International raiders target Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood
There is a cosmopolitan feel to entries for this year's Â£1m Qatar Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood - with 46 contenders from five countries including Australia and the US revealed today.
The Qatar Sussex Stakes, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, is the highlight of the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, which runs from Tuesday, July 31 to Saturday, August 4, and one of the world's leading mile races, with a tremendous roll of honour. The race takes place on Wednesday, August 1.
Australia's representative is top sprinter Redkirk Warrior (David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig AUS), last seen out when landing the prestigious G1 Newmarket Handicap over six furlongs for the second successive year at Flemington on March 10.
The seven-year-old started his career in UK at longer distances with Newmarket trainer William Haggas, scoring over 10 furlongs at Yarmouth and Ascot, before being sold to race in Hong Kong. He holds entries in both of the G1 sprints at Royal Ascot next month.
Fellow Royal Ascot contender Yoshida, trained by legendary American handler Bill Mott, announced himself as one of the leading turf performers in the US with victory in the nine-furlong G1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 5 - the Japanese-bred son of Heart's Cry's first start as a four-year-old.
Britain and Ireland's reigning champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien has won the Qatar Sussex Stakes five times, most recently with The Gurkha in 2016, and unbeaten G1 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas hero Saxon Warrior and three-time G1 winner Rhododendron, successful in the G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes over a mile at Newbury on May 14, head up his 14 entries, down one from last year.
Among the three-year-olds entered in the Qatar Sussex Stakes, there are other Classic winners, including Olmedo (Jean-Claude Rouget FR) and Romanised (Ken Condon IRE). Olmedo defeated Hey Gaman (James Tate) by a neck in the French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp on May 13, with the race not run to suit Godolphin's Wootton, the fourth, who had previously been unbeaten for trainer Henri- Alex Pantall.
Romanised powered home at 25/1 to win the Irish equivalent by two and a quarter lengths from second favourite US Navy Flag (Aidan O'Brien) at the Curragh on May 26. Romanised ran twice in Britain as a two-year-old, with the pick of his efforts coming when second to Godolphin's Masar (Charlie Appleby) in the G3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park in August.
Trainer Ken Condon, based in Co Kildare, revealed: "Romanised is in great form following his victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and has come out of the race really well. "The Qatar Sussex Stakes is a race we have on our minds at the minute. He would have to improve again but, with natural progression, you would think he can.
"It is not a purely speculative entry and is a race that carries great prestige. He is a horse that needs a good, strong gallop and that is something we might get at Goodwood. His Irish 2,000 Guineas win was brilliant. He is a horse that isn't short of talent and he just needed it to come together in his races.
"He made a pleasing comeback at Naas over seven furlongs as that race did not pan out for him in the closing stages. It was a messy race and he got interfered with at a crucial stage, so that run gave us hope that he would keep on improving.
"His work last year had been excellent and, at the Curragh, he really improved for the step up to a mile. The Curragh is a very fair racecourse and the good ground that day really suited him. They went a strong gallop and he relished conditions - it was brilliant.
"I need to talk to the owners, but Romanised delighted us at the weekend and we are thinking about running him next in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has been great since the Irish Guineas and the challenge for the horse now is to replicate that form, but if we are happy with him, then we will go to Royal Ascot. It would be a nice race to target and it fits in really well in the calendar. After that, the Sussex Stakes is the race we will consider heading for."
Condon has also entered multiple 10-furlong Group race winner Success Days and both horses are owned by Robert Ng. He added: "We decided to run Success Days in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, but ground conditions were just too fast for him. He has been a very busy of horse of late having gone out to Australia, so we might give him an extended break.
"The Qatar Sussex Stakes is probably more likely for Romanised than Success Days, but all options are open at the moment."
Other promising three-year-olds among the Qatar Sussex Stakes entries include Without Parole (John Gosden), a son of dual Sussex Stakes winner Frankel (2011/2012), who maintained his unbeaten record with a gutsy performance in the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown Park last week, and French Classic heroine Teppal (David Simcock), winner of the 1,000 Guineas equivalent at Longchamp on May 13.
Ramonti in 2007 was the most recent of three Qatar Sussex Stakes winners for Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who has two top-class four-year-old contenders in Thunder Snow and Benbatl, respective winners of the G1 Dubai World Cup on dirt and G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Night at the end of March.
Here Comes When (Andrew Balding) could bid to emulate Frankel as a dual winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes, following his narrow success in 2017. He is joined by stablemate Beat The Bank, who impressed when capturing the G3 Thoroughbred Stakes at the 2017 Qatar Goodwood Festival.
G1 Lockinge Stakes runner-up Lightning Spear (David Simcock), winner of the G2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood in 2016 and 2017, Lockinge Stakes third Lancaster Bomber(Aidan O'Brien), who went on to make all in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 27, and top-class sprinter Limato (Henry Candy) are also among those entered for the 2018 renewal of the Qatar Sussex Stakes.
There is a scratchings deadline for the Qatar Sussex Stakes on July 10, with the five-day confirmation and supplementary entry stage on July 26.