£1 million Qatar Sussex Stakes attracts worldwide entry of 39

The Qatar Sussex Stakes, the £1-million highlight of the Qatar Goodwood Festival this summer, has attracted a worldwide entry of 39 and takes place on Wednesday, July 29th.

The Group One mile contest sees its total prize fund more than treble in 2015 (it was worth £300,000 in 2014) and the great race is the feature of the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, which runs from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1, inclusive.

Among the tremendous international entries are the latest two winners of the first British Classic, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. The 2014 Classic hero Night Of Thunder (Richard Hannon) made an exciting winning reappearance in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18, while this year’s victor at Newmarket, Gleneagles (Aidan O’Brien IRE), added the Irish 2,000 Guineas to his illustrious CV on Saturday.

Britain’s champion trainer Richard Hannon, whose father Richard Hannon snr won the Qatar Sussex Stakes on three occasions, holds a particularly strong hand as his five entries also include 2013 champion two-year-old Toormore, runner-up to Night Of Thunder at Newbury, plus Ivawood, successful in the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Goodwood in 2014 and third in both this season’s Newmarket and Irish 2,000 Guineas. Estidhkaar and the Al Shaqab-owned Moheet, who had no luck in running when eight in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, complete the Hannon quintet.

O’Brien, with four Qatar Sussex Stakes winners to his name, has a total of 10 entries which also include Highland Reel, successful at Goodwood last year in the Group Two Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs, the 2014 Diamond Jubilee Stakes runner-up Due Diligence and the Group One-winning three-year-old filly Found.

There are 12 Irish-trained entries in total. Jim Bolger could be represented by QIPCO 1000 Guineas second Lucida, while Dermot Weld has entered the unbeaten Zawraq, who is due to run next in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

Two horses trained in France have landed the Qatar Sussex Stakes since 1946, most recently Bigstone in 1993.

A quartet of entries hail from the other side of the Channel this year including the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Karakontie (Jonathan Pease), recent Poule d’Essai des Poulians (French 2,000 Guineas) victor Make Believe (Andre Fabre) and the fourth from that Classic, Karar (Francis Graffard), plus the top-class Solow (Freddy Head).

The last-named horse has been a revelation in 2015. Successful in Group Three and Group Two company last season, the five-year-old grey gelding landed the Group One Dubai Turf over nine furlongs at Meydan, Dubai, in March, when defeating dual Group One winner The Grey Gatsby.

Solow’s most recent start came in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan over an extended 1m 1f at Longchamp, France, on Sunday, May 24 , when he beat Gailo Chop easily by a length and half with multiple Group One winner Cirrus Des Aigles back in fourth. It was his sixth consecutive victory.

Freddy Head commented: “I have put Solow in the Qatar Sussex Stakes and we will see how things go for him and make a decision nearer the time.

“His next appearance will be in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and we will see where we go from there. He has come out of his run in the Prix d’Ispahan very well and I am very happy with him.

“I want to stick to a mile with him for the moment. He has won over a mile and one furlong, but for the moment I have no plans to go over further.

“We will see later in the season, perhaps in the autumn, about going over further with him again but for the moment the top mile races are his aim.

“He has won on all types of all going and I really think he doesn’t care what the ground is like.

“He seems to be blossoming with age and I hope he can continue to do so.”

There is interest from further afield, with one entry each from Hong Kong and Australia.

Star performer Able Friend (John Moore) is a four-time Group One winner in Hong Kong, most recently in the Champions Mile on May 3. Able Friend is the joint highest-rated horse in the world currently on 125. The magnificent miler has won his last six races and is coming to Britain this summer.

The Australian entry is Criterion (David Hayes). Criterion has enjoyed three Group One victories down under, with his latest success coming when getting the better of globetrotting Red Cadeaux in the 10-furlong Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 11.

Both Able Friend and Criterion are due to run next at Royal Ascot.

Integral (Sir Michael Stoute) was successful twice against her own sex in Group One company at Newmarket last year, while other interesting contenders include the 2014 Group One Dewhurst Stakes winner Belardo (Roger Varian) and dual Group Two winner Here Comes When (Andrew Balding).

Adam Waterworth, Sports Managing Director, Goodwood Estate, commented: “Goodwood Racecourse is delighted that the Group One 2015 Qatar Sussex Stakes has attracted such high-class international entries.

“Horses such as the French-trained Solow, who was highly impressive when winning a Group One at Longchamp on Sunday, add great depth to the first £1-million Qatar Sussex Stakes. We are also highly encouraged by the number of entries for the race and anticipate that this year’s renewal will be very well contested.”

Seamus Buckley, Goodwood Racecourse Clerk of the Course, added: “The quality of entries for the 2015 Qatar Sussex Stakes is very pleasing. With entries from Hong Kong, Australia and France adding to very strong support from UK and Irish trainers, the race will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the year.

“We are very excited about the Qatar Goodwood Festival in July and hope that this excellent list of entries for the Qatar Sussex Stakes is a sign of the times ahead.”

The roll of honour for the Qatar Sussex Stakes is impressive, with the last five winners being European Horse of the Year Kingman (2014), Al Shaqab’s Toronado (2013), the highest-rated racehorse ever Frankel (2012 & 2011) and five-time Group One victor Canford Cliffs (2010).

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