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Laurens supplemented for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

15 Oct 2018

Apple of John Dance's eye goes for the £1.1m prize on QIPCO British Champions Day

The prolific Laurens was today supplemented for £70,000 by John Dance, her owner, after satisfying her trainer, Karl Burke, in a workout under PJ McDonald yesterday. Dance tweeted: “She’s paid her way re the fee already. Being in the race is indeed a brave call, but it’s her best trip and she deserves her place on the card.”

McDonald fractured his left ankle and right heel after being thrown from a horse in the paddock at Newcastle on 3rd September and has not ridden in a race since. He is set to return to action, back at Newcastle, on Wednesday.

Laurens has won five Group 1 races in the past year, landing the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on her latest start by a head from Happily, who she is set to meet again.

Roaring Lion has won his past three starts, all in Group 1 company. A decision over whether he contests the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes or QIPCO Champion Stakes will be taken on Thursday morning after connections have walked the course.

French-trained horses have won two of the past four renewals of and plenty will fancy Recoletos to improve that tally. Trained by 55-year-old Carlos Laffon-Parias in Chantilly, the four-year-old finished fourth to Cracksman in the QIPCO Champion Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day last year but has proven an even greater force back in distance this year.

He won the Churchill Coolmore Prix d’Ispahan at ParisLongchamp in May and struck again at the highest level on his latest start when landing the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. In between, he beat all bar the now-retired Alpha Centauri in the Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

Lightning Spear (winner of the Qatar Sussex Stakes), Without Parole (St James’s Palace Stakes), Rhododendron (Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes) have already made their mark on this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series, while Romanised scooped the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas in May.

Expert Eye, who has twice made the frame in Group 1 company since his emphatic win in the Jersey Stakes, and Addeybb, fluent winner of the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown in the spring, are on course to run, while Lord Glitters has been hard to fault since his dramatic triumph in the QIPCO-sponsored Balmoral Handicap on last year’s card.

Beat The Bank has chalked up two Group 2 triumphs this season and is on course to run, as are Stormy Antarctic, third in the Ricoh Woodbine Mile last time, and Zabeel Prince, a half-length runner-up to Mustashry in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket this month.

WHAT THEY SAY:

John Gosden, the trainer of Without Parole

“He’s taken time to strengthen up. It didn’t go too well at Longchamp [last time] after he got squashed a bit in the Juddmonte when Poet’s Word was trying to come out. It was a bit of a meat in the sandwich job. His perfect trip next year will probably be a mile and a quarter.”

William Haggas, the trainer of Addeybb

“He’s been left in the QEII and Champion Stakes. I want to go for the mile. He’s not at his best on fast ground, he’s much better on soft. It jarred him up in the Lockinge and it took a long time for him to come back. He’s been ready to run for six weeks without finding his right conditions.

“I wanted to run him in the Irish Champion; I wanted to run him in Paris on Arc weekend but it just didn’t happen because it was too fast for him.

He didn’t travel to Ireland but did go to France. I don’t think it will have done him much harm. His weight if really good and he’s ready to run.

“His form is OK and he’s a big, fine horse. If it was soft he would be a fair each-way shout.”

Roger Varian, the trainer of Zabeel Prince

“He’s in great form. We were delighted with his run in the Joel Stakes a couple of weeks ago. Andrea rode him a bit of work last week and was pleased with him.

“I think in the Balmoral [last year] we were backing up eight days after winning at York – it gave us the penalty to get in – but he just ran a bit flat. This year it will have been a nice three-week gap from his penultimate start to running on Champions Day and that ought to suit him well.

“He’s versatile regards ground but the softer it is the happier the trainer will be – and the horse.”

Ed Walker, the trainer of Stormy Antarctic

“He worked really well last Wednesday and is in great shape. He’s a crazy price. Lord Glitters is 8/1 and we are 40/1, yet we’ve got very similar form and met once when we came out on top.

“Recoletos is probably the outstanding horse in the race, assuming Roaring Lion doesn’t run, and will be the one to beat but he’s definitely got great place claims.

“He’s very versatile regards the ground but it’s a case of more rain the better because it slows down the others and he copes with it [soft ground] better than most.”

Simon Crisford, trainer of Century Dream

“He is doing super well, we are really very pleased with him. We’ve given him a nice break since he ran so well in the Arlington Million in America because we’ve had the QEII as his main end of season target.

“He’s developed very well physically and mentally as he’s got a bit older and just strengthened into a proper horse. I think we first saw that at Epsom on Derby day when he won the Diomed Stakes and since then he’s done nothing but please us. He ran a huge race in the Queen Anne, when the ground was a little bit quick for him but he still finished strongly.

“We are hopeful of a good run but you can never go into a race like that overconfident. There’s some fantastic horses in there rated much higher but we are happy to give it a go. He likes to get his toe in and it’s a case of the softer the better for him.”

22 QEII (sponsored by QIPCO) entries

Addeybb (IRE) Beat The Bank (GB) Century Dream (IRE) Gabrial (IRE) Lightning Spear (GB) Lord Glitters (FR) Recoletos (FR) Stormy Antarctic (GB) Zabeel Prince (IRE) Aljazzi (GB) Expert Eye (GB) Gustav Klimt (IRE) Hey Gaman (GB) Rhododendron (IRE) Roaring Lion (USA) Romanised (IRE)  Wilamina (IRE) Without Parole (GB)  Clemmie (IRE)
Happily (IRE) I Can Fly (GB) Laurens (FR)