Glorious Goodwood build-up: Group 1 showdowns a must-see

The famed Goodwood Racecourse will once again play host to one of the most anticipated flat-racing events on the UK & Ireland racing calendar, The Qatar Goodwood Festival. With a stacked 35-race card schedule, there will be plenty of recogniseable names on the bill that will have racegoers excited about the standard of competition they can expect over the five-day festival. With dozens of competitive races right throughout the meet, it is sure to be a punter’s delight for those who take part in horse racing betting.

There is a myriad of enthralling storylines trackside to keep an eye on, including three Group 1 fixtures that will comprise some of the best trainers and thoroughbreds in the world. With that in mind, let’s take a look at each of the three races and dissect the variety of ways in which they could pan out come race day. 

Sussex Stakes

The most notable runner on the program is Baaeed, the world number one ranked turf horse whose sublime display in the Queen Anne Stakes guarantees, in many people’s eyes, a win in Glorious Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes. 

The storied mile-long race has seen many first-rate horses reign supreme in the past, including the likes of Canford Cliffs, Rip Van Vinkle and Frankel (twice). With the pressure mounting on Baaeed to maintain his aura of invincibility and unbeaten record, the occasion provides the rest of the field a golden opportunity to upset the applecart in what will be a high-profile match-up. 

The most obvious contenders are State of Rest and Coroebus. Trained by Joseph Patrick O’Brien, State of Rest is coming off an impressive victory in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, holding off odds-on favourite Bay Bridge to win by a length. As a result of the Royal Ascot triumph, the four-year-old colt has shot to the top of the Cartier Horse of the Year standings. In addition to sitting atop the Horse of the Year category, he has also leapfrogged his upcoming Glorious Goodwood foe Baaeed to lead the Older Horse of the Year rankings. 

The other noteworthy threat Coroebus is in a similar vein of form, having won a thrilling affair in the St James’s Palace Stakes last month. While it wasn’t the smoothest of runs for the world-ranked three-year-old, the gutsy performance will reassure his trainer Charlie Appleby that he can overcome adversity when required.

In what is shaping up to be a mouth-watering clash, we may look back at this year’s Sussex Stakes as a legacy-defining race in the careers of three elite thoroughbreds.

The Goodwood Cup

This two-mile fixture has an intriguing narrative in its own right, with champion horse Stradivarius looking to create history and secure a fifth Goodwood Cup. However, if his trainers John and Thady Gosden want their eight-year-old to cement his legacy even further with a win, they’ll need to ensure a better performance is put forth than the one in Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup. While the lackluster effort was more about the poor ride of Frankie Dettori rather than the run from Stradivarius, the Gosdens will be steadfast in ensuring they don’t give him so much work to do down the straight this time around. 

With this race being tipped to be Stradivarius’ last, there will be a number of trainers and jockeys who will be looking to spoil the potential farewell. The opposition looking most likely to do so are Kyprios, Mojo Star and Trueshan. All three have significant wins over Stradivarius within the last 12 months, with Kyprios and Mojo Star besting him in the Gold Cup in June – while Trueshan broke his four-year reign as Goodwood Cup champion last year after Stradivarius was withdrawn due to the soft ground conditions.

The Nassau Stakes

Similar to the other Group 1 races on the Glorious Goodwood schedule, there are some standout entries in the Nassau Stakes. John and Thady Gosden’s Nashwa and Inspiral are the initial two being billed as the strong pre-race chances. When observing their respective form, you would have to give the nod to Nashwa when determining which horse is entering the race in the best shape. After taking home the chocolates in gritty fashion in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly, the three-year-old filly has instilled confidence in bookies that she can go out there and put on a repeat performance. 

On the other hand, Inspiral’s form has been somewhat inconsistent. While he looked like a world-beater following his win in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, that performance was quickly overshadowed by his worrying loss to rank outsider Prosperous Voyage in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket just a few weeks later. 

With a number of feature races that are certain to draw plenty of attention from fans and pundits at home and abroad, achieving success at The Qatar Goodwood Festival has never felt more important.

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