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Journey and Coronet give Gosden strong hand

16 Oct 2017

Last year's winner will be seeking to bow out with a win on her final career start

Journey heads xxxx entries left in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. The daughter of Dubawi was a four-length winner last year, having been edged out by Simple Verse 12 months earlier.

The John Gosden-trained five-year-old is set for a third spin in the Group 1 mile and a half feature but, since its inception in 2011, no horse has won back-to-back renewals of any race on Champions Day.

Obvious stumbling blocks are Coronet, her stablemate, who won the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, and French challenger Bateel, who beat Journey in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille last time and has now won seven of her 12 races.

The other 12 entries include five other Group 1 winners – Left Hand, Seventh Heaven, Smart Call, Hydrangea and Rhododendron.

WHAT THEY SAY:

Andrew Balding, trainer of Horseplay, fourth in the Investec Oaks and absent since filling the same position in the Prix de Malleret at Saint-Cloud on July 2:

“She’s a high-class filly who probably wasn’t seen to best effect in France on her last start, when she came back with a problem. It’s taken a bit of time to get her right.”

John Gosden, trainer of Journey and Coronet:
“Journey’s in great form – she ran a blinder in France when she ran into a filly [Bateel] who loved that [softish] ground more than she did. It will be her swansong, she goes to stud after this.

Coronet ran an exceptionally good race in the Yorkshire Oaks to Enable and just found the pace and distance too far in the Leger but she’s a very good filly and she’s getting better all the time. She seems to be racing more alertly now than she used to so, fingers crossed, they will both run good races.

“Fillies in the autumn, if they are in the zone and well that’s great. Sometimes it’s a little late in the year but they are both giving us the right signals.

“I haven’t got as far as riding arrangements. I’ll talk to Mr Dettori, who likes to tell us what to do. If he gets it wrong then it’s his fault, not mine.”

ENTRIES IN FULL: