Hugo Palmer says only victory will satisfy him when Galileo Gold seeks to confirm his superiority over two other Guineas winners in the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday.
This year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace winner will have to overcome nine rivals if he is to secure his third QIPCO British Champions Series prize of the season. If successful, he will become the first horse since the mighty Frankel to win all three races in the same season.
“There’s only one enjoyable result for me,” the Newmarket trainer said. “I loved the Guineas, I loved Ascot, but the Curragh [when Galileo Gold finished second in the Irish 2000 Guineas] was less enjoyable. His work has been good since Ascot, he’s got physically stronger and we know he handles the track because he won well there last year. He is going to run on faster ground than he’s been running on this year but then that’s the same for all of them.”
Galileo Gold will be tackling older opposition for the first time but Palmer, who celebrates his first wedding anniversary today, believes they have their work cut out trying to concede 8lb to his stable star. “So far this year the three-year-olds seemed to have served it up well to the older generation, whether it be Minding [in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh], Hawkbill and The Gurkha in the Eclipse, or Alice Springs in the Falmouth.
“They look like they are a decent enough bunch of three-years-olds. The older horses like Lightning Spear and Toormore were not the best of their generation, so I would be hopeful the best of this generation will finish in front of them. There’s no hiding place in a race like this.”
Galileo Gold beat The Gurkha, the French 2000 Guineas winner and subsequent Coral-Eclipse runner-up, and Awtaad in a stirring renewal of the St James’s Palace Stakes last month and the rematch promises to be the highlight of the five-day Goodwood meeting.
“It’s great for racing having these three leading milers taking each other on,” Palmer said. I’ve always thought Galileo Gold has been slightly under-rated, even last year after he won the Vintage Stakes, but he’s got the form in the book now.
“He’s an exceptionally good doer, I’ve never known a horse eat quite like he eats. He is an enthusiastic worker; he enjoys his work and takes it very well. Touch wood he’s always been an exceptionally sound horse, he’s got an extraordinary constitution and has always been a very easy to train.
“Training horses is almost like a Venn diagram between feed and work. Feed’s one circle and work’s the other. You want the bit that involves both circles to be as large as possible to get the best result. With Galileo Gold you would almost assume the two circles are on top of each other.”
Another leading contender from the Classic generation is Ribchester, an impressive winner of the Jersey Stakes last time, having previously finished third in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
The highest-rated older horse in the line-up is Lightning Spear, who was a fine third to Tepin in the Queen Anne Stakes on his reappearance at Royal Ascot when having his first start for David Simcock.
Toormore, fourth in the Queen Anne, has been beaten only once in three previous runs at Glorious Goodwood, when beaten a neck in the Lennox Stakes in 2014. He went one better in last year’s running.
Kodi Bear is another with smart track form, having easily beaten Gabrial in the Group Two Celebration Mile last summer.
However, the Clive Cox-trained four-year-old has not been at his best in three starts this campaign. Richard Pankhurst, fifth in the Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot on his reappearance is a likely outsider for a race where the favourite has won 39 of the past 70 renewals - including seven of the past eight, with So Beloved making up the field.
* Exciting two-year-old action comes courtesy of the £75,000 Victoria Racing Club Molecomb Stakes (3.45pm, 12 runners) over the minimum trip of five furlongs. The field is headed by Listed winners Global Applause (Ed Dunlop/Frankie Dettori), Rapacity Alexander (David Evans/John Egan) and The Last Lion (Mark Johnston/Franny Norton), who was also runner-up in the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
There are a number of exciting maiden winners in the line-up, including Kyllang Rock (James Tate/Andrea Atzeni). The Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum-owned Kyllachy colt was fourth on his debut at Yarmouth behind subsequent Listed Windsor Castle Stakes winner Ardad on June 8 before scoring readily at Windsor on July 11.
Wednesday also sees the G3 £100,000 Bering Ice Gordon Stakes (2.35pm, nine runners) over a mile and a half, a recognised trial for the final Classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster. Four of the nine declared runners also hold St Leger entries - Goldmember (David Simcock/Oisin Murphy), Harrison (Mick Channon/Sivestre De Sousa), Prize Money (Saeed bin Suroor/James Doyle) and The Major General (Adian O’Brien).
Sir Michael Stoute has two contenders with Ulysses (Andrea Atzeni), who is bidding to bounce back from a disappointing run in the Investec Derby, and Platitude (Frankie Dettori), runner-up in the G3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket on July 7.
Irish raider Qatari Hunter (Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning) steps up to Pattern company following four impressive handicap wins.
Day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival opens with the longest race of the week, the £50,000 Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap (2.00pm, 20 runners) over two miles and five furlongs.
Completing Wednesday’s action are the £20,000 Markel Insurance Fillies’ Maiden (4.20pm, 20 runners), the £30,000 EBF Veuve Clicquot Fillies’ Handicap (4.55pm, 10 runners) and the concluding £20,000 NatWest Handicap (5.25pm, 20 runners).
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