Sussex Stakes set for another Solow show in Gleneagles absence

Bill Esdaile
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Touch of class: Solow in line for eighth win on the trot

THERE was a huge sense of disappointment at Monday’s declaration stage when Gleneagles’ name failed to appear among the final list of eight confirmed runners for this afternoon’s Qatar Sussex Stakes (3.10pm).

Aidan O’Brien’s star three-year-old colt, winner of the English and Irish 2000 Guineas as well as the St James’ Palace Stakes, misses today’s engagement because of the rain that fell over the weekend.

O’Brien explained that they had entered the horse at Goodwood in the hope of getting decent fast ground and he didn’t want to run him on a surface that would almost certainly blunt his speed.

His absence means we have been denied another potential ‘Duel on the Downs’ as the mouth-watering clash between him and French sensation SOLOW has now been put on ice.

Freddy Head’s five-year-old revelation looks impossible to oppose in this afternoon’s renewal. He can win his eighth race on the bounce and fourth consecutive Group One. The son of Singspiel was once considered a middle distance prospect by connections, but since being dropped in trip this campaign he has looked a world-beater.

He followed an emphatic win in the Dubai Turf with comfortable victories in the Prix D’Ispahan and the Queen Anne Stakes at last month’s Royal meeting and is a best-priced 4/6 with Unibet to keep up the winning run.

Guessing what conditions we’ll get this afternoon is a dangerous game given the erratic nature of the current climate, but the forecast good ground will present no problems and if the heavens do open his hand would strengthen further.

At 5/1 and currently second in the market, bookmakers think that Richard Hannon’s Night Of Thunder will pose the biggest threat, but Solow put him in his place with relative ease at Ascot and it’s hard to envisage a reversal of that form.

Last year’s Dewhurst winner Belardo wasn’t beaten far in the Irish 2000 Guineas and any cut underfoot will aid his cause. However, I’m convinced he’ll be seen at his best back at seven furlongs and on genuinely soft ground.

If there is one who could outrun his odds it is Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain at 14/1 with Betway. He didn’t look to stay the 10 furlong Coral Eclipse trip on his latest outing, but showed up well behind Solow at Royal Ascot.

The Ballydoyle team have struggled to nail down his trip, having stepped him up from six furlongs, but a mile could be the answer and it would be no surprise if he hit the frame.

That said, it would be a major shock if he or any of Solow’s other six rivals were good enough to lower the French star’s colours this afternoon.

▀ Pointers…
SOLOW 3.10pm Goodwood