07/30/2014 1:51PM

Kingman beats Toronado in Sussex Stakes


Having already established himself as the best 3-year-old miler in Europe, Kingman staked his claim Wednesday to being the best European miler, period, defeating high-class 4-year-old Toronado by one length at Goodwood in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes.

The Juddmonte Farms homebred had only three rivals in the Sussex, which was run at a crawl, with Darwin leading on the inside, Toronado glued to his flank, and Outstrip and Kingman taking up positions behind.

Barely going at more than a gallop for the first six furlongs, Toronado and Richard Hughes made their break with a quarter-mile to run, quickening instantly and trying to steal the race from Kingman, but the 3-year-old proved up to the task, gathering himself over Goodwood’s tricky undulating track and launching a powerful final burst to swoop past Toronado and on to his sixth victory from seven starts.

The winning time on a good-to-firm course was a slow 1:41.75, indicative of the Sussex’s dawdling tempo. Kingman benefited from a 3-year-old weight allowance in the Sussex, carrying 126 pounds – including jockey James Doyle – compared with the 134 Toronado toted.

"He has a wonderful turn of foot, and [the slow pace] probably did play into his hands,” Doyle said. “I thought that they would go steady but not for quite as long as that. We passed the two [furlong]-pole trotting, really.”

Kingman, a John Gosden-trained colt by Invincible Spirit and out of Zenda, won both of his starts at 2 and his first race at 3 but was beaten a half-length by Night of Thunder as the favorite in the English 2000 Guineas. He quickly rebounded to win the Irish 2000 Guineas and turned the tables on Night of Thunder with a dazzling victory in the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. That performance made Kingman a solid favorite Wednesday to defeat Toronado, who himself had won the 2013 Sussex as a 3-year-old.

Gosden, having a banner summer, also trains the unbeaten 3-year-old filly Taghrooda, the early favorite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after an impressive win last weekend in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

"You are lucky when you get two 3-year-olds like this. She's gotten bigger and stronger, and he's done the same,” Gosden said. “You only have to put your hand on their necks to feel the sheer strength of them.”

Plans are fluid for Kingman, whose status for 2015 – be it as a racehorse or a stallion – hasn’t been decided, his connections said. The colt is an early entrant in the Aug. 17 Prix Jacques le Marois, but there’s a decent chance Kingman will simply wait for his major year-end goal, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Oct. 18 at Ascot.