Sun Chariot The Centre Of Saturday Feast

Classic winner Peaceful lines up in the Sun Chariot | Scoop Dyga

ParisLongchamp warms up for Sunday's main event with a fascinating card on Saturday, but it is Newmarket's sole pattern race which steals the show with the G1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot S. featuring a clutch of high-class milers. They are headed by the rising sensation Champers Elysees (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus}), who upstaged the re-opposing Peaceful (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Matron S. at Leopardstown last time on Sept. 12 and has subsequently prompted a purchase by Teruya Yoshida. Stepping up off a prior win in the G3 Fairy Bridge S. over an extended seven-furlong trip at Gowran Park on Sept. 2, the Johnny Murtagh-trained bay showed a deadly turn of acceleration to dominate her first race at the top level and soft ground will hold fewer fears for her than the June 13 G1 Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Peaceful. “With a filly like her, you just don't know when they'll stop,” Murtagh said. “She's been remarkable this year, starting off in a handicap and she's gone up to Group 1 company, winning all the way. This will be her fifth run of the year, so she hasn't been over-raced. We know it's a tough assignment and she has to travel, which she's never done before, but she's tough and genuine. Her preparation has gone very smoothly and we're looking forward to it.”

Also in the cast is the one-two-three from the July 10 G1 Falmouth S. in Nazeef (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), Billesdon Brook (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) and Terebellum (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}). Shadwell's homebred came out on top in that July Course encounter, but after two defeats over 10 furlongs in the July 30 G1 Nassau S. and Aug. 23 G1 Prix Jean Romanet, she has to bounce back while Billesdon Brook possibly has to step up on her defeat of Veracious (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in this 12 months ago. Trainer Richard Hannon said, “Billesdon Brook loves it at Newmarket. She seems to run 10 pounds better there than she does on any other track. We didn't think she would win the 1000 Guineas, which she did, and we didn't think she would win the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes last year, and she did. I see no reason why she shouldn't run a massive race. She comes alive at Newmarket–the straight mile seems to suit her a lot more than a round mile–and she is working super at home.”

Longchamp Warms Up With Group 1 Double

Paris Longchamp's Saturday card now has the G1 Qatar Prix de Royallieu and G1 Qatar Prix du Cadran as its dual focus, with the former in its second year as an upgraded top-level contest for staying fillies and mares. Robbed of the likely favourite Enbihaar (Ire) (Redoute's Choice {Aus}) through injury, the 14-furlong feature could prove an ideal opportunity for Scott Heider's first success in this grade in Europe with the progressive 3-year-old Pista (American Pharoah). Coming off a win in the G2 Park Hill Fillies' S. at Doncaster on Sept. 10, the Joseph O'Brien-trained bay handled soft ground when getting off the mark at Galway on Aug. 2 but whether she will handle it as well as Waverley Racing's proven mudlark Manuela de Vega (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) remains to be seen. Emphatic in such conditions in Haydock's G3 Pinnacle S. on June 7 and G2 Lancashire Oaks on July 5, she was found out last time when a well-beaten fourth as the ground proved too dry in the Aug. 20 G1 Yorkshire Oaks.

The Aga Khan and Alain de Royer-Dupre currently hold the record of eight successes apiece in this race when it was staged as a Group 3 and Group 2 and Ebaiyra (Distorted Humor) has sound claims of adding to that tally following her success in soft ground in Deauville's G2 Prix de Pomone over 12 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 23.

In the 2 1/2-mile Cadran, George Strawbridge's 2018 hero Call the Wind (GB) (Frankel {GB}) bids for compensation for his strong-finishing second to Holdthasigreen (Fr) (Hold That Tiger) when given too much to do last year. Unlucky not to be unbeaten in 2020, the homebred enjoyed the perfect prep when successful in the 15-furlong G2 Prix Kergorlay at Deauville on Aug. 23 and sets a lofty standard. One that could reach the heights is the Tony Mullins-trained Princess Zoe (Ger) (Jukebox Jury {Ire}), who made it four straight wins in Galway's Listed Oyster S. over 12 furlongs on heavy ground on Sept. 8 and the runner-up Barrington Court (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) has since franked the form when third in the G3 Loughbrown S. “I certainly never expected to be in a Group 1 with her, but when we started training her I knew we had a very good handicapper,” Mullins said. “Admittedly it was a much lower-grade race, but the evidence from Galway was that she was only starting to open up over two-miles-one and it is a savage hill there. From that we are confident she'll stay, but you can never be sure until you dip your toe in the water.”

Also lurking is a lightly-raced, unexposed filly in the line-up who could be a threat in the Francis-Henri Graffard-trained Think of Me (Ger) (So You Think {NZ}). Successful in the 14-furlong Listed Prix Gold River at Deauville on May 21, in which Friday's listed scorer Amarena (Fr) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) was third, Clear Light SAS's bargain buy was an eye-catching second to Longchamp specialist Called To the Bar (Ire) (Henrythenavigator) in the Sept. 6 G3 Prix Gladiateur.

ParisLongchamp's supporting races include the G2 Qatar Prix Dollar over an extended 11 furlongs, where Jean-Claude Seroul's defending champion and triple group winner Skalleti (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) bids to book his ticket to Ascot's G1 Champion S. He faces Coolmore's 'TDN Rising Star' Ocean Atlantique (American Pharoah), who beat the smart filly Irska (Fr) (Hunter's Light {Ire}) by five lengths in the 10-furlong Listed Prix de Suresnes at Deauville on May 31 before finishing a disappointing 10th in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly on July 5. Also in the mix is Haras de Saint Pair's highly-regarded Sept. 6 G3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte winner Glycon (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), while the G2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein sees the return of Al Asayl France's 2019 winner  The Revenant (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). Off the track since his subsequent second in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot in October, the 5-year-old has ground conditions to suit as he starts back.

“He was very impressive last year. He's a fantastic horse, but this season has been difficult as we knew he wasn't going to have his ground,” The Revenant's trainer Francis-Henri Graffard commented. “I feel he's in the same form as last year. He's worked really well, he will love the ground and I'm happy with his condition. Will he need the race? I don't think so, but we'll see on Saturday. He's such a nice horse. We'll see if he goes back to Ascot. We are running with a very fresh horse this year.”

Logician Comeback Continues At Ascot

At Ascot, Khalid Abullah's 2019 G1 St Leger hero Logician (GB) (Frankel {GB}) kicks off a huge weekend for the operation in the G3 Tote.co.uk Cumberland Lodge S. as he continues on the road back from an attack of peritonitis during the winter. Still unbeaten and full of enthusiasm based on his easy return success in a non-event two-runner affair at Doncaster on Sept. 10, the grey has last year's impressive winner Morando (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) to aim at in this 12-furlong contest which will tell connections a lot more about his current standard. “This weekend is why we are in the game, for these great moments,” Teddy Grimthorpe said. “We have an unbeaten Classic winner running on Saturday and a great racemare going for a third Arc on Sunday, it doesn't get much bigger than that. For everyone, from Prince Khalid downwards at Juddmonte, it's exciting and this is what it is all about. If you didn't get nervous you clearly don't care.”

Of Logician, who will be racing on the deepest ground he has yet to encounter after persistent rain blighted the venue on Friday, the operation's racing manager added, “Given how serious his illness was over the winter, we were delighted with how Doncaster went in every way and everyone has been very pleased with him since. All his work at home suggests he's in very good form–it's encouraging. We always thought he would handle soft ground. If it gets extreme, what I call specialist areas, then that is an unknown, but I think he'd certainly handle it soft. His dam, Scuffle, never ran on anything like it's going to be, but his dad, Frankel, of course won a Champion S. on bottomless ground on Champions Day so there is some encouragement. This looks a nice race for him, a Group 3 without a penalty, but like all these things the reality is never quite what you imagine. He's going into the race in good form, we're all happy with him and have been since Doncaster. Of course there is some trepidation, mainly because of the infection he had over the winter, but hopefully he's over it.”

Elsewhere on Ascot's fixture, last year's G3 John Guest Racing Bengough S. winner Cape Byron (GB) (Shamardal) makes his belated seasonal bow in the same race for the Roger Varian stable who also runs Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa's G2 Rockfel S. and G3 Albany S. winner Daahyeh (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) in the Listed John Guest Racing British EBF S., or October S. Second to Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at The Curragh in September and to Sharing (Speightstown) in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf, she makes her belated comeback under David Egan who said, “We've not seen her on track this year as she had a little setback, but I'm sure she will be spot-on for Saturday and I'm hoping she can get back to her best. She has obviously got the form in the book, having been second in the Breeders' Cup and being a Royal Ascot winner, so she is the one to beat. They've done plenty of work with her and Roger feels she is fit and ready to go and make her mark for the year. She is back at seven furlongs having run over a mile at the Breeders' Cup, but she won the Rockfel over seven and the Albany over six, so she is not short of speed. I think an Ascot seven is well within her capabilities. I wouldn't want it bottomless for her, but anything would be fine as long as it is not exaggerated.”

At Tipperary, the Niarchos Family's Albigna (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) takes another class drop in the G3 Coolmore U S Navy Flag Concorde S. over an extended seven-furlong trip. Successful in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac on this weekend last year, the homebred has yet to hit full stride this term but shaped as if a return to her best was imminent when fifth in the Matron last time. There is also pattern-race action at Hoppegarten, with the G1 Longines 130th Grosser Preis von Berlin over a mile and a half somewhat overshadowed on this particular day of action despite its status. Traditionally one of Europe's weaker top-level contests, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's consistent Communique (Ire) (Casamento {Ire}) tries again having finished runner-up to Barney Roy (GB) (Excelebration {Ire}) in the Sept. 13 G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, where the re-opposing Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}) was third.

Torquator Tasso was second to Sunday's Arc protagonist In Swoop (Ire) (Adlerflug {Ger}) in the G1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg on July 12 and is one of a trio who line up here having contested that Classic alongside Grocer Jack (Ger) (Oasis Dream {GB}), Kaspar (Ger) (Pivotal {GB}) and Dicaprio (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}). Only fifth and below-par when fifth as favourite for the Derby, Stall Wasserfreunde's triple group scorer Wonderful Moon (Ger) (Sea the Moon {Ger}) returns from his break in the supporting 10-furlong G3 Preis der Deutschen Einheit.

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