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ITV Racing Tips: Poetic Flare can dazzle again in Sussex Stakes showpiece

| 18.07.2021

We had hoped for another ‘Duel on the Downs’ for this year’s Sussex Stakes and to see Goodwood is at its best in glorious sunshine. Unfortunately, we will get neither after Palace Pier was ruled out of one of the season’s biggest mile races by injury and the heatwave gave way to heavy rain.

A plethora of non-runners, including the great Stradivarius owing to the heavy going, spoiled the opening day but we should see a genuine star on day two when 2,000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare makes the trip over from Ireland.

He is likely to go off a shade of odds-on with Palace Pier absent but there are some decent opponents in the Group 1-winning fillies Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern plus, among the older milers, the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia.

The Sussex will be the stand out event on a five race TV schedule which also features two Group 3 prizes, the Oak Tree and Molecomb Stakes.

It all unfolds from 13:30pm on ITV and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.

14:25 – Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes 

A field of 17 fillies and mares, a big field for the 7f race, which has been won in the past two seasons by Group 1 winners, One Master and Billesdon Brook.

There is nothing of their calibre in this year’s line-up but local runner Lavender’s Blue is taking a step down in class having run in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes last time. As she has no soft ground form, this could be a good opportunity for the up-and-coming Highfield Princess, a winner three times already this year.

Rated 57 when she made her handicap debut last year, she has risen to a mark of 103 thanks to victories in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and in a Listed contest last time. When she last ran on soft ground she won by five lengths and, as long as she can overcome her high draw, she may not have stopped winning yet.

15:00 Markel Molecomb Stakes

This is a prime opportunity for Royal Ascot winner Chipotle to put his Super Sprint defeat behind him. The favourite for the Newbury contest, he met all sorts of trouble and was never able to land a blow, finishing ninth.

He clearly would have gone close to winning with a clear passage and, provided he can cope with soft ground, he looks made for this downhill dash. Arboy Will, a rare two-year-old winner for John Bridger last time, could acquit himself well again at double figure odds.

15:35 Qatar Sussex Stakes

One of the key mile races of the year pits the best three-year-old and older milers against each other for the first time at Group 1 level in Britain.

Unfortunately, only the best three-year-old has shown up. Palace Pier is an outstanding miler but even he might have had his work cut out to concede weight to Poetic Flare.

That particular clash will have to wait for another day. The 2,000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare had a busy spring, also contesting the French and Irish versions without quite winning, but at Royal Ascot he was utterly dominant, winning the St James’s Palace Stakes by four and a quarter lengths.

Three-year-old fillies Alcohol Free and Snow Lantern have won the Coronation and Falmouth Stakes respectively and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia looked back to his best when winning at the Curragh this month.

But they don’t come much tougher than Poetic Flare who, even though he will encounter much softer conditions than he did at Ascot, is unlikely to be fazed.

ITV Racing Schedule, Wednesday, 28th July

13:50 Goodwood – 1m4f Handicap

14:25 Goodwood – Oak Tree Stakes

15:00 Goodwood – Molecomb Stakes

15:35 Goodwood – Sussex Stakes

16:10 Goodwood – 5f Conditions Stakes

View the latest Horse Racing odds

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Jonathan Lees