April 12, 2021

Lightning Spear takes Sussex, a WAYI for Breeders’ Cup Mile

Lightning Spear won the Sussex in his third attempt (@Goodwood_Races photo)

Experience trumped youth in Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes (G1) at Glorious Goodwood when the seven-year-old Lightning Spear emerged late to take the $1.43 million “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

Sent off at 10-1 in U.S. pools and ridden by Oisin Murphy, Lightning Spear quickened to the lead after a seam opened in the final furlong and drew off to win by 1 1/2 lengths over the sophomore Expert Eye, the second choice in the wagering. Lord Glitters was third. Another three-year-old, St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) winner Without Parole, was the 6-5 favorite but faded to seventh in the field of eight after setting a soft pace.

“He was going really well and I thought if he got a gap he would win,” trainer David Simcock said. “They didn’t go much of a pace, but that did not really matter.”

This was the third win in five career trips at Goodwood for Lightning Spear, who captured the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Celebration Mile (G2). Sixth in the 2016 Sussex and third in last year’s renewal contested in bog-like conditions, Lightning Spear excelled on the good ground here under blazing sunshine. The final time for the mile was 1:39.89.

Owned by Qatar Racing, Lightning Spear missed by less than a length in two starts earlier this year: the Lockinge Stakes (G1) and Queen Anne Stakes (G1).

“Lightning Spear has done very little wrong apart from win a Group 1 up until now,” Simcock said. “He is a lovely horse to train and a lot of work goes into him. He has placed in six Group 1s I think and has never really let us down, though he was little bit inconsistent last season. To win a Group 1 is not easy and you have to accept it.”

Lightning Spear is a son of Pivotal and the multiple stakes-winning Atlantic Destiny, a daughter of 1990 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Royal Academy. His fourth dam was 1965 champion three-year-old filly What a Treat.