By Harry Allwood
The fillies take centre stage at Newmarket on Saturday in what looks a wide-open renewal of the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien won last year’s contest with Alice Springs and will be looking for Group One win number 23 of the season in his attempt to break Bobby Frankel’s all-time record of 25.
Favourites have a healthy record in recent years winning five of the last six renewals and the French hold a formidable challenge again with Qemah, Siyoushake and Usherette all declared to run.
ALJAZZI Trainer: Marco Botti Jockey: Adam Kirby General odds: 6-1
Produced a career best to win the Group Three Atalanta Stakes at Sandown last time out beating Nathra by three lengths.
Had previously finished a close second behind Qemah in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Won at Newmarket on debut in 2015 and the ground will suit. On the upgrade and this daughter of Shamardal is sure to go close if she continues her progression.
DAWN OF HOPE Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: Colm O'Donoghue General odds: 66-1
Finished a respectable third in the Group Three Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Rain Goddess at the Curragh last month but ran below par last time out.
Has generally struggled in Group races during her career and finished behind a few of her rivals in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.
Has something to find and will need to progress to be competitive.
MUFFRI’HA Trainer: William Haggas Jockey: Joe Fanning General odds: 16-1
Returned from a 145-day break to win the Listed Rosemary Stakes at Newmarket last month and the daughter of Iffraaj is entitled to come on for that run.
She does have some strong placed form next to her name, most notably when third behind Decorated Knight in the Group One Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March.
However, she is vulnerable to a lightly-raced improver and can prove troublesome before the start.NATHRA Trainer: John Gosden Jockey: Jimmy Fortune General odds: 16-1
Has not won since April 2016 but has run some respectable races in defeat since.
Finished a close second behind Aclaim, who won the Group One Prix de la Foret at Chantilly on Sunday, in the Group Two Park Stakes at Doncaster last time out.
Will need to step up on the form she has shown this season though, and was no match for Aljazzi in the Atalanta Stakes.
PERSUASIVE Trainer: John Gosden Jockey: Frankie Dettori General odds: 11-4
Finished a hugely promising fifth behind Roly Poly in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in July after 323 days off the track.
Has been the ante-post favourite for this race having finished a close third behind Hydrangea and Winter in the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last month.
That was a strong race and the four-year-old is the one to beat if she reproduces that form. The ground will suit and her trainer John Gosden has been operating at a 33% strike rate in the last fortnight.
QEMAH Trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget Jockey: Gregory Benoist General odds: 13-2
High-class performer who has won twice at Group One level.
Highlight so far this season was her win in the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot when she beat three of her rivals in this race.
Did run slightly below par when fifth in the Matron Stakes last time out but this four-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer is versatile ground-wise and has some of the best form on offer.
SIYOUSHAKE Trainer: Freddy Head Jockey: Stephane Pasquier General odds: 12-1
Finished fourth in this race last year behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Alice Springs before gaining her second success at Group Three level in the Prix Perth at Saint-Cloud.
Has run three respectable races in defeat on her last three starts, most notably when she finished a close third in the Prix Rothschild behind Roly Poly, and does not have much to find with the main protagonists.
SPANGLED: Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: Harry Bentley General odds: 50-1
Ran disappointingly after almost a year off the track when she finished thirteenth in the Group Three City Of York Stakes in August.
The five-year-old daughter of Starspangledbanner was on the upgrade in 2016 and won at Group Three level before she endured a setback.
Is entitled to improve for her seasonal debut but will need to have done so significantly to be competitive.
USHERETTE Trainer: Andre Fabre Jockey: Mickael Barzalona General odds: 8-1
The Godolphin-owned five-year-old finished an unlucky third behind Qemah when bidding for back-to-back victories in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Got back to winning ways in a Listed race at Maisons-Laffitte last month which her trainer described as a “confidence-boosting win” having disappointed in the Prix Rothschild the time before.
She is versatile ground-wise and her trainer won this race in 2015 with Esoterique.
ALLURINGLY Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Seamie Heffernan General odds: 66-1
Will be having her tenth start of the season and finished within a length and three quarters of superstar Enable in the Cheshire Oaks at Chester in May.
Has not progressed as many would have thought, although she did manage to win a Listed race at Gowran Park in August.
Has struggled in three starts since and the daughter of Fastnet Rock needs to step up considerably even if she does bounce back to form.
ARABIAN HOPE Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor Jockey: Jimmy Quinn General odds: 33-1
Has won four of her seven starts and gained her first win at Group level in the International Istanbul Trophy at Veliefendi last month.
Although the lightly-raced daughter of US sire Distorted Humor is likely to have further progress left in her, she has finished behind Roly Poly twice this season so has work to do to reverse form with that rival.
Trainer won this race with Echoes In Eternity in 2003.
ROLY POLY Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore General odds: 5-1
Dual Group One winner this season having won the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket before narrowly winning the Prix Rothschild.
Ran below par in the Matron Stakes last time out and needs to put that run behind her. Represents last year’s winning connections, however, and is a strong contender on her best form.
Both Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien are seeking their third win in the race.
TOMYRIS Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: Jamie Spencer General odds: 50-1
A winner of two races this season and has finished placed in two seven-furlong Group Threes.
Came up short at Group One level when sixth behind Winter in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The three-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit is lightly raced but will need to take a big step forward to be competitive and it is hard to see her making an impact.
Racinguk.com verdict: This looks competitive on paper with plenty you can make a case for. Persuasive, who has won five of her eight starts, arguably has the strongest form and will prove hard to beat if she reproduces her Matron Stakes run.
The French have won five of the last eight renewals of this race and look to have a great chance of winning the mile showpiece again with Usherette.
The high-class mare may not have been suited by making the running when she finished a disappointing sixth in the Prix Rothschild. Her win at a lower level last time was an ideal prep run and the 8-1 available with Betfair looks fair.