Alcohol Free storms to Sussex Stakes glory
Andrew Blading is celebrating at Glorious Goodwood after Alcohol Free narrowly pipped Poetic Flare to win the Qatar Sussex Stakes.
The Royal Ascot hero finished one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Jim Bolger's runner and is 6.50 to win August's Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
Alcohol Free, picking up her second win at Group One level this season, made a late charge after the first part of the race was run at a leisurely pace.
It was a straight battle between her and pre-race favourite Poetic Flare but the filly had just enough in the tank to come home first, landing another win for jockey Oisin Murphy.
Snow Lantern, who won the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month ahead of Alcohol Free, left it too late but made a gallant effort in coming home third.
Smith tastes Sussex Stakes glory again
It ends a long wait for owner Jeff Smith, who hasn't won the Sussex Stakes since 1984 with Chief singer.
Speaking after the race, Murphy said the three-year-old can be troublesome at times but it's all worth it after her triumph against the colts.
"She really can be a handful in the mornings but she's so, so talented and what a thrill I got from that," he said of the Coronation Stakes winner.
"I've won this race before on Lightning Spear and last year it went all wrong with Kameko. What a star she is this horse."
Balding eyes York
Trainer Balding has already targeted the York run and says even though the mile-and-a-quarter race will be tough, she could well be a contender.
"It's a mile and a quarter and it's a hard ask but she could well end up there," he proclaimed.