Alcohol Free Wins The G1 Sussex Stakes
The toast during Goodwood week was Alcohol Free, which doesn’t sound very exciting at all unless you’re referring to the three-year-old filly of that name, who lit up the track with a thrilling victory in Wednesday’s showpiece £1,000,000 Group 1 2021 Sussex Stakes, the mile championship of the summer.
The weather had done its best to wreck the garden party, but Alcohol Free – trained by Andrew Balding, ridden by last year’s champion Oisin Murphy – skipped over the mud to beat older horses and males for the first time, crossing the line an easy length-and-three-quarter winner from hot favorite Poetic Flare, with the same distance back to Snow Lantern in third.
The daughter of No Nay Never was a well-backed 7-2 second-favorite, and the time of 1:42.8 can be forgiven considering the ground conditions. Alcohol Free was towards the rear, level with Snow Lantern – who had beaten her last time out at Newmarket – when she started her winning run and showed a scintillating turn of foot to put the race to bed. Snow Lantern is likely to step up in distance now, a move that has also been mooted for Alcohol Free, although her pedigree and innate speed suggest that a mile is her best spot, and a clash with pro tem mile-division leader Palace Pier, who missed Goodwood while recovering from a blood disorder, is eagerly anticipated.
It was a triumph for the younger generation, with three-year-olds filling the first three places and underlining the notion that last year’s Classic crop, with very few exceptions, was not a particularly strong one. Winning owner Jeff Smith was repeating his success in the race with the brilliant Chief Singer in 1984 – 37 years is a long time between drinks, especially if it’s alcohol free!
Lady Bowthorpe Get The Victory In The G1 Nassau Stakes
It was a case of great patience rewarded in the other highlight of the week, the £600,000 Group 1 Nassau Stakes over a mile and a quarter on Thursday, in which veteran trainer William Jarvis saddled his first top-level winner since 1994 thanks to the utterly admirable five-year-old Lady Bowthorpe, who saw off a small field of distaffers to win by a length and a half from Zeyaadah in a time of 2:09, with Joan Of Arc half a length away third.
Lady Bowthorpe, a 10-3 chance following late market support, is a popular mare and the victory was seen as one for the ‘little man’, with neither Jarvis nor winning rider Kieran Shoemark, for whom this was a first Group 1 win, being among the usual suspects for this sort of race. One imagines that there was nothing alcohol free about these celebrations.
Arguably the most impressive performance of the week came from Baaeed in the £100,000 Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes for three-year-olds over a mile on Friday, the son of Sea The Stars stretching his unbeaten record to four with a dazzling display of controlled power.
This was his first foray into Group company, and although the opposition was no great shakes Baaeed treated them with disdain, winning by six and a half lengths on a tight rein at foregone conclusion odds of 2-5. Owned by the Shadwell Estate, the William
Haggas-trained colt is quite clearly Group 1 class and could be headed for the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp next month.
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