One of Glorious Goodwood’s great races of modern times is in the offing if 2,000 Guineas sensation Frankel takes on Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes.
Goodwood bosses say there’s every chance a clash between the best three-year-old in Europe and last season’s highest-rated British miler could happen at the festival.
Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs began his 2011 campaign with victory in last Saturday’s JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, his fourth win at the top level.
And Frankel remains the talk of the flat-racing scene after his scintillating 2,000 Guineas triumph.
The £300,000 Sussex Stakes provides the first opportunity for the Classic generation to take on their elders over a mile. Last summer the three-year-old Canford Cliffs, ridden by Goodwood specialist Richard Hughes, came out on top in a great contest with the year-older Rip Van Winkle.
Entries for July 27’s Sussex Stakes close next Tuesday and Goodwood MD Adam Waterworth said he’d be disappointed if Frankel wasn’t in the running at that stage. His hopes that Frankel would appear at Glorious were first revealed in his exclusive Observer column a fortnight ago.
“The first logical and natural place for them to meet is the Sussex Stakes,” he told the Observer yesterday.
“This isn’t just a story we’ve dreamed up – we believe it’s quite possible, even likely.
“If Frankel continues to run over a mile – and his owner’s racing manager has said that’s likely – we’re confident the Sussex Stakes will be the one for him.
“Frankel impressed so many with his extraordinary win in the 2,000 Guineas but Canford Cliffs showed on Saturday he won’t give up his Sussex Stakes crown easily.
“A showdown between the pair would capture the imagination of race fans everywhere and – as Richard Hannon said – would fill a racecourse.
“It would be a classic clash of racing styles, too.” Bookmaker Coral make Frankel the 1/3 favourite to finish ahead of Canford Cliffs should the Sussex Stakes showdown go ahead, with Richard Hannon’s colt 9/4.
Meanwhile, Goodwood’s season has continued at break-neck speed this week.
Yesterday it staged the Height of Fashion Stakes and Cocked Hat Stakes – see www.chichester.co.uk for a report and results – and on Saturday, there’s another two listed races in a card of seven which kicks off at 2.15pm.