07/31/2001 11:00PM

Noverre wins Group 1 Sussex

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Noverre gained compensation for his disqualification from the French 2000 Guineas with an impressive victory in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on Wednesday.

A three-quarter brother to Arazi, the 9-2 Noverre rallied late under Frankie Dettori to defeat No Excuse Needed by two lengths, with Black Minnaloushe, the 3-1 choice who had beaten him by a neck in the St. James's Palace Stakes, another 1 1/2 lengths behind in third. Olden Times was fourth. The time for the mile on good to firm ground was 1:37.12.

The Sussex was also a victory for the current 3-year-old generation, as the first older horses to cross the line were Distant Music, Cape Town, and Bach in fifth, sixth, and seventh.

"I think he is the best miler in Europe now," said winning Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed, although the connections of Medicean and Banks Hill might disagree.

Noverre had the classic Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) win taken away from him on Friday for having tested positive for a banned arthritis drug. He could run next in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sept. 9. The Breeders' Cup Mile is also on his agenda, but Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford admits that the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Sept. 29, when he could face Galileo, is his main objective.

* Earlier at Goodwood, trainer David Loder extended his 2001 record to 24-for-39 as Maktoum Al Maktoum's 2-year-old Marju colt Naheef took the seven-furlong Group 3 Vintage Stakes by two lengths over Bragadino.

Naheef, a five-length winner of an Epsom maiden race in his only other start, went off at 8-1 and was timed in 1:26.32. He looks sure to become a member of Saeed bin Suroor's Godolphin team in Dubai this winter.