Qatar Sussex Stakes
|Group 1, Goodwood 15:10
1m, Class 1
|Wednesday 27th July 2016|
1 The Gurkha 11/8F
2 Galileo Gold 9/4
3 Ribchester 8/1
10 ran Distances: nk, shd, 3l
TIME 1m 37.35s (slow by 1.15s)
The Gurkha edges out Galileo Gold and Ribchester in the Qatar Sussex Stakes
The Gurkha avenged his defeat by Galileo Gold in the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot by producing a performance full of class this afternoon.
The 11/8 favourite was always on the heels of the pacesetting Galileo Gold, under Frankie Dettori, but produced an instant turn of foot to get in front of his rival when jockey Ryan Moore asked him for his effort and the pair battled to the line, with The Gurkha prevailing by a neck, with Ribchester a further short-head behind the runner-up Galileo Gold.
Moore was happy with the performance after the race and thought the better ground had helped him turn the tables on the runner-up.
"Frankie got the run of the race and he was able to dictate terms," said Moore.
"They are both very good colts. My horse was a lot happier back on good ground today and I think he'll be even better on faster. He travelled very well and showed a lot of pace through the race. I was confident that my horse would be able to get himself out of any position today and go and win. He's had a tough campaign but he's done very little wrong. It all points to him being a very exciting horse for the rest of the year."
"He hasn't stood still this season. He had quick ground at Deauville (when The Gurkha won the French 2,000 Guineas) and I'd have liked it a bit quicker today. The quick ground helps him as he's a quick horse - he's got a lot of pace. He travels very well. Ascot didn't work out for him but it was dead ground there and he was only just touched off at Sandown.
"I didn't want to be where I was at Ascot but unfortunately he just stepped slowly. The way the cards fell, there were pacemakers that also missed the kick so Frankie was able to get to the front on Galileo Gold and I had a lot of horses in front of me. Galileo Gold is a very good horse and I wouldn't take anything away from him. They are both good horses.
"The Gurkha has won a French Guineas and now a Sussex Stakes so I'd say his best trip is a mile."
The Gurkha's victory gave Moore his first success in the Qatar Sussex Stakes.
Qipco Sussex Stakes (British Champions Series)
£1,000,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m, Class 1
Going: Good to Firm (watered)
|Pos||Dr||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||(3)||The Gurkha (IRE) 11/8f||R L Moore
|A P O'Brien||3|
|2nd||(6)||nk||Galileo Gold 9/4||L Dettori
|3rd||(2)||s.h||Ribchester (IRE) 8/1||James Doyle
|R A Fahey||3|
|4th||(4)||3||Toormore (IRE) 16/1||James McDonald
|5th||(1)||nk||Gabrial (IRE) 50/1||J Fortune
|R A Fahey||7|
|6th||(8)||¾||Lightning Spear 14/1||Oisin Murphy
|D M Simcock||5|
|7th||(9)||nk||So Beloved 40/1||D Tudhope
|8th||(10)||hd||Awtaad (IRE) 13/2||C D Hayes
|9th||(5)||½||Kodi Bear (IRE) 25/1||Dane O'Neill
|C G Cox||4|
|10th||(7)||4½||Richard Pankhurst 33/1||Andrea Atzeni
|J H M Gosden||4|
GOLD TAKES SILVER AND RIBCHESTER IS ON THE RISE
A fabulous three-way finish ensured the £1-million Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes lived up to its pre-race billing as one of the races of the season.
Three-year-olds dominated, with The Gurkha, winner of the French 2,000 Guineas, beating the front-running, Frankie Dettori-ridden, Galileo Gold by a neck - reversing their places in last month's St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot - while there was just a short-head back to the third Ribchester who was clear of another Godolphin horse Toormore.
Hugo Palmer, who trains Galileo Gold for Sheikh Joaan's Al Shaqab Racing, said: "I'm disappointed to lose, but immensely proud of the horse. We were slightly hoping something else would make the running, but in the absence of a pacemaker we were hostage to our own fortune.
"Frankie got it absolutely right, and went the perfect gallop in front, giving the horse every chance to hang on, but he didn't quite. It's very hard to lead a field of that quality from pillar to post, and not many horses in history have done it - I'm not sure we'll try to do it again.
"I could see how well The Gurkha was going in behind, and I wasn't sure how much Frankie had left. The answer was he had a lot left, because we were only beaten a neck.
"We've now beaten Awtaad [eighth today] twice and by clear daylight, leading me to ask how did we get beaten by him in the Irish Guineas? I just can't help thinking my horses weren't at their best at that time. The three-year-olds have come out on top today, but the older horses didn't include Gleneagles - they were So Beloved, Lightning Spear and Toormore, admirable horses, but not the best of their generation. Every year the media cannot decide who will win the Guineas or Derby so say it is a bad group of three-year-olds, but you should wait until Goodwood before deciding. The likes of Hawkbill, Minding, The Gurkha and Galileo Gold all look well up to standard."
Richard Fahey, who saddled Ribchester for Godolphin, was happy with the colt, who had to switch off the rail a furlong and a half out, come wide and then took time to reach full stride - he finished best of all. Fahey said: "James [Doyle] was delighted with him - he's a horse with loads of pace and James just wished they had gone a bit quicker in order to give him a bit of room with which to work. It didn't happen, but he ran a blinder.
"He's still a big baby and is learning his trade - it's just as well James did switch him because there was no room down the inside, but James said he changed his legs and came home really well. He was four strides from winning - perhaps they should have made the race another 20 yards longer! That's racing.
"He's progressing and going the right way, and we've been very pleased with him at home. We felt he had improved a lot as three-year-olds do, and on this ground he is only going to get better and better. It was a worry in the back of my mind as to how he would handle this ground - we've not avoided it, but just haven't had a chance to race on it. We've now got a horse that can go anywhere.
"There are plenty of races for him, but I will have to speak to John [Ferguson, chief executive and racing manager of Godolphin]. This morning I put him in the Prix Jacques Le Marois next month, and I wouldn't swap my horse for any other. I'm delighted, but frustrated to be beaten so narrowly. He's all up in the air and still needs to learn to race - he could be a champion next year."