Covid regulations force Spirit Of Bermuda to skip French engagement
Spirit Of Bermuda’s handlers have been forced to go back to the drawing board after plans to race in the South of France had to be scrapped this week.
The three-year-old filly, just off a storming victory at Newmarket, was earmarked to go up in trip over the mile distance on Sunday at the Le Teste-De-Buch racecourse in Gironde, about 40 miles south-west of Bordeaux.
But, with France moving on to the “amber plus” list owing to the prevalence there of the Beta variant of Covid-19, connections have decided to steer clear of leaving terra firma while seeking firm ground elsewhere.
The prestigious Glorious Goodwood meeting — now known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival for sponsorship reasons — was originally seen as a preferred destination after Spirit won the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa Fillies’ Handicap by three quarters of a length on July 10, and is again the destination of choice.
Simon Scupham, the principal of owner Bermuda Racing Ltd, said: “We’re looking at three different races for her at Glorious Goodwood. There is a mile fillies handicap (0-95) on the Tuesday, there’s the Qatar handicap on the Saturday, which is 0-105 over seven furlongs. Both of those are fillies only, aged 3 and older, so she gets some weight allowance.
“Then there’s the Oak Tree on Friday but that may be hard to get into because it’s normally 100-plus in the ratings.”
It was because the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes is a step up in class as a Group 3 race that Listed company in France — just a step below — was the option sought initially.
“For her to get in at 88 — she was only put up two pounds for that last win, which was quite surprising — that might be a bit of an ask. And also to run in it might be a bit too progressive for her at this point.”
As a result, she has been declared among 21 runners for the Unibet Fillies' Handicap over a mile for horses aged 3 and over on the opening day of the festival. There is prize money of ₤13,085 for the winner, with the ground expected to be good, good to firm in places.
The Qatar Goodwood Festival runs from Tuesday to July 31.