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The Stuart Williams-trained Quinault has been one of the success stories of the season. Unbeaten in six starts in handicaps, he’s graduated from the basement grade to win two of the most competitive three-year-old sprints run all year in recent weeks, first scooping a £100,000 pot at York in June and then defying a 5 lb higher mark to follow up in a similar event at Newmarket’s July Festival.
Quinault proved very game when getting the verdict by a nose on the last occasion, typically travelling strongly at the head of affairs and then digging deep when tackled entering the final furlong. It was a useful performance and the form looks even better now after the runner-up, Mill Stream, impressively won a listed race at Deauville last week.
The next step for Quinault is the finale on Saturday’s Shergar Cup card at Ascot where he’ll will line up from a BHA mark of 97, up another 2 lb from Newmarket. It won’t be a simple task for him to complete the seven-timer, but he’s already proved a very dangerous horse to underestimate and the way he goes about things suggests that his improvement may not have finished just yet.
Unquestionable bids for top honours in Phoenix
Ballydoyle had no fewer than six of the 12 entries for the Phoenix at the five-day stage. Aidan O’Brien has since whittled that down to two, headed by Unquestionable, who looks another exciting juvenile for the trainer who is seeking a remarkable 18th win in this Group 1.
Just denied by Bucanero Fuerte in the Railway Stakes over this course and distance last time, Unquestionable will be trying to avenge that defeat here and is certainly no forlorn hope to do so, very much the type to go on improving after just three starts and will be joined by His Majesty, who looks for his first win since a maiden success at this track on debut in May.
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Queen Anne rematch at Deauville on Sunday
Inspiral was a cosy winner of last year’s Prix Jacques le Marois, but it’s fair to say that she returns to Deauville on Sunday with questions to answer. Last of five in the Sussex Stakes last week, she is a filly who has run most of her best races when fresh, so this will be a quicker-than-ideal turnaround for all that she wasn’t given a hard time in testing conditions at Goodwood.
The Gosden yard has won the last three renewals of the Prix Jacques le Marois – Palace Pier won back-to-back editions in 2020 and 2021 – and Inspiral is the one to beat on her best form, but she has a few talented rivals lined up against her ready to take advantage if she has another off-day, headed by her Queen Anne Stakes conqueror Triple Time.
That was a career-best effort from Triple Time to spring a 33/1 surprise at Royal Ascot, holding on to beat Inspiral by a neck, and there didn’t appear to be any fluke it on just his seventh start. Punters will certainly be giving him more respect this time in what looks a fascinating edition of this Group 1, with the likes of Erevann, Light Infantry and Big Rock also featuring in the line-up.
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