All systems go for Immortal Verse
28 Sep 2011
France's star miler is all set to provide Frankel with stiff opposition on QIPCO British Champions Day which she comes to tackle the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the richest mile race ever run in Europe.
Immortal Verse runs out an impressive winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.
All the talk is of Frankel looking to extend his fantastic unbeaten career record to nine races in the £1m Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, by the far the richest mile race ever run in Europe and one of the glittering highlights of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 15 October.
However, the connections of one three-year-old French filly, who has proved herself the top miler in France this summer, have other ideas.
Immortal Verse, winner of the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and Deauville’s Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois on her latest two starts, is set to ensure that Frankel does not have it all his own way in the most eagerly anticipated race of the year in two-and-a-half weeks’ time.
Her stunning victory at Deauville on 15 August saw her defeat 14-time Group 1 winner Goldikova cosily by a length with Sahpresa, successful in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday, back in third.
The three-year-old, who is trained at Chantilly by Robert Collet, missed her latest intended start in the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on 11 September due to an overreach, but is firmly on course for Ascot next month.
Brendan Hayes, who manages owner Richard Strauss’ Kilfrush Stud in Ireland, commented: “Immortal Verse is very well and we are targeting the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes with her.
"We are optimistic and it looks like it is going to be a great race.
“Hopefully, she can show her usual turn of foot, although it is certainly going to be an interesting race in terms of tactics. A good pace would suit us.
“She had to miss the Moulin due to an overreach. It wasn’t very bad, but overreaches are never a good thing and so we had to miss the race.
“That means she will be going to Ascot fresh and she showed when she won the Marois that she can win when she is fresh.
"She is very straightforward filly to deal with, which is a big help.”
Another possible opponent is Excelebration, who has twice filled the minor honours behind Frankel this season but showed he is a top-class horse in his own right when an impressive winner of the race that Immortal Verse was forced to miss, the Qatar Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp.
Dick Turpin looks set to represent reigning champion trainer Richard Hannon and warmed up with a short-head victory over Cityscape in the Group 1 Premio Vittorio Di Capua at San Siro on 24 September, while Dubawi Gold could also line up for the East Everleigh trainer.
Side Glance, owned by Pearl Bloodstock, part of QIPCO Holding who sponsor the British Champions Series and British Champions Day, is set to start for trainer Andrew Balding, while Sir Henry Cecill will also saddle Bullet Train to make the pace for Frankel.
Poet’s Voice, who won last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and stable compaion Rio De La Plata also remain engaged for Godolphin along with the French 2000 Guineas winner, Tin Horse, and the colt who chased home Frankel in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Zoffany, trained by Aidan O’Brien.
Intriguingly, O’Brien has also left both So You Think and Await The Dawn in the race, though both are also engaged in the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes, Britain’s richest ever race which follows the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
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