Inspiral bounced back to her very best to defend her title in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained filly enjoyed one of her finest hours when triumphing in the mile Group One 12 months ago, but arrived on the Normandy coast with a point to prove having failed to get involved in the Sussex Stakes 11 days ago.
Ridden with restraint in the early stages by Frankie Dettori as favourite Big Rock set ablaze on the front end, the Italian conjured up a piece of magic aboard the Cheveley Park-owned four-year-old and when the time came to unleash his challenge, he had tacked across to the opposite side of the track to where the duo exited the stalls.
With a furlong to run it was Christopher Head’s French Derby second Big Rock who was still at the head of affairs, but Inspiral and her Royal Ascot conqueror Triple Time were looming large and although Kevin Ryan’s Queen Anne scorer couldn’t maintain his challenge, Inspiral was soon in full flow as she stormed through the line to register her first victory of the season.
The win gave both Dettori and the Clarehaven team a fourth straight success in Deauville’s showpiece, while it was the 52-year-old Italian’s eighth and final win in the race overall as he prepares to wave goodbye at the end of the season.
He said: “To win on your last ride in front of the beautiful public is fantastic. I have no rides next week and it’s farewell to this amazing track with its great town and people. What is there not to like about Deauville?
“To have Yves Saint-Martin here is an honour I watched Yves on TV with my father when I was a kid and he’s always been one of my heroes.
“It’s all credit to the filly. She has her moments and took Paddington on at Goodwood, but I looked after her as I knew today was the day.
“She needs a good pace and not soft ground, and on her conditions she got to work today. When she’s good, she’s very good.”
Reflecting on his winners in the prestigious mile contest, Dettori was in no doubt his 1999 hero Dubai Millennium was the pick of the bunch.
He added: “Dubai Millennium was the best of the lot and while she’s not as good, remember only champions win this race.”
John Gosden was also continuing his love affair with the Deauville event and having saddled the likes of Palace Pier (2020 and 2021) and Kingman (2014) as well as Inspiral to win in recent years is now eyeing a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup for the daughter of Frankel.
“To win this race twice with Palace Pier, twice with this filly and of course with Kingman is very special and it’s a great race,” said the Clarehaven handler.
“I like it because it’s run on a straight track and usually there are no hard luck stories.
“Miesque (winner of the race in 1987 and 1988) was a great filly and a machine, but Inspiral can be brilliant on her day. When Frankie took her to the front he looked after her, and maybe we will take her to Santa Anita which is a good track for her.”
Betfair went 6-1 from 12s for Inspiral to make a successful trip to California for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, while the firm offer 9-4 from 3-1 for Newmarket’s Sun Chariot Stakes and 6-1 from 8s for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.
Meanwhile the Big Rock camp had no excuses having finished a length and a quarter adrift of the winner dropping back to a mile.
“He has run a very good race and been beaten by a better horse. There are no excuses,” said Head.