I'm certain my 14-1 tip can strike at Ascot against one of my favourite horses of the season | The Sun
TWO winning machines deserve a ‘Yeeehaaa’ this week.
The magnificent Quinault and Sparks Fly have banged in a whopping 14 victories between them this term.
Columns like this are dominated by our equine friends who run at the top level, and many will be excited to see John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral under Frankie Dettori in Saturday's feature Group 1 Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
That race is live on ITV, as is the Howden Challenge Cup at Ascot which features Quinault.
The Stuart Williams-trained son of Oasis Dream, who once cost 310,000gns and was originally trained for Godolphin by Charlie Appleby, was only rated 59 when landing his first race at Chelmsford in April.
He was pumped up to 65 before scoring at Brighton, then to 74 and 80 in two successes at Newmarket, 85 at York, 90 back at Newmarket, 97 at Ascot for a seventh victory and now 102. That is extraordinary.
I love to see these terrific warriors defying those — the handicappers — who try to stop them winning.
We have seen similar things with multiple Group 1 heroine Highfield Princess who rocketed through the grades, while Hukum and Bay Bridge were both once handicappers but ended up in the Arc at Longchamp last weekend.
Williams said: “Quinault has been a star for us this year and has thrived on his racing — the more racing he has had the more settled into it he has become. He’s bred to get at least seven furlongs so I’m very happy with him at this trip.”
Sparks Fly is another fabulous story for David Loughnane.
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Bred and owned by Dave Lowe and his family, the daughter of Muhaarar was on a mark of 59 when scoring at Windsor in April, and then 65 when following up at the same track.
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Another win came off 74 at Thirsk, 77 at Windsor, 87 at Chester and 93 at Ayr.
Then, after a defeat at York, Sparks Fly was all heart when denying former French Derby third Millebosc off 98 at Haydock. Now she’s been thumped to 103.
A hugely proud Lowe told me: “She’s our third homebred from the mare Stepping Out, and luckily enough all have been decent with the likes of Baby Steps and then Caroline Dale who finished third in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot which I thought we’d be lucky to top.
“Then Sparks Fly was next in line. She never ran as a two-year-old as she was very backward.
“We ran her at Wolverhampton in January and I have never seen a horse run so green so I thought our luck had run out.
“But Rossa Ryan suggested trying her on turf on soft ground and she loved it.
“We still think she is improving.
“The journey we have been on seeing her loving it has been emotional and she’s thriving.
“It was never my plan to be a breeder. But her dam was injured and I couldn’t bear to sell her so I bought the partners out and decided to breed from her.
“It makes the success of her siblings even more special and they seem to be getting better.”
When it comes to awards at the end of the season people could do a lot worse than find one for Williams and Loughnane for two outstanding training performances.
Inspiral, meanwhile, will be a short price in the Sun Chariot even though she takes on a serious rival in the Andre Fabre-handled Mqse De Sevigne and Breeders’ Cup heroine Meditate.
The Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly was a flop in testing ground at Glorious Goodwood, but was back to her best for Deauville’s Jacques le Marois.
Behind Inspiral that day was Big Rock, who has form with Ace Impact, and Onesto, who was third behind the former in the Arc on Sunday. The Queen Anne winner Triple Time was fifth.
At her best Inspiral should score.
Over at Ascot I’m hoping for a huge run from Orbaan (3.35) against Quinault.
Orbaan hasn’t had much luck recently but I think he’s every chance of hitting the frame for David O’Meara and Jason Hart off a mark of 90.
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The old boy ran a fair race at York last time when finishing off well, and also looked in good shape in July when seventh in the International Stakes behind Baradar who reopposes again.
Let’s hope sparks fly for Orbaan!
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