Journey quickens to slam her rivals in the Fillies & Mares Stakes
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By James Burn 2:41PM 15 OCT 2016
Report: Ascot, Saturday
Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+
JOHN GOSDEN was without a top-level victory since Golden Horn’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe masterpiece more than a year ago, but Journey put that right when she powered home under Frankie Dettori in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Gosden, champion trainer in Britain last season, has, like many of his Newmarket counterparts, suffered this term with a virus hitting his horses and he has also had to do without A-listers Jack Hobbs and Shalaa for much of the campaign.
But he was able to work his magic on Journey, who had two runs in the spring before being brought back last month with this race firmly in mind.
She impressed under Dettori when justifying favouritism in a Listed prep at Newmarket three weeks ago, but was even better.
Settled in second as Pretty Perfect took the 13-runner field along, George Strawbridge’s homebred took off one furlong out when Dettori said ‘go’ and slammed Speedy Boarding by four lengths with Queen’s Trust running on for third. Yorkshire Oaks winner Seventh Heaven, the 5-4 favourite, did not enjoy the smoothest passage and was only fifth.
Ups and downs
Journey was second in the 1m4f contest last year and reaching her crowning glory has not been without ups and downs.
“You do realise when she started off she bumped William Buick off before the start on her first race,” said Strawbridge.
“That was her first race; unloading the jockey before the start. I’d say she’s come a long way. She showed such acceleration today, wonderful acceleration.”
Dettori, winning the race for the fourth time, but the first in its new guise at Ascot, said: “She deserved a Group 1 as she’s been running so well. I can’t believe the turn of foot she showed today. She picked up like she had roller skates. She’s a joy to ride and it’s always great to ride a big winner at Ascot.”
Gosden added: “She’s got a mind of her own and is very wilful, extremely talented.
“Her mother [Montare] used to run like she had a Christmas tree on her head; lots of wool. I told Frankie to try to settle where you can, but she’ll tell you what she wants to do. He rode her beautifully.”
Journey stays in training, but Speedy Boarding, successful in the Prix de l’Opera last time, does not.
“It wasn’t ideal running 13 days after the Opera but she has run brilliantly,” said trainer James Fanshawe, who won the Champions Day Sprint with The Tin Man. “I wish this wasn’t the end but her owner wants to retire her.”