The rivalry that has caught everyone's interest this year is that between three-year-old Frankel and four-year-old Canford Cliffs. It is the competition between these two horses which will determine who is crowned champion in the 1 mile category of the QIPCO British Champions Series of races.
Until a week ago the winner might well have been open to question. But Frankel's emphatic win in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood has put his position as champion beyond doubt. Frankel's rating was raised five pounds for that win, to 135, which now puts him eight pounds ahead of Canford Cliffs.
Between them, they have won all five races in the Championâ€™s Series to have taken place so far, with Frankel's victories coming in the 2000 Guineas, St James's Palace stakes at Royal Ascot, and in the Sussex. Canford Cliffs took Newburyâ€™s Lockinge Stakes and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
It appears unlikely that either of them will take part in the next race in the series, the Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket on 23 September. Hopes are high though, that the two will be rematched in the final race of the series, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, which will provide an opportunity to see whether a fully fit Canford Cliffs can close the gap at all on Frankel.
There are, of course, other horses in the 1 mile Championship table. Goldikova is ranked on 124, three pounds behind Canford Cliffs. Their positions may well have been reversed had Olivier Peslier not carried two pounds overweight when running second to Canford Cliffs at Ascot.
The chances of any other horse becoming the QIPCO 1 mile Champion are non-existent. Italian trained Worthadd is unlikely to contest either of the final two races. Cityscapeâ€™s best win has been at Group 3 level, and whilst Rio de la Plata deserves credit for taking on Frankel and Canford Cliffs at Goodwood, he was never going to be anything other than an also-ran in that particular race.
The probability is that trainers, recognising the absolute superiority of Frankel, simply won't enter their horses in the Queen Elizabeth II. This would be a great disappointment, and with prize-money running down to sixth place in the race, there should be an incentive to run. But surely the greater prize would be to take part in the race in which Frankel is crowned champion.