QIPCO SUSSEX STAKES (Group 1)
Goodwood, Turf, 1609m
30 July 2014
The long awaited clash between the defending Champion and four-year-old Toronado (High Chaparral) and the youngster, the three-year-old Irish Classic winner Kingman (Invincible Spirit), takes place on the downs of Goodwood, over the mile of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes today.
Toronado has run only twice since his half-length defeat of Dawn Approach last year. He made little show in last year’s Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes and was absent until his reappearance at Royal Ascot, where he was back on form, beating a good field in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.
Jockey Richard Hughes earlier in the week sounded highly optomistic, “Mine is a very strong, versatile horse who can make the running if needed. That will stand him in good stead around Goodwood; it could be a small field and tactical. I wouldn’t swap him anyway. It’s going to be hard to beat Kingman, I’m under no illusions, but there are no chinks in our armour and he’s a tougher horse this year than last year.”
Trainer John Gosden is having a superb summer with Kingman and has already landed two victories at the highest level in the Group 1 Irish 2,000 Guineas and following up with an authoritative win in the Group 1 St James’ Palace Stakes.
He commented, “He has a very cool mind on him. He’s pretty laid back about things, he can relax in a race and then show not one but two changes of pace. That’s hugely important, but I think it’s true that any good horse must have the physique and amazing cardiovascular system of all great athletes - and then be able to put it together on the day itself. We’ve seen an awful lot of horses that fulfil some of those criteria but not the others. You’re very lucky when one comes along that can do it all.”
The supporting cast is headed by the third from the St James’ Palace Stakes in Outstrip (Exceed And Excel). A Group 1 winner, having landed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita last November, he put behind him a last place finish in the Group 1 2000 Guineas to be beaten three and a quarter lengths at Ascot.
Rounding out the quartet is last years Group 3 Minstrel Stakes winner Darwin (Big Brown), who was beaten a length in the corresponding race eleven days ago when second. While useful, he has not gone on yet from the promise he showed since relocating from America after his two-year-old career.
Extract from European Bloodstock News