14:55 Ascot: Murtagh can double up with Belle De Crecy
Flying the flag for Ireland in the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot, the four-year-old Belle De Crecy has a good chance of pleasing both her jockey and her trainer.
That is because in Johnny Murtagh the two are one and the same, and the multiple major-winning jockey knows that he’ll have a good chance in Europe’s richest race for the fairer sex.
Now upgraded to a Group 1, the 1m4f challenge pits nine of the best fillies and mares against each other, with Ralph Beckett’s three-year-old Oaks winner Talent unsurprisingly heading the betting at 3/1 following a flurry of interest off the back of that win at Epsom in late May.
But Murtagh will hold out hope for Belle De Crecy, who enters the race as a firm 12/1 outsider, but has progressed nicely recently.
Having been transferred from Richard Hannon’s stable, the well-bred Rock of Gibraltar filly has been supplemented here at a cost of £35,000.
Although facing a step up in trip, the half-sister to The Miniver Rose – a Park Hill Stakes winner – showed potential when staying on well for a second place at Gowran Park in August, before going one better at The Curragh in the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Blandford Stakes last month.
She came home a length and three-quarters ahead of heavy favourite Hot Snap back then, and although seeing off Talent and the rest here will prove tricky, she certainly looks to be a decent each-way option.
Elsewhere, seven-time winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute saddles the 7/1 Waila who is making a return from a three-month layoff, whilst Prix De L’Opera winner Dalkala could go close at 3/1 if she can shake off any Longchamp sluggishness.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication