Star Catcher is a hot favorite to provide Anthony Oppenheimer with a Champions Day victory in so many years when she bids to crown an superb campaign.
The top owner-breeder has seen that his colours carried in the previous two renewals of the Champion Stakes – and can go back to Ascot optimistic of glory.
Founded by John Gosden, Star Catcher has won four of the five starts to date this year – by landing the Irish Oaks at the Curragh the Ribblesdale in Royal Ascot and the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp completing a.
Sea The Stars girl is well fancied to bring a third Group One this weekend, however with her Epsom companion Anapurna one of her rivals, Oppenheimer is taking nothing for granted.
He said:I expect she has got a good opportunity, but you have obtained the Oaks winner at the marketplace, that won a Group One last time, therefore it is no pushover.
Im told she functioned very well earlier in the week. The ground isnt going to be as soft on the course because it is. She moves on the ground that is good and soft, but would not need it thick.
She remains in practice a year ago, so shell only run if Mr Gosden is pleased with the ground.
Itd be wonderful to have another winner on Champions Day. Lets see what happens.
Anapurna was away from the track for over three months after her Classic victory at Epsom and can only finish seventh supporting Star Catcher after encountering traffic issues along with her comeback run at the Vermeille.
When registering a clear-cut triumph at the Prix de Royallieu she showed her true colours to Paris a fortnight ago.
Mark Weinfeld of owners Helena Springfield Ltd stated:It is nice to be heading up there on the rear of a win after what happened to her at the Vermeille. The Vermeille was a non-event for her, so that she did to bounce back time back into France.
What she revealed there was that she manages soft earth very well and has plenty of endurance, so thats not an issue, but what could be is that she is coming back fairly fast.
She did have a mid-summer break, though.
Gosden has a third string.
Aidan OBrien has maintained this prize with Hydrangea and Magical in each of the previous two seasons respectively.
This season the Ballydoyle handler starts a four-pronged attack, with Fleeting (Donnacha OBrien) and Delphinia (Seamie Heffernan) apparently his two chief contenders, before South Sea Pearl (Sean Levey) along with Pink Dogwood (Pierre-Charles Boudot).
OBrien stated:The two Fleeting and Delphina were second in Group Ones in their last begins. Its pretty unbelievable that Fleeting has not won one yet. Shes in great shape and ran a great race in Longchamp (second in Prix de lOpera). She looks well, although we havent done much since.
Delphina also ran a terrific race in Longchamp the last day (second to Anapurna) over a tiny bit farther, but she seems to be in good form as well.
Were a little bit lost with Pink Dogwood and we cant place our finger on why her kind has gone backward, but shes working well and was second in the Oaks.
Coaches have their string in better shape. Since claiming a Listed decoration at Newbury at 18, the three-year-old has not been viewed.
She did a wonderful bit of work in Kempton last week and we believe she is prepared, said Beckett.
The ground will probably be right up her alley – it couldnt rain enough to her.
Im hopeful shell run nicely. The attraction (10) isnt perfect, but we can not help that.
She is very under-raced and Im hopeful there is a bit more to come. She moves nice and fresh.
Beckett had five winners last Saturday, and added:We had a tricky spring, it was not going well and after we hit a small blip in July when they were not running well. Saturday gave us all a joy and its almost always a good idea to finish off your season
The William Haggas-trained Klassique is still an outsider, having just once completed in 10 starts.
She was seen placing third in a Group Two.
Klassique ran well in France the past time, but was somewhat flat. She loves the soft and we intentionally put her off, explained Haggas.
Shes an outsider, and it has got a little to find on shape. If she can complete in the first four months, then we will be thrilled.
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