GOODWOOD, ENGLAND // Solow continued his charge through the European turf season when he denied Arod in a thrilling duel down the straight in the Sussex Stakes.
The grey gelding had to dig deep to fight off the attentions of the gutsy Arod, but under a cool ride from Maxime Guyon Solow broke his rival inside the final 50 metres to win by an easy half a length.
It was a fourth successive victory at the highest level for Freddy Head’s stable star, who has won eight races in a row, including the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March.
“I know one day it is going to stop, but let that be as late as possible,” trainer Head said. “I was nervous before because there is no unbeatable horse.”
MORE HORSE RACING NEWS
[ Godolphin runners will challenge Solow to a ‘duel’ in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood ]
[ Qatar investment keeps Goodwood glorious ]
[ Safety Check success results in penalty weight at Goodwood ]
Solow’s win brought to an end the long wait for a French success that stretched back to Bigstone in 1993. Before Solow had run, Head had sent only one runner from his Chantilly base across the Channel to Goodwood in the past five seasons, but he remembers listening to a crackly radio 55 years ago when his father saddled Venture to win the 1,600m contest for the Aga Khan.
“It does bring back memories,” the 68-year-old former jockey said. “I love winning in England and I love Goodwood.”
Solow is set to enjoy a mid-season break before being prepared for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October. That is likely to be his season finale, before he is wound up next year for a defence of his Dubai Turf crown.
The son of 1997 Dubai World Cup winner Singspiel is considered the best miler in the world, and Guyon could not rate his partner more highly.
The French jockey has ridden such equine luminaries as Royal Ascot winner Byword, one of Hong Kong’s best horses in Ambitious Dragon and Meandre, a multiple Group 1 winner in his pomp, but he says Solow trumps them all.
“He has won four Group 1s this year — that is crazy,” Guyon said. “It’s easy to ride him. After Ascot the world knew he was the best over a mile, but he is the best horse I have ever ridden.”
Andrea Atzeni had planned to be in front as soon as the gates opened on Arod because connections felt he had no hope of trying to pass the big-race favourite in a duel.
Arod led for much of the race, therefore, while Guyon sat in behind with Cougar Mountain for company in the early stages.
As soon as Arod was in the straight with 600 metres left to run, Guyon cruised up alongside as if he would simply saunter past.
The jockey waited before trying to let his mount go, but when push came to shove Arod would not back down before he started to fade on unsuitably soft ground.
“I never lost faith in him,” trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam said. “The faster the ground, the better for him. This ground just blunts his speed.”
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @NatSportUAE