2019 Sun Chariot Stakes tips – Comparing the five Group One winners in fascinating Newmarket showdown

Iridessa (right), Hermosa and Laurens could clash again in the Sun Chariot Stakes.

Iridessa (right), Hermosa and Laurens could clash again in the Sun Chariot Stakes.

We take a look at the five Group One winners sitting atop the betting for this year’s Sun Chariot Stakes, comparing their credentials over a number of categories to see who will come out on top at Newmarket.

The weekend after their three-day Cambridgeshire meeting, Newmarket racecourse opens their gates once again, as a field of fantastic fillies and mares take part in the Sun Chariot Stakes. First staged at flat racing HQ in 1966, top names from across Europe have sought fame and fortune in this Group One, with greats like Time Charter, Attraction and three-time winner, Sahpresa adding their names to the honours boards at Newmarket.

Two weeks out from this year’s renewal and the betting is wide open, with five seasonal Group One winners battling for supremacy at the head of the market. In a bid to separate the leading contenders, we’ve compared the major players over a number of categories, tallying up their scores at the end to see who might come out on top.

2019 Sun Chariot Stakes Tips

First Half Of Season Form

Hermosa – 5
Watch Me – 4
Laurens – 3
Iridessa – 2
Veracious – 1

The first half of 2019 belonged to Hermosa (11/2 Unibet), who produced two stunning performances to secure a famous double in the British and Irish 1000 Guineas. Watch Me (8/1 Ladbrokes) also enjoyed an excellent start to her campaign, securing a Group Three triumph on her reappearance, before scoring a surprise victory over Hermosa in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Laurens ran well on her reappearance to place second in the Lockinge, before fading from a prominent position in the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot. Iridessa was comfortably beaten ion her reappearance and in both versions of the Guineas behind Hermosa, while Veracious endured a slow start to her season, losing out in lesser races at Newmarket, Epsom and Royal Ascot.

Iridessa

Iridessa beat both Hermosa and Laurens in the Matron Stakes.

Second Half Of Season Form

Iridessa – 5
Veracious – 4
Laurens – 3
Hermosa – 2
Watch Me – 1

Since Royal Ascot, Iridessa (6/1 Ladbrokes) has managed to secure two Group One victories. First, in the Pretty Polly Stakes over a mile-and-a-quarter, before defeating Hermosa in the Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend. Sir Michael Stoute worked his magic with Veracious (9/2 Coral) in July, as his four-year-old bounced back from three disappointing results to win the Falmouth Stakes.

Laurens has also claimed Group One glory since Ascot, winning the Prix Rothschild, but surprising defeats at York and in the Matron Stakes mean she sits behind Veracious in this list. Hermosa looked back to something like her best in the Matron, following a terrible performance in the Nassau Stakes and Watch Me has only run once since Ascot, finishing fourth as Romanised scored at Deauville.

Group One Wins

Laurens – 5
Iridessa – 4
Hermosa – 3
Watch Me – 2
Veracious – 2

Laurens (6/1 Unibet) has collected six Group Ones during her illustrious career, earning top-level honours at two, three and now as a four-year-old. Like Laurens, Iridessa won the Fillies’ Mile as a two-year-old and Joseph O’Brien’s filly has added two further Group Ones to her CV this season.

Hermosa’s triumphs in the British and Irish Guineas remain her only Group One victories so far, while Watch Me and Veracious both boast one top-level victory apiece.

Laurens holds

Laurens holds on to win the Sun Chariot in 2018.

Course Form

Laurens – 5
Hermosa – 4
Iridessa – 3
Veracious – 2
Watch Me – 1

Laurens boasts an excellent recorded here on the Rowley Mile, winning the Fillies’ Mile in 2017 and scoring in this race 12 months ago. Karl Burke’s stable star also ran a cracker here in last year’s Guineas, placing second behind Billesdon Brook.

Hermosa lost out to Iridessa in the 2018 Fillies’ Mile, but turned the tables on her rival convincingly in the Guineas back in May, romping to victory as Iridessa could only finish eighth. Veracious sealed her only Group One victory on the July Course and claimed victory in a maiden on the Rowley Mile. Watch Me is yet to appear at Newmarket.

Trip

Hermosa – 5
Veracious – 4
Watch Me – 3
Laurens – 2
Iridessa – 1

Despite his belief that Hermosa would be even better over further than a mile, Aidan O’Brien’s filly boasts a superb record over eight furlongs. Hermosa has failed to finish outside the top two in any race over a mile – winning two Classics – and bombed on her only outing over ten furlongs at Glorious Goodwood.

Veracious managed to finish third in the 2018 renewal of the Nassau, but has been consigned to running over a mile since then, as Sir Michael Stoute obviously feels this is her optimum distance. Watch Me’s only top level win came over a mile and she’s yet to try her hand at anything over eight furlongs.

Laurens has managed to win four Group Ones over a mile, but she has been tried over a variety of distances during her career and was even dropped back to seven furlongs at York earlier in the summer. Despite also tasting multiple Group One wins over eight furlongs, Iridessa’s best performance came in the ten-furlong Pretty Polly and Joseph O’Brien has set his sights on the Breeders’ Cup race run over that very trip at the end of the campaign.

Hermosa

Hermosa bounds clear of her rivals to win the Irish Guineas.

Ground

Laurens – 5
Watch Me – 4
Hermosa – 3
Iridessa – 2
Veracious – 1

Karl Burke was adamant during the early stages of Laurens’ career that she loved some juice in the ground and the results his stable star has claimed backs up those claims. Laurens is unbeaten on good-to-soft ground, winning three Group Ones in the process and the two-week weather forecast suggests that’s the sort of ground the runners will face at Newmarket.

French runners often love soft ground and Watch Me has won on heavy in the past. Hermosa has done her best work on quicker ground, but managed to win on soft as a juvenile and ran well on good-to-soft at last year’s Arc meeting. Iridessa has only raced once of softer ground, finishing third on her reappearance this year, while Veracious could only finish a three-length fourth on the only occasion she has run on ground worse than good.

Trainer Form

Veracious – 5
Hermosa – 4
Watch Me – 3
Iridessa – 2
Laurens – 1

Veracious’ trainer, Sir Michael Stoute has been enjoying a solid campaign to date, scoring with 22% of his runners in Britain. Stoute is a trainer renowned for helping older horses improve and he’s saddled the winner of the Sun Chariot three times in the past. Although the stats say this hasn’t been a vintage season for Aidan O’Brien, winning with just 15% of his three-year-old runners across Britain and Ireland, his runners were in excellent form at the recent Irish Champions Weekend and he’s won this Group One three times since 2008.

Francis-Henri Graffard has been enjoying a strong season, winning with 18% of his runners at home in France. Like his French counterpart, Joseph O’Brien will be having his first runner in the Sun Chariot and his horses have been striking at around 12% this season, 16% with three-year-olds on turf. Karl Burke won with his first ever runner in the Sun Chariot last year, but his seasonal stats are fairly average, winning with just 10% of his runners in 2019.

Veracious

Veracious (left) beating One Master to the Falmouth Stakes.

Weight

Laurens – -2
Veracious – -2

As four-year-old fillies, both Laurens and Veracious will have to give three-pounds to their younger rivals. Both have carried penalties to victory already this term, but only eight of the last 20 winners of the Sun Chariot were aged four or above – three of those eight victories belonging to Sahpresa – so younger horses clearly have the upper-hand and both must be marked down as a result.

Total

Hermosa – 26
Laurens – 22
Iridessa – 19
Watch Me – 18
Veracious – 17

The two points Veracious loses for her penalty means Sir Michael Stoute’s filly finished bottom of the scoring chart. The Falmouth Stakes winner currently sits atop the ante-post betting for the Sun Chariot, so – if you fancy an ante-post punt – it may be a good idea to swerve the current market leader.

Iridessa and Watch Me finish third and fourth and, considering other options have been banded about for both, neither make much appeal in the ante-post market. Even without that two-point deduction based on her age, Laurens would have finished a couple of points adrift of HERMOSA and Aidan O’Brien’s dual-Guineas winner could offer most bang for your buck in the current ante-post betting.