O'Brien lands his 16th Group 1

Thu, Jul 31, 2008, 01:00

HENRYTHENAVIGATOR AND the Coolmore team continued on their seemingly unstoppable run at Goodwood yesterday as they claimed the BGC Sussex Stakes, despite difficult circumstances.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien has now reached 16 Group One victories this season - nine short of the greatest ever total accrued by the American Bobby Frankel - while four of them have been provided by the lavishly able Kingmambo colt.

This latest triumph was by no means clear-cut as the pacemaker Windsor Palace struggled to give Henrythenavigator a strong enough tow, leaving the dual 2,000 Guineas winner in the front rank sooner than jockey Johnny Murtagh would have liked.

Just as on his previous run in the St James's Palace Stakes, Murtagh was surveyed by Jimmy Fortune aboard Raven's Pass, with his old rival eating into the advantage inside the final furlong and still seeming to have enough time to tame Henrythenavigator if he had been able.

The official margin was a head compared to three-quarters of a length at Royal Ascot.

O'Brien rates Henrythenavigator his best ever miler - above even Rock Of Gibraltar and Giant's Causeway - but his ultimate aim this season may be to step up to 10 furlongs for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"I was very worried with two furlongs to go," admitted the trainer. "Henrythenavigator would have preferred a faster pace, but this is a very special horse as he has so much speed but gets the mile well.

"He doesn't do a lot in front and Johnny felt he was never really in any danger coming to the line."

Meanwhile, Yeats can keep the relentless Ballydoyle bandwagon rolling on to more greatness by winning today's Royal Bank of Scotland Goodwood Cup.