An exciting matchup between group I winners Kingman
has shaped up for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) July 30 at Goodwood.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien's scratch of group I winner War Command
due to lameness has reduced the field to just four runners for the one-mile race. Kingman, Europe's top 3-year-olds this season, and 4-year-old Toronado, winner of last year's edition of the race, face off following their victories last month at Royal Ascot.
Juddmonte Farms homebred Kingman impressively turned the tables on his QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) conqueror Night of Thunder
in the June 17 St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) going mile at the royal meeting, while Al Shaqab Racing's Toronado overcame a 300-day absence by winning the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at the distance the same day from United States grade I winner Verrazano
Kingman, trained by John Gosden, is the early 4-9 favorite to continue the good recent record of 3-year-olds, who have won five of the last six renewals of the Sussex Stakes.
Toronado, at 2-1 odds, is bidding for a repeat win in the race, having defeated Dawn Approach
by a half-length last year. Trained by Richard Hannon, the colt would join undefeated champion Frankel
as the only other horse to win the race twice.
Hannon said Toronado enters the Sussex in fine fettle.
"Toronado's last piece of work was exceptional, and we could not be happier with him," he said on his website. "He is definitely a stronger horse than he was last year, and he has also toughened up mentally. We were delighted he won first time out in the Queen Anne, but we also knew that he wasn't on his A-game.
"He had been off a long time and was probably a bit rusty, but since Royal Ascot he has thrived and, while we have huge respect for Kingman, Toronado has a course victory on his CV and that counts for a lot as Goodwood is not an easy track."
Outstrip, winner of the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT), finished third in the St. James's Palace when 3 1/2 lengths behind Kingman and will bid to provide Godolphin a third Sussex Stakes victory following Noverre (2001) and Ramonti (2007). Trained by Charlie Appleby and tabbed at 25-1 odds for the Sussex, Outstrip produced a dirty scope after finished a disappointing 14th in the Two Thousand Guineas in his season debut.
"We were disappointed with him in the Guineas but he had a genuine excuse that day as he scoped very badly afterwards," Appleby said. "I had been pleased with his preparation going into Newmarket and I was very happy going into Royal Ascot, where he produced what I thought was a career-best performance.
"He has come out of the St. James's Palace Stakes very well."
O'Brien is represented by Darwin
, a 4-year-old who won a listed stakes in Ireland to start the year, then finished second in the seven-furlong Minstrel Stakes (Ire-III) July 17 at the Curragh, a race he won last year from subsequent English and Australian group I winner Gordon Lord Byron
. He was bought for Coolmore and partners for $1.3 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training, making him the most expensive juvenile sold at auction that year. He is pegged at 40-1 odds.
QIPCO Sussex Stakes (Eng-I, race 3, approximate post time 10:05 a.m. EDT), Goodwood, 3YO&Up, one mile
No. PP. Horse (Where Bred) (Sire), Jockey, Weight, Trainer
Darwin (PA) (Big Brown
), R. Moore, 134, A. O'Brien
2. 5. Toronado (IRE) (High Chaparral), R. Hughes, 134, R. Hannon
3. 4. Kingman (GB) (Invincible Spirit), J. Doyle, 126, J. Gosden
4. 1. Outstrip (GB) (Exceed And Excel), W. Buick, 126, C. Appleby
5. 3. War Command (KY) SCRATCHED