Glorious Goodwood: Frankel has a new highly-rated Sussex Stakes rival

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford

FRANKEL has a new highly-rated rival for the Sussex Stakes crown he will defend at Glorious Goodwood.

The Godolphin stable have entered Farhh in the £300,000 race in a move which reduces fears the champion won’t have to do much more than turn up for the Qipco-sponsored feature race of the festival. And the Godolphin team insist their four-year-old is not just heading to Goodwood to see if he can finish a close second.

Sheikh Mohammed-owned Farhh has impressed widely in recent times. He won the Thirsk Hunt Cup on his third start before finishing an unlucky-looking third in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

In the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown earlier this month, he went toe to toe with Nathaniel and lost by just half a length.

Simon Crisford, racing manager at Godolphin, revealed Farhh had been supplemented for the August 1 showdown and said: “We are really excited. The timing is perfect.

“I asked Sheikh Mohammed if he wanted to go for the Sussex Stakes and finish a good second – or even win it, we haven’t given up on that. He said it was a stupid question! So Farrh will be there, providing the ground isn’t too firm.”

Last year Frankel had only three rivals for the Goodwood showpiece but there are hopes of a bigger field this year.

Godolphin plan to target a number of races at Glorious – including the 200th running of the Goodwood Cup, in which Ascot Gold Cup winner Colour Vision will run. But last year’s winner Opinion Poll will miss the race because of soreness and a bone problem picked up at Ascot.

Other trainers are showing their hand for Glorious, with John Gosden among leading handlers planning a number of raids during the week.

Goodwood bosses say preparations are going well – and they unfazed by all the recent rain which has slowed ticket sales and stopped the groundstaff getting the racing surface exactly as they’s like it.

Racecourse MD Adam Waterworth said: “Ticket sales are pretty strong all the way through. In the last two weeks (before the festival) you’re always trying to sell, but we’re in a good place – though we need the weather to change.”

Clerk of the course Seamus Buckley said Goodwood had seen 700mm of rain since the start of the year, double what fell in the same period last year.

“We haven’t had to worry about watering!” he joked. “But we’re hoping the forecast is correct. There’s high pressure to the west and the jet stream’s due to go to the north. Things will get better.”