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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Liam Hedgecock, for Breeders’ Cup ― Sophomore Paddington (GB), the No. 3 rated horse in the current Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, heads a quality field of six runners for the Aug. 3 Qatar Sussex Stakes (G1) at Goodwood Racecourse. The field also contains last year’s Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (G1) winner Inspiral (GB) and the Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. owned 5-year-old Aldaary (GB),who steps up to Group 1 company for the first time. The 1-mile race offers an automatic starting position and fees paid into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 80 Graded/Group stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien for Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Peter Brant, and Derrick Westerberg, Paddington has dominated every race he has entered this season with five victories, three in Group 1 races. In his prior race, he successfully managed the step-up to 1 1/4 miles, and against older horses, in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (G1) at Sandown by beating Emily Upjohn (GB) by a half-length.

O’Brien reports the odds-on favorite for the Qatar Sussex Stakes to be thriving. He said: “He’s made unusual progress from run to run. It’s very unusual the way he has improved and physically he has done very well from run to run. Ryan [Moore] loves him and is always full of praise for him. It’s abnormal improvement. He just thrives on his racing; he’s putting on weight after every run. He was much heavier going into the Eclipse than he was at Ascot. That’s very unusual.”

The main threat to Paddington comes from John and Thady Gosden’s yard in the 4-year-old Inspiral (GB).She is a three-time Group 1 winner who was last seen in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, where she was narrowly beaten by Triple Time (IRE).

Trainer William Haggas won this race for the first time last year with Baaeed (GB) and will be looking to take back-to-back renewals with Aldaary (GB) for the same connections. The son of Territories (IRE) finished second, defeated by 4 lengths in the Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (G2) at Ascot over this distance.

The Team Valor International LLC & Gary Barber-owned Facteur Cheval (IRE) was narrowly beaten in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1) last time out over 1 1/8 miles, finishing third by a half-length in a furious stretch drive. A 4-year-old son of top miler Ribchester (IRE), who finished second in this race in 2017, he will be making his first start outside of France, and his trainer, Jerome Reynier, will entering his first horse at Goodwood.

Chindit (IRE) was sixth in this contest last year and will run in the colors of new owner Villoo Poonawalla Greenfield Farms for the first time. He was sixth in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot in his most recent start for trainer Richard Hannon.

Charyn (IRE), who won last year’s Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (G2) at Chantilly, completes the select field. The Nurlan Bizakob-owned 3-year-old colt will be looking to bounce back in this return to the mile distance after finishing eighth of 12 in the 7-furlong Haras d’Etreham Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Deauville. He finished third in the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot prior to that.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes to start in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.

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