Connections of Raffle Prize are full of hope she can crown a fine campaign with a Group One victory in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
Something of a surprise winner of the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot in June, Mark Johnston’s filly proved that victory was no fluke when following up in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July course the following month.
The daughter of Slade Power was narrowly beaten by Andre Fabre’s Earthlight – a leading contender for the Middle Park Stakes – when stepped up to the highest level for the Prix Morny, but she will be a hot favourite back against her own sex under Frankie Dettori.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “She’s had a phenomenal year and was just touched off in France last time. If she runs up to the level of her last three runs, she should really win, to be honest.
“She’s proved she’s versatile ground-wise. I think she’d prefer top of the ground as she has so much speed, but she has won a Queen Mary in soft ground and finished a close second in a Prix Morny in very soft ground, so you can’t say it’s a problem for her.
“If anything we’d have liked the race to have been two or three weeks ago as she was screaming out for a run at home and we’ve just had to keep a lid on her.
“She seems in the same form she was in during the summer and if she runs up to her best she should be very hard to beat.”
Karl Burke believes Living In The Past deserves her shot at Group One glory after landing the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York on her latest appearance.
“She worked very well earlier in the week and we’re looking forward to seeing her run. I just hope the ground doesn’t go soft,” said the Spigot Lodge-based trainer.
“She’s in great form. It looks a very good race, but you’d expect that in a Group One.
“We’re very happy with her going into it and she deserves to be there.”
Andre Fabre sends an interesting contender from France in the form of Tropbeau, who has won at Group Three and Group Two level at Deauville on her last couple of outings.
Fabre said: “I’ll be delighted if she can finish in the first three.
“I think she is a good, sweet filly and her form is good – the filly she beat easily at Deauville (in July) won a Listed race at Maisons-Laffitte on Wednesday.
“The drop back to six furlongs may be a bit sharp for her, but I am hoping that she will make up into a Guineas filly.
“This should be a good rehearsal with next year in mind.”
Aidan O’Brien has saddled the last three winners of the Cheveley Par and saddles Etoile – not seen since winning a Group Three at Naas on her racecourse debut in May – and Tango.
The three other Irish-trained challengers are Ger Lyons’ supplementary entry Nurse Barbara, Millisle from Jessica Harrington’s yard and Sheila Lavery’s Lil Grey.
Lavery said of the latter: “I hope she goes there with an each-way chance. Her bloods were all wrong after she ran a bit flat in that Listed race the last day.
“We think she’s come back right, but until we get her back on the racecourse we won’t know for sure.
“She well deserves to be there, but I’d be going a lot more bullish if we’d had a better preparation.”
Richard Hannon is represented by Dick Poole Stakes scorer Dark Lady.
He said: “Dark Lady has done nothing wrong all year and it will be fascinating how she can run against the best of them.
“She was maybe a bit unlucky and a bit weak when she went for the Princess Margaret. I thought she was going to win the Prestige at Goodwood and she deserved her win at Salisbury. It was a good performance and they were a long way clear of the third.”
The Richard Fahey-trained Moon Of Love and Ed Walker’s Nina Bailarina complete the field.