Click above to watch Frankel winning the Sussex Stakes (G1)…
(Image : Daily Record - Footage : Racing UK)
QIPCO SUSSEX STAKES (Group 1)
Goodwood, Turf, 1600m
27 July 2011
Just a month ago, after his commanding victory over in the one mile Queen Anne Stakes (Gr1) over the nine time Group One winning filly, Goldikova, Richard Hannon’s Canford Cliffs was hailed as the “Emperor” of European milers, a view that was hammered home by Frankel’s somewhat sub-par performance in the three-year-old version of the same event at the same meeting, the St James Palace Stakes (Gr1), in which he came closest to being defeated for the first time in his career, by a previously unheralded performer. With the renewal of the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood for the 133rd time since its inauguration in 1878, Canford Cliffs was most people’s idea of the most likely horse to lower Frankel’s colours for the first time.
Yet such was the faith in this hitherto seven-times unbeaten three-year-old, he still went off at prohibitive odds-on. Coolmore Stud’s gamble of a substantial investment in Canford Cliffs towards the end of last season, appeared to have paid off as he approached the start with his usual professionalism, and in an exchange of messages with our old pal, Dr. Barry Clements, Down Under, a bit of sparring was triggered when he ventured a prediction of a three length victory for Frankel, with us countering it would be Canford Cliffs by two.
In the end, we all got it wrong, as Frankel romped away by a staggering five, suggesting that he may well be the best miler the world has seen in several decades. He joins an August honour roll of the Sussex’s recent winners, including the colossi Giant’s Causeway, Rock Of Gibraltar, Noverre, Ramonti, Henrythenavigator and Rip Van Winkle.
It’s easy to get carried away with superlatives in a situation like this, but this is a helluva horse, and following on the consummate victory by Galileo’s son, Nathaniel, in Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr1) at Ascot, this was a whole clutch of feathers in the burgeoning Galileo cap. Let’s not forget, earlier this month, Igugu pretty much guaranteed her place as this year’s Horse Of The Year in South Africa, with her surging victory in the Vodacom Durban July (Gr1), and that the progeny of Galileo have already dominated the European Classics to an unprecedented degree.
Word-spinners are always eager for a good story, but it would not be stretching things too far, even at this relatively early stage, to draw comparisons between Galileo and his own illustrious sire, Sadler’s Wells (hitherto unchallenged as the greatest sire in European history, measured by his stallion championships), and it may even be possible (as unthinkable as it might be,) that Galileo could stake his claim to immortality by surpassing Sadler’s Wells’ 14 titles.