was delighted with the way he worked on Tuesday and he'll probably take his chance."

SOM TALA in the Goodwood Stakes and CHAMPIONSHIP POINT in the mile and a quarter handicap look other major players on day one.

Mick continues: "Som Tala ran well in the Chester Cup and again at Royal Ascot while if there is a bit of cut in the ground it shouldn't inconvenience Championship. He's been in great order since Royal Ascot."

MAJESTIC ROI is on course for the Oak Tree Stakes while HALICARNASSUS takes his chance in the Heritage Handicap Stakes. BADDAM is to tackle the Goodwood Cup and MAN OF VISION is rated by Mick a leading player in the three-year-old only handicap.

At the end of the week don't write off SWEET LILLY in the Nassau Stakes and GRANTLEY ADAMS in the Stewards Cup.

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THE YARD looks to have its best chance yet of landing a premier league prize this year when YOUMZAIN takes centre stage in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot tomorrow.

The colt is among seven protagonists for Britain's midsummer showpiece and everything has gone well in his preparation.

This will be the fourth different country in as many 2007 outings Youmzain has raced in with the irony that Ascot is just down the road and almost considered a local track.

Mick says: "He's in great nick and seems to have come right at the right time. He's been running against the best with his trips to Dubai, Ireland and France but this time everything looks suitable for him. The ground is not a problem and I'm hopeful there'll be a decent pace. He's rubbed shoulders with the best in the world and since last year this is the race I always had marked out as his major target."

The media have today asked the question 'is the King George in decline?' to which Mick observes: "The weather has had a say but we have no control over that. Different winners are coming out in all directions and there hasn't been any continuity this summer. Look at the Sussex Stakes - that has cut up just as much. The conditions haven't been conducive to good class Flat horses but our job is to get them fit and well to the races. We've got to either put up or shut up and we're putting up."


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THE Champagne Stakes at Doncaster is under consideration for BETTER HAND following his impressive triumph in the seven furlong maiden at Sandown on Wednesday evening.

Having come on for his promising debut run at the Esher course, the boss was quietly confident the son of Montjeu would deliver the goods and he did that in style under Hugh Bowman.

Mick said: "I suppose the Champagne Stakes would be an obvious race to look at and i'm not averse to stepping him up to a mile before the end of the year. We might look at the Royal Lodge later on."

Stan James, sponsors of the 2,000 Guineas, have introduced Better Hand into their Classic market at 50-1.

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WRITE off SWEET LILLY at your peril in the the Blue Nassau Stakes at 
Goodwood next week.
Having contested all the major prizes for three-year-old fillies this season, she
gave short shrift to a high profile stablemate on the Gilberts trial ground
Sweet Lilly has been called some names in her time, not all of them complimentary, 
but there is no arguing she is a character who doesn't give a hoot about life in
general and knows how to 'do her own thing'.
Mick says: "If she was a human she'd be a bit of a madam, and that's putting it mildly,
but you can't get away from the fact that she has bags of ability and had a
terrible run in the Falmouth Stakes when she saw too much daylight. In different circumstances she can 
mix it with the best of then as she did against Passage Of Time in the Musidora.
I know there'll be fillies who've beaten her in the Goodwood race but different
circumstances might prevail which will suit her. Make no mistake, she's no 50-1 chance
and I expect her to go well."
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