07/30/2012 2:30PM

England: Frankel faces only three in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood

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Frankel has won his two races this year by a combined 16 lengths.

It was in the 2011 Sussex Stakes that Frankel was supposed to face his greatest challenge. Frankel was 3 then, and the older horse Canford Cliffs was in royal form, having just comfortably beaten Goldikova. But that showdown turned into a letdown, as Frankel dashed away from Canford Cliffs like a deer racing a woodchuck, winning by five lengths and sending Canford Cliffs into retirement.

A similar result will be widely anticipated Wednesday at Goodwood in the 2012 Sussex, where Frankel will be overwhelmingly favored to defeat just three foes.

Besides Frankel, the Group 1 Sussex, a mile around one bend, includes Bullet Train, who is Frankel’s brother, stablemate, and pacesetter; Farhh, a solid performer who is rated close to 20 pounds below Frankel by international handicappers; and Gabrial, who never has won a race of any real import.

Frankel has won all 11 of his starts, winning his two races this year at age 4 by 16 lengths combined, and he will have little to gain and everything to lose in the Sussex, where a victory has become all but a foregone conclusion.

Since an injury scare during his comeback preparations this spring, Frankel has done nothing to suggest he doesn’t deserve his ranking as the world’s best horse. After beating Excelebration by five lengths in the J.T. Lockinge Stakes, his first start of the season, Frankel handed that same rival an 11-length defeat in the June 19 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.

“Everything has gone as we could have wished with Frankel since the Queen Anne Stakes,” trainer Henry Cecil said on his website. “We gave him an easy time immediately after Royal Ascot before bringing him back into fast work.”

Cecil, who has fought cancer in the past, said he wouldn’t attend Wednesday’s race because he has been “undergoing some treatment.” Cecil said he is well enough to train his horses but is “not quite racing fit.”

Godolphin’s Farhh will be turning back to one mile after finishing second to Nathaniel and third behind So You Think in longer Group 1 races his last two starts. Farhh is 3 for 3 at one mile and shorter while never facing anything close to the likes of Frankel in those wins.

Black Caviar’s return uncertain

Black Caviar won’t race during the spring season – the fall in the Northern Hemisphere – in Australia, trainer Peter Moody has announced, and a decision on whether the undefeated mare will be retired or start again in the fall won’t be reached for a couple months.

Black Caviar, a winner in all 22 of her starts, has recovered from the muscle injuries she sustained while narrowly winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, Moody said, but could not properly be readied to race again in coming months, and will also bypass what had been considered a possible start in Hong Kong this December.