Mastercraftsman’s imperious performance in the Phoenix Stakes on Sunday was Aidan O’Brien’s 15th Group One victory of the season, and he has highlighted Henrythenavigator as his best chance of the week at the Glorious meeting.
With the dual Guineas winner having beaten Raven’s Pass twice already this season, the odds are stacked against John Gosden’s colt turning the tables, but he did close the gap considerably between Newmarket and Royal Ascot.
“The sort of run Ballydoyle are having and the fact that he is their main hope of the meeting means we look to have a stiff task,” said John Adger, racing manager to the owners of Raven’s Pass, Stonerside Stud.
“It’s fun to even have a horse capable of running him close though.
“Depending on how the race is run I think he might be sat a little closer to the pace this time.
“In the Guineas the draw didn’t help at all, but fourth was still a good run.
“We were done no favours in France last time either.
“But I’m a big believer in horses who have a style and if you look at when he won his races at two he wasn’t too far back so maybe that suits him best.
“I have a lot of respect for Aidan O’Brien and for him to say that Henry is the best miler he has trained when he has had Giant’s Causeway and Rock Of Gibraltar – well he must be something else.
“It looks a great race and we are excited about having a horse good enough to be a contender.”
Another looking to overturn 2000 Guineas form is Andrew Balding’s Dream Eater, fifth at Newmarket.
He dropped back to seven furlongs to finish third in the Jersey Stakes at Ascot but is back up to a mile.
“He’s run two very solid races this year but obviously he’d have to step up on that to give the principals a run for their money,” said the Kingsclere trainer.
“He’s in good nick and we’re very happy with him.”
BGC Sussex Stakes; Coral bet: 1-2 Henrythenavigator, 11-4 Raven’s Pass, 12-1 Tariq, 14-1 Major Cadeaux, 20-1 Bar