GLORIOUS GOODWOOD: Nine remain in frame for Sussex Stakes

THE £300,000 QIPCO Sussex Stakes - which promises to be the highlight of Glorious Goodwood - has nine entries confirmed at the six-day stage.

The Group One mile contest takes place at 3.05pm on Wednesday, July 27, day two of Glorious.

The “Duel on the Downs” sees the four-year-old Canford Cliffs, who captured the QIPCO Sussex Stakes in 2010, take on the three-year-old Frankel, who is unbeaten in seven starts.

Canford Cliffs, who is trained by Richard Hannon, has been in imperious form this season with victories on his two starts in the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, with both of those triumphs coming over a mile.

The Henry Cecil-trained Frankel was the joint top-rated juvenile of 2010 and is currently rated the joint-best horse in the world according to the World Thoroughbred Rankings following his latest two victories over a mile in the Group One QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Canford Cliffs is the joint third-best horse in the world at the moment.

There are a total of nine confirmations at the six-day stage for the 2011 QIPCO Sussex Stakes. Godolphin could be represented by Rio De La Plata, a three-time Group One winner and successful on his only previous start at Goodwood when taking the 2007 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes.

The Maktoum family’s racing operation has also left in Delegator, winner of the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes at York in May, although connections have stated that he is more likely to start in Tuesday’s Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs. Neebras is a third possible starter for Godolphin and finished fourth behind Frankel in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Richard Hannon could be doubly represented as he has left in Dick Turpin, successful in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last year and a winner on his latest start in the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot on July 9.

Aidan O’Brien has won two of the last three runnings of the QIPCO Sussex Stakes and Zoffany is his possible representative this time around. Zoffany, a Group One-winning two-year-old in 2010, got to within three-quarters of a length of Frankel when a fast-finishing second in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and was subsequently the head runner-up in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on July 3.

The last French horse to capture the QIPCO Sussex Stakes was Bigstone in 1993 and the possible French representative in 2011 is Rajsaman. Trained by Freddy Head, he finished a close third behind his illustrious stable companion Goldikova in the Group One Prix D’Ispahan at Longchamp on May 22 and had previously landed the Group Two Prix Du Muguet at Saint-Cloud on May 1.

Completing the possbile line-up is Red Jazz, although assistant trainer Charlie Hills stated today that he is much more likely to start in Tuesday’s Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes.

Wednesday’s card gets under way with the £30,000 Goodwood Handicap (2.00pm) and the marathon two mile, five furlong contest (the longest race run over the five days of Glorious Goodwood) could feature a Grade One-winning hurdler in the shape of Spirit Of Adjisa.

The seven-year-old, one of 37 entries, has enjoyed a meteoric rise under trainer Tim Vaughan’s guidance and ended a superb first jumping campaign for the Glamorgan handler by taking the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in May.

Vaughan revealed: “Spirit Of Adjisa definitely heads to Goodwood. We were planning to send him to Royal Ascot but he had a little setback after Punchestown, which we have put right now.

“He definitely deserves another crack on the Flat after improving so much over hurdles and he looks well handicapped at the moment. The one question mark we have is over the trip but everything that he has done over hurdles suggests that he will get the two miles and five furlongs.

“He hasn’t had much racing over the past year because we turned him out after he won at Bangor last June with the aim of getting one run into him before the big spring festivals, but a little niggle meant we had to wait until Punchestown.

“I spoke to the jockeys’ agent Tony Hind and he said that he would get Ryan Moore or Richard Hughes and it looks like Ryan will probably be on board.

“Goodwood is a lovely venue and a lovely day out for the owners and it’s certainly a bit different to have a horse going straight from Punchestown to Goodwood.”

Wednesday also features the £60,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes (2.35pm), run over seven furlongs for two-year-olds and often an indicative pointer to the future with subsequent Classic winners Shamardal and Sir Percy featuring on the roll of honour in recent seasons.

The richest handicap of the day is the £40,000 UBS Handicap (3.45pm), over a mile and a half for three-year-olds, which has attracted 26 entries, while the remaining races on the card are the Markel International Fillies’ Maiden Stakes (4.20pm, 20 entries), the Harwoods E.B.F. ‘Hellvelyn’ Classified Stakes (0-95) (4.55pm, 26 entries) and the concluding E.B.F. Nayef Fillies’ And Mares’ Handicap (5.30pm, 34 entries).

The going at Goodwood remains Good to Soft, Good in places.

Seamus Buckley, Clerk of the Course at Goodwood, reported: “The last 24 hours have been dry and the going at Goodwood remains good to soft, good in places.

“I have been out on the course this afternoon and am delighted with its current condition.

“We are drying out but the course has retained plenty of moisture and I would anticipate that we will be starting Glorious Goodwood on goodish ground next Tuesday. We are certainly heading in the right direction.

“There is still the chance of showers, but that will lessen after tomorrow and we should see warmer and drier conditions at the weekend.”