Buick: No Great expectations
Quick return after French run
Last Updated: 19/10/12 5:11pm
Great Heavens: Quick reappearance
Jockey William Buick has admitted to harbouring some doubts about whether Great Heavens will be able to produce her best in Saturday's Qipco British Champions Fillies' And Mares' Stakes at Ascot so soon after her run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
John Gosden's three-year-old, a full-sister to Nathaniel, had her winning run brought to an end in Paris but she only ran there as her sibling was forced to miss the race.
"Great Heavens came back (from the Arc) great. If she hadn't gone to the Arc you'd say she'd have a very good chance," said Buick.
"She ran very well in the Arc and came back in good form, but you never know.
"We'll see on Saturday."
Continuing the French theme are two raiders from across the Channel, La Pomme D'Amour and Jehannedarc.
Andre Fabre's La Pomme D'Amour, owned by Guy Reed, won the Prix de Pomone in August but was well beaten in the Prix Vermeille last time out.
"She seems in very good shape," said Fabre.
"It was a rough race last time but she won the Prix de Pomone easily and she showed a lot of class.
"Mr Reed deserves a good horse as he has put a lot of effort into breeding."
Jehannedarc would appear to have a bit to find on her best form, although the ground will be in her favour.
"She looks good and she likes soft ground - she is better on soft so we'll have to see what it's like on Saturday," said trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Is Was best?
Was perhaps comes into the race under the radar, but is without a win since her moment of glory in the Oaks at Epsom.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien told BCSTV: "We're happy with her.
"She ran a very good race in York, the ground got slow enough for her as she wants nice ground.
"She's a hardy lady and we still think she's progressing.
"She's in good form. I think she gets a mile and a half well, a mile and a quarter is fine but she wants it strongly run.
"Probably a mile and a half is ideal for her."
Shirocco Star finished just behind Was in the Oaks and, despite having run several other big races in defeat this season, she remains without a win since her Newbury maiden success last October.
"It was very deep ground when she was second in the Irish Oaks and it was pretty similar ground at Longchamp," said trainer Hughie Morrison.
"She is extraordinarily tough - she never seems to have a race - which leaves you to wonder if she is just saving a bit for a rainy day.
"She's a serious quality filly and deserves to win on the big stage.
"She has been on the go since the middle of May so she might fall off the wall quite soon."Another who was not beaten far in the Oaks was the William Haggas-trained
On a promise
Vow, who needs to bounce back from a disappointing last run at Newmarket.
Haggas said: "She didn't run great on her comeback run but I think she's come on a great deal.
"The step back up in trip should help and I'm expecting her to run well."
Haggas also runs last year's winner Dancing Rain but the Newmarket handler feels she is up against on her first start of the season.
"It's been a long year with her but she seems in good form," said Haggas.
"It will be mightily difficult for her on her first run of the season, especially because we feel she is better on top of the ground.
"We'll hopefully be taking her for some of the races abroad again but we'll just take it one step at a time."Dermot Weld's Sapphire has been in good form this season, with her only defeat coming over 10 furlongs in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.
Her jockey Pat Smullen feels she has more in her favour this time.
"Sapphire handles soft ground very well. She's in good form and, on her best form, you'd have to give her every chance," said Smullen.
"A mile and a half should suit her better than the 10 furlongs in the Pretty Polly.
"We were outsprinted by Izzi Top that day but I had to make the running and it didn't suit.
"Everything looks to be in her favour - the trip, the ground - and I'm looking for a big run."
Weld added: "Sapphire is very well and she will appreciate the ease in the ground, too.
"This looks an excellent renewal of the race this year, however."