The Sussex Stakes (3.05 pm, Goodwood, Wednesday) has been billed as the “Duel on the Downs” between the two highest rated miles in Europe, Dawn Approach (6/5) and Toronado (6/4), who were separated by just a short head in the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The score between them currently stands at 2-0 in favour of Dawn Approach, who also beat Toronado into fourth place when winning the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
Jim Bolger’s colt then pulled hard and refused to settle when trailing home last in the Derby at Epsom in June, but redeemed himself when edging out Toronado in a driving finish to the St. James’s Palace Stakes. He took a keen hold in the early stages at Ascot, as he had when ruining his chance at Epsom and, if he does so again, he may be vulnerable.
Toronado was held up at Ascot, rather than ridden prominently as he had been at Newmarket, and was hampered by Glory Awaits when making headway two furlongs from home. Richard Hughes is adamant that the interference cost him a length and, if that’s really the case, he looks to have a decent chance of reversing the form with his old rival. In any case, he certainly finished much closer to Dawn Approach in the St. James’s Palace Stakes than he had in the 2,000 Guineas, when he suffered a suspected displaced palate. The addition of a tongue-tie and the adoption of more restrained tactics helped him at Ascot and it would be no surprise to see him prevail this time around.
The leading older horse appears to be Declaration Of War (5/1), who finished second, beaten two lengths, behind Al Kazeem in the Eclipse, over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at Sandown earlier this month, but had previously won the Queen Anne Stakes, over a mile, at Royal Ascot.
The form of the Queen Anne Stakes looks better than it did at the time, in light of the fourth, Elusive Kate, winning the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Prix Rothschild at Deauville on her two subsequent outings. It also received a timely boost with the third, Mukhadram, winning the York Stakes last Saturday. Even so, Declaration Of War still has 4lb and 3lb to find with Dawn Approach and Toronado on official BHA ratings and seems destined for third place if the principals run to form.
Gregorian (33/1) finished third, beaten 1¼ lengths, behind Declaration Of War in the Queen Anne Stakes, but was put firmly in his place once Aidan O’Brien’s colt forced his way into the clear and his chances of reversing the form seem remote.
Trade Storm (40/1) finished fifth in the Queen Anne Stakes and subsequently fourth in the Summer Mile, back at Ascot, last month, but appears exposed as lacking the class required to win, while Reply (100/1) and Leitir Mor (125/1) seem destined to perform pacemaking duties for their respective stable companions.
Sussex Stakes Betting Tip
It’s nigh on impossible to separate the principals on form and there’s just 1lb between them on BHA ratings. However, TORONADO appears to be the more versatile, tactically, and he looks the one to be on at 6/4 with Betfred or Ladbrokes.