A thrilling third clash between Dawn Approach and Toronado, the top two European three-year-old milers, remains likely in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday, July 31.
Dawn Approach, trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger for Godolphin, had Toronado seven and a half lengths back in fourth when the impressive winner of the first British Classic, the Group One QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, over a mile on May 4.
There were excuses put forward that day for Toronado, owned by His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al Thani and trained by Richard Hannon in Wiltshire.
After everything went wrong in the 12-furlong Investec Derby at Epsom Downs on June 1, Dawn Approach returned to a mile in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and had a short-head to spare over Toronado in a thrilling finish after both colts overcame interference to race to the line.
Toronado will be trying to make it third time lucky in the £300,000 Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes, Goodwood’s top race of the year, which has 26 contenders going forward after yesterday’s scratchings’ stage, with the details released today.
Frankel, the highest-rated horse anybody has seen, won the most recent two runnings of the QIPCO Sussex Stakes in tremendous style, without being troubled by rivals.
He beat the Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs easily by five lengths in 2011 when the race was marketed as the “Duel on the Downs”.
Seamus Buckley, clerk of the course at Goodwood Racecourse, commented today: “It would be great to get Dawn Approach and Toronado among the runners for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes - a second “Duel on the Downs” following on from Frankel and Canford Cliffs two years ago.”
Buckley commenced watering on Monday (July 8) to keep some moisture in the ground and maintain grass growth.
“We have started watering because it has been extremely hot. We are watering at night to maximise the effect.
“I am happy with the way the course has recovered from the early-season racing.”
Adam Waterworth, managing director of Goodwood Racecourse, reported strong demand for Glorious Goodwood.
He said today: “Advance bookings for the five days of Glorious Goodwood are ahead of last year at this stage which is encouraging.
“We had been expecting the second day, Wednesday, July 31, to fall away slightly just because the amazing Frankel is retired and won’t be running in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
“If we get the race we all want in this year’s QIPCO Sussex Stakes, Dawn Approach versus Toronado, then maybe we will have an attendance to bear comparison to the Frankel years which would be wonderful and unexpected.”
Dominic Gardiner-Hill, the British Horseracing Authority handicapper responsible for milers, is eagerly looking forward to another Dawn Approach/Toronado clash.
He asked: “Is anybody else getting a slight sense of “déjà vu” with the personal duel that is starting to develop between this year’s top three-year-old milers Dawn Approach and Toronado?
“Remember 2008 when Henrythenavigator beat Raven’s Pass in the 2000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes and again in the Sussex Stakes – on each occasion by a smaller margin than the previous run – only for John Gosden’s colt to finally wrench away the miling crown from his old adversary in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.
“I wonder if a similar scenario is due to be played out in front of us this summer. Back to mile after the Derby debacle, Dawn Approach (124+) landed the St James’s Palace by a short-head from Richard Hannon’s colt (123+) to take the personal score between them to 2-0 but boy did Toronado make the winner work hard and many felt he was an unlucky loser.
“Both suffered interference when Glory Awaits ducked left two furlongs out but some felt Toronado got the worst of it.
“A performance figure of 124+ for Dawn Approach was the second highest posted in the Royal Ascot race since the turn of the century with only Shamardal’s 125 when winning the race at York in 2005 being higher, while Toronado’s figure of 123 would have been good enough to win eight of the previous 10 runnings of the race.
“They are two high class colts and will hopefully both turn up fit and well for the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood for Round Three!”
Dawn Approach gained the European Champion Two-Year-Old title last season when unbeaten and his race record reads eight victories from nine starts.
Toronado is more lightly-raced, having won on his first four starts before the two defeats inflicted by Dawn Approach.
Godolphin has three other possible runners in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes on July 31, dual Group One winner Sajjhaa, three-year-old Tawhid and the year older Fulbright, all trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Dawn Approach’s stable companion Leitir Mor, who has acted as a pacemaker previously, also goes forward.
Toronado’s owner also has stable companion Olympic Glory, three quarters of a length second to Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, with the other Richard Hannon entries being dual Group Two winner Trumpet Major and Havana Gold, successful in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last time out.
Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is responsible for six going forward, led by Declaration Of War, winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and second to Al Kazeem in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park last weekend. The four-year-old is being aimed at the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
O’Brien’s other hopefuls are 2012 Group One St James’s Palace Stakes victor Most Improved, 2013 Coral-Eclipse fourth Mars, Jersey Stakes winner Gale Force Ten, Reply and lightly-raced Darwin.
Just The Judge, successful in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and the consistent six year-old Red Jazz could represent trainer Charlie Hills.
Roger Varian’s Aljamaaheer and the John Gosden-trained pair of Gregorian and Elusive Kate finished second, third and fourth respectively in the Queen Anne Stakes, with Trade Storm (David Simcock) fifth on his European reappearance.
The QIPCO Sussex Stakes is part of the British Champions Series.
Glorious Goodwood takes place from Tuesday, July 30 through to Saturday, August 3 inclusive at the world’s most beautiful racecourse and is an intoxicating mix of high-class horseracing, fashion and social occasion.
THE QIPCO SUSSEX STAKES
Class 1, Group 1, £300,000 Total Prize Fund. Part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. Goodwood, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. For 3yo+, one mile. Weights: 3yo colts and geldings 8st 13lb; 3yo fillies 8st 10lb; 4yo+ colts and geldings 9st 7lb; 4yo+ fillies and mares 9st 4lb. Entries closed May 28, entries revealed May 29 (49 entries), scratchings deadline July 9 (26 remain), six-day confirmation and £19,500 supplementary entry stage July 25, final declaration stage 10.00am, July 29. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, July 8.
* 23 entries have been scratched: Afonso De Sousa, Beauty Parlour, Caspar Netscher, Cristoforo Colombo, Custom Cut, Ebn Arab, Farhh, Flotilla, Fort Knox, George Vancouver, Hanky Panky, Just Pretending, Magician, Maputo, Moonwalk In Paris, Moth, Mshawish, Pedro The Great, Producer, Side Glance, Snow Queen, Sovereign Debt, What A Name.