Paddington (4/9F) continued his faultless season for Aidan O’Brien with another dominant display in the G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood today.
Having started the season in a handicap, Paddington has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting horses in training, with today’s success coming on the back of G1 victories in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes and Coral-Eclipse.
Dropping back to a mile, Ryan Moore decided to make his own running on Paddington. Inspiral’s rider Frankie Dettori put it up to him early in the straight in an attempt to bag the stands’ rail but the multiple G1 winner could not live with the eventual winner and weakened soon after.
The main challenge ultimately came from French raider Facteur Cheval (11/1) but Paddington was relentless in front and scored decisively by a length and a half. Charyn (40/1) was three lengths further back in third.
Paddington is a very special horse. We were worried about the ground – even though he had won on heavy ground, not in this class of race. Ryan rode him for speed and held on to him and held on to him, but he was over the moon with him. A lot of people [contributed to this] and I am so delighted for them. We’re lucky to have him; he’s very special.”
Asked to compare Paddington to Giant’s Causeway, who won the Sussex Stakes in 2000 as part of a similarly bold campaign, O’Brien replied
Paddington is much quicker than the Giant was; he’s tactically quick but he can quicken as well. The Giant was tactically quick and was dour after that. This horse can really turn it on when you have to, on all types of ground. He is unique. It will depend on what the lads want to do and we’ll talk to them after a week, but he’s got a lot of options. He could go to York, he could do anything. But he is very special, we think.
With every race, he is getting heavier, which is very unusual, and he is getting calm. He is really trying. He is three or four kilos heavier today than he was the last day. And it is special that we have Peter [Brant] and Stephanie [Seymour] today that we didn’t have before with him.“
Ryan said it was far from ideal that he [Dettori on Inspiral] took him on so early, but he had to go with him. He was trying to wait as long as he could. That ground gets deep and it gets dangerous when you are in front as you are a sitting duck, always. When he got levelled up again, he went into a different zone.
We love these big days and I am delighted that the lads are happy to run on them. York is a massive big festival as well. We will definitely look at it and consider it very seriously. We will have to see how he comes out of this – we weren’t expecting the ground to be as tough as it was today, but knowing the horse he could take it with a smile on his face.
Tom [Magnier] mentioned something about Australia. But he could go anywhere or do anything. He has had a busy season. You run in any one top-level race and you know it, but he is doing them one after another. I thought he wanted good ground or better, because he’s quick, but he has handled the soft ground and he has won on heavy before. But when a horse can quicken like that you’d think he’d want good ground.”