Inspiral bounced back to win the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville for a second successive year under Frankie Dettori.
Sent off at 9/1 for the one mile Group 1 having struggled in the testing ground at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Inspiral also had to overcome a draw in stall 1 but she received a fine ride from Dettori who was winning the race for the fourth year in a row and an eighth time in all.
Inspiral was immediately switched by Dettori who settled the four-year-old filly towards the rear of the field but firmly embedded in the middle of the runners with plenty of cover.
Favourite Big Rick took the field along with Triple Time prominent and as they moved past halfway Light Infantry edged closer but so, too, did Dettori who switched Inspiral again to track Triple Time on the far side of the track, the opposite side of the course to which they were drawn.
Big Rock went at least a length up but Inspiral picked up impressively for Dettori and readily picked up the favourite, running on strongly to win impressively.
Big Rock stayed on for second with Light Infantry third.
Richard Thompson of owners Cheveley Park Stud told Sky Sports Racing: "A very brave call, she ran in the Sussex 11 days ago; I know she didn't have much of a race but to win this twice, two years running and to have four Group 1s now, absolutely fantastic, what a day.
"She's a proper individual, she's had a couple of difficult days on the racecourse but she's had some great days; she's so talented and, of course, when it goes for her as you saw today, she's just a different league.
"We were hoping that she could break well and get a lead, even though the ground was probably better for her on the stands' rail, but she's so talented.
"You saw that in the Fillies' Mile in 2021, saw that in the Coronation Stakes last year and we saw that here last year, she's had some big days."
Thompson revealed that John Gosden, who trains Inspiral with son Thady, had to persuade Mrs Patricia Thompson to allow Inspiral to take her chance.
"He (John Gosden) called my mother who is the ultimate boss but she made the call.
"I think it was a question really of John and Frankie as a combination deciding that she could go for this and we, my mother obviously, felt we'll back the trainer - he know what he's doing - and the jockey but 11 days after the Sussex, she had to be persuaded to run but it's come off and it's been brilliant."
Rab Havlin rode Inspiral on debut but Dettori has been on board for all of her subsequent starts and Thompson was quick to praise the retiring jockey.
"So important," he continued. "He knows this filly so well. He understands her temperament, he understands her talent and he understands how to ride her and he understands......you know, she's had a couple of bad breaks from stalls but today she broke fine and he knew what he was doing and it was pretty straightforward for her.
"She's won four Group 1 now for us and that is obviously fantastic and a double winner of this is pretty special. I just can't believe it, to win it again is just incredible."
The Jacques le Marois is a 'win and you're in' for the Breeders Cup Mile and Thompson admitted they would have to take a serious look at taking up the engagement.
"That's got to be looked at," he said.
"Talk to the trainer, talk to the jockey and my mother will obviously have a big say. The ground needs to be right for her, the Breeders' Cup is a possibility but we'll listen to the trainer, listen to the jockey and we'll enjoy today first."
The Gosdens were also winning the Marois for the fourth successive year after seeing Palace Pier take the honours in 2020 (when John Gosden was the sole licence holder) and 2021.
Dettori was joined on the podium by the other big-race jockeys and the legendary Yves Saint-Martin and was clearly emotional when conducting the post-race interviews.
"It's the stuff of dreams really, to win your last one," he said. "You heard the public, fantastic.
"So emotional. I didn't expect Yves Saint-Martin to be here, one of my heroes and a legend in France. Jacques le Marois is steeped in history with great horses and I've won it the last four years with John, some great horses I've rode. I don't want to talk the gloss away from Inspiral, she did all the work! But to win it is amazing.
"She has her moments but we took Paddington on - somebody had to do it - on heavy ground and it didn't work out but I was easy on the filly because this was always the plan. She needs a good pace and not soft ground and she got both of that today and when she's good, she's very good."
When asked whether any of his eight Marois winners stood out, Dettori replied: "Obviously Dubai Millenium was the best of the lot but the Jacques Le Marois, only champions win it, simple as that.
"I've got nothing next week so I suspect this is my last (ride at Deauville). It's an amazing track. Six weeks of great racing, good weather, great food, the town is fantastic and what's not to like about Deauville? Everything is great.
"I watched Yves and I my father racing when I was a kid and I've seen the videos. Yves is an historic jockey in France, he won the Derby, he won everything around the world. What do you say? He's a legend and to have him on the podium, I'm a very proud person."
Saint-Martin joined the interview and paid tribute of his own, saying: "The races won't have the same atmosphere, they won't have the same pizzazz when Frankie has gone as he has been such a star on the racecourse and also elsewhere."
As well as lifting this prize with Inspiral and Palace Pier, John Gosden also saw Kingman strike gold in 2014.
“To win this race twice with Palace Pier, twice with this filly and of course with Kingman is very special and it’s a great race,” said the Clarehaven handler.
“I like it because it’s run on a straight track and usually there are no hard luck stories.
“Miesque (winner of the race in 1987 and 1988) was a great filly and a machine, but Inspiral can be brilliant on her day. When Frankie took her to the front he looked after her, and maybe we will take her to Santa Anita which is a good track for her.”
Betfair Sportsbook went 6/1 from 12s for Inspiral to make a successful trip to California for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, while the firm offer 9/4 from 3/1 for Newmarket’s Sun Chariot Stakes and 6/1 from 8s for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.
Meanwhile the Big Rock camp had no excuses having finished a length and a quarter adrift of the winner dropping back to a mile.
“He has run a very good race and been beaten by a better horse. There are no excuses,” said trainer Christopher Head.
“I am really satisfied with the performance of my runner. We will continue the programme we have mapped out for him, which entails a crack at the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. Then we will mull over the rest of his programme with his owner.”
The David Simcock-trained Light Infantry finished second last year but had to settle for third this time, with another trip to Australia now on the horizon after finishing sixth in Golden Eagle on his previous visit.
“He’s a brilliant, courageous and consistent horse – once again he put in a very good performance,” said Simcock.
“We will head back to Australia like last year. He has everything (you need) to become a star there. Last year, we made a mistake of not running him between the Marois and his Australia assignment.
“This time, he will tackle a Group Three before going into quarantine, perhaps in France.”
We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.