Qatar Sussex Stakes
|Group 1, Goodwood 15:35
1m, Class 1
1 Paddington 4/9F
2 Facteur Cheval 11/1
3 Charyn 40/1
5 ran NR: Chindit Distances: 1½l, 3l, ½l
Time: 1m 47.16s (slow by 10.36s)
Having started the season in a handicap, Paddington has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting horses in training, with today’s success coming on the back of G1 victories in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes and Coral-Eclipse.
Dropping back to a mile, Ryan Moore decided to make his own running on Paddington. Inspiral’s rider Frankie Dettori put it up to him early in the straight in an attempt to bag the stands’ rail but the multiple G1 winner could not live with the eventual winner and weakened soon after.
The main challenge ultimately came from French raider Facteur Cheval but Paddington was relentless in front and scored decisively by a length and a half. Charyn was three lengths further back in third.
The winning trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “Paddington is a very special horse. We were worried about the ground – even though he had won on heavy ground, not in this class of race. Ryan rode him for speed and held on to him and held on to him, but he was over the moon with him. A lot of people [contributed to this] and I am so delighted for them. We’re lucky to have him; he’s very special.”
Asked to compare Paddington to Giant’s Causeway, who won the Sussex Stakes in 2000 as part of a similarly bold campaign, O’Brien replied: “Paddington is much quicker than the Giant was; he’s tactically quick but he can quicken as well. The Giant was tactically quick and was dour after that. This horse can really turn it on when you have to, on all types of ground. He is unique. It will depend on what the lads want to do and we’ll talk to them after a week, but he’s got a lot of options. He could go to York, he could do anything. But he is very special, we think.
“With every race, he is getting heavier, which is very unusual, and he is getting calm. He is really trying. He is three or four kilos heavier today than he was the last day. And it is special that we have Peter [Brant] and Stephanie [Seymour] today that we didn’t have before with him.
“Ryan said it was far from ideal that he [Dettori on Inspiral] took him on so early, but he had to go with him. He was trying to wait as long as he could. That ground gets deep and it gets dangerous when you are in front as you are a sitting duck, always. When he got levelled up again, he went into a different zone.
“We love these big days and I am delighted that the lads are happy to run on them. York is a massive big festival as well. We will definitely look at it and consider it very seriously. We will have to see how he comes out of this – we weren’t expecting the ground to be as tough as it was today, but knowing the horse he could take it with a smile on his face.
“Tom [Magnier] mentioned something about Australia. But he could go anywhere or do anything. He has had a busy season. You run in any one top-level race and you know it, but he is doing them one after another. I thought he wanted good ground or better, because he’s quick, but he has handled the soft ground and he has won on heavy before. But when a horse can quicken like that you’d think he’d want good ground.”
Moore said: “It is a hard thing to say but he gives you the feel that he might be as good a horse as I have ridden. He is exceptional. And he has handled everything that we have put in front of him, whether it’s a mile, 10 [furlongs], good ground, soft. He is a straightforward horse who thrives on his racing. Someone asked me yesterday if he would go on this ground and I said ‘he would go on snow’.”
He added: “I did not want to be making the running, but I knew no one was going to go, and we went very steady early on. I was thinking I would get it all my own way and get to the fence [the stands' side rail after entering the straight] but Frankie [Dettori] rightly made me work for it – you could see where Inspiral ended up finishing because of that. She's fallen out behind them all. He fought her off and then he had a bit of a trial in the last furlong. He thrives on his racing, he just loves the sport and loves his job.
"It does not matter whether it is good ground, soft ground, heavy ground, eight or 10 furlongs, he's a unique horse. Some people say he has taken us by surprise, but I can assure you he hasn't because all this year he has shown that he is a very good horse. He can cope with most things.”
Paddington’s part-owner Peter Brant said: “I am honoured to be here at Glorious Goodwood [for the first time]. I was first in the game in 1976, so I have been in horse racing for quite a while.
“This horse has a great name – Mrs [Sue] Magnier chose the name and she usually chooses great names, this one included. I must say this is among the greatest horses I've been proud enough to own. We won the Kentucky Derby in 1984 with a horse called Swale who was a great racehorse, but this horse has done a lot of special things that are hard to do. To win four Group Ones like this in such a short space of time and to look as grand as he does and to be gaining weight not losing weight is extraordinary.”
Facteur Cheval’s trainer Jerome Reynier said: “It is like a victory today. We really thought Facteur Cheval was going to beat Paddington, but he had the stands’ rail and we were in the middle of the track. He was stuck in the middle of the traffic, but he has run a great race. He was third in a Group One the other day, second today in a very nice Group One and I hope that next time we will be able to win at this level.
“They were all pretty happy to give it a go, to challenge the leader. With five runners, it was best to wait at the back for a late challenge. We were the fourth favourite out of five runners, so we thought if he can just beat one or two home, we would be happy, but we never thought he was going to be able to run that way. He keeps improving mentally and physically, so probably the best is yet to come. Fingers crossed he will be coming back in good shape and we can aim for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the end of the year.
“There are two options beforehand – the Moulin de Longchamp or the Woodbine Mile in Canada. Maybe, we will wait until his is a five-year-old for an international campaign.”
Roger Varian said of Charyn: “We are very pleased. He ran well and prefers better ground. He travelled into it well. He ran very well at Royal Ascot to be third in the St James’s Palace, nearly second, and he ran very well in the Irish Guineas, so he’s knocking on the door at this top level. He doesn’t like this ground really, he wants better ground.
Frankie Dettori said of Inspiral: “We tried. It was very obvious that she does not cope with this kind of ground. If the ground dries up and she comes out of this race, we can back her up in the race she won in France last year. It was obvious what was going to happen – Paddington got the lead and everything his own way, so I grabbed the fence as I had to make a race of it.”
Qipco Sussex Stakes (British Champions Series)
£1,000,000 guaranteed, 3yo plus, 1m, Class 1
1 (4) Paddington 3 9-3 A P O'Brien Ryan Moore 4/9F
2 (5) 1½ Facteur Cheval 4 9-10 J Reynier Maxime Guyon 11/1
3 (1) 3 Charyn 3 9-3 Roger Varian David Egan 40/1
4 (2) ½ Aldaary 5 9-10 William Haggas Jim Crowley 15/2
5 (6) 3½ Inspiral 4 9-7 John & Thady Gosden Frankie Dettori 5/1
NR 2 (3) Chindit 5 9-10 Richard Hannon NON RUNNER