07/30/2008 12:00AM

Henrythenavigator wins, pointed to BC Classic


Henrythenavigator will be aimed at the Breeders' Cup Classic after having won his fourth straight Group 1 mile on turf at Goodwood on Wednesday when he held on gamely for a narrow victory in the $594,000 Sussex Stakes. While owner John Magnier has not ruled out additional tries at a mile this year, he said that the Classic, and a first try on a synthetic surface, would be Henrythenavigator's ultimate goal this season.

In notching his fourth consecutive Group 1 triumph of the year, the winner also gave trainer Aidan O'Brien his 16th win at the highest level. And in holding on by a head over the fast closing Raven's Pass, the odds-on Henrythenavigator was defeating his rival for the third time this season, having beaten him into fourth in the 2000 Guineas and by three-quarters of a length in the St. James's Palace Stakes. On Wednesday, it was 3 1/4 lengths back to Major Cadeaux in third. The winning time on good to firm ground was 1:38.46.

Henrythenavigator won despite things not going exactly as planned. He beat his rabbit, Windsor Palace out of the gate, then tracked that one's pedestrian pace in third or fourth. "Henry" quickened nicely to lead inside the quarter pole and then showed more than a touch of class in holding off the 4-1 Raven's Pass, whose trainer John Gosden admitted defeat by a superior horse.

Afterwards, winning rider Johnny Murtagh claimed that Henrythenavigator "won't be beaten this year." Coolmore has tried the Breeders' Cup Classic four times. It was unplaced with George Washington, Galileo and Hawk Wing, coming closest when Giant's Causeway was second in in 2000.