Henrythenavigator On Course in BGC Sussex Stakes
1st 4 Henrythenavigator 4/11 FAV
Aidan O’Brien saddled an amazing 16th Group 1 winner of the year when Henrythenavigator became responsible for a quarter of that tally after capturing the BGC Sussex Stakes by a head from Raven’s Pass.
The O’Brien-trained Windsor Palace had been expected to set a strong pace for his stablemate but the searching early gallop did not materialise.
“I was very worried because it was a very slow race and David (McCabe) did his best on the pacemaker but he was flat out and couldn't extend. We just needed a better pacemaker. He was going as fast as he was able to but when that happens it makes thing a bit complicated.” said O’Brien.
"Henry’s a special horse. He did nothing wrong today and picked up and sprinted. He's a horse that has speed but gets a mile as well so he's a very special horse. We thought before he ran at Gowran last year that he was very special and then when he won the Coventry Stakes we always thought he was impressive.
“He’s had his break and is in all those races including the ones in France (Prix Jacques Le Marois) and England (Juddmonte International). We know how hard it is to win each of these Group 1s.”
Henrythenavigator is 7/2 favourite with Ladbrokes for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on an artificial surface at Santa Anita in October and the winner’s owner John Magnier admitted the 10-furlong event was on the agenda.
“We’re going to try and stretch him out (in distance). If he’d have got his ground he’d have run in the Derby and we had to come here because we wanted to take on the older horses,” said Magnier.
“I won’t say that he won’t run in mile races again but we’re thinking 10 furlongs for his next start.
“All options are open and at the moment we’d be thinking about the Breeders’ Cup Classic, although we don’t need to decide now and it could be that we do go for the Mile. It’s on a new surface, which is somewhere between turf and dirt, so it would easier to go from the grass to run on that.
“We have done it before in the Classic with Giant’s Causeway (when second in 2000) and also unsuccessfully tried with Galileo and Hawk Wing.”
Murtagh added: “The good ones have everything and this lad has it when the battle is put to him. We probably didn’t go fast enough for him today. He’s a horse who would go better off a fast pace.
“I had a nice position - I was following Hughesy (Richard Hughes). When I quickened up, I’d say the time over the last two furlongs was exceptional – he really quickened well.
“He got to the front and was a bit idle but he won snug. When he hit the line, he was still full of running. I don’t think the second would ever have got to him.
“All of the races here today, the winner seems to be coming up the middle of the track but when I went by the others, I went over to the rail. I was in front probably soon enough on him but he sensed Jimmy (Fortune) coming and he was still up for the battle.
“He is a great horse and he won very easily at the line. He won’t be beaten this year.”
RAVEN’S PASS SECOND AGAIN
Raven’s Pass, the 4/1 second favourite, chased home the mighty Henrythnavigator for the second time this season, getting closer than he did at Royal Ascot. Raven’s Pass had also come fourth to the same horse in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
Trainer John Gosden was delighted with his colt’s effort in going down by a head in a thrilling finish to the BGC Sussex Stakes, but felt that the Elusive Quality three-year-old’s chance of victory was compromised by being drawn six of the seven runners.
The Newmarket handler said: “Our slight problem was being drawn on the rail. I didn’t think Aidan’s pacemaker was up to his usual standard and we even considered making it ourselves but if you jump and commit, the pacemaker is still going to come and annoy you.
“We decided we had no choice but to get off the rail. We didn’t want to get stuck on the rail and penned in, so we had to come round. You can’t give Henrythenavigator a length and a half start but that’s what we had to do. We had to track him and try to come round him.
“The winner is exceptional and it was a great performance from both horses. We are thrilled with our horse, it's a great run and made it a proper race. Thank God we turned up he would have won by four lengths otherwise! He ran great and we are very proud of him."
Gosden has no intention of shirking another encounter with this season’s star miler.
He said: “I wouldn’t mind meeting the winner again. We have to consider freshening our horse up. We’ll look at the Breeders’ Cup later in the year but do we go to the Prix Jacques Le Marois (at Deauville in August)? If we go to the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (at Ascot in September), what will the ground be like? This is a summer ground horse. We’ll think long and hard.”
Major Cadeaux, a 14/1 shot, took third for trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes, a further three and a quarter lengths back.
Hannon said: “It was a messy race with no gallop. The O’Brien pacemaker jumped and then pulled up, which left us there too soon. I think we’d have always been third but we’d have been a much closer third with a proper pace and he took a bump as well.
“We’ll have a look at the Group Three Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs at Newbury and then consider the Jacques Le Marois in which he could well meet those two again.
“He stayed on well there to take third - he’s a very good horse.”
3.30pm BGC SUSSEX STAKES
1) HENRYTHENAVIGATOR (Sue Magnier) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-8-13 Johnny Murtagh  4/11 Fav
6 ran Non-Runner: Dream Eater
THE WINNER HENRYTHENAVIGATOR (USA)
3 b c Kingmambo(USA) - Sequoyah(IRE) (Sadler's Wells (USA))
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