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Churchill and Ribchester set to lock horns at Goodwood

Churchill: heads Aidan O'Briens's entries for Sussex Stakes
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Goodwood got the three-year-old entries they would have been hoping for on Wednesday when entries for the £1 million Qatar Sussex Stakes were revealed, with dual Guineas winners Churchill and Winter heading the list for the Classic generation.

The Sussex, on August 2, always has an extra edge and profile when able to be billed as a 'duel on the downs' between the generations, and with Ribchester, Lightning Spear and Zelzal among the older horses entered, there could be such a clash in the offing.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Churchill and Winter, has 15 of the 40 entries in all, including Investec Oaks favourite Rhododendron and Investec Derby joint-favourite Cliffs Of Moher.

Godolphin, owners of Lockinge winner Ribchester, have a dozen entries, also including Barney Roy and Thunder Snow. 

Given their sponsorship of the race and the meeting, Qatar Racing will almost certainly hope that Lockinge runner-up Lightning Spear will line up, while Al Shaqab have Zelzal, who stormed away with the Prix Jean Pratt at Chantilly last summer but has yet to run this term.

'Zelzal back in the swing of things'

Al Shaqab's racing manager Harry Herbert reported: “Zelzal is in good form. He was affected by the virus [at Jean-Claude Rouget's] and was actually one of the first to get it. Thankfully it did not affect him anything like as badly as some of the other horses.

"He is back in the swing of things now and the plan is for him to return to action next month. We have got high hopes for him. He's much stronger and has really matured."

He added: "Zelzal showed last year that he is very talented on his day. I still don't think we saw the best of him last season, especially at the backend, and he could be anything this year." 

Between them the equine juggernauts of Coolmore and Godolphin are responsible for 27 of the 40-strong entries for the £1m Sussex Stakes
E.W. Terms