Speed queen Suesa takes her place among the sprinting elite
The five-furlong sprint division is the 100 metres of the racing world, speed is the one and only currency accepted in races like the King George Qatar Stakes.
That need for speed produces a certain type of horse – a strapping, powerful sort capable of blistering pace for a brief minute or so.
Suesa does not possess that muscular build one might associate with a sprinter. She is small, pony-like and light-framed with an unusual speckled white marking on her neck.
In France she was infallible, triumphing in all four of her runs on Chantilly turf in a winning streak that began with maiden and then expanded to include a Listed contest and two Group Three races.
A trip overseas to take on the Group One Commonwealth Cup followed, but the torrential rain at Ascot scuppered that plan as the going was left heavy, too heavy even for a filly with form on sodden French ground.
William Buick took the ride that day and wisely took great care of his mount, easing her home in the driving rain at the Royal meeting when it became clear that a placing was not within reach.
Suesa had been saved for another day, and although Goodwood could offer weather only marginally better than inclement Ascot, the sharp wind had significantly dried the track and this time there was no blunting her turn of foot.
Pitched against Dragon Symbol, who had the beating of her in the Coronation Cup, and the beloved Battaash, Suesa was once again set quite the task having travelled from Francois Rohaut’s Sauvagnon stable.
Tucked away at the rear of the field, Buick kept his mount poised for a late attack and as the furlong pole approached and her rivals fell behind, the three-year-old cruised through to take up the lead.
Battaash, Glass Slippers and Dragon Symbol all tried tried to stay with her, but she was travelling in another gear by the time the winning post loomed and eventually crossed the line three lengths ahead of the latter.
This was the real Suesa, seen to best effect on soft but not bottomless ground, undeterred by the colts in the line-up and the experience of her rivals.
“She’s quite strong to sit on, she’s all there,” Buick said when the slight build of the 7-1 winner was mentioned.
“She moves like a sprinter and you can see she’s a really cool customer.
“She was hard on the bridle the whole way and then she has that kick at the finish, today was brilliant conditions for her and Mr Rohaut was adamant that she was in good shape. It was an amazing performance.
“She’s an absolute sweetheart, I rode her in the Commonwealth at Ascot but it was on the Friday so the ground was very bad.
“I learnt a lot from her that day, she’s full of speed and she came back to five (furlongs) today and she travelled through the race so smoothly.
“It’s great to get the ride, she’s very good filly.”
It was not the result the Goodwood crowd would have hoped for, of course, with Battaash only seventh as he made his bid for an astonishing fifth victory in the race.
He normally goes from the Sussex Downs on to the Nunthorpe at York – but that journey is now in doubt, as it looks like he will head for the most well-deserved of retirements.
Instead it is Suesa who could be the star on the Knavesmire – or even in the Abbaye on Arc day, another familiar haunt of Battaash.
James Wigan, racing manager to American owner George Strawbridge, said: “As for a run at York, it depends what she is like when she gets back. She’ll have had quite a lot of travelling, coming here and then going back, then coming again having already done Ascot. The Abbaye will be the obvious target.
“There is a very good chance she will stay in training next year as the owner is very much a sportsman.”