Quite how hollow a victory would have beckoned Frankel at Goodwood next week, but for the sporting intervention of Sheikh Mohammed, became evident yesterday when only seven others remained in contention for the Group One Qipco Sussex Stakes. These include his own pacemaker, Bullet Train. Fortunately the sheikh had already committed his Godolphin stable to supplementing Farhh, an excellent second to Nathaniel in the Eclipse last time. That colt was duly added to the field yesterday for a fee of £19,500. Even so, a lap of honour so surely beckons the unbeaten champion that Coral offer odds of just 1-20. "Though the addition of Farhh ensures a new foe, it will still be one of the biggest shocks ever seen on a racetrack if Frankel does not make it win No 12," said the firm's spokesman, David Stevens.
While many remain impatient to see Frankel set a fresh challenge, at least a new volunteer must now be found for second place – however distant. Poor old Excelebration has finally been given respite, having had the margin between them extended to no fewer than 11 lengths in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last time. His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, none the less accounts for three of the acceptors: Power, himself so disappointing at the royal meeting, after winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas; Ishvana, winner of the Jersey Stakes, for whose breeding career a Group One podium would prove especially precious; and Reply. Behind Farhh on 8-1, Coral offer 16-1 against Power, 20-1 Strong Suit and 50-1 Gabrial.
A far more competitive race seems likely for the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes, which has drawn several of the summer's most progressive juveniles. These do not always advertise themselves in advance, however, as was manifest when Roz landed a Listed race at Sandown yesterday. A 16,000-guinea yearling, the Teofilo filly had won a Kempton maiden at 40-1 on her previous start, and this time was given a fine ride from the front by Jim Crowley to win going away at 28-1.
Harry Dunlop, her trainer, said: "That's very much one of my best winners, and she didn't cost a great deal. I'm thrilled for the owners, who are my landlords, and she will, hopefully, be a Group filly."
Crackerjack King, who made a creditable start for his new trainer, Marco Botti, when fifth in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown earlier this month, is being prepared for the Arlington Million in Chicago next month – where connections are hoping for faster going.
"I thought his run was a little disappointing," Botti said. "The ground wasn't suitable. Later on, the plan would be to go for the Cox Plate, as he has been bought for an Australian owner."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Expert Fighter (8.10 Newmarket) A progressive three-year-old against largely exposed rivals.
Larwood (5.15 Ascot) Bowled a wide last time but had previously looked transformed by a gelding operation.
One to watch
Hawkeyethenoo (Jim Goldie) flew out of midfield when finally getting a break at Ascot last Saturday.
Where the money's going
Tominator is 20-1 from 33-1 with Paddy Power for the Betfred Ebor Handicap.
- More about:
- Ascot Racecourse
- Horse Racing And Harness Racing
- Papua New Guinea
- Royal Ascot