Inspiral bounced back to her brilliant best to land the Prix Jacques le Marois on Sunday and give Frankie Dettori a record seventh victory in the Deauville Group One.
John and Thady Gosden’s former champion two-year-old filly has given her supporters a rollercoaster ride this year, making them wait for her return when she flew home to win the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, before being turned over at odds of 1/7 in the Falmouth at Newmarket.
Sent off as 7/4 favourite in France, Dettori settled his mount in midfield for much of the way while the Irish pair of Order Of Australia and State Of Rest forced the pace along with Japan’s Bathrat Leon.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s previously unbeaten colt Erevann and the David Simcock-trained Light Infantry proved her most persistent challengers as the post loomed, but Inspiral stuck to her task to see off the former and claim her third Group One victory.
The disappointment of the race was undoubtedly Coroebus. Having been last early on, William Buick looked to be delivering the 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner with a serious challenge a furlong down, but his effort petered out and he was ultimately well held in fifth place.
Dettori, who has now won the race in four of the last six years, told Sky Sports Racing: “We were scratching our heads after Newmarket but she has shown today that she’s a true champion. I’m pleased she has bounced back to her very best.
“We went extremely fast throughout and at 500m she took me there and wanted to go. I hit the front with plenty of time left.
“John thinks she can probably get a little bit further so I wasn’t afraid of getting to the line.”
John Gosden told Sky Sports Racing: “There was a strong pace today and she switched off and relaxed. When she wanted to go she hit the front a little too soon to say the least.
“She’s a three-year-old filly taking on older horses and she’s shown her versatility. She’s shown a lot of courage.”
On future targets, Gosden added: “We may well just freshen up for the QEII [Ascot], but you could go to the Matron [Leopardstown] or the Sun Chariot [Newmarket]. I’d be inclined to go for the QEII.”
Light Infantry set for trip down under
Runner-up Light Infantry, who had filled the same spot in the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Deauville last month, once again did Simcock proud.
The three-year-old colt will now be put away in preparation for a long trip to Australia for the Golden Eagle.
“I’m very proud of the horse, very pleased,” Simcock told Sky Sports Racing. “He had a gallop to run at today and a mile was always going to suit him better. He’s run his heart out and it’s a personal best. I couldn’t be happier.
“We’ve picked up a nice prize and it’s onwards and upwards.
“The plan is to go straight to the Golden Eagle in Sydney in October and that will be his last race of the year.”
Charlie Appleby and Buick were left disappointed in the feature contest but did enjoy Group Three success in the Prix Francois Boutin with Mysterious Night.
The 4/11 favourite showed his class to get the better of Bolshkinov by half a length, returning to winning ways after finishing third at Group Two level in both the July Stakes and Vintage Stakes.