'Lightning' can spear Guineas heroes
Today's Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood could prove conclusively which of three Classic winners has developed into the season's outstanding miler.
Alternatively, the showpiece could shows us that none are any better than simply the leading light among their own age group.
There has been no pattern to this clash of the generations, but according to bookmakers, it is long odds-on that one of the Hugo Palmer-trained Galileo Gold, Aidan O'Brien's The Gurkha or Awtaad, from the yard of veteran Curragh handler Kevin Prendergast, will triumph.
While the Eclipse was fought out by three-year-olds -Hawkbill beating The Gurkha - it does not necessarily follow that this has to be the case at Goodwood and David Simcock's Lightning Spear appeals as a solid alternative.
Lightning Spear rose through the handicap ranks for the now-retired Olly Stevens and later managed a fine fourth in the Jacques Le Marois. He reappeared this season in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot, staying on with merit to finish just under two lengths behind the imperious mare Tepin.
Those who believe the three-year-olds will hold sway have a difficult choice. Galileo Gold, the Newmarket Guineas winner, avenged his Curragh defeat by Awtaad when dominating the St James's Palace, but that did not look the finest hour for Ryan Moore (The Gurkha) and Chris Hayes (Awtaad), with both jockeys allowing Frankie Dettori an easy lead. The tactical battle will be interesting again.
O'Brien and Moore got on the Goodwood scoresheet yesterday courtesy of the battling success of War Decree in the Group Two Vintage Stakes.
The 6/4 favourite looked a two-year-old of the highest calibre when readily justifying strong support to see off Thunder Snow by a length and three-quarters with Godolphin's Boynton, which had beaten the winner at Newmarket, back in third.
Godolphin enjoyed better luck in the day's feature as Dutch Connection led home a 1-2 for the Sheik Mohammed operation in the Lennox Stakes.
The Charlie Hills-trained 9/4 favourite got the better of Home Of The Brave inside the final furlong to prevail by a length and three-quarters in the hands of Australian-based James McDonald, who will head back Down Under at the end of this week having enhanced his reputation in England this summer.