After last year’s meeting was held behind closed doors, Glorious Goodwood returns later this month – and racing fans and connections will be rubbing their hands in anticipation of attending the five-day festival in person this year.
On day two of the festival is the Sussex Stakes – a Group 1 race, run over the distance of a mile. Frankel is the most successful horse in the history of the race, having won back-to-back in 2011-12. But let’s go a little bit closer in time – and recap the most recent winners, as well as who could challenge later this month.
2018: Lightning Spear
They say unlucky 13, but 14 had been an unlucky number for the horse/jockey duo of Lightning Spear and Oisin Murphy. The pair had lost that many Group 1 races prior to their Sussex Stakes success in 2018. But persistence clearly paid off as the 9/1 chance beat the Goodwood odds as well as the field of eight runners to secure victory – by one and a half lengths. The duo had come close in the past, not least losing by three-quarters of a length at Ascot, and a short head at Newbury – but this time, everything went to plan. The favourite Without Parole was well beaten over a furlong out, and when Lightning Spear went on the charge, fellow hopeful Expert Eye had no chance.
2019: Too Darn Hot
Jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer John Gosden are no stranger to a Group 1 win, nor more specifically at Glorious Goodwood – and they were victorious at 2019’s Sussex Stakes. Too Darn Hot was the pre-race favourite at evens, and didn’t disappoint, as he got one over on old foe Circus Maximus (priced at 9/2). It was a frantic race, won in a time of 1:38.57, but Too Darn Hot hadn’t got going immediately – tracking the leading pack of Circus Maximus and Phoenix of Spain who flew out the stalls. And it was until the final 100 yards that Dettori and the bay were in command, holding on to win by half a length.
It was a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure for Marcus Tregoning. The trainer hadn’t won a race at the top level, since Sir Percy won the Epsom Derby in 2006, and despite the 2020 Sussex Stakes being run behind closed doors, all those connected with Mohaather were in fine spirits. Credit had to go to jockey Jim Crowley who made the impossible, possible. He was forced to drop a gear, as it looked as those Mohaather was trapped in a difficult position a furlong from the finish line, but a change in pace saw him ride around the outside and lead towards the finish. Half a length separated Mohaather from runner up, Circus Maximus, making it a real success story for both horse and trainer.
There’s one notable absence from the Sussex Stakes betting market, and that was previous favourite Palace Pier. It was announced earlier this week, that the John Gosden-trained colt – unbeaten in three starts – will miss Goodwood, and instead head straight to Deauville. following unsatisfactory blood results.
Instead, Poetic Flare, who recently lost by a short head in the Irish 2,000 Guineas but won before that at Royal Ascot (St James’ Palace Stakes) is leading the charge. He is challenged by several from Aidan O’Brien’s yard, including Order of Australia, Lope y Fernandez and St Mark’s Basilica. The latter is unbeaten this season and won the French equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp.