Horse Racing
Inspiral clashes with Auguste Rodin in Prince of Wales’s Stakes showdown

18/06/2024 15:29

The G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (2005m) is the highlight of the second day at Royal Ascot on Wednesday (19 June) when outstanding miler Inspiral takes on the dual Classic winner Auguste Rodin.

Inspiral, who was ante-post favourite for Tuesday’s (18 June) G1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) until her withdrawal from the race, has only once raced at 2000m, winning the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita last November for John and Thady Gosden.

Chris Richardson, representing Inspiral’s owner Cheveley Park Stud, said: “We learnt last year in California that she needed every yard of 2000 metres. We’ve been looking forward to stepping her up in trip again after her comeback race over 1600m at Newbury last month. She was slowly away that day and in need of the run and shaped as if she needs a bit further these days. That’s what the Gosdens have been saying. Hopefully this will open up many more avenues going forward.”

In a glittering career, the five-year-old has won six Group 1 races in Britain, France and the United States of America. Her victory at Santa Anita came on firm ground and her many fans will hope that she appreciates the extra distance and puts her disappointing G1 Lockinge Stakes (1600m) defeat at Newbury behind her.

Auguste Rodin, who boasts five Group 1 victories in Britain, Ireland and the USA, including the English and Irish Derbies and Breeders’ Cup Turf, all over 2400m, is favourite to prevail. The Aidan O’Brien trained colt won the G1 Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) last September but also has a question to answer.

The four-year-old finished last in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) in March and was then beaten by White Birch in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (2100m) at the Curragh last month.

After that race, O’Brien said, “He ran a very good race. We knew the ground (good to yielding) wasn’t going to be ideal, but he’s on the way back. He’ll be fine.”

If not, four French trained contenders will be hoping to take advantage. Chief amongst them is Horizon Dore, trained by Patrice Cottier.

The four-year-old, a much-improved performer, finished third in the G1 Champion Stakes over this course and distance last October and last month was narrowly beaten in the G1 Prix d’Ispahan (1850m).

Spokesperson Pauline Chehboub, said afterwards: “Horizon Dore showed his true self today. His options include the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and hopefully he’ll get a proper pace to run at in Britain.”

A bigger concern may be the ground conditions. Horizon Dore is well suited by soft going, which it was at Ascot for the Champion Stakes but is unlikely on Wednesday.

Fellow French challenger Blue Rose Cen, who has won four Group 1 races in France at up to 2100m, was behind Horizon Dore in the Prix d’Ispahan but that was for a new trainer after a long break.