But the daughter of Machiavellian, ably aided by Ryan Moore, spared the blushes of all concerned with a repeat victory in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood. It was only by the width of a flared chestnut nostril that Chic mastered Majors Cast in a classic on-the-nod denouement and claimed her place in the broodmare band of the famed Newmarket nursery as a dual Group 2 winner, with all the commensurate value that puts on her future offspring. And she may yet add top-level success to her CV; the Sun Chariot Stakes, in which she beat all bar Attraction last year, beckons.
At 8-1, Chic was twice the price of her success 12 months ago, but she had failed to sparkle in her two outings this term, most recently when an uncomfortable last in last month's Sussex Stakes on yesterday's track. But her connections kept the faith. "Her last run had been so disappointing," admitted Chris Richardson, managing director at David and Patricia Thompson's stud, "and we'd been scratching our heads. But Michael said we should take our time, give her a chance and hope that she proves to be an autumn filly."
One of the sport's adages is that September is the mares' month - by then, the hormonal cycles that can affect athletic performance are becoming dormant - so Chic's return to form could be judged five days early. For most of yesterday's race it was not apparent at all; she was at the back as Layman led the downhill charge in the straight and had lengths to make up as Majors Cast quickened away from the pack. But just as she found a telling burst of speed last year, so she did again to reel in for Majors Cast. "It was a bit of a brave decision to keep her in training," added Richardson, "but she's come good. She's so game and tough."
Much credit must go to the runner-up, who left Court Masterpiece five lengths behind, but Layman, the 11-10 market leader, was a real disappointment. "He just felt really flat," said rider Frankie Dettori.
Dettori's second bite at the season - he returned from injury on Friday - has yet to yield a winner. He resumes his quest at Epsom this afternoon but yesterday brought one bright spot; he will be released by Godolphin to take the spare mount on Motivator in the Irish Champion Stakes 12 days hence. It was very much Cheveley Park Stud's day on the Downs. Half an hour after Chic, another distaffer in the red, white and blue graced the winners' circle, the pretty bay shape Nannina, who took the Prestige Stakes. The Group 3 contest is sometimes won by a smart performer (like Gossamer four years ago) and Nannina will have her go at élite company in the Fillies' Mile. The Deauville summer season came to an end with a one-two for Paul Cole in the six-furlong Prix de Meautry, courtesy of Eisteddfod and Andronikos. But the Whatcombe trainer was out of luck on his history-making foreign venture on Saturday, when Fine Silver, the first British horse to run in modern-day Russia, was unplaced in the President's Prize at Kazan in Tatarstan.Reuse content