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Article 26th September 2022 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Jane Chapple-Hyam admits it will be a “very special occasion” if stable star Saffron Beach could secure another big race victory on her hometown track by successfully defending her Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes title at Newmarket next Saturday (October 1st).

Having provided the Newmarket handler with a red letter day at the track 12 months ago when becoming her first Group One winner, the New Bay filly will now bid to join Sahpresa (2009, 2010 & 2011) by becoming only the second multiple winner of the mile highlight since it became an all-aged Group One affair in 2004.

Since her top-level triumph on the Rowley Mile last year Saffron Beach has added further Group One glory to her name in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville along with winning the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot in another prosperous campaign.

Although meeting with defeat on her most recent start behind Pearls Galore in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown earlier this month, Chapple-Hyam is confident that a return to a track she is three from five on can see her bounce back to winning ways.

Chapple-Hyam said: “Last year was very special as it was on our local track two miles up the road and she did it nicely. A year on we are going back there to try and win it back-to-back.

“We did a similar thing with Mull Of Killough in the Earl Of Sefton who won that back to-back in 2013 and 2014 and if we can do it with Saffron Beach it would be a very special occasion.

“You can’t take anything away from the winner at Leopardstown as she won and we loomed up but just got stuck in the holding ground.

“There was so much rain at Leopardstown I can’t tell you. But everybody was in the same boat and had to run on it and it was one of those things.

“One is guessing the ground at Newmarket will be Good, Good to Firm which would help, and she has grown up a lot now mentally and physically.”

Unlike 12 months ago Saffron Beach currently heads the market for this year’s renewal of the Royal Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes. However Chapple-Hyam insists she feels no extra pressure on her shoulders given the fact that her stable star is so well suited to the Rowley Mile.

She added: “You don’t feel pressure with her as she is always a horse that tries. She is not a horse that has got to sit last and get luck in running and come from off the pace and that is harder with horses with that style of running.

“Her style of running means she is up on the pace so she never gets boxed in so you don’t have that worry.

“She loves the Rowley Mile and as we have seen in all of her previous runs whether she is first or second or whether it is a Guineas, Oh So Sharp or Sun Chariot she always tries her hardest. It is a track that she enjoys running on.

“I’m sure there will be a few nerves when there are two to load but that is part of racing and part of the buzz about it and what gets the adrenaline up.”

Aside from being a year older Chapple-Hyam feels that Saffron Beach, who will be reunited with last year’s winning jockey William Buick once again, is a much stronger individual than the one that tackled the race 12 months ago.

She added: “I weighed her on Tuesday night and she was over 500 kilograms. It is telling you she has the power and the strength.

“I think because she has strengthened up and because we have spaced her races we’ve not got a lean machine but a nice developed mare which is good in that sense. She is very powerful in her front now with powerful shoulders.

“William is back on board her and they are a good winning combination. I’m sure he wants to win another Sun Chariot as much Abington Place so I’m sure he will be doing his best aboard her.

“I believe she is a horse jockeys can get a quick rapport with. She is straightforward once in running, getting to the start she can take a hold.

“We are lucky we have had some of the best on her. We’ve had no hard luck stories and they have all given their best on her and they have all enjoyed riding her.”

This season is the last Saffron Beach will stay in training with Chapple-Hyam after it was confirmed earlier this month she will be offered at the Sceptre session at this year’s Tattersalls December Mares Sale on 29th November.

While Chapple-Hyam admits it will be a sad day when she leaves her yard she claims this might not be the last time we see the dual Group One winner on the track before she goes under the hammer.

She said: “It will be a sad day when she goes. She has exceeded expectations for us. I think it will be weird driving in and not having her head pop out of box one but we’ve known for a while she is going to the sale. In the back of your head that makes it easier.

“This might not be her last run in Britain as she is in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day so you can never say never while if she wins there is also the Breeders’ Cup.

“She will be sold at auction in training and she will have an entry for the Hong Kong Mile. I’m sure if it was a stud farm that bought her they would retire her, but maybe if it was a foreign owner from afar they might like to race her in their colours at Sha Tin.

“I hope she gets a super stallion as she deserves that and deserves a nice rest at stud and some babies.

“It would be nice if one of her offspring comes through the doors but whatever stud farm she ends up with they have got their trainers but you never know one of them might pop through the ring.”


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