It’s a celebration
Gary McKenzie on the top winners of Goodwood’s Celebration Mile
As some of you may know I am a big fan of Brigadier Gerard. In my opinion he is the greatest British trained horse to ever run on the flat.
In 1971, during an unbeaten season, and following his Sussex Stakes win on the same track, the Brigadier won the Goodwood Mile. It was a Group Three in those days. It is now a Group Two and is known as the Celebration Mile.
Kris was another champion miler who won the race following a Sussex Stakes victory, and Known Fact, a winner of the 2000 Guineas thanks to a stewards enquiry, also triumphed.
Milligram was another of my early favourites. She was my hope for the 1000 Guineas but could only finish second to the legend that is Miesque.
Milligram won the Waterford Crystal Mile, as it was known then, at odds of 5/2 which, in hindsight, looks big in what was a four runner race.
A month later Milligram won the QEII Stakes at the inaugural Festival of British Racing. We call it Champions Day now.
Selkirk was a gorgeous looking horse and he won this race in 1992 after his narrow defeat in an epic Sussex Stakes battle with Marling. It’s on youtube if you want to have a watch.
Mark Of Esteem, a 2000 Guineas winner, was made even more famous for being part of Frankie Dettori’s Magnificent Seven in 1996. He had won the Celebration Mile beforehand.
Cape Cross is the sire of not one, but two horses that did the Derby/Arc double (Sea The Stars and Golden Horn). He also sired Ouija Board who won the Oaks and, with a bit of luck may have got the better of Bago in the 2004 Arc.
But, like many of the top sires, it is sometimes forgotten how good they were on the track. He was another winner of this race.
Ravens Pass was probably the last champion to have a Celebration Mile win on their CV. His Goodwood victory was the first of his three year old season following three defeats behind Henrythenavigator.
He went on to gain revenge over that horse in the QEII and the Breeders Cup Classic when Ravens Pass became the first British trained horse to win that particular race.
The recent winners have been solid Group Two performers who have run with credit at the top level but nothing outstanding.
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