Which race is often dubbed the ‘Duel on the Downs’?
In recent years, ‘Duel on the Downs’ has become a catchphrase associated with the Sussex Stakes, a Group 1 contest run over a mile at Goodwood in late July or early August. Worth £1 million in prize money, the Sussex Stakes is the feature race in day two of the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, colloquially known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’.
The slogan ‘Duel on the Downs’ is derived, in part, from the location of Goodwood, which is situated on the top of the South Downs, five miles north of Chichester, in West Sussex. The Sussex Stakes provides the first opportunity of the season for three-year-olds of the ‘Classic’ generation to race against older horses over a mile. As such, the race repeatedly attracts the crème de la crème of European miling talent and, in its long, illustrious history, has seen many epic clashes of the generations.
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated ‘Duel on the Downs’ came in 2011, when the 2010 winner, Canford Cliffs, trained by Richard Hannon, lined up against the unbeaten Frankel, who had won the 2,000 Guineas and St. James’s Palace Stakes on his two most recent starts. On that occasion, the ‘Duel’ failed to materialise, with Frankel quickening clear in the closing stages for an impressive, 5-length win. However, Hannon had better luck in 2013, when his 3-year-old Toronado avenged previous defeats by Dawn Approach in the 2,000 Guineas and the St. James’s Palace Stakes with a half-length victory in the Sussex Stakes.