Ascot beckons for La Petite Coco

Horse Racing

Breeders’ Cup in equation too after Curragh victory.

La Petite Coco is set to head next for the Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes, after lowering the colours of Love at the Curragh.

Next month’s mile-and-a half Group One at Ascot beckons for the Paddy Twomey-trained three-year-old, who wore down Aidan O’Brien’s dual 2020 Classic winner in the closing stages to take Sunday’s Group Two Blandford Stakes by a short head.

Should La Petite Coco put up another big performance then the Breeders’ Cup Maker’s Mark Filly And Mare Turf at Del Mar in early November would then be given strong consideration.

Barry Irwin, founder and chief executive of owners Team Valor, said: “Ascot is the plan. Paddy set the schedule up a couple of months ago, and right now we don’t see any reason to waiver from it.

“The only question mark coming up is if she performs well there whether we go for the Breeders’ Cup. Most of my partners are from the United States, and to go for the Breeders’ Cup would be meaningful.

“The ground yesterday was good. The jockey Billy Lee said she doesn’t want it any harder than that. She prefers cut in the ground.

“I’m from California – and during that time of year at Del Mar, rain is not very likely, so we are going to take it one step at a time and see what she does next. We will think about it and we are going to keep her in training next year.”

Irwin revealed Team Valor’s Invite, meanwhile, is unlikely to take up her Fillies’ And Mares’ entry at Ascot.

The three-year-old, trained by Andrew Balding, bounced back to take the Listed Stand Cup at Chester on her first since disappointing in the Italian Oaks three months ago.

“She’s a horse that wants it very wet,” said Irwin.

“On Saturday the track was good – certain parts may have been soft. She doesn’t want it any faster than that, and when it’s wet and muddy she moves up into a different category.

“We entered her several times, and it didn’t happen. Finally on Saturday we decided we needed to run her.

“She ran great. I wouldn’t put anything past her on a wet track.

“This year she’s a very headstrong filly, (and) Andrew has done a very good job settling her. I don’t think we can run her in the British Champions’ race just off this race. I don’t think it’s enough.

“I’ll talk to Andrew and I think we’ll lower our sights from that and find a Group race we can win. Once it starts raining you will see she is something special too.

“She stays in training and she’s the kind of horse that will do well in the spring and the fall and we’ll probably put away in the summer.”

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