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Weather key to Just Beautiful’s Sun Chariot challenge

Just Beautiful’s participation in the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on October 2 depends entirely on the weather.

The filly took her record to five wins from seven outings in the Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster last week, with her only defeats coming over a mile.

With a lack of suitable options over seven furlongs for the rest of this season, trainer Ivan Furtado feels it is the Sun Chariot or nothing – and then she may be heading to the sales.

“We’re still planning to go to Newmarket, but we’ve got an open mind about the ground,” said Furtado.

“She’s come out of the race well and if the weather holds on until then we’ll run, but if the ground is not right and it’s gone soft, we won’t. The possibilities are slim but that’s what we’re planning.

“It’s unfortunate that she’s probably the best seven-furlong filly in Europe but there’s no race for her, but that’s the way the calendar is – it’s very short of seven-furlong Group races.

“We didn’t put her in the Prix de la Foret, there is a possibility of supplementing, but then it could be soft ground there which is why we didn’t put her in in the first place.

“She probably just about stays a mile, but seven furlongs is her trip. She’s been beaten twice over a mile and that is because you have to ride her to get the trip, but over seven you can be a lot more positive which is what she likes.”

As for next year, Furtado said: “We’re keen to keep her in training, but at the same time she’ll probably have an entry in the broodmare sale and we’ll see what sort of figure she makes.

“If she makes the right money from the owner’s point of view then she’ll probably have to go, but if she doesn’t she’ll be back with us. We’re not in a rush to sell and there’s some nice races next year if she stays in training.

“I understand, though, that if she makes the right money she’ll probably have to go and then the challenge is to find the next one – it will be difficult as she only cost 8,000 guineas!”

Hannon has Sun Chariot in sights for Snow Lantern

Richard Hannon is eyeing the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes as an opportunity for Snow Lantern to redeem herself after finishing fourth at Group One level in France.

The three-year-old was beaten four lengths in fourth place behind Baaeed in Sunday’s Prix du Moulin, with Hannon admitting he was disappointed by her effort.

Having previously won the Falmouth Stakes on Newmarket’s July Course as well as finishing placed in both the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes, Snow Lantern is likely to return over the Rowley Mile on October 2.

However, Hannon will also give her a thorough check over on Tuesday to make sure there were no underlying issues at ParisLongchamp.

He said: “She didn’t run her race. I think she does need further, but we didn’t see a flash of brilliance, (then) going to the line she started to run on. The winner is a good horse.

“We’ll go back to the Sun Chariot, which is fillies only. I know it’s a mile, but she has the beating of fillies in this country, and then we might go to a mile and a quarter.

“But I’m going to scope and trachea wash her on Tuesday just to see if she is all right. It’s one of those where you hope you find something.”

Of Snow Lantern’s Moulin performance, Hannon added: “She has her head to the side, but there was no excuse.

“She just didn’t pick up like she normally does. Only time will tell what figure she ran to, but it was disappointing. I know that was not her level.

“I couldn’t have been happier with her going into the race.”

Levey expecting to see the real Snow Lantern at Newmarket

Sean Levey felt soft ground at Goodwood was Snow Lantern’s undoing in the Qatar Sussex Stakes.

The three-year-old finished a three-and-a-half-length third to Alcohol Free in the mile Group One, having had that filly back in third when winning the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket previously.

Levey missed the Goodwood outing due to suspension, with Jamie Spencer taking the reins in his place, but he is looking forward to renewing their association in the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on October 2.

Sean Levey with Snow Lantern at Newmarket
Sean Levey with Snow Lantern at Newmarket (Tim Goode/PA)

Levey said: “I think she goes for the Sun Chariot, I think that’s why she ran in the Sussex as they wanted to stay at the mile for now. She ran a blinder in the Sussex on ground which I personally don’t think she likes.

“When she had good to firm at Newmarket, I think we all saw the true Snow Lantern there. She’s a very good filly with plenty of potential and I just feel as though she keeps improving as the year goes on and it’s exciting to know she’s going to be in training again next year.

“For me, she’s a great filly to have.”

Nazeef shines in Sun Chariot victory at Newmarket

Nazeef doubled her Group One tally as she returned to winning form in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

John Gosden’s filly, striking on the eve of stable star Enable’s bid for a historic third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp, produced a determined late challenge under Jim Crowley to beat Half Light and Cloak Of Spirits by a length and a half and a neck.

Nazeef (17-2) had capped a winning sequence of six in succession when she struck for the first time at the top level over the July Course in the Falmouth Stakes three months ago.

That was over this same distance of a mile, before she twice came up short at 10 furlongs in the highest grade at Goodwood and Deauville.

But Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s four-year-old appeared to relish rain-softened conditions on her return to Newmarket, challenging inside the final furlong to see off the runner-up, who had been supplemented for the race by French trainer Henri-Alex Pantall.

Gosden said: “They had a 100 millimetres of rain in Deauville and it was like an ice rink – she couldn’t get her foot in, so Frankie looked after her. She came out of the race well and we were able to come here back to a mile.

“I think she gets a mile and a quarter, but she got confused and lost her balance a little coming down the hill in the Nassau to run on late and be third. She is a grand filly that is very brave.

“For Newmarket this is soft, it is quite testing by our standards here. I think she asserted well in the last 50 yards. She is a tough filly.

“She was in handicaps last year. She won a handicap in great style at Chelmsford last backend. We decided then, with permission of her owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan, to keep her in training to win a Listed race, which she did immediately in the Snowdrop.

“She then went on to the Duke of Cambridge, then the Falmouth and then the trainer got carried away – but she will get a mile and a quarter – and then to win this one her.

“It has been a fantastic year for her. I think it was a career best. In the Falmouth it was heads and necks and she battled by a neck. She is gritty and an assertive filly.”

Gosden will now consider the options for Nazeef with her owner.

He added: “It’s up to the owner-breeder and he may decide to send her to the breeding sheds. He may decide to run her next year or have a run in America. I think the key thing is the next 10 days – she will tell us if she wants to do any more or not.

“You never think you are going to go from a Chelmsford handicap to knocking off two Group Ones at Newmarket, but she is a willing filly to train. She is quite lazy in her work and looks after herself.

“She is not one of those horses that wants to over do and I think that is a big factor with her.

“Those are the options – retire, race next year or Breeders’ Cup. I’m pretty sure she has a QEII entry and that is another one you can look at. We will put them all on the table and see what we want to do.”

Crowley was similarly thrilled and said: “That’s two Group Ones on her now. She ran very well in the Nassau, she just got outpaced that day.

“It was a great performance. John gave her a break and she has come back tip top. It was a very good race today – it was a proper Group One, so it was lovely to win it.

“She handles the ground. She isn’t ground dependent, but she seems to act well with that bit of cut. She has progressed very well and has exceeded expectations by improving all the way.

“It is lovely to get another Group One on the board.”

Champers poised to sparkle again in Sun Chariot

Champers Elysees will face 11 rivals as she bids for a second Group One win in Saturday’s Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

The three-year-old completed her meteoric rise through the ranks when landing the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last month – graduating from a Curragh handicap at the start of the season to top-level success, via Listed and Group Three wins.

Champers Elysees, who is trained by Johnny Murtagh, was subsequently purchased by Teruya Yoshida and will sport his colours for the first time at Headquarters. Like at the Curragh, the daughter of Elzaam will be ridden by Colin Keane.

Peaceful represents Aidan O'Brien
Peaceful represents Aidan O’Brien (PA)

Aidan O’Brien’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Peaceful was second to Champers Elysees at Leopardstown and will try to reverse that form under Ryan Moore.

The home defence is headed by the John Gosden-trained duo of Nazeef and Terebellum, with the pair renewing old rivalries having finished first and third respectively in the Falmouth Stakes back in July.

Richard Hannon is also double-handed with last year’s winner Billesdon Brook and Cloak Of Spirits, who struck at Listed level at Newmarket last week.

Billesdon Brook will defend her Sun Chariot crown
Billesdon Brook will defend her Sun Chariot crown (Tim Goode/PA)

As well as Terebellum, Godolphin are also represented by the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Final Song and Henri-Alex Pantall’s Half Light, who was supplemented for the race on Monday.

Last year’s runner-up Veracious tries her luck again for Sir Michael Stoute, while Ralph Beckett’s Feliciana De Vega makes her seasonal bow having won the Darley Stakes on her final start of 2019.

The William Jarvis-trained Lady Bowthorpe and Amanda Perrett’s Lavender’s Blue – the mount of Hollie Doyle – complete the line up.