The Sussex Showdown is very much on.
Outstanding milers Gleneagles (Aidan O’Brien IRE) and Solow (Freddy Head FR) head 11 confirmations for the highlight of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the £1 million Qatar Sussex Stakes (Supported by Qatar National Bank). The mile contest takes place at 3.10pm on Wednesday, July 29, day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Gleneagles is the leading three-year-old miler of his generation, having taken three Group One contests already this season - the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh and Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes.
The five-year-old grey gelding Solow has really come into his own in 2015, following up Group One victories in Dubai and France by taking the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The other nine horses going forward include last year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas scorer Night Of Thunder (Richard Hannon), who landed another Group One prize this season, the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Hannon has also left in Toormore, fourth to Solow last time out at Royal Ascot.
Arod (Peter Chapple-Hyam) finished fourth in the 2014 Investec Derby but has been a revelation over shorter distances this season, capturing the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot on July 11. Aidan O’Brien has also left in Cougar Mountain, who was third to Solow at Royal Ascot before finishing fourth over 10 furlongs in the Group One Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park. Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills) was successful in the seven-furlong Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot before coming home the half-length second to Territories in the Group One Prix Jean Prat over a mile at Chantilly on July 12.
Also going forward for the Qatar Sussex Stakes (Supported by Qatar National Bank) are last year’s Group One Dewhurst Stakes winner Belardo (Roger Varian), Gabrial (Richard Fahey), Here Comes When (Andrew Balding) and Bossy Guest (Mick Channon).
Wednesday, July 29 also features the £100,000 Group Three Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes (2.35pm). The mile and a half contest is often used as a trial for the final Classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster. Of the 13 entries for this year’s renewal, four are also Ladbrokes St Leger entries - Father Christmas (Aidan O’Brien), Highland Reel (Aidan O’Brien), Medrano (David Brown) and Proposed (Richard Hannon).
Medrano has been to Goodwood once already this season, coming home two lengths behind subsequent Investec Derby third and Irish Derby runner-up Storm The Stars when third in the Listed Casco EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes over 11 furlongs on May 22. The son of Archipenko has made one appearance since, storming to an impressive six-length victory in the Listed EBF Stallions Glasgow Stakes over the same distance at Hamilton Park on July 17.
Brown, who trains close to Newark in Nottinghamshire, said today: “Medrano is likely to go to Goodwood for the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes on Wednesday, providing the ground is good. I wouldn’t want to run him on good to firm ground.
“He has been fine since his win at Hamilton last week and is ready to go again. He handled the track well when he was third to Storm The Stars at Goodwood earlier in the year and I think he will enjoy the extra distance of the Gordon Stakes.
“His main aim this year will be probably be the St Leger. He is in at Goodwood and is also entered at York. He will run at one of those and then head to Doncaster. We will just see where conditions are likely to be most favourable for him. He needs to have a run before the St Leger.”
The feature race for two-year-olds on Wednesday is the £75,000 Fairmont Molecomb Stakes (3.45pm) over five furlongs, which has attracted 25 entries. These include Washington DC (Aidan O’Brien) who was successful over the same distance in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and King Of Rooks (Richard Hannon), who came home third in the five-furlong Group Two Norfolk Stakes at the same meeting. Godolphin has two interesting contenders in Group Two July Stakes runner-up Steady Pace (Saeed bin Suroor) and Rouleau (Charlie Appleby), successful on his latest two starts over six furlongs.
Day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival gets underway with the longest race of the five-day spectacular, the £50,000 Victoria Racing Club Goodwood Handicap (2.00pm) over two miles and five furlongs. Among the 30 entries for this contest is last year’s winner Teak (Ian Williams).
The remaining races on Wednesday are the £20,000 Markel Insurance Fillies’ Maiden (6f, 4.20pm, 27 entries), the £20,000 EBF Stallions Veuve Clicquot Fillies’ Handicap (1m 1f, 4.55pm, 26 entries) and the concluding £20,000 NatWest Handicap (7f, 5.25pm, 53 entries).
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