This year’s Classic scorers Galileo Gold, The Gurkha, Awtaad, Minding and Jet Setting feature among 50 entries (up from 39 in 2015), revealed today, for the £1-million Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, July 27.
The Group One mile contest, boosted hugely in value last year, is the highlight of the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival which runs from Tuesday, July 26 to Saturday, July 30.
Galileo Gold (Hugo Palmer) took the first British Classic of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, with an authoritative display but had to settle for second behind the impressive Awtaad (Kevin Prendergast) in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh on May 21.
The Gurkha, one of 11 Qatar Sussex Stakes entries from Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien, proved his wide margin maiden success at Navan was no flash in the pan when storming to a five and a half-length victory in the French 2,000 Guineas at Deauville on May 15.
O’Brien has also engaged QIPCO 1000 Guineas heroine Minding, although the filly looks set to step up in trip after going down by a head to Jet Setting (Adrian Keatley) in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 22, the pair clear.
US star Tepin extended her unbeaten streak to six in a Grade Two event at Churchill Downs, USA, on May 7 and has already been successful four times at Grade One level. She would have won her last 11 races but for going down by a nose and a head in two of the outings.
She is the star of the older generation in the Qatar Sussex Stakes and the five-year-old proved herself on the world stage when impressively beating several European raiders, including runner-up Mondialiste (David O’Meara), in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland, USA, in October.
Her trainer Mark Casse said: “Tepin is very well. She has a real big breeze coming this Saturday and how she works will tell us but right now we are on schedule to come to Royal Ascot.
“I believe the travel is arranged for Saturday, June 6. She runs on the Tuesday so that will give her eight or nine days.
“The Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood is an exciting race and I always like to keep my options open. They asked me about the race and it is definitely something to think about.”
Other eye-catching Qatar Sussex Stakes entries include the victor, third and fourth of the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury earlier this month – Belardo (Roger Varian), Endless Drama (Ger Lyons) and Limato (Henry Candy), plus last year’s Qatar Sussex Stakes runner-up Arod (Peter Chapple-Hyam).
Toormore (Richard Hannon) is dual winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, having captured the Group Two Qatar Vintage Stakes in 2013 and the Qatar Lennox Stakes in 2015, while Kodi Bear’s (Clive Cox) biggest success came over the course and distance in last season’s Group Two Celebration Mile.
Godolphin, which owns Belardo (partly) and Toormore, has 12 other potential contenders including the promising Emotionless (Charlie Appleby), QIPCO 2000 Guineas third Ribchester (Richard Fahey) and Group One winner Tryster (Charlie Appleby).
Britain’s champion Flat trainer John Gosden has three entries, including the unbeaten Castle Harbour who impressed in a handicap at York on May 11.
Alex Eade, General Manager of Goodwood, commented: “Once again, the Qatar Sussex Stakes has attracted the cream of the milers from across Europe, both from the Classic and older generations.
“US-trained superstar Tepin could add further spice to the enthralling highlight on day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.”
The roll of honour for the Qatar Sussex Stakes is very impressive, with the last six winners being European Champion Miler Solow (2015), European Horse of the Year Kingman (2014), Al Shaqab’s Toronado (2013), the highest-rated racehorse ever Frankel (2012 & 2011) and five-time Group One victor Canford Cliffs (2010).