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Article 4th October 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Jockey Sean Levey believes Heredia has come to form at the ‘right time’ ahead of her attempt to complete a hat-trick of wins for the season in the Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday (7th October). 

The Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old will make her Group One debut at the weekend after being supplemented at a cost of £20,000 on Monday by her owners St Albans Bloodstock Limited for the mile prize which nine fillies and mares remain in contention for.  She is rated a 10-1 chance by sponsor Virgin Bet.

Having suffered three defeats following her impressive Sandringham Stakes success at Royal Ascot last season, the Dark Angel filly started this campaign with three more reversals before landing the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock Park on her penultimate outing in August.

Showing that victory was no flash in the pan Heredia then followed up that success with the first Pattern race win of her career last time out in the Group Three Virgin Bet Atalanta Stakes at Sandown Park last month.

And with Heredia currently thriving on her racing Classic-winning rider Levey believes she can unlock further improvement over her optimum trip on her first start at the highest level.

Levey said: “St Albans Bloodstock have been very good to me in allowing me to ride Heredia for as long as I have and she has done ever so well on her last two starts. 

“There was a moment of disappointment when she hadn’t shown improvement from the Sandringham, but she is back there now, and she deserves to take her chance in the Sun Chariot. 

“We were a little bit disappointed she didn’t reach the heights after the Sandringham because we always thought a lot of her, but she has got over that kind of phase where she wasn’t putting her best foot forward.

“Obviously going back up to the mile in her last two starts has helped, but at the same time she has come to form at the right time. 

“I would like to think there is definitely a chance she will find improvement, whether it is good enough to beat Inspiral that is yet to be seen, but she deserves to be there taking her chance.”

Reflecting on Heredia’s latest success Levey believes much of it was down to quicker ground conditions allowing her to utilise her potent turn of foot. 

He added: “I’m not sure her win at Haydock was so much of a confidence booster as fillies can be temperamental at the best of times and you never know when they are going to put their best foot forward.  

“Normally when they do put their best foot forward you want to keep on their side and that is kind of where we are with Heredia.

“She was dominant at the end of her race at Sandown, but she arrived on the back of a very decisive victory in a Listed race at Haydock Park. 

“She has got a great turn of foot, and you ride her to utilise that and that was what we were able to do at Sandown. 

“She was able to travel very strongly on what was the back of a slowly run race, but she was able to pick them up and stay strong to the line.”

The Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes, which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, is a contest that holds special memories for Levey who steered Billesdon Brook to glory in the 2019 renewal of the race just over a year after the pair tasted glory in the 2018 QIPCO 1000 Guineas over the same course and distance. 

And while Heredia is yet to scale such heights Levey feels she will have plenty of elements playing to her strengths at the weekend. 

He added: “Billesdon Brook was very good winning this race and was just touched off from winning a Falmouth Stakes on the July Course as well. 

“She was a high-class performer, and she was a good underdog in all those good races. She always put her best foot forward when she needed to. As a result, she ended up winning a Classic and another Group One before she retired.  

“The massive difference is that Billesdon Brook was a proven Group One winner before she won the Sun Chariot, whereas this filly isn’t.

“However, we know Heredia handles the track as she was second to a good horse of Michael Dods (Azure Blue) over six furlongs on it and she is fairly versatile with the ground. 

“Heredia’s main attribute is that turn of foot and the better the ground, the better she can use it. Hopefully she can continue going the right way at the weekend.”


Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes, Virgin Bet odds:

Evens Inspiral

100-30 Mqse de Sevigne

6-1 Just Beautiful

15-2 Meditate

10-1 Heredia

11-1 Coppice

18-1 Random Harvest

20-1 Goldana

28-1 Roman Mist


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