Connections of Inspiral are under no illusions about the task facing the unbeaten filly on her belated reappearance in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The daughter of Frankel was the undoubted star juvenile filly of last season, with a four-race campaign culminating with a Group One success in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
But having spent the winter months as ante-post favourite for the 1000 Guineas, the Cheveley Park-owned runner was slow to come to hand this spring and ultimately ruled out of the Rowley Mile Classic.
As a result, she is pitched in at the deep end on her first competitive appearance in eight months, with Guineas heroine Cachet and French Guineas victor Mangoustine among her rivals.
Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson said: “We’ve obviously been very patient, but she seems in good form. John Gosden and Frankie Dettori were happy when I saw her last week, so at this point in time we’re green for go.
“It is a tough race and it is first time out, but it’s the logical race for her and where we have to go, so we’ll all hope we see something.
“It will be exciting to see her back in action, for sure.”
John Gosden, who trains Inspiral in partnership with son Thady and also saddles Grande Dame, is hopeful the likely favourite is coming the boil.
He said: “It has taken a long time, but I think we are beginning to see the filly of last year. Hopefully she can put in a big performance.”
Cachet provided trainer George Boughey with a first Classic success in the 1000 Guineas in May, much to the delight of her owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, and she came within a head of following up in the French equivalent when touched off by Mangoustine.
Highclere’s Harry Herbert said: “I saw Cachet last week and she looks absolutely fantastic. She really looks like she is getting stronger all the time.
“George is very pleased with her work and James (Doyle) sat on her and did a piece of work and likewise, he was chuffed to bits with her, so fingers crossed.
“The faster the ground – we know she loves that. It is very much up her street. We are really excited. It is such a thrill to have done what she has done and heading into a Coronation touching wood, from what we are seeing at home, in as good or better form than she was.”
Mangoustine has not yet encountered quick ground, but trainer Mikel Delzangles does not expect a faster surface to be a problem.
He said: “She looks in great form and she is drawn in stall one, which is better than 12 I would say.
“I think she will be all right on the ground. They will water to make sure it is safe, I’m sure, and as long as it’s safe we’re happy.
“It is a hot race, but we would not expect to have an easy race in Ascot – that’s competition.
“She’s in great form and ready to do her best.”
Jessica Harrington bids to complete a remarkable Coronation Stakes treble with Discoveries, who is a full-sister to 2018 winner Alpha Centauri and a half-sister to Alpine Star, who struck gold in 2020.
Discoveries was beaten five lengths into seventh place by Cachet at Newmarket and Harrington has kept her powder dry for Ascot since.
“It would be something if she could do it, wouldn’t it?” said Harrington.
“She’s in great form and I think she’s appreciated a bit of warm weather. I didn’t think she gave her true running in the Guineas, one way or another, and I think this course will suit her.
“It would be really amazing if she could do what her two sisters did. We’re hoping for the best.”
Ralph Beckett saddles 1000 Guineas runner-up Prosperous Voyage, while American hopes are carried by the Graham Motion-trained Spendarella and Christophe Clement’s Breeders’ Cup winner Pizza Bianca.
The Motion-trained Sharing was runner-up to Alpine Star two years ago and hopes are high for Spendarella, who is unbeaten in three starts and tests the water at Group One level for the first time.
Motion’s assistant, Alice Clapham, said: “When they decided to bring her here, Graham wanted to freshen her up rather than running once more because she had run three pretty consistent races.
“She has ended up racing prominently because she breaks well, but I think she is pretty versatile and William (Buick) will be able to do whatever he likes with her.
“Sharing was a little more accomplished than this filly coming here. She had won at the Breeders’ Cup and had more experience, but this filly has done nothing wrong and has a great temperament.
“She’s done everything right, she’s taken pretty much everything in her stride and she’s been pretty well behaved with everything here – she’s a happy little horse.
“Coming over to Ascot is coming to be a big thing for a lot of owners in America now, so any time the horses come over and run well it’s a big question and a big relief.”