SOUTH Africa’s champion mare Smart Call will be in the spotlight this afternoon in the Gr1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, and trainer Alec Laird, owner Jessica Slack  and the team are all understandbly excited.

Jessica told Turf Talk on Friday evening:  “I am a bit nervous but I can’t wait for the race. I just want Smart Call and Anthony (Delpech)to come through the race safe – anything over and above that will be a bonus. It would be wonderful to remind the racing world that South African-breds are world-class!”

Smart Call at Abington Place with Steven Jell, left, Alec Laird, Moffatt Mngeni, Mary and Jessica Slack.
Smart Call at Abington Place with Steven Jell, left, Alec Laird, Moffatt Mngeni, Mary and Jessica Slack.

She added: “Smart Call’s groom Moffatt Mngeni is the only one of us that is not nervous. When I asked him, he said he’s not scared at all. I hope Smart Call feels the same as her handler. I am feeling lucky, we’re hoping!”

The Sun Chariot Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile has been won by France four times, Britain twice and Ireland once in the last eight years, and this latest renewal looks set to be another international affair.

A big day for Alec Laird and Anthony Delpech. Smart Call looks in good shape.
A big day for Alec Laird and Anthony Delpech. Smart Call looks in good shape.

The nine entries are made up of five horses trained Britain, three in France and one from each of Ireland and South Africa, with the ratings headed by Alice Springs from Ballydoyle.

In his preview, Timeform’s Adam Brooks assessed: “To wrap up, Alice Springs has just about the best form but she makes little appeal at 6/4 with a number of dangers in opposition. Ervedya should be on the premises, but she’s not quite looked the filly of last year this time around.

Making more appeal at current odds are Volta, Smart Call and Persuasive. Preference goes to Volta who has done nothing wrong in her career so far and comes from a family who tend to get better with age (her half-brother to Calvados Blues was third in the Dubai Sheema Classic aged five).”

The race is off at 5pm and will be televised live by Tellytrack.

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