Paddington all set to produce once again in Sussex Stakes

Paddington has been the breakout star of the Flat season to date, in a campaign starting to bear very close resemblance to a Ballydoyle great of the past, Giant’s Causeway.

And like the ‘Iron Horse’, the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt will need to show all his versatility in his latest assignment, the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Having emerged from winning a handicap first time out this season, the son of Siyouni is now chasing a fourth successive Group One victory.

He took the Irish 2,000 Guineas in style, before readily accounting for English Guineas winner Chaldean in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and then stepping up to 10 furlongs to beat Emily Upjohn in the Eclipse last time out.

Now he is dropping back to a mile, taking on the classy Inspiral with substantial rain forecast on Tuesday evening into Wednesday, although O’Brien is not unduly concerned.

He said: “He’s got winning form on very soft ground, so I wouldn’t be as concerned for him as I might have been for other horses. He’s got form on all types of ground.

“I hold Paddington in very high regard. He is very natural, very quick and very straightforward. He is a little bit different, we think, and the way he has progressed from run to run is very unusual.

“Ryan (Moore) always thought he had lots of pace and coming back to a mile won’t be a problem. We were delighted with him in the Eclipse and we always had the Sussex Stakes as part of his programme.

“He has been putting on weight after every run. He was much heavier heading into the Eclipse than he was before Ascot, which is quite unusual. He thrives on work and everyone involved with him is very happy.

“He has gone from strength to strength and Ryan is very impressed with him all the time. He is standing up to a lot of scrutiny and it is the ease with which he is doing it. He looks a serious horse at the moment.”

Giant’s Causeway was runner-up in the Irish Guineas, but did win the St James’s Palace, Eclipse and Sussex Stakes, and then added the Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes, races that could easily feature on Paddington’s radar.

For now it is Goodwood, with O’Brien adding: “The Sussex Stakes is a very prestigious race that has stood the test of time. For a horse going to stud, it is very important with it being the first time the three-year-olds can take on the older milers.”

Just as in the Eclipse, Paddington’s biggest market rival is a filly trained by John and Thady Gosden.

Winner of six of her nine races, including three Group Ones, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned four-year-old Inspiral should certainly give Paddington something to think about – but whether she would want very soft ground is debateable.

“At this point in tine, all being well, we’ll run. The ground is changing, but this has been the plan and she is on course to go to Goodwood,” said Chris Richardson, racing manager for the owners.

“Obviously she has a weight for age difference, but it is a logical step really. We wanted to give her plenty of time after Royal Ascot.

“It was a good performance on her first run. She proved last year she runs well fresh and she followed it up.

“We obviously bypassed Newmarket (Falmouth) in preference for Goodwood. France was in the mix, but those races are too close together now and they have had plenty of rain over there.”

The ground, though, is a cause for concern.

Richardson went on: “Heavy ground wouldn’t suit her. We have taken the chance and more rain would suit Paddington probably more perhaps than us.

“She handles soft ground. She won the Marois on soft ground, and it was easy in the Falmouth when she was second as well. If you are not in, you can’t win.

“Paddington is a serious horse. He is a bit of a superstar, but we’re fresh and he’s had a few more races than us. The weight allowance might make a difference and she’s in good form.”

The feature Qipco British Champions Series event on day two also features the William Haggas-trained Aldaary, who has not quite hit the heights after missing last season but is one who will appreciate the rain.

“We left Aldaary in the Sussex in the hope that we get the sort of ground we had when Here Comes When won in 2017,” said Haggas, successful 12 months ago with the mighty Baaeed.

“He’s probably not good enough to win, but he likes the soft, so who knows. It wasn’t as soft as ideal at Ascot last time and it was a funny race. He was still a bit rusty there, but he’s better now.”

Richard Hannon does not think conditions will suit Chindit, however.

“If the word soft appears in the ground, he won’t run,” said Hannon.

“He has to have fast ground. If he doesn’t go there, he’s got the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury, he’s got a race at York, there’s a Group Two somewhere else – there are a good few, but he can’t function on soft ground.”

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