The countdown to the mouth-watering “Duel on the Downs” between Canford Cliffs and Frankel at Glorious Goodwood in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (3.10pm) on Wednesday, July 27, is now just three weeks away. Both horses remain engaged in the £300,000 contest following the July 5 scratchings deadline.
Canford Cliffs won the mile-long Sussex Stakes in 2010 and is unbeaten in his two outings this year, with impressive victories in the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Frankel is unbeaten in seven outings, taking the Group One QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Group One St James’ Palace at Royal Ascot on his two most recent starts.
When Canford Cliffs triumphed at Royal Ascot, he had the star mare Goldikova a length behind him. Her trainer Freddy Head is set to take on the Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old once again, but this time with Rajsaman. The four-year-old won the Group Two Prix Du Muguet at Saint-Cloud on May 1 and was a close third behind Goldikova in the Group One Prix D’Ispahan at Longchamp on May 22.
Head revealed today: “Rajsaman is an intended runner in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes. He ran a very good race in the Prix d’Ispahan, when he was finishing well. He is a nice horse who is improving all of the time and I like him a lot.
“Both Canford Cliffs and Frankel are champions but I think that Canford Cliffs is a really good horse, whereas we have to wait and see with Frankel - he hasn’t proven it yet and he wasn’t finishing too well at Royal Ascot.
“We will have to wait and see which is the better, but you have to run horses like that against each other - I hope that I still have the best miler in Goldikova!”
Other possible starters in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes include four from the Godolphin operation - Delegator, the 2009 2,000 Guineas runner-up who is set to run in Saturday’s six-furlong Group One July Cup at Newmarket, Rio De La Plata, a three-time Group One winner who was fourth to Canford Cliffs at Royal Ascot, St James’s Palace Stakes fourth Neebras and the mare Antara, twice a winner in Group Three company at Epsom.
Hannon could also be represented by Dick Turpin, a Group One winner in France in 2010 and winner of the Group Two Richmond Stakes over six furlongs at Glorious Goodwood in 2009.
Dream Ahead was rated the joint-best juvenile alongside Frankel last season and finished fifth behind that rival on his seasonal reappearance at Royal Ascot, while Aidan O’Brien, who has won the QIPCO Sussex Stakes on four previous occasions, has left in St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up Zoffany.
Completing the possible line-up is the three-year-old filly Maqaasid, who put up her best performance this season when third in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas.
The next confirmation stage for the QIPCO Sussex Stakes is on Thursday, July 21, when there is also a £19,500 supplementary entry stage.
The QIPCO Sussex Stakes forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series. Glorious Goodwood is the highlight of the year at the world’s most beautiful racecourse and runs from Tuesday, July 26 to Saturday, July 30.