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Sussex Stakes preview

It's Glorious Goodwood week and since Ascot, the stories have all been about the mouthwatering clash between star colt Gleneagles and the French star Solow. At least they were until Monday morning when the Coolmore brigade didn't accept with Gleneagles. It's still not a bad support cast taking on the French raider, nothing like the gap in class when Golden Horn defected from the King George.

Taking on the challenge head first is regular contributor Jon da Silva, @creamontop.

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Sussex Stakes Glorious Goodwood
One Mile, WFA
Group 1, £1,000,000
1510 local 0010 AEST


Despite relatively paltry prizemoney The Sussex has mostly been blessed with the best UK & Irish milers being the first three year olds v elders mile race of the season. Yet this year Coolmore have for reasons that from a distance boil down to no belief in their horse or fragile egos opted to duck a race most of us saw Gleneagles as ideally suited to. Even on ground that may have blunted his turn of foot he would surely have started near favourite. It's even more befuddling as it's not like he has the anchor of an unbeaten record having lost his first start. He is a fresh horse too. The Sussex once worth 2/3rds the Jacques le Marois is now worth double it too. If they avoid even small amounts of cut in the ground then likely Gleneagles will avoid the two most valuable mile races in Europe. Plus no guarantees he gets top of ground at Deauville or Longchamp. Essentially this shows the problem of racing that in other sports you do not get to choose when and where to face your biggest rivals or not. The Champions League final is in May. The World Cup, Rugby World Cup and Olympics every four years.

In the below it certainly would have helped to have more than one sectional taken by Timeform (or for that matter taken as standard by the industry, Ed.) as I cannot make head nor tail of the key trial The Queen Anne.

Timeform Ratings for top horses:- Solow 130, Night of Thunder 126, ARod 126.

ARod
Aimed at The Derby as a 3 year old now finding his best at shorter distances. Third in the Lockinge and has since made all in lesser races exciting my visual impression bot last time in the Summer Mile at Ascot. I just want to know if he is named after the losing but lovely tennis player or the vacuous cheat baseball player. A player nonetheless.

Cougar Mountain
OK I have no idea. Third in the Queen Anne and did he came from behind after a pace collapse or find his niche as a top of the ground miler? Most of his form is not at this level or to be more technical it's pants. Point is for a length and change he is 20x price of Solow. The stuffing in Golden Horn's Eclipse put into perspective when 5th and last Tullius showing more character than some Lord with two hookers and a few lines of blow won an OK Group 2 on Saturday at York.

Gabrial
Running at the request of yardsticker handicappers? Beaten 9.5L by Frankel a few years ago in this race. Anything beats him 10 better than Frankel? No chance.

Here Comes When
Sixth in Lockinge not beaten far. Seventh and beaten out of sight in the Queen Anne. Arguably better at 7F but handles cut and race dynamics may make him a chance in the bottom of exotics. Better than I thought but can't quite see him as a winner.

Night of Thunder
Lockinge winner who faded in the teeth of the battle at Ascot - seems to have ine run. Clearly dangerous and 11/2 odds about arguably only other proper Group 1 winner in the race can be seen to be value. Won by six lengths on debut at Goodwood on the soft. May not get a lot of pace to run at but arguably also an issue for odds on poke.

Solow
In great examples of being wrong: convinced myself that I had found one in Spoil the Fun and this fella dots up five wickets on the bit past him: Solow then sauntered past a Group 2 field at Longchamp whereupon I confidently announced the Filly and Mare Turf at the Breeder's Cup was so Ovah! Someone called Ben then pointed out the dick between his legs precluded this. Of course I had the last laugh he's a gelding. Anyway since then Solow has dotted up in France, Dubai and Ascot. OK last one he hung on grimly to beat Esoterique (who I rate if hitting a race with pace but no superstar to most) and the closing Cougar Mountain who has done little otherwise. Has been described as a lengthy colt who until Ascot had appeared to accelerate effortlessly. Another small issue you don't mention at 4s but 4/6 you do Goodwood has a horrible slope down to the 2f pole and he is a big long strider but admittedly so was Frankel. Indeed coming down the slope like a shopping trolley with a rusty wheel did not stop Canford Cliffs winning albeit retired after injury on the same slope the year after. 4/6 (currently shortening).

Belardo
Surprise winner of the Dewhurst. Improved on shocking 3yo debut to be 4th in Irish 2000 chiefly notable for winner's lacklustre performance which is likely part of the reason why he does not run here [ground assumed as reason for sluggish performance]. Not out of the question can improve again but take Gleneagles out of the Irish 2000 and we have a Group 3 3rd? Ground obsessives make like him more than I do but not sure it will be that soft or improve him vis-a-vis Solow that much.

Bossy Guest
Beaten by every top class and near top class rival it has faced.

Conclusion
ARod may be a back to lay line for those who do that as will likely lead and not guaranteed to be bothered. Night of Thunder may not get the pace I think he needs but this could set up for his 1 run better than Newbury and Ascot. Cougar Mountain has one piece of form period. Solow will likely be able to sit on ARod as he has raced prominently except in Dubai. As Ascot showed even if he uses a lot of himself he has the stamina of a horse who gets further to be used and hang on.

Night of Thunder was 4/1 with Able Friend and Solow and is 11/2 here. 1 race does not change that much and for me Solow did not enhance his rep in the Queen Anne. As said some negatives but I believe he has more than a 15.3% chance of winning here. If you take Ascot race as gospel then Cougar arguably value. IMO ideal scenario for bet is ARod and Solow hook up top of hill and The Thunder is held up till bottom of hill and comes past as he did v Kingman and Australia.

Night of Thunder 11/2
Consider ARod Back to Lay


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