Racing: Anthem team is in touch

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The Independent Online
SHEIKH MOHAMMED usurped the owners' throne from Robert Sangster and is beating off serious pretenders in the shape of the Michael Tabor and John Magnier axis at Coolmore.

While they attack on one flank the Sheikh's Godolphin team now have to cover themselves from a fresh onslaught. Prince Ahmed Salman's Throughbred Corporation is the latest organisation coveting world domination over the turf.

The Saudi prince has the money, he has bought the horses and jockey (Gary Stevens) and now we must sit back and see who emerges from the battlefield smoke. The big one will come in the Irish Champion Stakes next month, when Salman's Royal Anthem, the International winner at York, will lock horns with Daylami, Godolphin's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner.

Before then though there is the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday. Touch 'N' Fly will carry the banner for Team Saudi, stepping up outrageously in class after taking an egg and spoon race by seven lengths at Salisbury last time out. "He's a big horse and, as far as I know, he doesn't want firm ground," Willie Carson, the Thoroughbred Corporation's European manager, said yesterday. "He's unbeaten but he hasn't taken on any stars yet. We'll find out more about him on Saturday, but he's on the upgrade and hopefully will go right to the top."

Touch 'N' Fly will face a Godolphin entry of similar qualification. Great things are expected also from Josr Algarhoud, whose victory in the Gimcrack Stakes just over 12 months ago for Mick Channon booked his passage for an Emirates winter. He is one of four Celebration entries from the boys in blue. The perm also includes Cape Cross, Fly To The Stars and Muhtathir, who won this event 12 months ago. "At this stage it looks like Cape Cross and Josr Algarhoud," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said yesterday. "Fly To The Stars would come into the equation if the ground turned soft, and Muhtathir has got an alternative engagement in Deauville at the weekend."

Josr Algarhoud has run just three times in his life. A big and fearsome horse, he also appeared one with much improvement to come despite success in the Beeswing Stakes at Newcastle on his reappearance last month, a performance rather overshadowed by Daylami's King George victory the same afternoon.

"It was an impressive display that day and the form has worked out quite nicely but this is another step up for him," Crisford said. "We want to see him in Group Two company before we raise our sights a little bit higher for him. But he's worked consistently well and he's a progressive colt. He's lightly raced and going the right way."

A Classic clue will also be available at Goodwood on Saturday when Nowhere To Exit, who was forced to miss one St Leger trial, the Great Voltigeur on the Knavesmire last week, goes for another in the form of the March Stakes. John Dunlop's colt, the runner-up to Montjeu in the French Derby, is the ante-post second favourite for Doncaster behind Ramruma.

"Nowhere To Exit had a slight setback just prior to York but he's fine now," Marcus Hosgood, Dunlop's racing secretary, said yesterday. "He's shown tremendous improvement, he's genuine and his form is excellent. If he gets to Doncaster safe and sound, he must be in with a very big chance."

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Tony Tie

(Hamilton 4.15)

NB: Pegasus Bay

(Hamilton 2.45)

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