Awtaad “flying at home” ahead of Sussex showdown

Awtaad: a general 8-1 shot to land the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday

Awtaad: a general 8-1 shot to land the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

 By James Burn 5:38PM 24 JUL 2016 

CHRIS HAYES takes a first trip to Goodwood this week and hopes to be heading home with the feature Qatar Sussex Stakes – with leading hope Awtaad “flying at home”.

The Irish 2,000 Guineas hero is set to tackle genuine good ground, or even quicker, for just the second time and is closely matched with The Gurkha and Galileo Gold on this season’s form.

Hayes is hopeful the son of Cape Cross can find a length and three quarter’s worth of improvement to turn the tables on the other two leading three-year-olds following their St James’s Palace Stakes clash – with the Irish rider looking forward to his inaugural visit to Goodwood.

He said: “It’s my first time riding at Goodwood. Normally we’ve Galway on and trying to take care of things over there. I’ve watched it plenty and I’ll speak to some senior riders in Ireland – Mick Kinane – and I’ll speak to the lads over here, but when you’re riding a horse like Awtaad the track doesn’t make much difference.”

‘He’s improved since Ascot’

Hayes, who also rides G Force in the Stewards’ Cup on Saturday, “wouldn’t swap” his mount in the £1,000,000 contest, for which Awtaad is a general 8-1 shot.

Hayes said: “He’s flying at home and it’s the first chance we get to run him on nice ground.  I think he’s a good-ground horse. People have pigeon holed him as a soft-ground horse because he’s never run on anything else, but he hasn’t had an opportunity. It wasn’t by design.

“I’ve ridden him a lot since Ascot and he’s improved and I’m looking forward to it. If he’s not good enough, he’s not good enough, but to me he is and he only has two lengths to make.

“I said I was more worried about The Gurkha last time and Frankie went and won – I respect them all but wouldn’t swap my lad.”

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