Sussex Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Goodwood, Wednesday 31st July 2019

Races come little bigger than the Sussex Stakes which once again will be the prize event at the five day long Glorious Goodwood festival. The centrepiece race has long wowed the crowd at the South Downs racecourse and this year will be no exception.

Some truly great horses have been crowned champion of this prestigious event since it’s 1841 inception, perhaps no more so than the first ever two-time winner Frankel. Could the latest addition to the list be Too Darn Hot now that he’s finally off the mark this season?

Top Tips

Too Darn Hot to win @ 5/4

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

Once again a huge purse of £1m is up for grabs in this one mile contest, making it one of the richest races in British racing. The horses involved take on an undulating one mile track featuring a fairly tight right handed turn before a long five furlong run-in.

GoingDistanceClassPrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good 1m Group 1 £1,000,000 9 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

Favourites had won eight renewals between 2008 and 2016 but their dominance has waned just slightly of late, missing out the past two years.

The last couple of renewals have also seen two seven-year-old champions, whereas previously we hadn’t had a single one since the race was opened to all horses aged three and above in 1975.

2018 Lightning Spear 9/1 Oisin Murphy David Simcock
2017 Here Comes When 20/1 Andrew Balding Jim Crowley
2016 The Gurkha 11/8 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2015 Solow 2/5 Freddy Head Maxime Guyon
2014 Kingman 2/5 John Gosden James Doyle
2013 Toronado 11/4 Richard Hannon Sr. Richard Hughes

Analysis: Dettori set to make up for lost time

A six day ban for careless riding ruled Frankie Dettori out of the opening two days of last year’s Glorious Goodwood, including the Sussex Stakes. It was a big disappointment not to see him involved 12 months ago but the Italian is back, seeking what would be a fifth win in the race. His chances appear strong too as Too Darn Hot seemed to recover his mojo when winning in France earlier this month.

Too Hot for the rest

It may not be overly warm for the spectators at Goodwood on Wednesday but John Gosden’s colt is likely to prove too darn hot for his rivals once more. Things began in a frustrating fashion for the three-year-old this season with him the beaten favourite across three high quality races. Following the disappointments there were those questioning if he could live up to the highs set as a two-year-old but he helped alleviate concerns with a fine win in Deauville’s Prix Jean Prat. The Frankie Dettori mount once again set off as favourite but proved his worth with an expert three length victory, clocking a fast time in the process.

Circus Maximus a late addition

The Sussex Stakes was initially not a target for Circus Maximus (5/2) but an unexpectedly brilliant showing in the one mile St James’s Place Stakes forced his connections to reconsider. Supplemented at a cost of £70,000, we will wait to see if the investment pays off as the Galileo colt eyes up another Group 1 title. Having beaten Too Darn Hot by three quarters of a length at Ascot, you can’t deny he stands a chance but John Gosden’s horse is far more likely to offer improvements on that run. The ceiling is lower for Circus Maximus even if he responds well to the addition of blinkers once again.

Phoenix Of Spain

Another involved in the recent St James’s Palace Stakes was Phoenix of Spain (6/1). Charlie Hills’ horse began strongly enough but ended up going backwards in the final furlong. It was a surprise to see him run out of steam having won the Irish 2,000 Guineas so commandingly on Curragh’s testing uphill straight course. His trainer believed that the softer conditions were to blame but he’s out of luck if this is the case as Goodwood is set to be no firmer than Ascot was last month.

Final Verdict: Too Darn Hot to win

There are some talented names in for this prestigious test and it’s hard to see anyone outside the top three being first past the line despite two recent upsets. Circus Maximus and Phoenix Of Spain are not without claim but we’re having to back Too Darn Hot as things seemed to finally click for the three-year-old during his recent win in France.


Goodwood Horse Race from the Rails

Standing as Glorious Goodwood’s most prized asset is the Sussex Stakes. Formerly in the shadows of the Goodwood Cup and the Stewards’ Cup, the one mile race has long claimed the title of being the most prestigious event of the five-day festival. The Group 1 event has a list of winners fitting for a race of such high-standing with some famous names among those who have triumphed in more recent decades.

Considering its reputation now, the Sussex Stakes has undergone quite the transformation. Although it has a long history dating back to 1841, the race, which was initially a sprint for two-year-olds, featured only intermittently during its early years. On 25 occasions the race went uncontested, with 14 of these being walkovers. Having failed miserably to capture the public attention, organisers increased its distance to one mile and made it a contest for three-year-olds. The changes did the trick as ever since then the Sussex Stakes has run consistently, pausing only during times of war.

Le Levanstell First to Benefit from Rule Changes

Horse Wearing Number Four

For almost 90 years the Sussex Stakes was restricted to three-year-olds but this changed in 1960 as four-year-olds were also given permission to compete. The decision to open the one mile race to a wider range of entrants had a significant impact with older horses regularly doing the business. Just a year after the rule change, Le Levanstell became the first four-year-old ever to claim glory in the race. Pleased by what older horses were producing, in 1975 the powers that be removed the upper age limit all together, allowing ay horse older than three to take part.

Now with even more older rivals to face, three-year-olds, despite their seven pound weight advantage, have been unable to dominate this race. While still the leading force, the age of winners is more a mixed bag and not something you ought to put much weight on when placing your bets for this race.

Previously many thought that six-years-old was the maximum age for a genuine Sussex Stakes contender but we’ve seen two recent seven-year-old champions in Here Comes When (2017) and Lightning Spear (2018). Between 1986 and 2002, 70% of winners were three-year-olds but you can see how things have shifted in more recent renewals:

Chart Showing the Age of Sussex Stakes Winners between 2003 and 2018

Fantastic Frankel

When the race was strictly a three-year-old only affair, there was no possibility of a Sussex Stakes title defence. By lifting the age restriction, horses can now have several attempts but despite this, double winners are incredible rare. Only one horses has reigned supreme twice during this contest, the one and only Frankel.

His first appearance saw him set off at, by his standards, a rather long price of 8/13 for what was billed as two-horse race with Canford Cliffs. Completely untroubled that day, Sir Henry Cecil’s horse won a year later at 1/20 with a similar amount of ease in another poorly attended renewal featuring just three other runners.

Full Results of the 2011 & 2012 Sussex Stakes

Position 2011 Result Distance Behind Winner 2012 Result Distance Behind Winner
First Frankel - Frankel -
Second Canford Cliffs 5 length Farhh 6 lengths
Third Rio De La Plata 7.5 lengths Gabrial 9.25 lengths
Fourth Rajsaman 10 lengths Bullet Train 9.75 lengths

Recent Upsets Buck the Trend

Having seen Lightning Spear (9/1) win this race in 2018 and Here Comes When (20/1) triumph a year earlier, you may be thinking big money returns are regularly on offer. The Sussex Stakes is absolutely not a race for upsets or big paying winners though, in large part due to the single digit fields it usually attracts.

Chart Showing the Start Prices of Sussex Stakes Winners Between 1999 and 2018

Between 2008 and 2016 there was only one favourite who didn’t win, and even then it was only the second favourite (Tornado) who was first home at 11/4. During this period, the average starting price of the winner was just 9/10 with Frankel being the shortest of the lot, available at incredible odds of just 1/20.

By this point in his career Frankel had already won 11 consecutive races so the bookies were refusing to take any chances on him. The tiny odds-on price was the shortest given during any point of the record-breaking horse’s career, forcing punters to back how much he’d win by, rather than if he would at all.

It was hard to blame the bookies for running scared though as the brilliant horse boasted a rating miles higher than any of his three rivals. The win came with a widely predicted degree of comfort and his classy performance is available for all to see here:

Ascot Form Key

So many Sussex Stakes champions previously featured at Royal Ascot earlier in the summer before heading to Goodwood. The Queen Anne Stakes is a common race for any Sussex hopefuls, as is the St James’s Palace Stakes, another of the one mile tests part of the British Champions Series.

How horses perform at Ascot, in either race, seems to have a massive bearing on how things fare for them in the Sussex Stakes. By examining the results of recent renewals, we can see just how important a Queen Anne or St James’s Palace Stakes performance is coming into this elite Group 1 contest.

Sussex Stakes Winners' Royal Ascot Form: 2006 - 2018

Year Sussex Stakes winner Royal Ascot Race Royal Ascot Finish
2018 Lightning Spear Queen Anne 3rd
2017 Here Comes When - -
2016 The Gurkha St James’s Palace 2nd
2015 Solow Queen Anne 1st
2014 Kingman St James’s Palace 1st
2013 Toronado St James’s Palace 2nd
2012 Frankel Queen Anne 1st
2011 Frankel St James’s Palace 1st
2010 Canford Cliffs St James’s Palace 1st
2009 Rip Van Whinkle - -
2008 Henrythenavigator St James’s Palace 1st
2007 Ramonti Queen Anne 1st
2006 Court Masterpiece Queen Anne 2nd

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