This year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival is shaping up to be another tremendous feast of racing, with a host of proven Group One performers lined up for the five-day spectacular on the South Downs.
No fewer than 14 of the 20 horses going forward in the £1-million Qatar Sussex Stakes, the mile highlight of the second day on Wednesday, July 31, have already finished first or second at the elite level.
Too Darn Hot is the 7/2 favourite, with last year’s European champion two-year-old having bounced back to his best for trainer John Gosden.
Gosden won the 2014 Qatar Sussex Stakes with Kingman and the Newmarket handler could also be represented by a son of the top miler in King Of Comedy (4/1).
A strong three-year-old challenge could also feature G1 Commonwealth Cup victor Advertise (Martyn Meade), G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas scorer Phoenix Of Spain (Charlie Hills) and Skardu (William Haggas).
Elsewhere, outstanding stayer Stradivarius is a 5/6 chance to emulate record-breaking Double Trigger by gaining a third victory in the two-mile £500,000 G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup on Tuesday, July 30, following his wins in the 2017 & 2018 renewals.
The John Gosden-trained five-year-old gamely beat Dee Ex Bee (Mark Johnston) to capture a second G1 Gold Cup over half a mile further at Royal Ascot on June 20.
Godolphin’s Cross Counter, 4/1 second-favourite, finished a close fourth in the Gold Cup, which was his first attempt at two and a half miles.
The four-year-old is unbeaten in two appearances over two miles – and trainer Charlie Appleby remains confident of his chances of backing up last year’s Gordon Stakes win at the Festival in style.
He said: “It was a very pleasing run at Royal Ascot.
“He travelled into the race well from a position that may have been slightly further back than ideal, but we wanted to ride him that way on his first try over two and a half miles.
“We can ride him more aggressively back over two miles, while he broke the course record for a mile and a half at Goodwood in the Gordon Stakes last year, so we know he acts on the course.”