November 30, 2023

Poetic Flare tackles BC Mile hero Order of Australia in WAYI Sussex

Poetic Flare romps in the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot (Photo by Megan Ridgwell)

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) shocker Order of Australia will try to earn a return ticket in Wednesday’s “Win and You’re In” Sussex S. (G1), but star sophomore Poetic Flare is the odds-on favorite at Glorious Goodwood.

Poetic Flare stamped himself as the top three-year-old miler when running away with the St James’s Palace (G1) at Royal Ascot. The Jim Bolger homebred had previously won a narrow verdict in the 2000 Guineas (G1), finished sixth in the French equivalent, and just missed in the Irish version. His Ascot performance therefore represented a step forward for Poetic Flare, whose sire Dawn Approach also turned the 2000 Guineas/St James’s Palace double. While Dawn Approach was denied the hat trick in the 2013 Sussex, Poetic Flare is heavily favored to complete the triple.

Richard Hannon’s highly regarded filly Snow Lantern, runner-up to Alcohol Free in the Coronation S. (G1) at Royal Ascot, put it all together to turn the tables in the July 9 Falmouth (G1) at Newmarket. Alcohol Free had a tougher task leading in the Falmouth, however, and trainer Andrew Balding believes that having another set the pace will help this time. Both three-year-old fillies get a substantial weight break of 11 pounds from the older males. Poetic Flare and fellow sophomore colt Chindit, fifth in both the Guineas and St James’s Palace, receive eight pounds from their elders.

Order of Australia wheels back 10 days after his frontrunning victory in the Curragh’s Minstrel S. (G2), his first win since his 73-1 upset of the Breeders’ Cup. The Aidan O’Brien charge was well beaten in his two interim starts in last December’s Hong Kong Mile (G1) and the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot.

The expected soft ground for the Sussex could be a concern for Order of Australia and his stablemate Lope Y Fernandez, who continues to play the role of Group 1 bridesmaid. A troubled third to Order of Australia at Keeneland, Lope Y Fernandez most recently chased Palace Pier home in the Queen Anne. With Ryan Moore back on Order of Australia, Frankie Dettori picks up Lope Y Fernandez. The other Ballydoyle entrant, Battleground, has been scratched.

The progressive Tilsit, a course-and-distance winner in the Thoroughbred S. (G3) during the 2020 festival, enters in career form for Charlie Hills. The Juddmonte homebred lost on a head-bob to France’s top-class Skalleti in the May 30 Prix d’Ispahan (G1) and prevailed over Century Dream in the July 10 Summer Mile (G2) at Ascot. Century Dream is also proven over the track, having landed last summer’s Celebration Mile (G2) on soft going, and his chances increase in worse conditions.

French shipper Duhail scored his signature win in the May 1 Prix du Muguet (G2). Although the Andre Fabre trainee has settled for second twice since, both of those losses came at about seven furlongs in the Prix du Palais-Royal (G3) and Prix de la Porte Maillot (G3). Stepping back up to a mile figures to suit, but this is a deeper spot. As an Al Shaqab colorbearer, Duhail has connections to the festival’s Qatari sponsors.

Rounding out the cast is Richard Fahey’s Group 2 veteran Space Traveller, who regressed to eighth behind Tilsit and Century Dream in his latest at Ascot. Two back, however, he’d regained the winning thread with the addition of cheekpieces in the June 11 Ganton at York. That came on his optimal good-to-firm ground, and he’d probably prefer the course to dry out a bit.

Post time for the Sussex, the 4TH race on Wednesday, is 10:35 a.m. (ET).