French connection thrives at Newmarket
THE Sun Chariot Stakes has traditionally featured a strong representation from France.
Rod Collet recorded a hattrick of wins between 2009 and 2011 with his star mare Sahpresa, Francois Doumen trained 2012 winner Siyouma, while Andre Fabre saddled Esoterique to win in 2015.
Today’s renewal at Newmarket sees Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings topped by Fabre’s recent Prix du Moulin de Longchamp runner-up Wind Chimes.
She looked unlucky when a close third to Teppal in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp in May, finishing best from a poor draw, and duly showed a good turn of foot when winning the Group 3 Prix de Lieurey at Deauville in August.
She bettered that form significantly when a head second to Recoletos in the Moulin last time, and looks a leading contender despite the prospect of tackling quick ground for the first time (dam won on good-tosoft, sire acted on any ground).
Laurens is bred to stay well on the distaff side of her pedigree (dam a 1¼m14.5f winner), however she appears to have taken more speed from her sire Siyouni whose wins included the then seven-furlong JeanLuc Lagardere.
Laurens’ own victories at two included the Fillies’ Mile here, and she’s since added three more Groups 1s, most recently the Matron Stakes after failing to stay the 1½m trip in the Yorkshire Oaks. She won by three quarters of a length from Alpha Centauri at Leopardstown (Clemmie beaten two lengths in an eye-catching never-nearer third, Happily two and a quarter lengths further back in fifth), and though it emerged that the runner-up had suffered an injury during the race, the tough and genuine Laurens should not be taken lightly.
While Laurens will be ridden prominently, I Can Fly is likely to be held up. She has resumed her progress of late, easily winning a listed race at Killarney in August before an unlucky-in-running fifth at Tipperary a week later. She produced a career-best effort when coming from last to first to win the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown last time by one and three quarter lengths from Kenya.
For those worried about her poor run behind Billesdon Brook in the 1000 Guineas, it might be more sanguine to remember her close third to Alytn Orda in the Oh So Sharp Stakes last year.
Clemmie was the leading two-year-old filly of 2017, winning three times, including the Cheveley Park here, but she hasn't looked herself since suffering a setback earlier this season.
She produced a creditable effort when third to Laurens in the Matron, but needs to improve, though the fact that Ryan Moore rides suggests a better run is expected.
Billesdon Brook sprang a 66/1 shock when beating Laurens by a length and three quarters in the Guineas, and though she hasn’t been able to reproduce that level when fourth in both the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot or Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, she has been far from disgraced on each occasion. She won’t be inconvenienced by the drop back to a mile.
Oh So Sharp winner Altyn Orda was fifth in the Guineas but bettered that form when doing best of those who chased home Alpha Centauri in the Falmouth in July, for all she was beaten by four and a half lengths. Altyn Orda disappointed in the Celebration Mile last time, though, and needs to bounce back.
Six of the last nine renewals have been won by older fillies and mares, an age group led by Aljazzi this year. She won the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot in June but was below form when only fourth to With You in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville last time, unsuit- ed by the way the race developed.
She’s been given a break since, but could only manage ninth when not ideally placed in this race a year ago.
Wilamina was third to Aljazzi at Royal Ascot but her last two runs have exposed her limitations at this level, and she is easy to oppose despite the drop in trip here being in her favour.
Veracious has progressed with each of her five starts, including two at this level. She won the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown by one and a quarter lengths from Awesometank, not doing much once hitting the front.
She looks the type to take her form up another notch when granted a truly-run race, and is respected despite having a bit to find on ratings.
Late comer: I Can Fly will be held up