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Buick has Great doubts over Arc recovery

Jockey William Buick has admitted to harbouring some doubts about whether Great Heavens will be able to produce her best in today's Qipco British Champions Fillies' And Mares' Stakes at Ascot so soon after her run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

John Gosden's three-year-old, a full-sister to Nathaniel, had her winning run brought to an end in Paris but she only ran there as her sibling was forced to miss the race.

"Great Heavens came back (from the Arc) great. If she hadn't gone to the Arc you'd say she'd have a very good chance," said Buick.

"She ran very well in the Arc and came back in good form, but you never know. We'll see on Saturday."

Continuing the French theme are two raiders, La Pomme D'Amour and Jehannedarc.

Andre Fabre's La Pomme D'Amour, owned by Guy Reed, won the Prix de Pomone in August but was well beaten in the Prix Vermeille last time out.

"She seems in very good shape," said Fabre.

"It was a rough race last time but she won the Prix de Pomone easily and she showed a lot of class. Mr Reed deserves a good horse as he has put a lot of effort into breeding."

Jehannedarc would appear to have a bit to find on her best form, although the ground will be in her favour. "She looks good and she likes soft ground -- she is better on soft so we'll have to see what it's like on Saturday," said trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.


Was perhaps comes into the race under the radar, but is without a win since her moment of glory in the Oaks at Epsom.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "We're happy with her. She ran a very good race in York, the ground got slow enough for her as she wants nice ground. She's a hardy lady and we still think she's progressing.

"She's in good form. I think she gets a mile and a half well, a mile and a quarter is fine but she wants it strongly run. Probably a mile and a half is ideal for her."

Dermot Weld's Sapphire has been in good form this season, with her only defeat coming over 10 furlongs in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

Her jockey Pat Smullen feels she has more in her favour this time.

"Sapphire handles soft ground very well. She's in good form and, on her best form, you'd have to give her every chance," said Smullen.