Frankel will put his status as the world’s best racehorse and his undefeated streak on the line in tonight’s Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Frankel, who has won seven races from as many starts, is currently rated the world’s top racehorse with a timeform rating of 141. However he will be put to a stern test in the Sussex Stakes tonight (Australian time) when he meets the horse who is currently ranked equal fourth in the world, Canford Cliffs.
Canford Cliffs has a timeform rating of 133, with a record of seven wins from ten starts. If the four year old can manage to win his sixth Group One in succession he may well replace Frankel at the top of the global timeform ratings.
And if there was ever a match race, this is it. Due to the dominance of Frankel and Canford Cliffs, a total of just four horses have been nominated for the Group One Classic.
“Unfortunately one of them has to get beaten,” said Canford Cliffs trainer Richard Hannon.
“I don’t know who is going to win. It will be very interesting to see what happens. But if there are any weaknesses in Canford Cliffs pi haven’t found them yet.
“Once (jockey) Richard Hughes had him settled as a three year old, it all happened from there. He is probably at his peak now. He is a strong horse and going well.
“The only thing that would worry me is that last year he did not like coming down the hill at Goodwood particularly well but he is a year older now and a more mature horse so I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Hannon was also wary of the fact that there might not be enough pace on the race, but he said he has full faith in jockey Richard Hughes, who is also confident he can unseat Frankel is the world’s best racehorse.
“He will go by whatever is in front of him. No matter what you follow, he will go by it. You feel that he will beat anything,” Hughes said.
The Sussex Stakes is surely the biggest test of Frankel’s career so far in that it represents the first time that he will go up against the older horses. However, with that being the case, he does have a handy little weight pull over the field. Frankel will carry 57kg, whereas the other three horses in the race will all carry 60.5kg, such is the weight-for-age scale in England.
“He’s taken it all in his stride and he’s had a very smooth, straightforward preparation throughout the year, and physically he looks he great nick, and he’ll need to be,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, who acts as racing manager for Frankel’s trainer Henry Cecil.
“All I can say is we’re very pleased with how the horse is, with how he’s come on and how he’s trained, his attitude – all of that marks him out as a very special horse.
“We’ve always been very positive about this horse before every race he has gone into so nothing has changed. He’s still got to beat the older horses. He was an exceptional two year old and looks like being an exceptional three year old if he continues. He’s a very special horse.”
Frankel is currently rated as favourite for the race at $1.65, while Canford Cliffs is $2.25. For the record the other two horses in the race are Rajsaman ($26.00) and Rio De La Plata ($51.00)