08/02/2006 12:00AM

Court Masterpiece a victor


The horses-for-courses theory proved golden at Goodwood on Wednesday when Court Masterpiece made it 3 for 4 at the southern England track with a stunning victory in the Group 1, $562,000 Sussex Stakes.

Overlooked in the betting at 7-1 despite having won last year's Group 2 Lennox Stakes at a furlong shorter than the Sussex mile, Court Masterpiece came through on the rail under Jimmy Fortune to defeat the 2004 Sussex winner and last year's runner-up, Soviet Song, by two lengths. Rob Roy was third, with Aussie Rules, winner of the French 2000 Guineas, fourth. The 11-10 favorite, Araafa, who had taken the 2000 Guineas and the St. James's Palace Stakes in his last two starts, weakened late to finish fifth, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner. The time for the mile on good to firm ground was 1:36.10.

Trainer Ed Dunlop, who has Ouija Board earmarked for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, is thinking Breeders' Cup Mile for Court Masterpiece, a Polish Precedent 6-year-old.

Earlier, Strategic Prince, winner of the Group 2 July Stakes, escaped at 6-1 to land the seven-furlong Group 2 Vintage Stakes by a comfortable neck over Duke of Marmalade.

* On Friday at Goodwood, Hamoody, a Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Johannesburg colt who was the impressive winner of a Newmarket allowance in his debut, is the choice in the six-furlong Group 2 Richmond Stakes. In the seven-furlong Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes, the undefeated Red Evie, trained by Michael Bell, should continue her winning ways.