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Audarya eyes historic double in Filly & Mare Turf

Audarya is aiming to join Ouija Board as a dual winner of the Filly & Mare Turf at the Breeders’ Cup.

James Fanshawe’s five-year-old does not head to Del Mar in quite the same form as she travelled to America last season – but still has the credentials to be a major player on Saturday.

Whereas last year she had won the Prix Jean Romanet and gone down by just a length to Tarnawa, subsequent winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, in the Prix de l’Opera, this year she has not managed to get her head in front.

There have been signs, however, in three of her four starts that her ability remains fully intact.

Beaten just three-quarters of a length by Love on her return in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, she also went close in the Prix Jean Romanet and the Opera again.

Fanshawe remains optimistic that Audarya can pull off a famous double – although he will not be there in person to witness her effort this time, and will instead watch from his Newmarket base.

He said: “It’s really frustrating – I’d love to be out there. We had such a great time last year, and obviously got the perfect result in the end.

“But it’s just the way things are – I’m afraid (wife) Jacko and I can’t make it. But we’ve got a really good team in place – we’ve got Helen, who does the travelling, and Geoffroy de la Sayette, who rides Audarya every day and knows her really well.

“They were in the team last year, and our son Tom is out there as well.”

Fanshawe concedes Audarya’s preparation is in contrast to her sustained improvement en route to Keeneland 12 months ago – but he is not significantly concerned, and is banking on conditions to suit her.

“It was very different last year. She went from handicaps to winning a Group One in France, and then she just kept on improving,” he said, on a call hosted by Great British Racing International.

“This year, she’s had to start at a much higher level. She ran very well in the Prince of Wales’s, when she was second to Love, and that was the last time she’s had quick ground until now.

“The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare last year broke the track record, so she obviously likes the quick ground.

“She ran very well in the Romanet, when it looked like she’d won and then she got done on the line, and she ran a pretty good race in the Opera – not beaten very far (behind Rougir), on very heavy ground last time.

“So it’s a slightly different preparation, but she seems in good form.”

James Fanshawe
James Fanshawe (Tim Goode/PA)

Audarya is drawn widest of all in the 12-strong field, round Del Mar’s tight track.

Fanshawe said: “The 12 draw isn’t ideal, but we’ve done quite a bit of homework on that.

“I think the Del Mar Handicap was won by a horse (Astronaut) drawn 10 of 10, so we hope it’s not too much of a disadvantage.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Love missed two planned high-profile engagements last month, in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and then British Champions Day at Ascot, since finishing a short-head runner-up in a Curragh Group Two in September.

O’Brien said: “She just got a little bit of a temperature before the Arc, and that’s why she didn’t run.

“Then she could have run on the English Champions Day, but her bloods weren’t quite 100 per cent. The Breeders’ Cup was always going to be on her agenda at this time of the year.

“She put a big one on the board in the Prince of Wales’s and has freshened up nicely.

“I was very happy with the race she ran at the Curragh. A good break is important to her out of the gate, and I’ve found in the last few years we are running more out of Ireland in the States and they are breaking better.

“She could go to Hong Kong after this if everything was well.”

Rougir just got the nod in the Prix de l'Opera
Rougir just got the nod in the Prix de l’Opera (PA)

Pauline Chehboub, racing manager to Rougir’s owners Haras de la Gousserie, said: “She ran a big race in Paris (winning the Prix de l’Opera) and has had a big season.

“We are happy with her – she is a solid filly and she will love the American pace.

“That will be an advantage for her, and she goes on soft ground and normal ground, so that is not a problem for her.

“The advantage for her will be the pace – and she has a good draw (four), which is important here. We are confident she will run a big race again.

“She is in very good form and looks very happy, which is a good point for the end of the season.”

Ocean Road and jockey Oisin Murphy on the gallops at Epsom
Ocean Road and jockey Oisin Murphy on the gallops at Epsom (Adam Davy/PA)

Andrew Balding’s Queen Supreme and Hugo Palmer’s Ocean Road complete the British challenge.

The latter, who has raced just once since struggling in a soft-ground Oaks at Epsom in June, is out in stall 10.

“I was a bit disappointed by her draw,” said Palmer.

“She’s got quite a lot to find on ratings, but she’s been running well in England without winning Stakes races.

“Stepping up into Breeders’ Cup company and a $2million race is a big ask, but she’s shipped over really well and finished third in a Group Three the other day on her first run for a long time.

“She is drawn a bit wide, but if (jockey) Oisin (Murphy) is able to work her into a nice position, she could run a really good race.”

Audarya just denied in Romanet thriller

James Fanshawe’s Audarya was denied a repeat victory by the narrowest of margins courtesy of outsider Grand Glory in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.

A surprise winner of the race herself 12 months ago, Audarya had gone on to prove herself a filly of the highest class, winning at the Breeders’ Cup.

She arrived in Deauville with questions to answer, having disappointed at Goodwood – but looked sure to return to winning ways deep inside the final furlong.

Audarya had quickened up smartly under Ioritz Mendizabal to go clear, although she had been keen in the early stages and just began to tire close home.

But rather than the challenge coming from Nassau winner Lady Bowthorpe, who ultimately beat one home, or Ebaiyra, it was 33-1 chance Grand Glory closing her down.

The pair flashed by the line together, before a short wait led to Cristian Demuro riding Gianluca Bietolini’s five-year-old getting the verdict.

Fanshawe said: “Watching it live I had thought we had won, but we didn’t so that was obviously disappointing. But that’s the game.

“It was really good to see her run so well after the disappointment at Goodwood. She’s back on form and she’s run really well.

“We’ll focus on today, Goodwood has gone and this should hopefully set her up for a nice autumn campaign.

“We’ll take it a race at a time and aim for the Prix de l’Opera now. It would be nice if we got some better ground because her best form is on better ground.

“I hope there’s another Group One in her if we keep her right.”

Audarya is likely to clash again with Grand Glory on Arc day.

Bietolini said: “Coming here and winning a Group One is a great dream come true! The mare really deserves it. Last year she was unlucky but, this year, things are going better! Cristian Demuro has ridden her to perfection.

“I knew that Grand Glory was very well within herself, and was sure that she would run well today. She was already a prior dual Group Three winner and Group One place-getter going into the race, and she owed us nothing.

“The next logical step is the Prix de l’Opéra. After this, she will be retired to the paddocks.

“I had already enjoyed six Group One successes in Italy, but this is my first French one. I can’t believe it. She has won on the all-weather, on heavy ground, on good ground, and on very soft ground – she can do it all, as the good horses invariably can.

“She just needs plenty of pace so as to be able to harness her turn of foot. She is extraordinary.”

Audarya all set for Romanet defence

Audarya will head to Deauville at the weekend to defend her crown in the Prix Jean Romanet.

James Fanshawe’s five-year-old took the Group One contest by a neck last season, a first victory at the highest grade and one that paved the way to a thrilling success in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland in November.

Royal Ascot was the scene of the mare’s seasonal comeback in June, where she took on Aidan O’Brien’s top-class filly Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and was beaten by just three-quarters of a length at 10-1.

A subsequent run in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in July ended in disappointment as Audarya finished fifth of the six runners, but Fanshawe reports that nothing was amiss afterwards and that the bay is ready to bounce back to form.

“She’s well, she’ll be going to the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville at the weekend,” he said.

“She seems to have come out of Goodwood in good form and the plan is go for the race on Sunday now.”

William Buick took the ride on Audarya at Goodwood and pointed to the good to soft going as a possible cause for the below-par run, but Fanshawe cited her previous wins on soft ground and does not think the conditions were a factor.

“She’s won on soft ground so I don’t think we can say it’s that,” he said.

“She was well afterwards and nothing came to light.

“It’s just something we will draw a line under hopefully, she seems very well and in great form, we’re really looking forward to running on Sunday.”

Fanshawe has confidence in adaptable Audarya

James Fanshawe is confident Audarya can handle testing conditions as she seeks her third Group One victory in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

A Monday night storm saw the ground turn predominately heavy for the opening day of the Glorious fixture, but it improved to soft, good to soft in places by Wednesday morning, with the possibility of further showers throughout the week.

While Audarya’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf success last term came on firm ground, she previously won the Prix Jean Romanet on soft, so Fanshawe expects her to handle the conditions, whatever they are on Thursday, following an excellent second to Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on her seasonal return last month.

Audarya was beaten just under a length by Love at Ascot
Audarya was beaten just under a length by Love at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

He said: “Audarya ran really well at Royal Ascot and she’s come out of the race in good form. Six weeks is a nice gap between races when you are taking things step by step, and we’ve had this race in mind for a while.

“She’s got better as she’s got older, and she’s doing everything right at home. It was fast ground at Keeneland and Royal Ascot, but she shouldn’t have any problem on easier going because it was very testing last year when she won the Romanet, and very soft when she ran so well in the Prix de l’Opera.”

William Jarvis will be trying to end a long wait for a Group One victory as he sends out Lady Bowthorpe, with his last top-level victory coming with Grand Lodge back in 1994.

Winner of the Dahlia Stakes at the start of the year, the five-year-old has since finished second in the Lockinge and at Royal Ascot, before enduring a luckless run when fourth in the Falmouth Stakes this month.

She too has shown an ability to handle contrasting conditions, winning on quick ground at Newmarket before her fine Newbury effort behind Palace Pier when there was some cut in the surface.

Lady Bowthorpe represents William Jarvis
Lady Bowthorpe represents William Jarvis (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Jarvis said: “She’s grown up as a five-year-old mare and she’s much more amenable now.

“As a three and four-year-old, we thought she was very much a soft-ground filly. But her run in both the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and more recently in the Falmouth Stakes were on good to firm ground, and I think she’s pretty adaptable.

“She was very tired when she came out of the Lockinge Stakes, but we had a very good preparation between Ascot and Newmarket, and she’s really been pleasing me since the Falmouth.”

Kieren Shoemark again teams up with the Nathaniel mare as she tackles 10 furlongs for the first time.

He added: “Lady Bowthorpe has taken me to some big races this year, and she’s run some massive races in Group Ones since giving me that first Group Two in the Dahlia.

“I feel she deserves a Group One and I’m really excited about her stepping up to a mile and a quarter. She’s by Nathaniel, and they usually stay fairly well, but she’s not short of pace – which you have to have at Goodwood, because it’s a trappy track. I really think it will suit her.”

Reflecting on her troubled passage in the Falmouth, Shoemark said: “I was happy with my position for about 50 yards! We started off in two groups, and she was nice and relaxed in a lovely position – then all of a sudden the groups merged, and she had a wall of horses in front of her.

“At crucial times when I needed to get her quickening there was nothing doing in front of me, so I decided to switch outside. I lost a couple of lengths in doing so, but she flew home and was beaten only a length. It’s hard to say if she’d have beaten Snow Lantern, but she’d have been second in a couple more strides.”

Aidan O’Brien fields two of the six contenders, with impressive Prix de Diane winner Joan Of Arc and Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Empress Josephine going for gold again in a race which is part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

The latter finished a short head in front of her stablemate when winning the Curragh Classic, but has since disappointed in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and will be moving up in trip.

Empress Josephine (right) got the better of Joan Of Arc at the Curragh
Empress Josephine (right) got the better of Joan Of Arc at the Curragh (Brian Lawless/PA)

O’Brien said: “We are lucky to have some great fillies and we try to keep them apart and give them their best chance by picking the races which will suit them best, but we have been aiming both of these fillies for this race.

“Joan Of Arc won the Prix de Diane and has been progressing lovely all season. Empress Josephine will be stepping up to a mile and a quarter.

“We went further with her in Gowran before she won the Guineas, and then went back in trip.

“Maybe it was the ground and because it was early in the season (reason why she was beaten at Gowran) – it’s possible that we might have got a false read from it.

“She’s a full-sister to Minding, who got a mile and a quarter and got a mile and a half.

“It’s possible she could leave that Gowran run behind her and get the trip, but she is a filly that’s got plenty of speed.”

Zeyaadah (left) was victorious in the Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle
Zeyaadah (left) was victorious in the Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle (Tim Goode/PA)

The line-up is completed by Zeyaadah and the Martyn Meade-trained Technique, who were separated by just a head in an all-weather Group Three at Newcastle last month.

Zeyaadah was well beaten in testing ground when fancied for the Cazoo Oaks, so the Goodwood conditions might not be totally ideal.

Her trainer Roger Varian said: “She’ll need to step up on the Newcastle form to win a Nassau – but while she only won a head, she was in command at the line there.

“Bar the Oaks, she’s done nothing wrong in her career. There was only one winner that day, and the rest were nowhere.

“I think she’s a 10-furlong filly, and I also think she’s a better-ground filly now she’s going up against better horses although she’s got soft ground form. She’s in good form, and I think she’s ready for this test.”

Alison Swinburn ready to savour ‘superstar’ Audarya’s Nassau exploits

Owner Alison Swinburn will savour the occasion as her star mare Audarya bids for a third Group One success in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

The James Fanshawe-trained five-year-old enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2020, graduating from a Newcastle handicap win off a mark of 99 to strike at the top level in both the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in the autumn.

Swinburn said: “She really has been a superstar – almost beyond your wildest dreams. Of course when you go to the sales and you buy a horse, you’re always hoping that they’ll be good. I was hoping I’d buy a filly that would be good enough to race and enjoy and then breed from. I don’t think I ever imagined she’d be as good as she is.

“To come from winning at Newcastle to go and win the Group One Romanet, be placed in the Prix de l’Opera – then of course the icing on the cake last year was the Breeders’ Cup, which was just magical really.”

Audarya was only narrowly beaten at Ascot
Audarya was only narrowly beaten at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Audarya has run just once since her Keeneland victory, taking on five-time Group One winner Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she was beaten three-quarters of a length in second after racing a touch keenly through the early exchanges.

Swinburn felt that was a fine effort from her daughter of Wootton Bassett, saying: “In an ideal world she would have had a run before, but things didn’t pan out like that.

“It was a big ask going straight to Ascot against Love, one of the best fillies in the world, but I was so thrilled with how she ran, because I felt it really endorsed her form.

“Her form has been abroad – and as much as that’s amazing, it’s so nice to see her run that well in the UK.

The ground at Goodwood is testing following overnight rain
The ground at Goodwood is testing following overnight rain (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We couldn’t have been happier with it, and she’s come out of the race really well, so we now look forward to the next one.”

The ground at Goodwood was described as heavy, soft in places before the first day of the festival – and while Audarya’s ability to handle conditions does not concern Swinburn, the 9lb she must concede to four three-year-old rivals on Thursday would be more of a worry.

“She’s won in the soft, so I think it might be less of a concern to us than it might be to others,” she said.

“The only thing is she will have quite a weight (9st 7lb) to lug in softer ground.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Swinburn was not able to enjoy Audarya’s international successes in person last year, so she is eager to make the trip to Goodwood with her father Peter Harris – a former trainer and owner, whose former colours Audarya sports.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to it – I’m coming with my dad and a couple of friends, so we’ll make the most and enjoy the day, but then everything she does this year is a bonus. It’s just nice to be able to go and watch her run and enjoy it.”

Swinburn is planning to retire her star performer at the end of the season – although Audarya’s targets for the rest of the year are far from determined at this stage.

She added: “I think probably at the beginning of the season that (France and Breeders’ Cup) would have been the plan, but I think we will take it quite race by race and see how she comes out of it.

“The Breeders’ Cup is right at the end of our season. It’s west coast this year, so we’ll just do whatever is best for the filly – because everything she does this year is a bonus, and then she will go to the paddocks. We will just judge it on how she is.

“She will go to the Swinburn family stud, Genesis Green, which is run by my brother-in-law Michael Swinburn. That will be lovely, because we will get to see lots of her and her offspring.”

Lady Bowthorpe is among the Goodwood opposition
Lady Bowthorpe is among the Goodwood opposition (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Audarya is one of six fillies declared for the 10-furlong Nassau Stakes, which is part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

Fellow five-year-old Lady Bowthorpe, representing William Jarvis, is one of her main rivals – along with Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Joan Of Arc and Empress Josephine, winners of the Prix de Diane and Irish 1,000 Guineas respectively.

The Roger Varian-trained Zeyaadah and Martyn Meade’s Technique, who were split by just a head when first and second in the Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle last time, complete the field.

Audarya tops six-strong Nassau field

Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya heads a field of six runners for the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

James Fanshawe’s mare enjoyed a tremendous campaign in 2020, progressing from a narrow victory in a Newcastle handicap to claiming Group One honours in both the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and the Filly And Mare Turf at Keeneland.

Audarya made an encouraging return to action when runner-up to Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and is likely to be a hot favourite to get back on the winning trail in the feature event on day three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Audarya is unlikely to have things all her own way on Thursday, however, with Aidan O’Brien having also declared a pair of Classic winners in Empress Josephine and Joan Of Arc.

Empress Josephine denied her stablemate by a short head in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh, since when Joan Of Arc has gone one better in the Prix de Diane – the French Oaks.

William Jarvis runs his stable star Lady Bowthorpe, who bids to break her top-level duck on her first appearance over a mile and a quarter. Her fast-finishing fourth in the Falmouth at Newmarket three weeks ago suggested a step up in trip could bring about further improvement.

Lady Bowthorpe is a leading contender
Lady Bowthorpe is a leading contender (George Selwyn/PA)

The sextet is completed by Roger Varian’s Zeyaadah and the Martyn Meade-trained Technique.

The pair were split by just a head when first and second in a Group Three at Newcastle last month, with both fillies having previously been down the field in the Oaks at Epsom.

Audarya nears Nassau challenge

James Fanshawe reports Audarya firmly on course to bid for a third Group One victory in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood next week.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett enjoyed a remarkable campaign in 2020 – progressing from a narrow handicap victory on the all-weather at Newcastle to landing top-level honours in both the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville and then the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.

Audarya also made a highly encouraging return to action when runner-up to Love in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, and Fanshawe has been delighted with her subsequent training.

Speaking from his Pegasus Stables in Newmarket on Monday, he said: “Audarya seems in really good form. We’ve had the Qatar Nassau Stakes in mind for a while, and she’s been training well since Ascot.

Audarya (right) chases home Love at Ascot
Audarya (right) chases home Love at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

“You never quite know how fit they are after such a long gap between races – but she put in a good performance, and we’ve been steering her towards this race ever since Ascot.”

Fanshawe is hopeful Audarya will improve from her Ascot comeback run, adding: “The handicapper kept her rating at 117 after the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, but I felt it was a really good performance.

“I hope she can improve. It shows how far she’s come, given that she started off in a Group One this year. Last year, her first win of the season came on her third start when winning a handicap off 99 on August 2 at Newcastle, so this season already looks very different.”

With Audarya having already proved her versatility in terms of track and ground, Fanshawe feels she has plenty going for her in the Nassau.

But he is nevertheless respectful of the opposition.

Her potential rivals in the £600,000 contest include talented three-year-olds Snow Lantern and Santa Barbara, who will all receive a 9lb weight-for-age-allowance from Fanshawe’s charge.

He said: “She won her Group Ones at Deauville and Keeneland, which are both flat tracks. But she did win a handicap at Goodwood over a mile as a three-year-old when she proved she can handle the track.

“In terms of ground, she has run on everything. It was very testing when she won the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, and they broke the track record on firm ground when she won the Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland.

“I was having a look at the record of three-year-olds in the race, and it is very good – five of the last six winners have been three.

“They get 9lbs from the older fillies and mares – which is a lot of weight – but it’s the same as at Ascot, and we go there with a filly who is in good form and hopefully we can overcome that.”

The Tin Man on the mend after surgery

Popular sprinter The Tin Man is on the mend after undergoing surgery on a career-ending leg injury sustained on the gallops.

The nine-year-old flag-bearer for the James Fanshawe stable fractured a cannonbone in a routine workout, and is recovering in Newmarket Equine Hospital.

The Tin Man was being prepared for a seventh season in action, albeit at a lower level than for most of a career which saw him win three Group Ones – the British Champions Sprint in 2016, the Diamond Jubilee (2017) and Haydock’s Sprint Cup (2018).

“He’s had an operation, and they’ve put three screws in his cannonbone – he took the operation well and he’s nice and comfortable,” said Fanshawe.

“He’ll obviously be retired from racing. Long-term he’ll be fine – he’ll be able to find a new career. I don’t know what that will be, but I’m sure we’ll find something useful for him to do.

“He’s been an amazing horse for the yard, and I know we weren’t intending to race at the same level this year, but he seemed to still be enjoying his training – and thank goodness he’s been repairable.

“He won £1.2million and won nine races – three of which were Group Ones. He was one of the horses bought for the Fred Archer syndicate, and he’s a wonderful advert for that.”

Fanshawe’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Turf winner, Audarya, is set to make her seasonal debut this month – in either the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

“She’s entered in the Prince Of Wales and she’s also in the Pretty Polly as well. We’ll see how she is in the next few days,” said the Newmarket handler.

“She seems in really good form and is really well.”

Fanshawe opts to hang fire with Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya

Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya is likely to make a high-profile return next month, despite having to miss her intended comeback at either Saint-Cloud or Sandown this week.

Trainer James Fanshawe was intending to take his mare to France on Wednesday for the Group Two Prix Corrida, and she also had Thursday’s Brigadier Gerard Stakes as a possible alternative.

Fanshawe decided against either option, though, after noticing Audarya was not quite on top form at home last weekend.

He said: “She’s fine. She was just a bit quiet at the weekend, and it’s a long trip to France, so that’s why we decided not to go.”

Audarya was both a Group One and Grade One winner as she improved dramatically through a brilliant international campaign last year, which she completed with a famous success in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland in November.

Both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, the latter against her fellow fillies and mares, remain under consideration for her next month.

“The Prince of Wales’s would be a tough question to ask her first time out,” added Fanshawe.

“But I’m sure she’ll tell us. There’s the Pretty Polly 10 days later, so there are various options – we’ll see how she is.”

Wherever the five-year-old returns, her Newmarket trainer anticipates it will not be long delayed.

“We decided to give her a bit more time,” he added.

“It’s just looking at her – she was just not her usual bouncy self. So that’s why we haven’t gone this week.

“I was hoping to run her this week, and she’s not far from a race.”

Audarya poised to take up Saint-Cloud engagement next week

James Fanshawe’s Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya could start her season in the Group Two Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud next week.

The mare was Fanshawe’s first ever runner at the hugely valuable American meeting, and provided the trainer with a thrilling Group One success when landing the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf by a neck at 12-1.

The November performance was the last time Audarya was seen on the track, but Saint-Cloud may become the scene of her seasonal comeback as she holds an entry for the Prix Corrida on May 26.

“Audarya’s in good form,” Fanshawe said.

“She’s in good form and I’m hoping to start her off next week, she’s got a couple of options.

“She’s in the Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud and she has a couple of other entries as well.”

Those entries include the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, with Fanshawe keen to navigate the earlier stages of the season before considering a return to the Breeders’ Cup in November.

“We’ll get the short-term targets out of the way first and then make a plan after that, we need to get her first run done and then we’ll know more about where to go next,” he said.

Audarya ran impressively on French soil twice last year when winning the Prix Jean Romanet and finishing third in the Prix de l’Opera, and Fanshawe is not ruling out crossing the channel again later in the season

“The race next week is for fillies and mares only and the conditions are good,” he said.

“There are good races across the country, but we’ll get this one out of the way first.”

Also under consideration is the option of moving the mare out of the company of her own sex and testing her against the colts, as illustrated by her entries in the Prince of Wales’s and the Coral-Eclipse.

“She’s won two Group One races against her own sex,” Fanshawe said.

“So we’ll see how we get on and see whether we can take on the colts at some stage.”

Audarya to stay in training next year

James Fanshawe has confirmed his Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya will stay in training as a five-year-old.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett came of age in the second half of 2020, taking a seismic leap from winning at handicap at Newcastle before immediately following up in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.

She showed that was no fluke when going close in the Prix de l’Opera, and then benefited from an inspired Pierre-Charles Boudot ride in the Filly & Mare Turf on Saturday.

“It was the day of a lifetime,” said Fanshawe.

“We probably had a few fillies in the past that should have been there but for one reason or another didn’t go. She had been very progressive, and after the Prix Jean Romanet it became a target if everything kept going the right way – and it did, fortunately.

“When we got the 11 draw I was thinking it wasn’t great, because I thought we’d be keen with no cover. Geoffrey de La Sayette rides her every day, and he is also French, so I let him sort the instructions out with Pierre-Charles – and somehow they got it spot on.

“You can see my emotions, because there is a clip on the Internet from a lurking camera man who I forgot was filming! Going into the last corner, she was off the bridle and maybe coming to the end of her run, but she really stuck her head down and ground it out.”

Audarya was a first Breeders’ Cup runner for Fanshawe, who left with only good memories of the meeting.

Pierre-Charles Boudot returns on Audarya with Jacko and James Fanshawe (right) welcoming her back
Pierre-Charles Boudot returns on Audarya with Jacko and James Fanshawe (right) welcoming her back (Michael Conroy/AP)

“We won, which obviously makes an awful lot of difference to your experience, but we were beautifully looked after,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“There were also 2000 people each day – which given we’ve been racing in lockdown (in Britain), made a huge difference. All the Brits and Irish were together cheering each other on – the whole thing was fantastic.

“It was sad that Alison (Swinburn), her owner, and Anthony Stroud, her manager, couldn’t get over because of covid. But I’ve had a chat to them after the race, and the plan is to keep her in training as a five-year-old.

“She’s been very progressive. They broke the track record at Keeneland on Saturday – so providing everything is ok, she’s a very exciting filly to have in the yard.

“She’s got the scope to keep progressing and has kept going the right way. You never know with horses, but there’s no reason she can’t keep going the right way next year.

“Next year’s Breeders’ Cup is a long way off – but I don’t think she’ll be starting too early. She’ll have a nice long break now, and we’ll see how things are in the spring.”

Audarya strikes for Fanshawe in Filly & Mare Turf

Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe struck with his first runner in the Breeders’ Cup when Audarya came with a late run to claim the Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.

The four-year-old had stepped up to the mark at the top level with victory in the Prix Jean Romanet and third place in the Prix de l’Opera on her opening two attempts, and did so again with a determined effort.

She was ridden for the first time by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who Fanshawe called in as a late substitute for Ioritz Mendizabal after he tested positive for Covid-19.

There was drama at the start when Starship Jubilee unseated her rider Florent Geroux after stumbling coming out of the stalls.

Shane Foley rushed up the Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper from her wide draw to lead by the first turn, with the main American hopefuls Mean Mary and Rushing Fall close by.

They looked like fighting out the finish once Cayenne Pepper had weakened by the home turn – but Boudot and Audarya had other ideas.

She hit the front in the final furlong and battled on gamely to score by a neck from Rushing Fall, with Harvey’s Lil Goil half a length away in third place.

Fanshawe was attending the Breeders’ Cup for only the second time – the first being in 1986 when assistant to Sir Michael Stoute as he ran Sonic Lady and Milligram.

He said of the Alison Swinburn-owned filly: “We took it step by step with her and found that she really improved for a step up to a mile and a quarter.

“She won a tiny race at Newcastle and then managed to win the Group One Romanet in France after which we mapped out a proper campaign, which started with a very good run in the Prix de l’Opera, in which she was done by the lack of pace.

“It then left us with six weeks before the Breeders’ Cup and Alison was very keen to go.

“We did have a slight concern before Deauville about whether she would handle soft ground, because she is a very good mover, but it seems she can go on anything.

“I said to Pierre-Charles she might be a bit keen and to try to get a bit of cover, but how he got from stall 11 to the rail was just incredible. She kept finding under a wonderful ride from the jockey.

“The plan now will be for her to remain in training and if she remains in one piece hopefully she will come back to the States to run in this race at Del Mar.”

He added: “Alison was unable to come this time, but she will be having quite a celebration.

“It was bad luck on Ioritz, but he shares the same agent as Pierre and she just kept finding when he asked her in the final two furlongs.”

Audarya flies the flag for Fanshawe at Breeders’ Cup

James Fanshawe is relishing the prospect of sending out his first Breeders’ Cup runner when Audarya contests Saturday’s Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett was winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle as recently as early August, but has made huge progress since by claiming a surprise Group One win in the Prix Jean Romanet before finishing a close third in the Prix de l’Opera.

Fanshawe is well aware of the task facing his charge in America, but is adamant she is not there just to make up the numbers.

He said: “It’s a very different track to what she’s been racing on – it’s round two bends and much tighter.

“She’s a very well balanced filly, so I don’t think that will be a problem, and what will suit her is a truly-run race.

“At this time of year you’re just hoping your filly is in the same form as she has been for her last two races, as you’re going into the winter and some thrive and some start to hibernate.

“She seems well and is showing no signs of that. I hope she’ll run a very big race.”

British hopes are also carried by John Gosden’s Terebellum.

Impressive in the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket in early June, the Godolphin-owned four-year-old was subsequently narrowly denied Group One glory in both the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

However, she could finish only fifth on her latest appearance in the Sun Chariot.

Gosden said: “It was very, very soft ground for Newmarket in the Sun Chariot. They seldom called it heavy and that was the description they were giving on the day.

“She found that a little bit too testing. Like most horses, she likes what we call good ground.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Peaceful and Cayenne Pepper, from Jessica Harrington’s yard, represent Ireland.

Following three successive runner-up finishes, Cayenne Pepper ran out an impressive winner of the Group Two Blandford Stakes at the Curragh in September.

“I think it probably was a career-best last time,” said Harrington.

“I was convinced she was a mile-and-a-half filly, but in the Irish Oaks and in the race at Cork (Give Thanks Stakes), she was in front until the last half-furlong and got run out of it.

“Bringing her back in trip for the Blandford, and winning it like she did, I really was absolutely delighted with her.”

Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers
Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers (PA)

Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup action gets under way with the Filly & Mare Sprint, for which Bob Baffert’s Gamine is the likely favourite.

The following race is the Turf Sprint, in which Kevin Ryan is set to saddle dual Group One-winning filly Glass Slippers, who was last seen finishing second when bidding for back-to-back wins in the Prix de l’Abbaye.

Ryan said: “She’s a top-class filly and the Breeders’ Cup is a very important meeting – it’s nice to have a filly that is good enough to run there.

“She comes out of her races very well – she’s very tough and genuine.

“She’s one of the best I’ve trained. She’s just been a very progressive filly who has kept on improving and I’m very privileged to have her to train.”

Chad Brown’s Complexity and the Brad Cox-trained Knicks Go are among the leading contenders for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, while George Weaver’s Vekoma and Steven Asmussen’s unbeaten colt Yaupon lock horns in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Cox’s Monomoy Girl is a hot favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, ahead of Kenny McPeek’s Swiss Skydiver.

Weld ranks Tarnawa as his best shot at Breeders’ Cup success

Dermot Weld believes Tarnawa represents his best ever chance of claiming Breeders’ Cup success at Keeneland next week.

The master of Rosewell House has enjoyed huge success on the international stage, with a pair of Melbourne Cup victories and multiple top-level wins in America featuring on his illustrious CV – but a Breeders’ Cup winner has so far eluded him.

Tarnawa will cross the Atlantic with excellent claims of breaking his duck following back-to-back Group One wins in France – following up a hugely-impressive display in last month’s Prix Vermeille with a more gritty performance in the Prix de l’Opera on her return to Paris.

Weld said: “I’ve been delighted with Tarnawa. We purposefully planned an autumn campaign with her. She won the Prix Vermeille very nicely and went back and won the Prix de l’Opera and has progressed from those two Group One wins.

“We’ve kept her on the same training schedule. She’s a very straightforward filly to train. She did a nice bit of sharp work last week and I was very happy with the way she went.”

Tarnawa is entered for both the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf in Kentucky – and Weld confirmed she is set to take on the boys in the longer of the two races, with Christophe Soumillon keeping the ride.

He added: “It’s pretty certain that she’ll go to the Turf. It’s a pretty tight track with a short straight and there will likely be a bigger field in the Filly & Mare race, so the chance of getting a bad draw increases.

“Christophe Soumillon will definitely ride her. I thought he gave her two perfect rides when she won her two Group Ones and you don’t break a winning combination.”

Asked whether he felt Tarnawa was his best chance heading to a Breeders’ Cup, Weld said: “Unquestionably.

“It would be lovely to win a Breeders’ Cup race. I’ve had very few horses with the serious chance that I believe she has of winning.”

Just a length behind Tarnawa when third in the Prix de l’Opera was Audarya, who will become multiple Group One-winning trainer James Fanshawe’s first ever Breeders’ Cup runner when she lines up for the Filly & Mare Turf.

“It’s very exciting, because for a stable of our size, when you’re never going to be champion trainer or anything like that, it’s about finding a good horse and doing a good job with what you’ve got,” said the Newmarket handler.

James Fanshawe has high hopes for Audarya
James Fanshawe has high hopes for Audarya (Tim Goode/PA)

“Training winners is great and every winner you’re really grateful for, but to have the chance to go for a race like this is what the game’s all about.

“It’s tough competition at the Breeders’ Cup and I hate going with only half a chance. I feel this filly is really well, we’ve talked about it for a while and that’s where we’ll go.”

Audarya was winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle as recently as early August, but has made huge progress since by claiming a surprise Group One win in the Prix Jean Romanet before proving that effort was no fluke behind Tarnawa on Arc weekend.

Fanshawe added: “We’ve always really liked the filly. We’d won the Romanet before with Ribbons (2014) and Speedy Boarding (2016), so I always had that race at the back of my mind. She was in good form, so we said we’d have a cut at the Romanet and she won it well.

“Having won the Romanet, we went for the Opera and she ran very well there. She was beaten barely a length and her rating has gone up from 101 to 116 this year.

“I always find if I go for a big race as an afterthought it doesn’t come off, but the Breeders’ Cup is nicely spaced after the Opera and she seems in good form.”

The Tin Man drops in class for Bengough challenge

Veteran sprinter The Tin Man has his sights lowered for the rescheduled Coral Bengough Stakes at York on Saturday.

It has been over two years since James Fanshawe’s stable stalwart claimed the third of his three wins at Group One level in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, adding to his previous wins in top-level company in the Qipco British Champions Sprint and the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot.

However, he has run some fine races in defeat since – most recently finishing sixth in his latest tilt at Sprint Cup glory – and drops to a Group Three for a race that was saved from last Saturday’s abandoned meeting at Ascot.

“He’s coming back from a Group One to a Group Three. He’s seems in really good form – the obvious question mark is the going, but he has handled soft ground before,” said Fanshawe.

“He’s been running really well this year. Before the Sprint Cup he was narrowly beaten in a Group Three (Hackwood Stakes) at Newbury and he is still enjoying it.

“We’ll see how he gets on this weekend and take it from there.”

The Tin Man’s seven rivals include David O’Meara’s Stewards’ Cup hero Summerghand, Kevin Ryan’s Brando and the Michael Dods-trained Dakota Gold, who has won four times from seven appearances at York and finished second on two other occasions.

Dods said: “He was actually meant to run in the Rous Stakes at Ascot last weekend, but obviously that meeting was called off and when they switched the Bengough to York, we thought it made sense to run him.

“He seems in good form. It’s a very competitive race, but hopefully he’ll run well.”

Fresh from saddling an across-the-card four-timer at Sedgefield and Newcastle on Wednesday, Rebecca Menzies is looking forward to running Stormy Girl, who claimed a Listed prize at Pontefract in August.

“She’s a very good filly who will also have a big year next year as well, I hope,” said the County Durham-based trainer.

“She’s a big, strong filly who will definitely hold her own as a four-year-old.

“She’s already proved that she can be competitive in Group races and hopefully a Group Three is within reach.”

Brad The Brief (Tom Dascombe), Hareem Queen (Karl Burke) and Kurious (Henry Candy) complete the line-up.

Listed honours are up for grabs in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.

Dods is represented by Blackrod, who steps up in class after a dominant display at Hamilton a few weeks ago.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Dods added.

“It’s a warm race and he has a bit to find on ratings, but he’s an improver and I don’t think he’ll disgrace himself.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s French Group Three runner-up Legal Attack, Richard Fahey’s pair of Internationaldream and Regional and the Queen’s Light Refrain, trained by William Haggas, also feature.

The most valuable race on the final day of the season on the Knavesmire is the £75,000 Coral Sprint Trophy.

The weights are headed by Mr Lupton and Kynren, third and fifth respectively in the Ayr Gold Cup three weeks ago.

Further down the field is Kevin Ryan’s Magical Spirit, who received a hefty rise for a runaway victory in the Ayr Silver Cup.

Cosmo Charlton, racing manager for Magical Spirit’s owners Hambleton Racing, said: “He seems in great form and Kevin thought it was worth giving him another run in handicap company for some good prize-money.

“It’s a very competitive race and he’s gone up 12lb for winning at Ayr, so it won’t be easy, but I think the track should suit him as you generally need to be on the pace at York and he certainly has plenty of boot.

“Kevin thinks he could be a Pattern-race performer next year, so hopefully he’ll run another big race this weekend.”