ONLY three lined up for the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, but it still proved an informative affair, with the pair who finished first and second in the Acomb Stakes at York last month crossing swords again.
On that occasion, Andrew Balding’s Juddmonte colt Chaldean was half a length too good for Michael O’Callaghan’s Indestructible, but that margin of victory was stretched to three and a half lengths under a clever front-running ride from Frankie Dettori.
A sturdy son of Frankel, Chaldean led at a modest pace until halfway, but Dettori turned on the taps from that point, and Chaldean was comfortably able to keep his flat-footed rivals at bay.
Indestructible kept plugging away in vain under David Egan, but Solario Stakes winner and 8/13 favourite Silver Knott (Charlie Appleby/Will Buick) could never muster the speed to challenge, possibly not enjoying the rain-softened ground, and he was beaten five and a quarter lengths at the line. The winner was returned at 2/1.
Barry Mahon, representing Juddmonte was left to mull over the options for Chaldean having been debriefed by Frankie Dettori post-race.
“Frankie was very complimentary about him,” said Mahon. “He said he’d have no problem staying at seven and will get a mile too and he suggested the Dewhurst.
“Before the race, the Lagardere was probably in our minds, so I think we’ll consider both and have a sit down with the family and see which their preference is for.”
Trillium (Richard Hannon/Pat Dobbs) looked a high-class prospect when winning the Molecomb at Goodwood, and the daughter of No Nay Never backed up that impression by wearing down Nunthorpe runner-up The Platinum Queen (Richard Fahey/Oisin Orr) in the final strides after the latter had made almost all the running.
There was just a short head between them at the line, and the pair proved a class apart, with third home Crispy Cat (Michael O’Callaghan/David Egan) beaten four and a quarter lengths in the five-furlong dash.
Trillium and The Platinum vied for superiority in the last furlong just as they had vied for favouritism throughout the day, with punters eventually sending the winner off the 2/1 second favourite.
Winning jockey Pat Dobbs felt that the winner is capable of better still, saying: “Trillium is very quick and very tough, it’s everything you want in a thoroughbred.
“She was actually travelling too well and never really relaxed properly so it was an even better performance, it’s hard to do it on that sort of ground.”
The winner ought to be at least as effective at six furlongs, and holds an entry in the Cheveley Park, which was mentioned as her immediate target by Ed Sackville (representing owners Rockcliffe Stud) prior to this race.
The Platinum Queen is all speed, and Tom Pail, of Middleham Park Racing was talking of a possible tilt at the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp.