(Published July 16, 2018) – The Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes that takes place on August 1, the second day of Glorious Goodwood, has been run staged since way back in 1878 and for many decades has been established as one of the world’s very best mile contests open to three year old and upwards.
The undulating nature of the Goodwood track, the sharp turn for home, and the bend in the running rail inside the final furlong-and-half mean this mile is one that is a serious test of a thoroughbred as some can easily become unbalanced. And with a slight camber heading down to the inside rail in the final quarter mile, racing room can sometimes be tight and interference or having nowhere to go is not an uncommon occurrence. It’s a track that simply doesn’t suit every horse and previous course form is often worth noting.
Some of the great milers of the modern era have won the race over the last two decades, most notbaly the legendary Frankel, who won the race in both 2011 and 2012. Other great horses such as Giant’s Causeway, Rock of Gibraltar, Soviet Song, Rip Van Winkle, Canford Cliffs, and Kingman have also added their name to the winning roster during the period.
How Good Is Without Parole?
John Gosden has won the Sussex Stakes only once before and that came with the high class Kingman in 2014. In the unbeaten Without Parole the master trainer has a horse who dominates the ante-post market at a top priced 13/8 with BetVictor having won all four career outings to date, most recently stepping up from a listed win at Sandown in May to win the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes in brave fashion from Irish 2000 Guineas third Gustav Klimt, French Star Wootton, and Qipco 2000 Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win.
It’s hard to knock the son of Frankel as he has stepped up the ranks in each of his runs so far and continually answered the call of his regular partner Frankie Dettori. The hugely popular Dettori, however, must overturn a 10-day ban imposed on him by the Newmarket stewards last week for careless riding that rules him out of the whole Glorious Goodwood meeting. Should the Italian-born former champion fail in his appeal, Gosden will have to seek out a replacement.
There’ll be plenty of top riders rushing to offer their services, but with such a relatively inexperienced horse on a unique track such as Goodwood, not having Dettori – who has struck up a great rapport with the colt – would be a bit of a blow. There could be even better to come though from Without Parole as he is surely open to further improvement after just four starts, but at current odds he doesn’t look great value taking on older horses for the first time.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Gustav Klimt (7/1 with Betfair) hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season despite running a series of good races at a high level. He was a disappointing sixth when strongly fancied for the 2000 Guineas, then was beaten fair and square when over three lengths third behind shock winner Romanised in the Irish equivalent. As Ascot he stayed on well to chase home Without Parole without ever looking likely to get past, and has since run a similar race when third in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Deauville. He just doesn’t look quick enough, and on a sharper track than Ascot it’s hard to see him reversing placings with the favourite.
Godolphin’s French-trained Wootton (14/1 with William Hill) was three lengths behind Gustav Klimt in third at Ascot and nearly four lengths behind the winner and there is no obvious reason why he should turn the form around, even allowing for the fact he didn’t get the clearest of runs. He has shown his best form with give in the ground and that would be his best hope of stepping up on his Ascot effort.
Fourth at Ascot was Tip Two Win, the Roger Teal-trained colt who ran a blinder to chase home Saxon Warrior in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in early-May. He was arguably too far back in the field at Ascot and made ground quickly to get into contention before that effort took its toll. Reportedly thriving since then, connections are seriously considering paying a whopping £70,000 to supplement him for the Sussex Stakes, an indication that they believe he will get much closer to Without Parole if ridden more positively. If the Dark Angel colt can reprise the level of form he showed at Newmarket in the spring he would have to have solid each-way claims.
Hard To See When Score Again
Here Comes When sprang a big 20/1 surprise in this race on soft ground in 2017, staying on gamely to beat the classy Ribchester by a neck, but he hasn’t been anywhere near that form in three subsequent outings. It’s possible that Andrew Balding’s eight-year-old saves his best for this track – he was a good fourth to French star Solow in the 2015 renewal – but is hard to enthuse over on recent evidence. Even the 33/1 offered by Betfred wouldn’t be enough to tempt me to step in and take a chance that he’ll stage a repeat, although if the heavens open and it comes up soft again I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sneak into a place.
Of much more appeal among the older milers is another Balding-trained gelding, the in-form four-year-old Beat The Bank (8/1 with Betway). He handled the track and soft ground really well when landing the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes at last year’s Glorious meeting, and this term, after finishing a close sixth to Accidental Agent in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot he landed the Group 2 Summer Mile recently back at Ascot, getting the better of the tough Lord Glitters, another possible Sussex Stakes contender. Beat The Bank should give another good account of himself and goes on any ground. Lord Glitters (16/1 with BetVictor) is unlikely to reverse placings.
Lightning Can Finally Strike Gold
There are few horses who deserve a Group 1 success more than David Simcock’s LIGHTNING SPEAR. He was our selection for the Queen Anne Stakes last month and ran a blinder, just losing out to Accidental Agent having gone under by only a short-head to high-class filly Rhododendron in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes a month earlier. The seven-year-old goes particularly well at Goodwood and has won the Group 2 Celebration Mile for the last two years. He also ran a great race in last year’s Sussex Stakes when beaten only a length into third by Here Comes When. he handles any ground and looks a rock solid each-way bet once again at the 8/1 currently offered by Boylesports.
Rhododendron could be a big danger if she bounces back from a below-par effort when only ninth in the Queen Anne Stakes last time out where she was never travelling with her usual fluency. She narrowly outpointed Lightning Spear at Newbury earlier in the term, has won on this track before, and is a three-time Group 1 winner. The 10/1 with Bet365 will appeal to many punters as value and it would not surprise to see her finish ahead over her stable companion Gustav Klimt who trades three points shorter.
ADVICE: LIGHTNING SPEAR (8/1 each-way) with Boylesports
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.