Racing: Starborough to blaze a trail

Richard Edmondson says the favourite should land today's big Group One race
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Clive Brittain would fancy his chances in today's Sussex Stakes even if he did not have a runner so now that he has a serious contestant and his Carlburg yard is in such rich form he is close to being unbearable.

Over the weekend, the Newmarket trainer won the Prix Robert Papin in France with Greenlander, while the stable's reliable wallet-filler, Luso captured a Group One event at Dusseldorf.

To suggest to Clive that this little run may end this afternoon would be seen as a statement of temporary insanity. True, Air Express, his dual Guineas winner (in the minor realms of Italy and Germany) was later a definite second best to Starborough in the St James's Palace Stakes, Brittain will concede, but then, he adds, there were mitigating circumstances.

"A furlong and a half out at Ascot he was going so well I thought he'd definitely win, but then the final hill just caught him out," the trainer said yesterday. "Over this easier track I think he can turn the form round.''

In all truth this is not a classic Sussex Stakes. There is no Brigadier Gerard, Kris or Zilzal in this field, and it could be that Godolphin will take the race with either of two colts, Allied Forces and Alhaarth, who are by no means the biggest guns in their ordnance depot. "Allied Forces will be favoured by the ground tomorrow and also by the drop back to a mile from 10 furlongs. But he was outclassed in the Eclipse rather than simply not staying," Simon Crisford, the team's racing manager, said yesterday.

"Alhaarth would probably prefer some cut in the ground but although we know 10 furlongs is a good trip for him he's still got the speed to run over a mile. We expect Alhaarth to run a big race, but Allied Forces is our favoured one of the two.''

In this stew of information the safest option appears to be Starborough (3.20), who will not get caught in the traffic and lies ahead in the form table.

The day's other Group race, the Champagne Stakes, was won in 1978 by Troy, while Dr Devious also used it as a stopping off point on the way to Derby success. In addition, Don't Forget Me and Mister Baileys collected this before capturing the 2,000 Guineas so it may be that an animal of rare talent is lurking among today's six runners.

Henry Cecil has posted six wins in this contest and there will be many expecting Baltic State to improve his record. However, the colt was odds- on when he had to endure a stinging ride from Kieren Fallon at Newmarket's July meeting.

The winner may be Central Park (next best 2.45). He beat the well-regarded Cape Verdi in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. Complete the yankee with TRANSOM (nap 2.15) and Memorise (3.50), who produced a staggering piece of work on the Newmarket gallops last weekend.

Other racecards, page 22