Thikriyaat (blue and white) has been impressive so far this seasonPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
'On the up' Thikriyaat set for Celebration mission
SIR MICHAEL STOUTE, already successful eight times in the Doom Bar Celebration Mile with Milligram (1987), Among Men (1997), Medicean (2000), No Excuse Needed (2001), Chic (2004 and 2005), Echelon (2007) and Zacinto (2009), appears to hold strong claims of adding to his magnificent tally on Saturday through likely warm favourite Thikriyaat.
Hamdan Al Maktoum's three-year-old has made relentless progress this year, winning three of his four races, including the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes over course and distance last time out.
Thikriyaat holds a Group 1 entry in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October, a race which past winners of the Celebration Mile have often contested.
Angus Gold, racing manager to the sheikh, said: "If he keeps progressing then obviously he could be running on Champions Day, but he's got to take the next step at Goodwood first.
"He hasn't disappointed us yet, but whether he's up to a Group 1 only time will tell. It's one step at a time for now - he's won a Group 3, we're trying a Group 2 in the Celebration Mile and then we'll see."
Gold reports Stoute has been happy with Thikriyaat since his Goodwood win. "Sir Michael felt this was a natural progression," he added. "He's won at the track and wants the distance.
"He's tough and genuine and is very much on the upgrade and we feel it's the right race.
"He just does enough every time so it's hard to tell how good he really is. He's very much on the up."
While Thikriyaat gives the impression he will have no trouble adapting to Group 2 company Toormore, a Group 1 regular during his career, has already proved himself in the grade.
The four-time Group 2 scorer loves Goodwood, and trainer Richard Hannon said: "The Celebration looks a nice race for Toormore. He's in great form and has had a nice break since the Sussex Stakes.
"The form of that race has obviously worked out really well, with the third Ribchester going on to win the Group 1 Jacques le Marois at Deauville. He has a great affinity with the track and should have an outstanding chance."