Saturday 14 December 2019

Kingman leaves Toronado in his wake to tighten Gosden's grip

James Doyle (right) drives Kingman on past Toronado to win the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
James Doyle (right) drives Kingman on past Toronado to win the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

John Gosden's grip on the top level of British Flat racing tightened even further as Kingman again showed stunning acceleration to prise Goodwood's Qipco Sussex Stakes away from Toronado.

Clarehaven Stables has unleashed a legitimate champion colt and filly in less than a week, as Kingman's victory over older horses followed just four days after Taghrooda managed the same in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Richard Hannon trails Gosden by £500,000 in the trainers' championship and while the title rival's contender Toronado offered brave resistance, he was a sitting duck for 2/5 favourite Kingman off a slow pace once James Doyle had organised his mount approaching the final furlong.

Darwin was in no hurry to stretch the four runners, with Richard Hughes and Toronado (11/4) taking closer attention in an attempt to defend their crown.

With concerns about Kingman handling the lightning fast ground, and the unusual track, Hughes sought to take advantage and struck for home before the distance.

Gosden said: "It was a very tactical affair, rather like the Olympic cycling races when they go round the velodrome. They do nothing for ages and then they go mad.

"It was a clever ploy and for a furlong and a half we had to get on an even keel, but in the last furlong his class came through.

"He could see, he switched leads and then got rolling. It was a clever way to try to beat him but his class shone through."

Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah chose to keep his previous superstar and Sussex winner Frankel in training at four, but no decisions have been made about Kingman.

"That's not my department," said Gosden. "I'm sure we'll discuss it in depth. It's up to the owner, but we know he's doing enough, and he's growing a lot.

Toronado's camp made no excuses, and Hughes said: "I hit the final two furlongs at full belt and I knew it would take a good one to get by me."

Harry Herbert, representing Toronado's owner Al Shaqab Racing, said: "It was always going to be a muddling affair and the way it panned out was probably the only way were we ever going to beat Kingman.

"As soon as Kingman hit the level ground, whoosh. Hughesie told me he's never been as fast in a final furlong as he's just been in a Group One race."

In the end, Darwin was only a head behind Toronado, while Outstrip finished a length and three-quarters further back.

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