Hills and Ghanaati to keep Rip Van Winkle waiting
Rip Van Winkle looks one of the unluckiest horses around based on his performances this season and he has the chance to turn things around at Glorious Goodwood in the Sussex Stakes at odds of 6/4.
Aidan O'Brien's colt is yet to taste victory in a Group 1 race however he lacked the pace to really challenge in the Dewhurst and the Guineas before having to do too much in the Derby having been marooned at the back with his pacemaker setting too slow a pace.
Last time out at Sandown in the Eclipse he looked like he could win when looming up ominously on the leader but that leader was the phenomenal Sea The Stars and had it been any other horse Rip Van Winkle may have opened his Group 1 account and he stands a real chance of doing it this time.
He will have a pace maker this time who will know their job as O'Brien has another three horses entered all at triple figure prices and Rockhampton at 150/1 may be the one selected for the job.
On the flip side there will be those who feel Rip Van Winkle has had his chances and would have won a Group 1 by now if good enough and in the Sussex he faces a strong challenge from 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati.
Barry Hills' filly has won her two starts this season including the win the Classic and looks a massive threat to the current favourite at 7/4 in the betting.
There is a suspicion also that 1m will suit Ghanaati a lot better than Rip Van Winkle and O'Brien's horse may need further (like the 1m2f of the Eclipse) to really show his best side.
For those looking to back one of the market leaders a boost is handed when you look at the statistics that favourites have won just over half of the renewals of the race and 3-year-olds have won five of the last ten runnings (both horses are indeed of that age).
So both have a lot in their favour but out of the two, the proven winner over the distance Ghanaati is preferred to become the first filly since Soviet Song in 2004 to win the Sussex.
Is the race just between these two heavyweights then? It does look that way although at 10/3 Paco Boy is looking to rival the two market leaders.
Richard Hannon raves about Paco Boy and he did silence a lot of his critics when winning the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot before a reasonable run in the July Cup over an inadequate 6f where he ran on very strongly and a return to a mile should definitely suit but it is hard to envisage him getting the better of both Rip Van Winkle and Ghanaati.
Lord Shanakill is one that may attract each way support at 9/1 as he has one major advantage in that he has run at Goodwood before where he placed second in a Group 2 contest so can obviously handle the awkward track which could actually be the undoing or one or two of the animals in the race.
A win last time out albeit in a weakish Group 1 in France shows he is in good heart and could well reward each way backers.
This looks certain to go to one of the market principles and there will be many a frustrated punter who would dearly love to see Rip Van Winkle finally capture a Group 1 while Paco Boy looks sure to be in the mix back at 1m but the selection is Ghanaati.
Her win in the Guineas followed by another impressive victory next time has done enough to suggest she can take on her male counterparts and come out on top and providing she has no major problems with the track looks the one to be with at 7/4.
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Ghanaati - 7/4