Glorious Goodwood: Royal Ascot winners set for Sussex Stakes showdown

Expert Eye on his way to Vintage Stakes glory at Goodwood last year / Picture by Malcolm Wells
Expert Eye on his way to Vintage Stakes glory at Goodwood last year / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Without Parole and supplementary entry Expert Eye are among 13 horses going for the £1m-plus G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes (3.35pm) over a mile, the centrepiece of the meeting on the second day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival (August 1).

Both three-year-olds were successful at Royal Ascot on their latest starts, Without Parole (John Gosden) maintaining his unbeaten record in the mile G1 St James's Palace Stakes, while Expert Eye (Sir Michael Stoute) returned to form with a blistering four and a half-length victory in the G3 Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs.

Expert Eye, owned and bred by Khalid Abdullah, was supplemented at a cost of £70,000. Without Parole has yet to race at Goodwood, whereas Expert Eye is already a winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, having glided to victory in last year's G2 Qatar Vintage Stakes.

John Gosden, trainer of Without Parole, who is owned and bred by John and Tanya Gunther, revealed earlier this week: "Without Parole is in great form and has been working nicely.

"We are pointing towards the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday with him and will take it from there. There is no doubt that he is progressing all the time and is a horse that will get further in time."

The Classic generation has won 11 of the 18 editions since the turn of the century and the three-year-olds are bolstered further by Gustav Klimt (Aidan O'Brien IRE), who finished second behind Without Parole at Ascot, and 2017 European champion two-year-old filly Clemmie (Aidan O'Brien IRE).

Hey Gaman came agonisingly close to providing trainer James Tate with a first Classic victory when losing out a by a neck in the G1 French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp in May. He has since finished seventh in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club over an extended 10 furlongs and fifth in the G1 Prix Jean Prat back over a mile at Deauville on July 8.

Newmarket-based Tate said today: "Hey Gaman has come out of his latest run in good form. He has done great for us this season but I think on his last run, he didn't enjoy the quicker ground.

"He is in the Sussex Stakes and if they got a fair bit of rain between now and Wednesday, then we may end up running him. He is a horse that does want give in the ground and so if there was any significant rainfall between now and then, he would run, but if the weather stays dry, then he may not run."

Unexposed French challenger Orbaan (Andre Fabre FR), successful in Listed company at Saint-Cloud last time out, G2 Lowther Stakes winner Threading (Mark Johnston), and Threeandfourpence (Aidan O'Brien IRE), a conditions race winner at Naas last night, complete the three-year-old entries going forward.

The older horses include Beat The Bank (Andrew Balding) and Lord Glitters (David O'Meara), who were separated by a neck when first and second in the G2 Summer Mile at Ascot earlier this month.

Rhododendron (Aidan O'Brien) bagged her third G1 victory in the mile G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May, when repelling Lightning Spear (David Simcock) by a short-head, but ran well below her best in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes next time out.

Lightning Spear has been beaten twice in the Qatar Sussex Stakes, but is a dual winner of the G2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.

So Beloved (David O'Meara), a seven-furlong G3 winner at Goodwood in 2016, completes the confirmations.

Molecomb Stakes

The other Pattern race on the card is the £75,000 G3 Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes (3pm, 18 entries), staged over five furlongs for two-year-olds.

Soldier's Call has been aimed at the sprint since supplying trainer Archie Watson with his first Royal Ascot success in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes over this distance.

Aidan O'Brien has three potential runners, including G2 Norfolk Stakes third Land Force and Curragh G3 scorer So Perfect.

Deia Glory (Scott Dixon) is set to take her chance after getting off the mark in a five-furlong novice event at Catterick on July 18. Her previous efforts included a head second to Kodyanna in the Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies' Conditions Race at Beverley on June 9.

Dixon, who is based in Nottinghamshire, said today: "Deia Glory is in good form at home and came out of her win at Catterick really well.

"She won nicely that day and the Molecomb is now the plan. We had a horse in the race last year, Wings Of The Rock, who finished fourth, and we feel that despite it being a step up in class, Deia Glory should take her chance.

"Looking back at the race in the last five years in particular, it seems as if a few horses rated in the 80s have been placed in the Molecomb so despite it being a step up, we feel it is worth targeting. Deia Glory won nicely at Catterick last time and she will be fine on fast ground as she really enjoys quick, rattling ground.

"Catterick is quite a quick five furlongs and so is Goodwood, so the nature of the track along with the ground should suit her. She was collared close home in the Hilary Needler at Beverley in June and has some decent form in the book. We are obviously going there to win, but we would be happy if she finished in the placings."

* The feature handicap of the day is the £75,000 Move Over To Matchbook Handicap (2.25pm, 20 entries) for three-year-olds over 12 furlongs.

Mark Johnston has lifted the spoils four times since 2008, and has seven entries in total, including Listed Glasgow Stakes runner-up Austrian School and Haydock Park scorer Making Miracles.

Racing gets under way at 1.50pm with the longest race of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the £50,000 Matchbook Podcast Betting Handicap (18 entries) over an extended two and a half miles, in which Cool Sky (Ian Williams) could bid for back-to-back victories. High-class staying hurdler Lil Rockerfeller (Neil King) is also engaged.

The action is completed by the £25,000 Victoria Racing Club Fillies' Maiden (4.10pm, 28 entries, 6f), the £30,000 EBF Breeders' Series Fillies' Handicap (4.45pm, 17 entries, 1m 2f) and the £25,000 Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group Handicap (5.55pm, 54 entries, 7f).

Wednesday, August 1, also plays host to the fourth running of the £400,000 Qatar International Stakes for Purebred Arabians (Group 1 PA, 5.20pm). Run over a mile, the Qatar International Stakes is the first leg of the Doha Triple Crown.

The Doha Triple Crown was initiated in 2015 and the other two races are the Qatar Arabian World Cup (G1PA, 1m 2f), run at Chantilly, France, in October and the HH Emir's Sword (G1PA, 1m 4f) in Doha, Qatar, in February.

This series links together three of the most prestigious international Arabian races and has a US$1,000,000 bonus to any horse who can win them all.

Latest Going

The going at Goodwood is currently: Good to Firm

Conditions are predicted to remain dry, sunny and very warm.

There is a possibility of a little rain Friday afternoon/evening and on Saturday and Sunday.