The Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes has 31 entries going forward following last Tuesdays scratchings deadline and an enthralling renewal of the mile contest, worth £1 million for the second year, is in prospect on Wednesday, July 27, day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
A thrilling clash of the generations could see Classic winners Galileo Gold 15/8 favourite trained by (Hugo Palmer), Minding (Aidan O’Brien), The Gurkha (Aidan O’Brien), Awtaad (Kevin Prendergast) and Jet Setting (Adrian Keatley) take on the cream of the older generation.
Al Shaqab Racing’s Galileo Gold landed the opening British Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, before being beaten in the Irish equivalent by Awtaad. The pair re-opposed in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, with Galileo Gold coming out on top ahead of French 2,000 Guineas hero The Gurkha and Awtaad in third.
Minding has strong claims to be the best three-year-old in Europe with Classic wins in both the QIPCO 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks as well as a victory over her elders in the Pretty Polly Stakes. Her only reversal came when the unlucky runner-up to Jet Setting in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Other eye-catching three-year-olds remaining in include Godolphin’s Group Three Jersey Stakes scorer Ribchester (Richard Fahey)
There is also strong representation from the older generation, with the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes hero Belardo (Roger Varian), last season’s Celebration Mile victor Kodi Bear (Clive Cox) and Queen Anne Stakes third Lightning Spear (David Simcock) all going forward.
Lightning Spear acquitted himself well in good company for Olly Stevens last season, with his best effort coming when fourth behind Esoterique in the Group One Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in August.
David Simcock: “Lightning Spear is in good order and has come out of Royal Ascot very well.”
“There are no firm plans for him at the moment as we are still deciding, but he is in the Qatar Sussex Stakes and it is a definite option.”
“I was delighted with his run at Royal Ascot on ground that, for all he handled it, is not his preferred choice.”
“He is definitely better on fast ground and you could not have asked for any more on his first run of the year.”
Minding (Aidan O’Brien) also features among 31 fillies and mares going forward for the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes, staged over nearly 10 furlongs on the fifth and final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Saturday, July 30.
Kieren Fallon was admitted this week to hospital for treatment for severe depression which was the reason for his retirement from the saddle recently.
Even Song will go to post on Saturday a very short price favourite for the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and is fully expected to dominate the race with Harlequeen at 12/1 looking the E/W alternative.
Yours In Sport!