Frankel, the world’s best racehorse, will face a maximum of seven rivals as he bids to become the first dual winner of the Group One QIPCO Sussex Stakes (3.10pm) at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday.
The mile contest is the highlight of the meeting’s second day and offers a prize fund of £316,500. It is also the fifth race in the Mile category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Last year the Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt sauntered to an effortless five-length victory over Canford Cliffs in a contest billed as the “Duel on the Downs” and he is now unbeaten in 11 starts. The star four-year-old’s most recent outing came in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, when he was in devastating form and came home 11 lengths clear of Excelebration, earning an official rating of 140 with the British Horseracing Authority.
The strongest opposition to Frankel could come from Godolphin’s Farhh, who has been supplemented for the race at a cost of £19,500.
The lightly-raced four-year-old has run two excellent races in Group One contests on his latest two starts, going down by half a length to Nathaniel in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on July 7 and finishing third to So You Think in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, when he stayed on well after losing ground at the start.
Both of Farhh’s latest two starts came over 10 furlongs but his trainer Saeed bin Suroor is not concerned about the drop back to a mile for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes.
The Godolphin trainer said: “Farhh has been doing well since he ran at Sandown and I have been happy with him.
“I think that a mile at Goodwood will suit him well but we would prefer to see some rain before Wednesday because he prefers to have a little cut in the ground.
“He has run very well in two Group One races but taking on Frankel will be a very tough task. I am hopeful that he can put in another good performance.”
Also among the eight confirmations for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes are Strong Suit, successful over seven furlongs in the Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2011, as well as Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Power, one of three possible starters for Ireland’s champion trainer Aidan O’Brien along with Ishvana, who landed the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and Reply. The Richard Fahey-trained Gabrial and Bullet Train, who usually sets the pace for Frankel, complete the possible line-up.
Godolphin could also be represented in Wednesday’s £60,000 Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes, run over seven furlongs for two-year-olds, with Tha’ir, who has won two of his three starts including the Listed Chesham Stakes over the same distance at Royal Ascot on June 23.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Tha’ir worked nicely on Wednesday morning and he looks to be in good form at the moment.
“He is a small horse but is improving all the time. He won well over seven furlongs at Royal Ascot, so the trip suits him and I am looking forward to seeing how he gets on in Group company.”
Other possible starters in what looks to be a strong renewal of the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes include the Richard Hannon-trained Olympic Glory, who was narrowly beaten in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot before landing the seven-furlong Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on July 14 by a head from the David Simcock-trained Birdman, who could reoppose. Hannon could also be represented by Alhebayeb, who was also a Group Two winner at Newmarket earlier this month in the six-furlong July Stakes.
Day two of Glorious Goodwood opens with the longest race of the meeting, the £30,000 Goodwood Handicap (2.00pm) over two miles and five furlongs which has attracted 38 entries. Also on Wednesday’s card are the £40,000 UBS Handicap (3.45pm, 30 entries), the Markel Insurance Fillies’ Maiden (4.20pm, 27 entries), the British Stallion Studs Turf Club EBF Fillies’ Handicap (4.55pm, 39 entries) and the concluding Harwoods Racing Club Handicap (5.30pm, 59 entries).