Nicholls’ in-form stable opens up this weekend at press day
PICTURE: Jessie Holmes/EquiSport
SHE has shown herself to be a top-notch performer in the US but as Tepin makes her audacious assault on Royal Ascot she is without three things that have been associated with her rise to stardom: Lasix, a nasal strip and bends. And the rain poses another question she must answer.
Trainer Mark Casse is already playing down the possibility of any post-race excuses following Tuesday’s Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and is stressing how well the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, unbeaten in her last six starts, has handled the trip to Britain.
“She looks wonderful,” said Casse yesterday. “Her preparation could not have gone any better. She’s come over here and adapted amazingly. We’re not going to make any excuses.
“The problem is there are so many unknowns – and as if we didn’t have enough we’re now going to add moisture in the ground.
“That said, she likes some moisture and we’re told Ascot is sand-based, which is great for us as she won on soft ground at Keeneland, another sand-based track. My only concern would be if it’s a real bog.”
Weak in the betting
Ground conditions did worsen overnight and on Tuesday morning the going was downgraded to soft after a further 4mm of rain.
As a result, BetVictor reported the mare continued to be weak in the market for the meeting’s opening race having been eased to 6-1.
“Whilst the mare has winning form on soft ground she is, arguably, better on firm ground running around two bends and there will be no hiding place on the straight mile at Ascot,” said the firm’s Charlie McCann.
Big day for Leparoux
The race does not only represent a first for Tepin and Casse but also for rider Julien Leparoux, one of America’s leading jockeys. He left his native France at the age of 19 and will be race-riding in Europe for the first time. That merely shows the scale of the mission Tepin, whose final preparation has taken place in Lambourn, and her team have embraced.
“I’ll tell you how big it would be,” Casse said. “I never even dreamed of it. I wouldn’t have thought it possible. Just to be somewhere with all this tradition is an honour – win, lose or draw.
“It’s not about us, though, it’s about her. She has a chance to stamp herself as one of the greatest fillies who has ever run. That was one of the reasons for coming here. My biggest hope is everybody here can see how great she is. Now it’s up to her.”
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