Sussex Stakes 2023: Paddington odds-on to extend winning run
Paddington is 4/9 with Coral to register a fourth Group One in a row when he takes on Inspiral in Wednesday’s Qatar Sussex Stakes 2023 at Goodwood.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge began the season in handicap company but has progressed to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse.
“Although Paddington will join the likes of Baaeed, Solow, Kingman and Frankel as a recent odds-on favourite for the Sussex Stakes, the presence of Inspiral does at least mean there is a Group One-winning rival taking on the three-year-old colt,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
O’Brien believes Paddington’s rise to the top has no equal during his long and distinguished training career and is not worried about the recent rain.
The trainer said: “He’s got winning form on very soft ground, so I wouldn’t be as concerned for him as I might have been for other horses. He’s got form on all types of ground.
“I hold Paddington in very high regard. He is very natural, very quick and very straightforward. He is a little bit different, we think, and the way he has progressed from run to run is very unusual.
“Ryan (Moore) always thought he had lots of pace and coming back to a mile won’t be a problem. We were delighted with him in the Eclipse and we always had the Sussex Stakes as part of his programme.
“He has been putting on weight after every run. He was much heavier heading into the Eclipse than he was before Ascot, which is quite unusual. He thrives on work and everyone involved with him is very happy.
“He has gone from strength to strength and Ryan is very impressed with him all the time. He is standing up to a lot of scrutiny and it is the ease with which he is doing it. He looks a serious horse at the moment.”
Having seen off Emily Upjohn over 10 furlongs at Sandown, Paddington will have another John and Thady Gosden-trained star filly to tackle on the Sussex Downs in the form of Inspiral, who is a 4/1 chance with Coral, official betting partners of Glorious Goodwood.
It will be the first time he will have faced older horses over a mile, but the master of Ballydoyle is eager to see a competitive contest so he can get a true feel for Paddington’s potential accomplishments.
O’Brien added: “The Sussex Stakes is a very prestigious race that has stood the test of time. For a horse going to stud, it is very important with it being the first time the three-year-olds can take on the older milers.”
Inspiral, who was beaten a neck by Triple Time in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, is also chasing a fourth Group One success.
Thady Gosden said: “Inspiral ran a great race on her return in the Queen Anne. She has come on for that and been in great form since.
“Paddington is a horse who has made rapid progression. He is a horse with plenty of speed and plenty of ability. He won the St James’s Palace and then went on to the Eclipse. That is quite an unusual route but it demonstrates how brilliant he is.
“It will be tough taking him on but a championship race like the Sussex Stakes is never going to be an easy race.
“Inspiral has a low action and plenty of speed. She is a very strong filly and hopefully the track will prove no problem to her at all.
“Emily Upjohn was taking on Paddington two furlongs below her optimum trip, whereas Inspiral will be taking him on at her ideal trip. Paddington is a three-year-old stepping into older miler company for the first time, which is always an interesting one.”
There will be a continental flavour to the 2023 Sussex Stakes, as French raider Facteur Cheval will take his chance in the red-hot contest.
It will be a long journey to the Sussex Downs for the four-year-old, quoted at 16/1, with trainer Jerome Reynier based near Marseille in the south of France.
However, having produced a career best when denied by a head in the Prix d’Ispahan in May, connections are keen to pick up a share of the £1million prize-fund on offer.
Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor, who own the gelding in partnership with Gary Barber, said: “We know this is going to be an insurmountable task, but the timing is right and he is improving, so we are going to send him and see what happens.
“Obviously, we’re going to be running against Paddington and you can’t go into it thinking we’re going to win, but we’ve got a lot of faith in this horse.”
Facteur Cheval has won five of his 10 career stars, with his biggest victory coming in the Prix Perth on his final outing last year.
A field of six has been declared with William Haggas’ Aldaary, Richard Hannon’s Chindit and Roger Varian’s Charyn completing the line-up.
“Shadwell enjoyed a big-race double with wins for Hukum and Alflaila on Saturday, and with plenty of rain in the forecast for Goodwood, punters reckon Aldaary could be a live Sussex Stakes contender in the same colours if the ground comes up testing,” added Coral spokesman Stevens.
16/1 Facteur Cheval
All odds and market correct at date of publication