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Major Autumn Mile Targets for Classy Excelebration

Italian-born trainer Marco Botti has been mapping out the probable campaign for the rest of the season for his smart miler Excelebration, last seen finishing a fine third behind Frankel in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, writes Elliot Slater.



Botti is to give his colt a European-style mid-season break before bringing the son of Exceed And Excel back towards the end of August for the Celebration Mile at Goodwood, after which he will look to return him to Group 1 company and hope that wherever he goes Frankel will be going somewhere else. The big international mile race in Hong Kong at the end of the season is cited as a definite target for Botti's stable star and those following the horse racing odds should keep an eye on this.

After winning two of his three starts as a juvenile and proving himself a more than useful youngster, Excelebration has made tremendous progress this term and signalled the improvement made over the winter when surprising most observers in chasing home Frankel in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury in April. That four-length loss made people sit up and take notice, and following Frankel's six-length romp to victory in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket a month later Excelebration went on to prove his Newbury run no fluke at all when hacking up by seven-lengths in the German 2000 Guineas at Cologne at the end of May. If he can find a race where he's not opposed by Frankel he'll certainly attract plenty of horse racing bets.

At Royal Ascot, Botti's charge again put in a high quality performance finishing within two-and-a-quarter lengths of Frankel and the high-class Aidan O'Brien-trained runner-up Zoffany, suggesting that the time might not be too far away when he could really go eyeball to eyeball with Sir Henry Cecil's equine superstar if he really wanted to. Botti however seems happy to avoid another clash with Frankel and rightly points out that there are plenty of Group 1 mile races around the world where the Prince Khaled Abdullah-owned horse will not be turning up.

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