Thursday, June 30, 2016

Unfinished business in Sussex clash

Glorious Goodwood has got the potential to stage a glorious rematch should the market principles turn up for the Qatar Sussex Stakes on July 27.
Recently, the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot was billed as the 'race of the season' when the one-mile contest pitted a trio of Guineas winners against one another.
Galileo Gold, the hero of Newmarket's 2,000 Guineas squared off once more against Awtaad, Kevin Prendergast's horse having taken his measure in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, while The Gurkha – winner of the French equivalent at Deauville – ensured it was a truly mouthwatering prospect.
Frankie Dettori and Galileo Gold emerged best at Ascot, with The Gurkha powering home late on to condemn Awtaad to third spot.
And yet, the race arguably left more questions than answers in the aftermath.
As such, the horse racing betting for a potential rematch in the Goodwood Group 1 is already sparking plenty of debate.
At Ascot, the effervescent Dettori once more proved his mettle in the saddle. The Italian kicked for home while rivals Chris Hayes on Awtaad and Ryan Moore on The Gurkha were switched off at the tail of affairs.
It was to prove a decisive and race-winning move from Dettori. Awtaad, denied the first run that served him well at the Curragh, wasn't able to bridge the gap – much like Galileo Gold had been defeated in Ireland – and eventually surrendered second spot in the shadows of the post.
It was The Gurkha that produced arguably the best finishing effort of the three but he, too, had been set an impossible task in bridging a sizeable gap to a Classic-winning rival.
All three are apparently on course for a rematch at Goodwood in the Sussex Stakes.
Should they meet again, it seems logical to suggest that Aidan O'Brien – trainer of The Gurkha – and Prendergast will defy their respective jockeys to give Dettori an inch of advantage in the race.
That being the case, we genuinely should be treated to a mile-contest befitting the billing of 'race of the season'.
Many observers felt that Moore was far from his imperious best at Ascot, with veteran Dettori laying down a significant challenge across the five days. Hayes, the young pretender, has a mount of seriously high profile and a chance to take down two of the game's finest in a top level contest.
The feeling persists that The Gurkha was the horse that left Ascot with a hard-luck story.
Denied a clear run at the furlong marker, Moore's mount was closing all the way to the line but had been simply left with too much to do on that occasion.
The chance to level the score at Goodwood is on the horizon and given Moore's disdain for defeat, there seems to be every chance that he and The Gurkha can eradicate the ghosts of Ascot.
Galileo Gold's exploits this season have seen him already take in three gruelling Group 1 contests.

From a pure theatre perspective, it will be great to see all three protagonists at their best, but it could prove that a tough season for Galileo Gold must catch up somewhere and that is another reason to believe The Gurkha will be primed to pounce when Goodwood rolls around.

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