Court Masterpiece Shines in Sussex

Court Masterpiece came with a late rush to claim the Cantor Spreadfair Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday.

The Gainsborough Stud homebred has shown a true affinity for the West Sussex racecourse; the 6-year-old son of Polish Precedent now boasts four wins from eight starts at the track. Court Masterpiece won the 2005 Lennox Stakes (Eng-II) prior to landing his first Group 1 victory in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) at Longchamp last October.

The field that had assembled for the 2006 Sussex Stakes was a small but select one. Of the seven runners, four were prior Group 1 winners. The heavy favorite was Araafa, who was coming off an impressive victory in the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot. Prior to that, the 3-year-old won the Boylesports Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) at The Curragh.

The classy Soviet Song was making her third appearance in the Sussex. The James Fanshawe trainee won the event in 2004, and was the runner-up last year.

Aussie Rules was the fourth Group 1 winner in the field. The Danehill colt had won the Gainsborough Poule d'Essai des Poulains (Fr-I) in May.

As expected, Frankie Dettori and Echo of Light shot to the front and proceeded to lead the field through the first six furlongs of the one-mile affair. Araafa took command with just over two furlongs out, but could not maintain his lead as jockey Jimmy Fortune and Court Masterpiece stormed by on the rail to win by two lengths.

Soviet Song finished well to gain the second spot, a ½-length in front of Rob Roy. Araafa faded to fifth.

Winning trainer Ed Dunlop told BBC Sport, "He's very good round here, and he's won like a very good horse -- I'm very pleased for him. I would like to take him to America for the Breeders' Cup Mile -- he would be a companion for Ouija Board -- but we'll take him home and have a think."