February 22, 2024

Paddington extends win streak in Sussex

Paddington wins the 2023 Sussex Stakes (photo courtesy of the Breeders' Cup/Eclipse Sportswire)

Odds-on favorite Paddington slogged his way to another victory, his seventh in eight career starts, in the one-mile Sussex (G1) at Goodwood on Wednesday.

The Sussex, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in November, was contested over a rain-saturated course officially labeled soft. Under Ryan Moore, Paddington grabbed the lead from the start and turned back multiple challenges to win by 1 1/2 lengths from French raider Facteur Cheval.

Charyn, the longest shot in the field ran third. Soft-turf specialist Aldaary failed to pick up in finishing fourth, while the filly Inspiral, who was the most logical choice to possibly topple Paddington, was undone by the footing and finished last of five after making a brief challenge to the winner after entering the straight.

“I did not want to be making the running, but I knew no one was going to go, and we went very steady early on,” Moore said. “I was thinking I would get it all my own way and get to the fence [the stands’ side rail after entering the straight] but Frankie [Dettori] rightly made me work for it – you could see where Inspiral ended up finishing because of that. He fought her off and then he had a bit of a trial in the last furlong. He thrives on his racing, he just loves the sport and loves his job.”

The final time for the Sussex was 1:47.16 under testing conditions. Sent off at a price of 4-9 overseas, Paddington returned a mere $2.50 to win in the World Pool.

Fifth of eight in his debut at Ascot last September, Paddington has now reeled off seven consecutive victories. He opened his sophomore account beating handicap company at Naas in late March, but has since risen to the top of the three-year-old ranks in Europe. Following a victory in the one-mile Tetrarch S. at the Curragh, Paddington won the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) over the same course and distance, the one-mile St James’s Palace (G1) at Royal Ascot, and the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse (G1) at Sandown over the top older filly Emily Upjohn.

Comparisons between Paddington and Coolmore predecessor Giant’s Causeway have been frequent in recent months. A sturdy campaigner, Giant’s Causeway finished first or second in all 10 starts during his three-year-old campaign in 2000. He, too, captured the St James’s Palace, Eclipse, and Sussex, and later added the International (G1) at York and Irish Champion (G1) at Leopardstown, both of which are potential targets for Paddington.

“Paddington is much quicker than the Giant was; he’s tactically quick but he can quicken as well,” said Aidan O’Brien, who trains Paddington for a partnership that also includes American sportsman Peter Brant. “The Giant was tactically quick and was dour after that. This horse can really turn it on when you have to, on all types of ground. He is unique.

“It will depend on what the lads want to do and we’ll talk to them after a week, but he’s got a lot of options. He could go to York, he could do anything. But he is very special, we think.”