Inspiral and Mqse De Sevigne lock horns in an intriguing Anglo-French clash for the Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral has won seven of her 11 starts for Cheveley Park Stud, a record which includes four victories at Group One level in the hands of Frankie Dettori – who heads into the weekend one short of 500 career winners at Headquarters.
The four-year-old has been kept fresh since successfully defending her crown in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August and connections are looking forward to her return on what is set to be the penultimate Saturday of Dettori’s riding career in Britain.
“She’s in good form and the ground will suit. Softer ground can dampen her finish, but I think the ground on Saturday will be perfect,” said Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.
“It’s very competitive and the French filly, Mqse De Sevigne, is to be respected, as are all the field.
“I think the French filly is the one we’ve got to be worried about, but if you’re not in you can’t win, so let’s hope Frankie can work some more magic.”
Plans beyond this weekend for Inspiral remain uncertain, although a trip to the Breeders’ Cup next month is not being ruled out.
Richardson added: “She’s obviously lightly raced, so we can see after Saturday whether Mrs Thompson (owner) will consider the Breeders’ Cup option as her swansong, or indeed whether she might stay in training next year, which hasn’t been decided yet.”
Mqse De Sevigne is on a Group One hat-trick for French maestro Andre Fabre after winning the Prix Rothschild over a mile and the Prix Jean Romanet over a mile and a quarter.
She is likely to encounter quicker ground than she has so far this season over the Rowley Mile, but Fabre – who won the 2015 Sun Chariot with Esoterique – is not too worried.
He said: “She is in good shape and I hope she should run well.
“I don’t think the ground is too much of a concern, maybe over this distance it might be a bit sharp for her but she has done well over this distance before.
“She will go for the Breeders’ Cup (Filly And Mare Turf) after this.”
The Gosden team have an interesting second string to their bow in the form of Coppice, who is sent back into battle just eight days after winning the Listed Rosemary Stakes over the course and distance.
Barry Mahon, racing manager for owner-breeders Juddmonte, said: “She’s an intended runner, she came out of last weekend in good shape and the ground looks like it’s going to be good to firm.
“It’s a huge jump up, but we’re planning on going to America with her as a four-year-old and we thought we’d give her one little bite at a Group One here before she went.”
The Richard Hannon-trained Heredia also faces a step up in class after winning the Listed Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock and the Group Three Atalanta Stakes at Sandown on her two most recent starts.
“Richard Hannon has been really pleased with her since Sandown, she has bounced out of that race,” said Richard Brown, racing manager for owners St Albans Bloodstock.
“We took our time and said we would only do it if you were completely happy and Richard says she has never been better, so we’re happy to take a chance.”
Meditate (Aidan O’Brien), Random Harvest (Ed Walker), Goldana (Joseph O’Brien) and Roman Mist (Archie Watson) complete the field.