O’Brien bullish as Paddington targets further riches in Qatar Sussex Stakes

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Aidan O’Brien has described Paddington as a “little bit different” as his stable star takes aim at the £1m G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes on day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Wednesday, August 2.

Paddington has been imperious in five starts so far this season, establishing himself as the best miler of his generation with comprehensive victories in the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas and G1 St James’s Palace Stakes.

In the first clash of the generations in the G1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park earlier this month, the Siyouni colt proved just as effective over 10 furlongs as he repelled Emily Upjohn in a driving finish.

O’Brien said: “I hold Paddington in very high regard. He is very natural, very quick and very straightforward. He is a little bit different, we think, and the way he has progressed from run to run is very unusual.

“Ryan [Moore] always thought he had lots of pace and coming back to a mile won’t be a problem. We were delighted with him in the Eclipse and we always had the Sussex Stakes as part of his programme.

“He has been putting on weight after every run. He was much heavier heading into the Eclipse than he was before Ascot, which is quite unusual. He thrives on work and everyone involved with him is very happy.

“He has gone from strength to strength and Ryan is very impressed with him all the time. He is standing up to a lot of scrutiny and it is the ease with which he is doing it. He looks a serious horse at the moment.

“The Sussex Stakes is a very prestigious race that has stood the test of time. For a horse going to stud, it is very important with it being the first time the three-year-olds can take on the older milers.”

Regarding Paddington’s high head carriage in the closing stages of his races, O’Brien said: “Every horse is different and every human being is different. We all carry ourselves differently and that is the way he carries himself. The lads who ride him say he is very aggressive – when you ask him to quicken, he really gets hold of the bit and does quicken. He is quite unusual and I suppose everything he is doing is very different. He just looks a special horse.”

O’Brien is hopeful that Emily Dickinson can put up a bold showing in the £500,000 G1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup on Tuesday, August 1, with likely underfoot conditions set to be to her advantage.

Having finished fourth behind Courage Mon Ami in the Gold Cup, the Dubawi filly outclassed her opposition with a three-length victory in the G2 Curragh Cup last week.

O’Brien said: “Emily Dickinson came out of the Curragh very well. Ryan [Moore] was happy with her and felt she won very easily. She is a filly we really fancied for the Gold Cup. She ran a good race and came out of it well.

“She loved the ease in the ground at the Curragh. She comes out of races on fast ground perfectly, which suggests it does not bother her, but she appears much better with an ease in the ground. It hinders other horses, whereas she appears to grow another leg on soft ground.

“Since the Goodwood Cup has been upgraded to a Group One, it has been brilliant. It is a very prestigious race and a unique race because two miles on the Goodwood track is very different. It is a difficult race to win but we always try to have a horse that is good enough to win it.”

Please see Aidan O’Brien’s comments below on some other key entries.

Never Ending Story (Qatar Nassau Stakes): “We have been very happy with her since Newmarket. We felt dropping back to a mile that we might have made too much use of her, which did not suit. The Nassau has been the plan for a while and we decided to take in the Newmarket race in between. Blue Rose Cen and Nashwa look two very good fillies and it should be a top renewal of the race.”

Library (Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes): “She is a possible for the Lillie Langtry, depending on how she comes out of the Irish Oaks. She ran a big race at the Curragh over a mile and a half and we felt she was going to run a big race the time before over a mile and six at Leopardstown but she just ran into traffic.”

Alfred Munnings (Qatar Lennox Stakes): “He is a possible. There is a chance he could be sold to Hong Kong so a lot will depend on that I would think.”

The going at Goodwood is currently Good to Soft.

Ed Arkell, Goodwood’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, said: “It has been a lovely day here. We were Good to Soft this morning and it will be drying back a bit at the moment. There is some rain coming in this evening, with best estimates of eight to 12mm. We are then looking drier through the rest of the week to Sunday, with the odd shower about, and then there looks to be some rain on Monday. Again, the forecasters are not overly confident about what may or may not happen. We shall see what happens but it looks like we will start the meeting on the easier side of Good.”

Tickets, dining, and hospitality are on sale for the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Visit or call 01243 755055 to find out more. 

For further information, please contact:

Emma Chamings

Goodwood Racecourse Press Office / 07887 792980