07/27/2011 10:57AM

Goodwood: Frankel cruises to win in Sussex


Believe the hype. Three-year-old superstar Frankel proved he has substance to match his reputation, decisively defeating top miler Canford Cliffs in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on Wednesday at Goodwood in England.

Frankel led throughout the one-mile Sussex, relaxing up front while setting a dawdling pace before dashing away from Canford Cliffs to win by five lengths. Frankel not only beat older horses for the first time, he thrashed Europe’s top-ranked miler, as Canford Cliffs had comfortably taken the measure of Goldikova in his most recent start. Frankel now has won all eight of his races. He races for trainer Henry Cecil and Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, which owns and bred the colt. 

The unfolding of the Sussex worked toward Frankel’s advantage, though Canford Cliffs won the 2010 Sussex and has no issues with the course or Wednesday’s conditions. But Canford Cliffs would almost certainly prefer to wait farther behind a stronger pace in the early going, while Frankel is comfortable on or near the lead.

Wednesday, jockey Richard Hughes on Canford Cliffs was forced to stalk the leader in second while the other two in the race, Rajsaman and Rio de la Plata, left the favorites to themselves. Frankel and jockey Tom Queally thus dictated terms throughout the one-turn, right-handed mile. Frankel began accelerating on his own after coming off the bend about a quarter-mile from the finish, but Queally sat stock still until he hit the furlong pole, finally asking Frankel to seriously quicken. And the race was over in a matter of strides.

Canford Cliffs hung left while Frankel flew home, getting only the mildest of taps from Queally’s stick. Winning time for the mile over “good” turf was 1:37.47. Rio de la Plata finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Canford Cliffs with Rajsaman bringing up the rear. 

Frankel, by Galileo and out of the Danehill mare Kind, and named for Bobby Frankel, Juddmonte’s primary North American trainer before his death in 2009, now is being hailed as one of the best English runners in recent history. His next race has yet to be announced, but a start in the Juddmonte International, which would mark Frankel’s first try at 1 1/4 miles, is possible. Frankel’s connections have previously suggested a trip to the Breeders’ Cup is unlikely this fall.

Workforce a bit worse for wear

Another top-class Juddmonte runner, Workforce, suffered an apparently minor injury when he was struck by the unfortunate Rewilding during the running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last weekend. Rewilding, who broke down during the running, ran into Workforce’s hind end, and the colt was said to be sore behind coming out of the race.

The incident, according to Workforce’s connections, was the cause of his drifting far left during the race’s final furlong. Workforce still managed to finish second to 3-year-old Nathaniel. Teddy Grimthorpe, Juddmonte’s racing manager, said it was still hoped that Workforce could be readied for an attempt to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second straight year.