Tepin holds off Belardo to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot Image by www.healyracing.ie

Tepin holds off Belardo to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Trainer Mark Casse is already eyeing a potential return to Royal Ascot next summer with Tepin ahead of her defence of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Saturday.

The brilliant mare was a dominant winner at Keeneland 12 months ago and has continued in the same vein this year, with her spectacular run including victory in the Queen Anne Stakes in June.

She returned to North America to land the Woodbine Mile in September, before suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Photo Call in the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland almost a month ago.

Photo Call is in the line-up once more this weekend, while Henry Candy’s Limato, the Charlie Hills-trained Dutch Connection and a trio of runners from Aidan O’Brien’s yard including Alice Springs represent a formidable European challenge.

Casse, however, is in a confident mood.

He said: “She’s happy, she’s wild, she’s great and she’s travelled better than the rest of us. She’s also got a great post position (eight).

“There looks like being a fair amount of speed in the race, which is good for us.

“She’s versatile and once we had won the Royal Ascot race, this was our main objective.

“People ask me how highly that Royal Ascot experience ranks among all her successes and I would say it beats whatever happens here this week. We were that impressed.

“My big regret, however, is that owing to obligations with interviews after the race, I didn’t get to achieve my ambition and meet the Queen.

“I think there is a chance that she could return to Royal Ascot, but more immediately, I’m keen to run her in a race at the Dubai Carnival – the Dubai Turf. That, of course, would be a fantastic new experience.

“Now we have to focus on getting her to post as good as she can be on Saturday and I would say that when she was beaten by Photo Call, I thought she was just a touch off her game.

“I’m hoping that is correct, but also that the same Photo Call doesn’t show up again.”