James Fanshawe is bidding for his third victory in five years in tomorrow’s Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot as Spacious goes for back-to-back wins in the race.
Fanshawe also landed the 2006 renewal with the exceptional Soviet Song and certainly seems to have a knack in training older fillies.
Spacious is now five and in 13 career starts she has only finished outside the first four once, in last year’s Nassau Stakes.
She beat Sir Michael Stoute’s Heaven Sent 12 months ago to give her owners, the Cheveley Park Stud, a one-two.
Spacious gave connections a slight scare a few days ago but she is fine to run now.
“She had a little bit of a nick on her right pastern a few days ago but all being well, that hasn’t affected her and she runs tomorrow,” said Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director
“She’s a filly that we’ve left in training with the hope she’d be competitive in races such as this.
“She’s come on well from her last run and James is happy with her.
“Fingers crossed, she is remarkably tough and consistent and she looks to have progressed physically since last time.
“The only times she has really disappointed has been on soft ground so good or fast ground will be ideal for her. On good ground there are no complaints for anyone.”
Richard Hannon’s Shamwari Lodge has won all three of her starts this season and looks an improved performer, with her handler expecting another big run.
“Shamwari Lodge won a soft Group Three in Ireland last time and will obviously have to step up again in the Windsor Forest,” said Hannon.
“She was only beaten three lengths (in seventh place) by Tamazirte in this grade in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein in France last year and will certainly not be outclassed.
“She improved again through the winter and is unbeaten in three this season but though she made the running at the Curragh, she is better when dropped in.
“We learned our lesson when caught up in traffic problems a couple of times last summer, so we won’t be sitting too far out of our ground,” he told www.richardhannonracing.tv.
Chris Wall believes Pyrrha deserves her place in the line-up after her Group Three success at Lingfield last month.
“She’s had a good preparation. We’ve been happy with everything but she’s probably got to improve in the region of 7lb to 10lb to take a hand in this,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“That’s not guaranteed. We’ve got to take it on trust that she can do that, but she goes here in good form and we’d be hopeful of a good effort from her.
“Her win at Lingfield gave us encouragement, but as well as being a step up in class, there is also a step up in distance.
“She’s got to improve, she’s got to stay, so there a few ifs and buts. I’m very happy with the way she is and on what she achieved at Lingfield in May, she deserves to take her chance here.
“She’s been working well so it’s fingers crossed for a good run.”
Strawberrydaiquiri had Spacious back in third place when making a winning reappearance at Newmarket last month.
However, connections of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly are hoping the going will not be too quick.
“She’s well and Sir Michael and his team are pleased with her,” said Gary Coffey, racing manager to owner Renata Jacobs.
“We’re very much looking forward to the race, although the ground is a slight concern as we don’t want it too fast for her.”
Godolphin have two runners with Antara and Aspectoflove lining up, but there is no doubt Antara is the first string.
The German import oozed class when winning the Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Derby day and confidence is high in the camp.
“I was pleased with the way Antara won at Epsom and she has come out of the run in good form,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
“I think that a mile at Ascot will be no problem for her and she deserves to take the step up to Group Two company. I am looking forward to seeing her run a good race.
“Aspectoflove was a little disappointing in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes but she was staying on at the end and she has been working well recently.
“If she can settle in her race, then I am hopeful that she can run well,” he told www.godolphin.com.
Connections of Alsace Lorraine hope her love of the track will put her in good stead.
A stablemate of Spacious, the five-year-old mare has a fine record at the Berkshire track with one win and two second places from three runs.
“It’s quite a hot Group Two. There are quite a lot of good horses in there and she’s clearly got to improve to be competitive,” said owner Craig Bennett.
“She’s by Giant’s Causeway, she’s five now and they do get better with age. Unless you throw her into that level you’re never going to know. It’s a very tough race, but we’ve always rated this filly.
“She loves the track and she won quite cosily there last time. I know it was only a handicap but some of those at Ascot are harder to win than some Listed races.
“Hopefully she can run a competitive race. Whether she’s quite good enough, I don’t know, but we’ll find that out.”