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The Qatar Sussex Stakes

3.00pm Goodwood

Alcohol Free wins the Qatar Sussex Stakes
  • Distance 1m
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £1,000,000


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 and Kingman.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (1991, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2019)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 5 wins (2000, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2016)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Alcohol Free provides redemption for Murphy is Sussex Stakes

Since a creditable fifth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas earlier this season, Alcohol Free has gone from strength to strength and the filly’s form reached new heights when winning the Qatar Sussex Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Connections, including Trainer Andrew Balding were confident heading into the one mile showpiece – that confidence was not misplaced.

Regular rider Oisin Murphy jumped well, along with the majority of the field and found some early cover. Century Dream set the fractions, and began to serve it up to his younger rivals turning for home.

For a few strides there didn’t look to be much response from Murphy’s mount, however a shake of the reigns and the picture began to change.

Market leader, Poetic Flare was the first to get to Centruy Dream but the presence of Alcohol Free was looming large with a wide run to circumnavigate the field. Hitting the furlong marker, the two had but over a length between them and the rest of the field and it was time to knuckle down.

In truth it was a short duel, unlike some others the Downs has seen over the years. But the half-furlong marker Alcohol Free was on top and the margin would continue to grow all the way to the line. Oisin Murphy punched the air jubilantly, with Alcohol Free giving him his second win in the Qatar Sussex Stakes.

Poetic Flare gamely stayed on for second and continued his fine form this season. Snow Lantern came home third, with her appearing to meet a lot of traffic as her two rivals made their moves at the two furlong marker. Redemption for Murphy after he suffered the same issues in 2020 aboard Kameko.

Murphy said in his post-race interview “She is so, so talented. What a thrill I got from that!”

“She wasn’t at her best in Newamarket for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, she was a little ill, but other than that she has been foot-perfect”

Owner Geoff Smith was winning his second Qatar Sussex Stakes as well, 37 years after his first with Chief Singer. He said “This filly is something else, the way she has won that is just simply incredible”.

The next mile Group 1 race as part of QIPCO British Champions series will be the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket in October, but early indication is that we might see Alchol Free earlier than that with a step up in trip for the Juddmonte International not ruled out.


Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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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.

  • Course plan
  • Course Intro

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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