Declan Rix

After Mohaather's scintillating Summer Mile success at Ascot on Saturday, Declan Rix looks forward to Marcus Tregoning's stable star heading to what could be a great renewal of the Sussex Stakes.

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Mohaather Another One To Add To A Potentially Brilliant Sussex Stakes Renewal

Derby-winning trainer Marcus Tregoning looks to be back in the big time after his stable star Mohaather dominated last Saturday’s Group 2 Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot. Under Dane O’Neill, the son of Showcasing put on one of the best miling performances of the season, running out an easy 3¾ lengths winner.

A luckless effort at Royal Ascot in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes was put right in devastating style, for all it was a step down in class. This was a competitive Group 2 however, run in a fair manner and Mohaather simply looked like a top-class horse. Heading into the Summer Mile, I thought the 2/1 favourite was priced up on potential, rather than proven form, but there can be no doubting him now.

Having jumped smartly and travelled well early, O’Neill slotted his mount into a mid-division position behind the front-running Marie's Diamond and chasing field. The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned colt always looked happy throughout, and could have even done with a stronger gallop. Going easily entering the straight, it only looked like a matter of O’Neill pressing the button for victory. When he did, the response was immediate and Mohaather strode away from his rivals, quickening up and hitting the line like a top-level performer.

He had last season’s French 2000 Guineas runner-up San Donato back in second with last year’s progressive Duke Of Hazzard in third. The former was having his first run of the campaign for Roger Varian and the latter didn’t have the blinkers on that helped turn him into a high-class miler in 2019, but visually, both ran lovely races and; even if below their very best, it wasn’t by much and in any case, 3¾ lengths is a significant losing margin.

Having suffered with splint problems this year, Lord Glitters – last season’s Queen Anne Stakes winner at Royal Ascot – made a pleasing reappearance for the David O’Meara team to finish fourth. Now a seven-year-old, he is the old man of the miling division, but considering his layoff, his early position here and how he finished out his race, this was a pleasing comeback.

This race was all about the winner however, and the success now tees Mohaather up nicely for a crack at the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 29th. In a Covid-19 affected season, we don’t have early entries for the race this year, but a quick look at bookmakers’ ante-post prices for the Sussex means the Goodwood marketing bods will need to be more creative than “The Duel on the Downs” as this year’s renewal is likely to be no two-horse race.

Currently, best-priced betting goes as follows; Siskin (6/4), Pinatubo (100/30), Mohaather (4/1), Circus Maximus (6/1), Kameko (8/1), Khaloosy (8/1), Nazeef (10/1) and Wichita (10/1). Other horses are available, but the above look to be the main players judged on bookmakers’ prices, and if they all happened to turn up in form, we may well be set for one of the season’s great races.

Looking at the race through my own ratings, I’ve got to say, Siskin does look pretty short in the current betting, but his price may simply be a product of him being highly likely to run at Goodwood compared to others. Mohaather, Khaloosy and Nazeef are all owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and while this trio are trained by different men, they may not run against each other.

Circus Maximus and Wichita are also both in the care of Aidan O’Brien, so they could go in separate races. It is a hard race to get a handle on at the moment, but it has real potential to be a summer blockbuster, and we haven’t even mentioned bigger priced horses like Al Suhail, Terebellum and Vatican City. There are others, too.  

Having briefly referenced my ratings, below is how I rate the race’s main players. I haven’t got a chance to rate Al Suhail’s recent six-length Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes success at Newmarket, but I imagine he would sit prominently among those below.  

Pintaubo (118)

Kameko (118)

Mohaather (117+)

Wichita (117)

Circus Maximus (116+)

Siskin (114p)

Nazeef (113 – not including 3lb fillies’ allowance)

Billesdon Brook (113 – not including 3lb fillies’ allowance)

Terebellum (112 - not including 3lb fillies’ allowance)

Khaloosy (107p)

Vatican City (107p)

If my rating are anything to go by, the Sussex Stakes is a lot more open than the betting suggests. It would be fantastic if the majority of these horses turned up, and again, I stress, there are potentially more names to add.

It simply doesn't get any better than trying to unravel top-class, competitive Flat racing. Throw in the unique challenge Goodwood presents for both horses and rider, and we could have a race for the ages.

 

Declan Rix
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