Glorious Goodwood begins today on the beautiful Sussex Downs. The five day meeting is a firm favourite with the Flat fraternity not only for the high class racing but also for the wonderfully picturesque setting.
Backed by Qatar, the meeting is now one of the most valuable in the British race calendar with the £1million Qatar Sussex Stakes the highlight of week’s action. The mile contest sets three-year-olds against their elders and was won by the mighty Frankel in 2011 and 2012. This year’s renewal pits the Guineas winner Gleneagles against the new French sensation Solow.
Today’s showpiece is the Group 2 Lennox Stakes over a trip of seven furlongs. The race is open to horses aged three and over and was first run in 2000, with the inaugural event going to John Gosden’s Observatory.
Initially a Group 3, the race was elevated to its current status in 2003. It has been won by horses aged three, four and five, with the three-year-olds having a particularly strong record approaching a 50% strike rate.
Paco Boy was arguably the classiest winner when taking the event for Richard Hannon senior in 2008. Quick enough to take the Prix De La Foret over six furlongs as a three-year-old, he went on to become one of the great milers of his time, winning a Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. He had several titanic encounters with the wonderful French mare Goldikova, though never quite getting the better of her, he came closest in a thrilling Queen Anne Stakes in 2010.
This year’s Lennox sees another Hannon colt at the head of affairs. This time Hannon junior sends out the classy Toormore hoping to go one better than last season, when he was chinned close home by Es Que Love. Second in the Lockinge and fourth in the Queen Anne so far this season, the son of Arakan sets the standard.
Dutch Connection is his main challenger in the betting market. Charlie Hills’ three-year-old is having a terrific season, winning the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and then finishing a close second in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. He showed his liking for Goodwood when winning a maiden at this meeting last year and looks sure to run a huge race at what could well be his ideal trip.
An emotional Richard Hughes will be taking to the saddle for the last time this week, and he rides Hannon’s other contender in the race the three-year-old Tupi. He was behind Dutch Connection at Ascot, but appeared to improve on that performance when thumping the useful Bossy Guest at Newmarket last time.
It’s set to be another terrific week of top class racing at the wonderful Sussex track.