Frankie Dettori looks to have a fantastic chance of starting his final Royal Ascot with a bang when he partners Inspiral in the Queen Anne Stakes.
The Italian has been in the saddle aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained filly in all but one of her eight career starts and the duo have struck at the highest level on three occasions – including at the Royal meeting 12 months ago when she was a taking winner of the Coronation Stakes.
That was Inspiral’s first outing of the 2022 season having missed the early part of the campaign and connections have kept the daughter of Frankel fresh once again as they attempt to repeat the dose.
“It’s full-on pressure and it’s a very competitive race first time out,” said Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud.
“She runs well fresh and she has done in the past, she was very impressive first time last year in the Coronation Stakes. She’s in good form we think and hope she puts her best foot forward.
“Mrs (Patricia) Thompson was adamant we waited. She wasn’t ready for the Guineas last year and we waited and it was her preference that we followed a similar programme – she is a big believer in listening to her horses and if Inspiral was to be at her best, it would be better to wait until June rather than push her to the Lockinge in May.
“She had a very nice break at the stud last autumn and really thrived and benefitted for that, both mentally and physically. She did very well over the winter and I know both John and Thady Gosden were pleased with how she came back and the way she has sort of progressed in the last month or so.”
Of the attention on Dettori’s rides this week, he added: “We’re concentrating on our filly, but we’re delighted to have Frankie on board and we’ll enjoy the moment.”
Inspiral’s biggest danger appears to be Godolphin’s two-pronged assault on the race via Charlie Appleby’s Classic heroes Modern Games and Native Trail.
Both landed versions of the 2000 Guineas as three-year-old milers last term and Modern Games appears to be the Moulton Paddocks first string after adding to his impressive haul in the Lockinge Stakes last month.
“His record is very good and he won the Lockinge well last time, so I’m looking forward to riding him again,” said his big-race pilot William Buick ahead of the British Champions Series event.
“It would be nearly a rerun of the Lockinge without Inspiral, who is a good filly. As any Queen Anne should be, it will be tough to win.”
Appleby, speaking to www.godolphin.com, added: “Modern Games came out of the Lockinge Stakes in good form and we have been delighted with his preparation. It was great to get a Group One win in the UK under his belt and, providing there is not a deluge of rain, he looks the one to beat again.
“Native Trail has definitely come forward since his run at Newmarket. He is a sharper, fitter individual now and benefited from a racecourse gallop last week. He is a Classic winner in his own right and goes to Ascot with a live chance.”
Richard Hannon’s Chindit gave Modern Games plenty to think about at Newbury – including when trying to bite his rival in the closing stages – and the handler is hopeful his course-and-distance winner can build on that second as he lines up alongside stablemate Lusail.
“He is a gentleman and has never done anything like that before. He only did it because Buick was in close to him,” said Hannon.
“I thought he would be shorter in the betting. He picked up better than Pat (Dobbs) thought he would and he is in the form of his life.
“We are going to ride Lusail a little handier (this time) as he seems to get flat-footed at a crucial part of the race.”
David Simcock saddles both Cash and Light Infantry after the latter went close in the Prix d’Ispahan last month, while Charlie Hills’ Mutasaabeq accounted for both Native Trail (second) and Light Infantry (third) when a good winner of the rearranged Bet365 Mile at Newmarket on his seasonal return and then had excuses when fifth in the Lockinge most recently.
“He’s going to have to run a career best to win this, but he won very well at Newmarket,” said Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell.
“Some people felt Jim (Crowley) went a little bit quick (in the Lockinge) but he felt the horse was just a little bit flat and we ran him back relatively quick.
“He had been away for a stalls test so quite a lot happened in quite a short space of time for him, so we have concentrated on freshening him up and getting him to Ascot in the best shape he can be and we will see how good he is on the day.”