Running Lion will bid for Classic redemption when she attempts to give John and Thady Gosden back-to-back victories in the Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly.
A daughter of Clarehaven’s multiple Group One winner Roaring Lion, she has been unbeaten in four since finishing fourth on debut last summer and took her form to the next level when claiming the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket last month.
That earned her a shot at the Betfred Oaks, but she got upset in the stalls and was ultimately withdrawn, meaning a frustrated Oisin Murphy could only watch on as stablemate Soul Sister stormed to Classic glory.
She is reported to be none the worse for that eventful few moments at the start at Epsom and will now get a second chance to secure Classic honours and follow in the footsteps of Star Of Seville and Nashwa, who have both won this race for the Gosden team in the past.
“It was a very unfortunate freak incident at Epsom when she kicked out and broke the back gate of the stalls which meant they weren’t able to open,” said Thady Gosden.
“But obviously she didn’t have a race there and came out of it with nothing serious fortunately. She has been in good form since.
“We are drawn 12 of 15 which isn’t ideal at Chantilly, of course, although in terms of ground it’s quick there at the moment and even though there may be some thunderstorms around Sunday, she is probably a versatile filly when it comes to ground.
“Her father liked top of the ground and she is out of a Dansili mare and they normally like top of the ground. However, she won the Pretty Polly really well on slower going.
“After her first run all she has done is improve and has done nothing wrong – she has a great mind on her and always puts her best foot forward.”
Fellow British raider Novakai brings solid Group-race form to the table having chased home Polly Pott and Commissioning in the May Hill and Fillies’ Mile respectively last term. She returned to finish second to Soul Sister in the Musidora Stakes at York.
This has always been the target for Karl Burke’s filly who runs in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and will attempt to give the Spigot Lodge handler his second triumph in the race after Laurens in 2018.
Joseph O’Brien’s Caroline Street finished second to Derby hero Auguste Rodin in the Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown as a two-year-old and has won her sole outing this season when upped to 10 furlongs at Naas.
Brother Donnacha and father Aidan have won this prestigious contest in two of the last three years and it would be fitting if he could add his name to the roll of honour with the talented daughter of No Nay Never.
“She’s in good nick and she got a very good draw,” said the Owning Hill handler. “It’s a super hot race, but she goes there with a chance.
“I thought it was a great run in Naas, she sat back and hit the line really well – I thought she was impressive. This race has been the target since then, it was going to be the Diane or the Pretty Polly (at the Curragh).”
Meanwhile, the all-conquering master of Ballydoyle saddles Poule d’Essai des Pouliches fifth Never Ending Story, with her big-race pilot Ryan Moore expecting her to improve on that showing now upped in distance.
“This is about as deep and competitive a Classic as you will find, with a lot of talent on show and of course, with 15 runners, you are going to need all the luck going in here,” he told Betfair.
“I don’t think we saw the best of my filly at all when she was fifth in the French 1000 Guineas last time. She didn’t run badly but she didn’t fire and pick up as I was expecting, as I thought she had a big shot at winning that race.
“However, I think she remains a Group One filly and I hope she can prove it over a trip that she is bred to get. She could just surprise some fillies with more obvious claims.”