Usherette has French maestro Andre Fabre purring ahead of Falmouth Stakes

Fabre turns Godolphin’s Usherette loose n the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newcastle, and the four-year-old daughter of Shamardal will face a big challenge from stablemates Very Special and Always Smile, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Godolphin trainer Andre Fabre during a training session at Meydan Racecourse. Jaime Puebla / The National
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Newmarket// It takes a lot to impress legendary trainer Andre Fabre, but Usherette has clearly done so over the last few months and could well take another step forward in Friday’s Group 1 Falmouth Stakes.

Usherette has won six of her seven races, but beyond the obvious lustre of her CV it is how she did it last time at Royal Ascot that had the French maestro purring.

The four-year-old daughter of dual French Classic winner Shamardal shrugged off a penalty and unsuitably soft ground to land the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes last month.

Immediately after the race, Fabre proclaimed that he believed that Usherette would be good enough to beat ace American mare Tepin, due to her decisive turn of foot, and it is that change of pace that makes her the overwhelming favourite in what will be only her second attempt at the highest level.

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The last time Usherette ran at Group 1 level was in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in August when she was four lengths adrift of Amazing Maria, one of six rivals today after Dubai Turf and Lockinge Stakes runner-up Euro Charline was retired due to a tendon injury on Wednesday.

She has strengthened up since, however, and having travelled over well from Chantilly Fabre is confident of a big performance.

“The ground and course aren’t a worry, just the other opponents,” Fabre said.

“I don’t think this race looks any stronger on paper than the one she won at Newmarket earlier in the season, there were lots of good horses and Group One winners in that.”

Usherette is one of three horses in the 1,600-metre contest owned by Godolphin with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair of Very Special and Always Smile also in the £200,000 contest.

Godolphin are well represented on the undercard, too, with Charlie Appleby’s maiden winner Nasimi the favourite for the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes.

The Dubai-based operation were completely out of luck yesterday when none of their high-profile runners reached the frame. Saeed bin Suroor’s Elite Army was disappointing in the featured Princess Of Wales’s Stakes, won by Dubai Gold Cup runner-up Big Orange.

It was Big Orange’s first run since April, when he was third to Exosphere, but under a fine front-running ride form Godolphin jockey James McDonald he followed up his win of 12 months ago by beating The Grey Gatsby by two and a half lengths with Exosphere back in third. Trainer Michael Bell has penciled in a repeat bid in the Goodwood Cup next month for the five-year-old.

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