The 2015 Cox Plate is still an option for English galloper Arod after he finished a gallant second behind Solow in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes (1609m) at Goodwood overnight.
Arod went into the Sussex Stakes on the third line of betting at a quote of $9 and jockey Andrea Atzeni wasted no time taking the Teofilo colt to the lead to place the pressure on odds-on favourite Solow.
Solow sat just on the back of Arod throughout the Sussex Stakes and the duo cleared out from the rest of the field to fight out the finish when they were both asked for an extra effort with a bit more than 400 metres left to run.
Arod did not go away when the pressure was applied by Solow, but the champion miler proved just too strong in the final stages of the race to claim his fourth straight win at Group 1 level after previously taking out the Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan on March 28, the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan (1850m) at Longchamp on May 24 and the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1609m) at Royal Ascot on June 16.
Atzeni revealed after the race that he believes Arod would have won the Sussex Stakes if there was a bit more firmness in the ground and trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam told the media after the race that he would look for firm ground for Arod in a race like the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (1600m), the Group 1 Breeders Cup Turf (2012m) in the United States or the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
“I’ve never lost faith in him, not from day one,” Chapple-Hyam said.
“The faster ground is better for him, you saw the way he quickened at Ascot but he just can’t do it on this dead ground, it just blunts his speed.
“He doesn’t have to run from the front, but today we knew if he was behind Solow he wouldn’t get past, so we had to take the race to him and take our chance.
“He has run a great race and done everything I asked him.
“He has got a lot more grown-up and is happier at home.
“He is really filling out and I think he will be still better as a five-year-old.”
“He is in the Prix Jacques le Marois but that is only two weeks away, so he will probably wait for the Moulin but it has to be somewhere with fast ground.
“The Breeders’ Cup is at Keeneland this year, but although he does go round a turn I think that would almost be too tight a track.
“The Cox Plate could be the one, though.
“Sheikh Fahad has always wanted to win it and so have I ever since I worked in Australia.”
Arod is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $11 with Ladbrokes and is on the fifth line of betting behind Able Friend ($9), Contributer ($9), Criterion ($10) and Pornichet ($10).