Frankel to Face up to Seven Rivals in QIPCO Sussex Stakes
Frankel, the world’s best racehorse, will face a maximum of seven rivals as he bids to become the first dual winner of the Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes (3.10pm) at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday, August 1.
The mile contest is the highlight of the meeting’s second day and offers a prize fund of £316,500. It is also the fifth race in the Mile category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Last year the Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt sauntered to an effortless five-length victory over Canford Cliffs in a contest billed as the “Duel on the Downs” and he is now unbeaten in 11 starts. The star four-year-old’s most recent outing came in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, when he was in devastating form and came home 11 lengths clear of Excelebration, earning an official rating of 140 with the British Horseracing Authority.
The strongest opposition to Frankel could come from Godolphin’s Farhh, who has been supplemented for the race at a cost of £19,500. The lightly-raced four-year-old has run two excellent races in Group One contests on his latest two starts, going down by half a length to Nathaniel in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 7 and finishing third to So You Think in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, when he stayed on well after losing ground at the start.
Both of Farhh’s latest two starts came over 10 furlongs but his trainer Saeed bin Suroor is not concerned about the drop back to a mile for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
The Godolphin trainer said: “Farhh has been doing well since he ran at Sandown and I have been happy with him.
“I think that a mile at Goodwood will suit him well but we would prefer to see some rain before Wednesday because he prefers to have a little cut in the ground.
“He has run very well in two Group One races but taking on Frankel will be a very tough task. I am hopeful that he can put in another good performance.”
Also among the eight confirmations for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes are Strong Suit, successful over seven furlongs in the Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2011, as well as Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Power, one of three possible starters for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien along with Ishvana, who landed the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and Reply. The Richard Fahey-trained Gabrial and Bullet Train, who usually sets the pace for Frankel, complete the possible line-up.
Godolphin could also be represented in Wednesday’s £60,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes, run over seven furlongs for two-year-olds, with Tha’ir, who has won two of his three starts including the Listed Chesham Stakes over the same distance at Royal Ascot on June 23.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Tha’ir worked nicely on Wednesday morning and he looks to be in good form at the moment.
“He is a small horse but is improving all the time. He won well over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot, so the trip suits him and I am looking forward to seeing how he gets on in Group company.”
Other possible starters in what looks to be a strong renewal of the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes include the Richard Hannon-trained Olympic Glory, who was narrowly beaten in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot before landing the seven-furlong Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 14 by a head from the David Simcock-trained Birdman, who could reoppose. Hannon could also be represented by Alhebayeb, who was also a Group Two winner at Newmarket earlier this month in the six-furlong July Stakes.
Day two of Glorious Goodwood opens with the longest race of the meeting, the £30,000 Goodwood Handicap (2.00pm) over two miles and five furlongs which has attracted 38 entries. Also on Wednesday’s card are the £40,000 UBS Handicap (3.45pm, 30 entries), the Markel Insurance Fillies’ Maiden (4.20pm, 27 entries), the British Stallion Studs Turf Club EBF Fillies' Handicap (4.55pm, 39 entries) and the concluding Harwoods Racing Club Handicap (5.30pm, 59 entries).
The going at Goodwood remains GOOD.
Seamus Buckley, Goodwood’s Clerk of the Course, reported today: “We started watering at 6.00am this morning.
“There is a chance of a shower tomorrow (Friday) afternoon but this is not forecast to amount to anything significant and is the only rain forecast in the next few days, so the watering will help to maintain the course in its current condition.
“I am very happy with the condition of the course and we are where we want to be at this stage.
“It is very pleasing to see such a good entry for Wednesday and we are all eagerly anticipating Frankel’s return to Glorious Goodwood in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.”
GIROLAMO ON COURSE FOR BET365 GORDON STAKES
Nine entries have been received for the £60,000 Group Three Bet365 Gordon Stakes, run over a mile and a half on the first day of Glorious Goodwood, Tuesday, July 31.
The entries are headed by John Gosden’s Michelangelo, who won the Listed Casco Cocked Hat Stakes at the course in May, before a comfortable sales race success over Cameron Highland at Newmarket on June 30.
Gosden could also saddle Investec Derby fourth Thought Worthy, while Sir Henry Cecil has entered Frankel’s full-brother Noble Mission, who has had the beating of both Michelangelo and Thought Worthy this season.
Peter Schiergen, who won the Group One King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday with Danedream, could be represented by German Derby third Girolamo.
Suzanne Roberts, stud manager to Gestut Ebessloh, Girolamo’s owner-breeder, said: “There is a good chance Girolamo will run in the Bet365 Gordon Stakes.
“He ran very well in the German Derby but we can’t say we were expecting it because he probably improved 5lb on his form in that run.
“He is a young horse who has always been on the upgrade and he didn’t run as a two-year-old because he was backward. He came out this year and won his maiden nicely but ran very badly next time. It was a rotten race but there were no excuses.
“He ran well in his race before the German Derby and then again in the Derby itself. The form of that race and German racing internationally has worked out quite well, so if he keeps improving like he has been there is no reason to think he will disgrace himself.
“He is a well balanced horse and he will handle the tight turns at Goodwood. There is only one racetrack in Germany with undulations and he hasn’t run there, but I can’t see that being a problem especially over this sort of distance.
“Firm ground wouldn’t be his thing but good or good to soft ground would be ideal. Goodwood will have a good covering of grass as well so the ground should be fine.”
The entries also include Godolphin’s Sandown handicap scorer Encke, who is trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, while Queen’s Vase third Ed De Gas and fifth Minimise Risk, could reoppose each other. John Dunlop’s Farhaan completes the entries.