Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free saw off challenges from pre-race favourite Poetic Flare and Snow Lantern to win the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood (Juddmonte International Stakes – Alcohol Free 14/1).
The three-year-old filly finished one and three-quarter lengths ahead of her main rival with Falmouth Stakes victor Snow Lantern finishing third.
It is the second Group One success of the year for Balding’s runner who was victorious at Royal Ascot in the Coronation Stakes.
Initially, the race was run at a very steady pace before Century Dream upped the tempo midway through.
The lead duo showed their class in coming through the field before jockey Oisin Murphy just squeezed a bit more out of Alcohol Free to steer her home ahead of Jim Bolger’s colt.
After the race, Balding was already looking to the future and says the mile-and-a-quarter run in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York in September could be a real possibility.
“It’s a mile and a quarter and it’s a hard ask but she could well end up there,” he said.
“It’s a privilege to have her. It was a rough race and I’m sure there were hard luck stories, but I’m sure she was the best horse on the day.”
Balding will be hoping for more of the same on Thursday as he prepares to enter Wilderness Girl (5/2) in the EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.
Elsewhere, Last Empire displayed a courageous performance in winning the Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes.
The Group Three contest, which was run over seven furlongs, was initially led by Highfield Princess.
However, Kevin Ryan’s mare and Onassis came through the pack and it was a straight shootout between the duo heading towards the finishing line.
Last Empire came through to win to the delight of Ryan.
“She loved the soft ground, albeit a bit tacky today,” he said.
“She looked great today. Danny had a good draw – and you have to keep it, you have to believe you’re going to get the trip.”
Thursday’s feature race is the Group One Qatar Nassau Stakes where William Buick will look to pick up another win aboard Audarya (13/8), though Aiden O’Brien’s Joan Of Arc (5/2) is also a strong contender.