Farhh to face Frankel in Sussex
Godolphin's Farhh, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, will be supplemented to the Group 1 Sussex and take on the unbeaten Frankel in the Goodwood mile race on August 1, provided the ground is not too fast.
Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, announced the decision by Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin's founder and driving force, at a Goodwood press conference in London on Tuesday.
"We are really excited to be running Farhh in the Sussex Stakes," Crisford said. "The timing of the race is perfect, three weeks and few days after his excellent second in the (Group 1) Eclipse at Sandown.
"I asked Sheikh Mohammed what his preferred option was, the Sussex Stakes, in which he could come second to Frankel if not win, or the (Group 1) Jacques le Marois at Deauville. He said 'I want to go to Goodwood'.
"We are delighted that Farhh is going to be there, provided the ground is not too firm. I know that sounds like a bit of a joke at the moment but we seriously hope the ground will dry out sufficiently but not be too firm for him to be able to take his chance.
"I think the best horse won the Eclipse -- it would be wrong to say Farhh could have beaten Nathaniel. Farhh used up a lot of energy to get to Nathaniel and probably did not have quite enough petrol in the tank in the last uphill drive. It was a big run but he told us that going back to a mile would probably be a good thing.
"He clearly did not get the trip at Sandown and we want to drop him back in distance.
Frankel wowed racegoers in last season's Sussex at Glorious Goodwood when he stormed to a five-length victory over Europe's leading older miler Canford Cliffs. This year he is returning to Goodwood to defend his crown.
Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Frankel's owner Khalid Abdulla, said via telephone: "Frankel is definitely going to be the horse to beat -- there is no doubt about that -- but he still has to put his best foot forward. However, on the best form that he has shown he is going to be superior to most animals that turn up.
"It's good news that Godolphin will supplement Farhh. We respect him as he was unlucky at Royal Ascot (in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's) and ran a super race at Sandown in the Eclipse so he is a very legitimate horse."
BHA handicapper Dominic Gardiner-Hill believes Frankel would need to step up in trip to 10 furlongs and prove himself against the likes of Cirrus des Aigles in order to achieve a record BHA rating of 142.
"Frankel and Cirrus des Aigles could certainly meet at York (in the Group 1 Juddmonte International) because I understand Corine (Barande-Barbe, trainer of Cirrus des Aigles) plans to bring Cirrus des Aigles to the Knavesmire in August, which would be fantastic," Grimthorpe said.
"In terms of racing it is always terribly hard to compare the different generations and I think you can only beat what is put in front of you and do the best you can. Timeform have taken a much stronger view than the official handicappers and have rated Frankel the best ever.
"We look forward to taking on everybody and I think we are in such a lucky position with Frankel in how he has matured mentally and physically this year that we would be confident he could get a mile and a quarter, which therefore gives him the opportunity to take on different opponents.
"After the Sussex Stakes, I would think it would be a mile or mile and a quarter program. Sir Henry (Cecil) is not very keen to talk about (the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe) and I think Henry and Prince Khalid have always been mindful of making Frankel the best they can at what he does best.
"In terms of the Breeders' Cup, I think we would have to see but I would say it's unlikely. I think if he ended up in the (Group 1) Champion Stakes, that would be a fitting finale. If he is going the mile and a quarter route, it's a pity the (Grade 1) Breeders' Cup Classic is not on Polytrack or the all-weather surface that it was three or four years ago."
Send this article to a friend