Newmarket preview: Sun Chariot Stakes (15.30)
French raider Esoterique has some top class form to her name and looks a worthy favourite to land the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket (15.30).
The Andre Fabre trained mare beat Integral in a Group 3 contest at Newmarket last season, and also finished in front of that rival when landing the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville.
Although Esoterique could finish just fourth behind Integral in this contest 12 months ago, she has shown improved form this season and comes into the race in much better shape than Sir Michael Stoute’s charge.
Esoterique ran a blinder on her second start of the campaign when beaten just a length by the brilliant Solow in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over 1m at Royal Ascot, and backed that up with an excellent 1/2 length second to Muharrer in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest over 6f at Deauville.
The daughter of Danehill Dancer then got back to winning ways when taking on the boys and landing the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deaville in good style.
After being held up at the rear of the field, Esoterique made smooth headway two from home to challenge between horses approaching the final furlong before scooting clear to beat Territories by a cosy 1 1/2 lengths.
The runner-up is a top class three-year-old who finished runner up to Gleneagles in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket before landing the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly, and the form is extremely strong in the context of this contest.
A repeat of that performance is going to make Esoterique very hard to beat, especially now pitched back against her own sex.
Last year’s winner Integral has been given time to get over a poor run at Royal Ascot and will be the obvious main threat if back to her best.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained five-year-old was a dual Group 1 winner last term, and looked in for another good season when a highly promising fourth in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
However, the daughter of Dalakhani ran a stinker when sent off odds-on for the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at the Royal meeting and finishing a well beaten fifth of six to Amazing Maria.
Integral ran too bad to be true, and something was clearly amiss.
Connections have since given Integral a 108 day break to freshen up, and if that has done the trick Integral looks sure to prove a formidable opponent to Esoterique on the pick of her form.
Coral’s top tip: French trainer Andre Fabre does well with his overseas raiders, and Esoterique rates a solid bet to provide him with another big race success