While many British trainers will be taking their star charges across the Channel to Longchamp this weekend, it looks as if these shores could be the target of some Gallic challengers.
Despite the race being held at Newmarket, the Sun Chariot Stakes has very much been the domain of the French trainers in recent years, and it looks set to continue on Saturday.
In the last six years a trainer from France has landed the Group 1 on four occasions. Bear in mind that they had no runner in 2013 and represented just 16 per cent of the total field in that period, and it is an even more impressive stat.
It’s not just top spot they have been farming either, with seven of the 11 runners (63 per cent) in the past decade at least making the places.
The French represent four of the 10 entries remaining for the contest on the Rowley Mile – Esoterique, Miss France, Maimara and Bawina– and it is the latter that ticks all the right boxes.
Carlos Laffon-Parias’ filly has taken in the Prix Jean Romanet and Prix Rothschild in her last two starts, races that have seen the Sun Chariot winner emerge in four of the last six years.
Her form in the earlier of those races looks rock solid, with Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Coronation Stakes winner Ervedya just 1¼ lengths in front. The same distance ahead of that one was David O’Meara’s fellow dual Group 1 winner Amazing Maria.
A second place over 10.5 furlongs at Deauville behind Odeliz looks a decent enough prep run, and a drop back in trip should see her return to her best.
All five of her successes, two of them at Group level, came at a mile, suggesting she shouldn’t be tapped for toe at HQ.
Her handler has suggested that she is well on course for the contest, giving this glowing reference:
“We are very much hoping to get a Group One victory into Bawina before the end of the season…Last time she found a mile and a quarter a bit too far. She was only beaten a neck but she didn’t really stay – it was her class that got her through.
“She is a strong filly and although it has been a long year for her she does not seem to be tired. I think the straight mile is ideal for her and I would love to win my first Rowley Mile race with her.” (any source for this quote?)
The daughter of Dubawi currently represents a 7/1 chance for the race, and could represent plenty of value ahead of her fellow foreign raiders.
Andre Fabre’s Esoterique has some excellent form in the book this year and is the one to beat but with 48 of the last 50 renewals going to a horse aged four or younger, it might be one left for the less experienced legs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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