The father-daughter team of John D. Gunther and Tanya Gunther, who bred retired Triple Crown winner Justify, have another undefeated colt to keep cheering on – their British-based homebred Without Parole. The son of Frankel is favored in Wednesday’s Sussex (G1) at Glorious Goodwood, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Without Parole spearheads a four-strong sophomore challenge to the older generation that lacks comparable star power. Once on the 2000 Guineas (G1) trail before a foot problem cost him time, the John Gosden pupil passed his first stakes test in the May 24 Heron S. at Sandown. The June 19 St James’s Palace (G1) at Royal Ascot represented a more serious class check, but such was his profile – heightened by a blisteringly fast score at Yarmouth in April – that he ranked as the favorite. Without Parole duly obliged against a field of classic performers, staying on well to hold Gustav Klimt by a half-length. Interestingly, sire Frankel recorded a narrow (by his standards) decision in the 2011 St James’s Palace before smashing them in the Sussex, and came back to defend his title here in 2012.
Another three-year-old to take a star turn at Royal Ascot, Expert Eye, is his nearest rival in the Sussex betting. The Juddmonte homebred produced fireworks at Glorious Goodwood last summer, his tour de force in the Vintage (G2) vaulting him to the top of the antepost market for the Guineas. Unfortunately, Expert Eye went the wrong way thereafter. Flopping in last at odds-on in the Dewhurst (G1), he resurfaced with a promising second in the April 21 Greenham (G3), but disappointed again when 12th in the Guineas. Sir Michael Stoute opted to revert to seven furlongs for the June 20 Jersey (G3) at Royal Ascot, and Expert Eye finally looked like his old self in a 4 1/2-length romp. That turnaround emboldened connections to supplement him to the Sussex, where the Acclamation colt can put his mile question to rest once and for all. If Without Parole really is looking for a step up in trip at this point, Expert Eye’s turn of foot just might catch him out.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Gustav Klimt likewise might have been expected to do a bit better in the marquee mile events this season. After overcoming a traffic nightmare to get up in the Superlative (G2) at last year’s Newmarket July Festival, and returning victorious in the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial, the Galileo colt was a flat sixth in the Guineas. Gustav Klimt has subsequently placed in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1), St James’s Palace, and the July 8 Prix Jean Prat (G1). Barring a sudden leap forward – no sure thing in light of the Ballydoyle bug affecting some runners of late – he’s probably in line for another minor award.
The wild card among the sophomore set is French shipper Orbaan. Trained by Andre Fabre for Prince Faisal, the son of Invincible Spirit is a half-length away from being unbeaten. Since missing in his April unveiling, Orbaan broke his maiden handsomely at Maisons-Laffitte and got up in time in the July 1 Prix de Saint-Patrick at Saint-Cloud. The 20-1 dark horse gets master tactician Silvestre de Sousa back in the saddle as he faces his stiffest challenge.
Of the four older horses, who all competed in an anticlimactic edition of the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot, two – Lightning Spear and Beat the Bank – are expected to line up.
A Goodwood aficionado owned by Sheikh Fahad al Thani of race (and meet) sponsor Qatar, Lightning Spear is a two-time winner of the Celebration Mile (G2) over this course and distance. The David Simcock veteran has been a Group 1 bridesmaid, collecting seconds in the past two runnings of the Lockinge (G1) along with thirds in the Queen Anne (in 2016 and again on June 19), the 2016 Queen Elizabeth II (G1), and last year’s Sussex on unsuitably soft going. Now Lightning Spear gets his preferred conditions on his favorite track, if he can spot the sophomores seven pounds.
Beat the Bank was rapidly improving at this time a year ago, and the four-year-old gelding enters back on song for Andrew Balding. A three-length winner of the course-and-distance Thoroughbred S. (G3) at the Glorious meeting in 2017, he went on to dominate the Joel (G2) at Newmarket next out. But Beat the Bank’s progress was halted in the QEII at Ascot, where he’d run poorly before. Notions that he didn’t like Ascot have been dispelled in his two most recent outings. After a sneakily-good sixth in the Queen Anne, his best performance on Ascot’s straight mile, Beat the Bank took a step forward to capture the July 14 Summer Mile (G2) over Lord Glitters on the round course.
Former handicapper Lord Glitters, also runner-up in the Queen Anne at 20-1 in his first Group try, is the latest advertisement for trainer David O’Meara’s talents. O’Meara has cautioned that he’s not a certain runner here, wishing for any ease in the ground to help his cause. Stablemate So Beloved was also entered on a take-a-look basis, pending conditions, but the seven-furlong specialist is likelier for Tuesday’s Lennox (G2) on the Glorious opener.
Post time for the Sussex, carded as the 4TH race on Wednesday, is 10:35 a.m. (EDT), and you can watch and wager at TwinSpires.com.