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Alcohol Free better than ever
Top older miler Palace Pier was missing from the Sussex Stakes and that provided another good opportunity for the classic generation, with the trio of three-year-olds in the field filling the first three places. 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare, who’d been so impressive in the St James’s Palace, was the hot favourite but he proved no match for fellow Royal Ascot winner Alcohol Free who took the lead from him a furlong out.
The well-backed Alcohol Free had won the Coronation Stakes on soft ground and the give in the ground at Goodwood was likely the key to this career-best effort, though a return to more patient tactics doubtless helped too as her speed proved an asset in a race run at just a fair pace to halfway. Back in third was Snow Lantern who’d been runner-up to Alcohol Free at Ascot but then turned the tables on her on firmer ground in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket where Alcohol Free had set the pace.
Alcohol Free became the first three-year-old filly since Marling back in 1991 to win the Sussex Stakes, while she has options at a range of distances as she goes for a fourth Group 1 – there’d be doubts about her staying the trip in the Juddmonte International though.
Suesa looks a new sprinting star
Much of the focus before the King George Stakes was on Battaash’s bid to win it for the fifth year running, but as he faded to finish only seventh, prompting his retirement, a new star emerged on the sprinting scene. French three-year-old filly Suesa looked a top-notch sprinter in beating the July Cup runner-up Dragon Symbol by three lengths, though the winning margin flatters her slightly as she enjoyed the run of the race, William Buick covering her up for much of the way as others went too fast into the strong headwind, and then producing her to lead a furlong out.
Suesa had been ridden more prominently when travelling well but failing to deliver in the closing stages of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but she clearly hadn’t done herself justice there. Suesa had started favourite at Ascot after winning all four of her starts in France beforehand, notably a couple of Group 3 contests at Chantilly in decisive fashion in the spring.
Suesa holds an entry in the Nunthorpe at York later this month and it would be good to see her confirm her high-class effort there.
Group 1 date beckons for unbeaten Baaeed
The three-year-old milers who dominated the Sussex Stakes could have a serious rival before long as Baaeed kept his unbeaten record with another impressive win in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes later in the week. Baaeed, who didn’t make his debut until early-June, had therefore not even run when the entries for the Sussex Stakes closed, and William Haggas has been in no hurry to fast-track him to Group 1 level, instead gradually stepping him up in class a grade at a time.
Baaeed had looked a potential Group 1 performer when running away with a listed race at Newmarket in July by four lengths and he made short work of his rivals with a still wider-margin success under softer conditions at Goodwood. The result looked in little doubt when Baaeed began to make ground smoothly on the outside of the field and he duly quickened away to beat the Dee Stakes winner El Drama by six and a half lengths.
Baaeed has the option of returning to Goodwood for the Celebration Mile at the end of August, though he’ll be well up to tackling Group 1 company when the time comes.
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