Sun Chariot Stakes: Laurens in peak shape but Karl Burke fears Wind Chimes

Fri 5 Oct 2018

Click here for all the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket runners and riders plus latest odds and, below, watch Tony Calvin and Rachel Casey explore betting angles.

Karl Burke is confident Laurens remains in peak condition ahead of her bid for further big-race glory in the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

It will be exactly five months on Saturday since the popular filly kicked off her campaign by finishing second in the 1000 Guineas over this course and distance, and she has been campaigned exclusively at the highest level all year.

Successive Group One wins in the Prix Saint-Alary and the Prix de Diane in France were followed by a disappointing first run over a mile and a half in the Yorkshire Oaks.

However, she got back on the winning trail when inflicting a shock defeat on the now-retired Alpha Centauri in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown three weeks ago, and she sticks to a mile this weekend.

Burke said: “It’s another tough race, but she’s more than entitled to be there.

“She seems in great form. She came back from Leopardstown well, the couple of bits of work she’s done since the Matron have been good and she’s looks great, so there’s nothing to suggest the season is catching is up with her.

“The French filly (Wind Chimes) looks the one to beat, but if Laurens is at the top of her game then whatever beats her will deserve to.”

2018 Longines Irish Champions Weekend – Leopardstown Racecourse
2018 Longines Irish Champions Weekend – Leopardstown Racecourse

As for whether she will run again this season, Burke said: “A lot depends on what happens on Saturday, but, all things being equal, there is every chance she will have another run this year.

“She could go to Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot (October 20), or the Matron was a ‘Win And You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup – those are her options.

“Having a horse of mine bidding for a fifth Group One is not a position I really thought about at the start of my career. It’s fantastic to finally be getting hold of this sort of horse and I just hope it continues.”

Wind Chimes is rated 4lb higher than Laurens, having produced a career-best performance to finish a close second behind Recoletos in last month’s Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

Trainer Andre Fabre, who claimed the Sun Chariot three years ago with Esoterique, supplemented Wind Chimes for this year’s renewal on Monday and expects his filly to make her presence felt in a race that falls under the Qicp British Champoions Series umbrella.

Fabre said: “It’s a Group One, it’s obviously a tough race, but she will run well, I’m sure of that.

“She showed form against the colts last time out, that gives us hope that she is well up to running a big race.

“As for the ground, she acts very well on soft ground, but she also has some top-class form on good ground as well, so it shouldn’t be an issue for her.

“On all known form we can’t beat Laurens, but she did get beaten at Newmarket in the Guineas, so we’ll see.”

Veracious on her way to winning the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown
Veracious on her way to winning the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown

After finishing third in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Veracious enjoyed a confidence-boosting success in the Group Three Atalanta Stakes at Sandown on her latest appearance, earning her a return to Group One company.

Chris Richardson, managing director for owner-breeders Cheveley Park Stud, said: “I think Sir Michael is happy with her. She came out of her last race well and she’s in good form.

“It’s obviously a tough race and it was frustrating to discover Wind Chimes had been supplemented.

“But we’re happy with our filly and there should be plenty of pace on, so we’ll roll the dice and see what happens.

“I think we’re of the opinion that next year she’ll fully blossom, all being well.”

Clemmie is one of three runners for Aidan O'Brien in this year's Sun Chariot
Clemmie is one of three runners for Aidan O'Brien in this year's Sun Chariot

Aidan O’Brien, who is bidding for a third straight Sun Chariot success and a fourth overall, saddles Clemmie, I Can Fly and Happily.

Richard Hannon’s Billesdon Brook is back at the scene of her shock 1,000 Guineas triumph, while Marco Botti’s Aljazzi, the Roger Varian-trained Altyn Orda and Wilamina from Martyn Meade’s yard complete the 10-strong field.

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