Lightning strikes in Goodwood's Sussex Stakes

The skies were very blue '“ but Lightning struck in Glorious Goodwood's feature race of the week.

Lightning Spear on his way to landing the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes / Picture by Malcolm Wells
Lightning Spear on his way to landing the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Lightning Spear beat the big two to land the £1m showpiece for trainer David Simcock, jockey Oisin Murphy and the horse’s owners – Glorious sponsors Qatar Racing.

It was a surprise win for the 9/1 chance, who is now seven and whose previous Goodwood headlines were made in Celebration Mile victories in 2016 and 2017. Lightning Spear had run in Group 1 company 15 times before without winning one.

Second favourite Expert Eye was a length and a half back to finish second while the favourite, Without Parole, faded badly and finished seventh.

Simcock said: ‘I’m delighted with Lightning Spear. He looked good, quickened well and travelled well - he did everything properly. Oisin has grown up with the horse, he is a very confident jockey and he was very patient waiting for the gap today.

‘Sheikh Fahad (the owner) loves this horse and he will be absolutely delighted. He’ll be made up.’

Murphy said: ‘I never ever get nervous before Group 1s - before the Derby and that I like making fun of the other jockeys - but I was nervous this time and down at the start I was trying to hide it.

‘I am over the moon - what a horse! And what a training performance. He deserves to win a major G1 and at seven years of age, it is outstanding.’

Lightning Spear’s win delighted a big Goodwood crowd basking in another sun-baked day when other highlights included Tom Queally riding Rumble Inthejungle to victory in the Group 3 Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes and a sensational 125/1 win for the very aptly-named Feels Glorious in the Victoria Racing Club Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Former Pompey striker Mick Channon also sent a winner to post – as Andrea Atzeni rode Caravela first home in the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap.

Today (Thursday) is Ladies’ Day when the third Group 1 race of the week, the Qatar Nassau Stakes, is the highlight, with William Haggas’ Urban Fox and Aidan O’Brien’s Rhododendron vying for favouritism.