Chaldean and Westover primed for French assignments

Chaldean and Westover, two of the standout performers of recent seasons for the powerhouse Juddmonte operation, will again bid to carry the famous silks of the late Khalid Abdullah with distinction this weekend.

Trained by Andrew Balding and Ralph Beckett respectively, both colts are Group One victors – and Classic winners to boot.

Last year was a big one for Westover, finishing third in the Derby before taking the Irish Derby, while Chaldean picked up the Dewhurst and carried on where he left off this term with victory in the 2000 Guineas, after an unfortunate blip on leaving the stalls in the Greenham.

A son of Frankel, Chaldean was last seen occupying the runner-up spot behind Irish Guineas hero Paddington in the St James’s Palace Stakes and comes back to seven furlongs for Sunday’s Prix Jean Prat at Deauville, an event that has invariably been kind to British and Irish-trained runners of late.

With Frankie Dettori suspended, former champion Oisin Murphy rides in a race that features Newmarket second Hi Royal (Kevin Ryan), Craven winner Indestructible (Karl Burke), high-class filly Meditate (Aidan O’Brien) and St James’s Palace third Charyn (Roger Varian).

“Andrew was happy and Oisin was happy on Wednesday morning, so they hit the button to supplement, which would suggest his well-being is where they want it to be,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for Juddmonte.

“We’re looking forward to it and you’d be hopeful, but it’s a deep race. Kevin Ryan’s horse is a good horse, Karl Burke’s horse is smart and you can never discount Aidan O’Brien, that’s for sure.

“The weather is good and I think they’re calling the ground good to soft. I’m not sure what watering they’ll do or whether it will dry out.

“He’s a Dewhurst winner over seven furlongs and a multiple Group-race winner over that distance, so hopefully that won’t inconvenience him.

“Oisin is a top-class rider and I’m sure he can jump into any situation and swim rather than sinking. He knows the horse and has ridden him plenty at home so I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

A day earlier and Westover is also in top-level action across the Channel, for the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

With the exception of a below-par effort when favourite for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Westover – another son of Frankel – has done little wrong in his career to date. His two runs so far in this campaign have resulted in him finishing second to Japanese superstar Equinox in the Dubai Turf at Meydan and occupying the same position before Emily Upjohn in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

“You’d like to think he’ll hard to beat, to be fair,” Mahon said.

“He’s had a nice break since Epsom, he’s coming in good form, it’s a small field and he has a pacemaker there to make sure there’s a bit of pace in it.

“We’d like to think that he’s going to take the opportunity.

“It’s always in the back of your mind (that he can get worked up beforehand). He did in Ascot last year, but in Dubai it wasn’t really the same as it was his first run of the year in a new environment and he was fresh.

“Hopefully Ascot was a one-off isolated incident and he’ll be fine on Saturday.”

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