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The Qatar Sussex Stakes

3.00pm Goodwood

  • Distance 1m
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £1,000,000
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The Qatar Sussex Stakes began life in 1841 as a sprint and got nowhere. Failing to capture the public attention, it was uncontested on 25 occasions, including 14 walkovers. Today, having been transformed into a one mile race with Group 1 status – the first race of the season in which the three-year-old and older milers clash at the highest level – it is regarded as Goodwood’s most prestigious race. It rightly earns its place in the QIPCO British Champions Series.

That point is underlined by some of its cast-list. In 2010 it was won by Canford Cliffs, whose trainer said afterwards that Canford Cliffs was the best horse he had ever trained. Even more superlatives were handed out after the 2011 renewal as Frankel inflicted a devastating five-length victory over the defending champion. Just for good measure, the brilliant miler returned to Goodwood in 2012 and became the first horse to win two renewals of the race. Other celebrated winners include Brigadier Gerard, Kris, Giant’s Causeway and Rock Of Gibraltar.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1991, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2019)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 3 wins (2000, 2002, 2008-9)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds


Too Darn Hot sizzles in Sussex Stakes

Too Darn Hot continued his resurgence with victory in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, a race that forms part of the Mile category in the QIPCO British Champions Series.

John Gosden’s Dubawi colt looked every inch a superstar in the making after rounding off an unbeaten juvenile season with victory in the Dewhurst last October, but the early part of his three-year-old campaign did not go to plan.

An early-spring setback ruled him out of a 2000 Guineas trial and ultimately the Classic itself, and subsequent defeats in the Dante, the Irish Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes suggested he might not be the force he was as a youngster.

However, having got his season up and running with victory in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville three and and a half weeks ago, he was a well-backed even-money favourite to follow up in Goodwood’s Ł1million feature – and ultimately did so with something to spare.

Irish Guineas hero Phoenix Of Spain cut out the early running, closely pursued by Aidan O’Brien’s St James’s Palace winner Circus Maximus, with Frankie Dettori happy to bide his time on the market leader.

Phoenix Of Spain dropped away tamely passing the two-furlong marker and while Circus Maximus briefly kicked, Too Darn Hot quickly reeled him in and only had to be pushed out in the dying strides to prevail by half a length.

Gosden said: “We knew the lovely grey horse (Phoenix Of Spain) would go forward and we knew Circus Maximus would go forward and they set an even pace, not a silly pace.

“Our horse was in tight, but I told Frankie to be patient and he sat and he waited. When the gap came, off he went.”

The Newmarket handler will consider options over a variety of different trips for Too Darn Hot, but views the Breeders’ Cup Mile as the perfect end-of-season target.

He said: “Seven furlongs is probably his best trip, but he gets a nice, flat mile. What caught him out was the stiff mile at the Curragh, when we ran him back too soon after the Dante, and the stiff mile with the rain in the St James’s Palace Stakes. He’s an out-and-out speed horse.

“The Jacques le Marois probably comes a little early, but you’ve got races like the Prix du Moulin and obviously the QEII, but you’ve also got the sprints.

“He’s in the Haydock Sprint Cup and he’ll be put in the sprint on Champions Day at Ascot, but a race I’m really toying with in my mind is the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It’s an oval, flat track on quick ground.

“A good seven-furlong horse loves the mile there (Santa Anita) and that might just be the one to think about more than anything – I think we’ll probably work back from that.”

Gosden and Dettori are enjoying an incredible run of success – last Saturday combining to win a pulsating renewal of the the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes with the magnificent Enable, before landing Tuesday’s Goodwood Cup for a third time with Stradivarius.

Dettori paid a fulsome tribute to the Clarehaven maestro, saying: “I’m so lucky. It’s an amazing team that we’ve got. We’ve got amazing horses that are trained by a fantastic genius of a trainer – I haven’t got enough superlatives for him.

“It’s not just Group Ones, the list of Group Ones I’ve won are amazing, massive races. I’ve had an amazing summer and long may it continue.

“John Gosden is the genius – he puts it on a plate for me and I do the rest.”

it could be back up to a mile and a quarter next time

O’Brien said of the runner-up: “I’m delighted with his run. I suppose that is what Ryan (Moore) was thinking (kicking on early) as he gets the stiff mile well. This is an easier mile than Ascot.

“There are a lot of things open to him as he is a relaxed horse. He is so relaxed at home – he just takes everything in his stride.

“It looks like it could be back up to a mile and a quarter next time.”

The Ballydoyle handler also saddled the third home, I Can Fly, and added: “She ran lovely. When the ground gets easier it will help her as well. A mile on easy ground with a strong pace is what she wants.”


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The Course

You may not have visited this racecourse, just north of Chichester in West Sussex, but you’ll surely have heard of ‘Glorious Goodwood’, the venue’s five-day summer festival.

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The festival forms a central part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, featuring three contrasting races at the end of July – the Qatar Sussex Stakes for Europe’s top milers, the Qatar Goodwood Cup for long-distance ‘stayers’ and the Qatar Nassau Stakes for a select field of fillies.

Horseracing began at Goodwood in 1802, courtesy of the third Duke of Richmond. Not that he was a huge fan. His main aim was to keep the officers of the Sussex Militia entertained.

Today’s course has a complex layout, with a six-furlong straight feeding into a tight right-handed loop catering for longer-distance races. The venue is overlooked by Trundle Iron Age hill fort, acting as an informal grandstand and offering fine views across the whole course.

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