September 26, 2022

Inspiral rebounds in BC WAYI Prix Jacques le Marois

Inspiral holds off Light Infantry in the Prix Jacques le Marois (Photo by Valentin Desbriel/Scoopdyga)

After suffering a shock loss at Newmarket’s July Festival, star filly Inspiral recaptured her winning form in Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville. The John and Thady Gosden trainee was facing males for the first time, but passed her test in a fast-run “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

Failing his Marois test was Coroebus, who was slightly favored at 8-5 over the 9-5 Inspiral. Hopping a bit from the outside post 9 and dropping far back early, the Godolphin runner eventually worked his way into contention, only to fade to fifth in the worst result of his life.

Inspiral, on the other hand, secured good position just about in midpack for Frankie Dettori. As expected, Japan’s Bathrat Leon blasted to the lead through splits of :36.65, :47.85, and :59.33 (according to france-galop.com), a strong pace on the good-to-soft straightway. Order of Australia, the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile upsetter, and multiple Group 1 globetrotter State of Rest gave chase.

The field fanned out entering the final two furlongs, and Inspiral produced the best turn of foot to take command. The biggest dangers were a pair of sophomore colts on either side. The Aga Khan’s Erevann made eye-catching headway on the outside, while Light Infantry speared through on the inner.

Light Infantry, who was coming off a second to three-year-old filly Tenebrism in the Prix Jean Prat (G1), drew up to Inspiral’s throat-latch. But she held on from her fellow British shipper in a final time of 1:34.07, the quickest Marois since Moonlight Cloud’s 1:33.39 in 2013.

Inspiral was handing the Gosden yard and Dettori their third straight Marois, after Palace Pier’s consecutive wins in 2020-21. John Gosden has four overall, starting with Palace Pier’s sire, Kingman (2014). Dettori boasts a record seven wins in the mile feature, dating back to Godolphin’s phenom Dubai Millennium (1999).

Erevann was beaten all of two necks in third. This was a fine Group 1 bow for the inexperienced son of Dubawi and multiple Group 1 queen Ervedya, who was herself third in the 2016 Marois.

Order of Australia fared best of those in proximity to the early pace, checking in a further three lengths back in fourth. The Aidan O’Brien veteran was turning the page on a lifeless last in the Sussex (G1), and presumably putting himself back in the picture for another Breeders’ Cup bid.

Next came Coroebus, who had missed the Sussex with a setback. Trainer Charlie Appleby thought that he was back on song for this engagement. Even if the 2000 Guineas (G1) and St James’s Palace (G1) hero were totally fit, he faced an awfully difficult task given how the race unfolded.

Coroebus had to quicken to make up a lot of ground in the middle of the race, reeling off punishing sectionals of :10.90, :11.14, and :10.95 that he couldn’t sustain at the business end. If Coroebus had the early position of the top three, he might have finished better.  Appleby told SkySports that he just didn’t show up, and mentioned possibly cutting back to about seven furlongs for the Prix de la Foret (G1) on Arc Day.

Prosperous Voyage, who had overturned Inspiral in the July 8 Falmouth (G1), found this too hot and tired to sixth. Bathrat Leon retreated to seventh, followed by State of Rest and longshot Djo Francais.

Inspiral avenged her lone career defeat to extend her record to 7-6-1-0. A homebred for the Thompson family’s Cheveley Park Stud, she ranked as Europe’s co-highweight juvenile filly with resounding wins in the May Hill (G2) and Fillies’ Mile (G1).

The daughter of Frankel was the antepost favorite for the 1000 Guineas (G1), but ended up missing the classic when she was slow to sparkle in the spring. Inspiral benefited from the extra time, resuming with a devastating display in the June 17 Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot.

It’s arguable whether wheeling back for the Falmouth after such a big comeback cost her. John Gosden emphasizes that it was more her trip that day – overracing with too much daylight – that caused her defeat. She harnessed her energy more effectively on Sunday.

“There was a strong pace today and they went hard up front,” Gosden said. “Then she switched off and relaxed and when she wanted to go Frankie said go and she hit the front a little soon to say the least.

“She’s a three-year-old filly taking on older horses and she gets a little weight for that (10 pounds) which makes a difference no doubt, but I think she’s showing her versatility. The key with her is to get her to relax early. She’s very generous and wants to give, but sometimes with that she can be a little overenthusiastic, but she’s done it well today and showed a lot of courage in the closing stages.”

-John Gosden

“She showed today that she’s a true champion,” Dettori said, “and I’ve made up for the Thompson family and really pleased that she’s back to her best.

“We went extremely fast throughout. She’s a filly you need to know, and at the 500-meter mark she took me there and she wanted to go. She’s the kind of filly that doesn’t want to disappoint, and I hit the front with plenty of time left. John thinks she could get a bit further, so I wasn’t afraid about whether I would get to the line, and she galloped right to the end.”

Out of the Selkirk mare Starscope, the runner-up in the 1000 Guineas and Coronation in 2012, Inspiral hails from the family of multiple Group 1-winning sire Medicean. Although mostly campaigned as a miler, Medicean handled 1 1/4 miles in the 2001 Eclipse (G1).

Inspiral will stick to a mile for the time being, with the Oct. 15 Queen Elizabeth II (G1) on Champions Day her likely target. According to Racing Post, connections are inclined to pass up the Breeders’ Cup opportunity at Keeneland.