D Day on the Downs

Frankel - greatest miler ever?

3.10 this afternoon. Four horses; 11 Group 1 wins. 3.12 this afternoon. Four horses; 12 Group 1 wins. Those are the bare facts behind the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Goodwood today.

On the face of it, there might as well only be two horses, Frankel and Canford Cliffs, in a race that could show us the best horse ever to race over a mile. That's not how the connections of Rajsaman and Rio de la Plata see it. Even if they recognise how unlikely it is they will win, their reward today will be far greater than the £32,000 and £16,000 they will collect for finishing in third and fourth places; it will be that they will be able to say "we were part of it."

Brough Scott catches the frisson generated by this afternoon's clash in the Racing Post. "The quest throughout (racing's history) has been to create the ultimate equine athlete and central to today's excitement is seeing whether the unbeaten Frankel can be ranked as a contender for that title."

Despite what Richard Hughes has said about not being afraid to make the running on Canford Cliffs, all the evidence of that horse's racing profile is that he needs to be steadied and brought with a sustained run in the last quarter mile. Rajsaman and Rio de la Plata are also typically ridden from behind. Yet, with only four runners, there's little to drop in behind.

We know that Frankel can take hold of a race from the stalls and make the running. He's likely to have to do so today, which will call for some very calculated judgements from jockey Tom Queally, most particularly about the right time to unleash Frankel's devastating burst of speed. Get that right and Queally will help to confirm Frankel as that greatest miler ever. Get it wrong, and Canford Cliffs will only need one opportunity to demonstrate his superiority.

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