LAURENS made every yard of the running to inflict a dramatic defeat on Alpha Centauri in the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri was sent off the 30/100 market leader as she went in search of her fifth top-level win on the bounce, but it was Karl Burke’s Laurens who spoiled the party for the home favourite.
A multiple Group 1 winner herself, including in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks), Laurens stays in excess of the mile trip and Daniel Tudhope – deputising for the injured PJ McDonald – was keen to capitalise on her guaranteed stamina and set out to make every yard of the running.
She was in control with two furlongs to run, but Alpha Centauri appeared to be just hitting top gear for Colm O’Donoghue down the outside, with Magical also trying to make her presence felt between the two. However, Alpha Centauri appeared to momentarily falter as she went upsides Laurens, and the British raider took full advantage, going on to win at odds of 10/1.
Harrington said of Alpha Centauri: “She got to the lead and she took a bad step. Whatever happened she took a bad step and then she took another one towards the end.
“She went there and whatever happened she did something, I saw it when I was watching it. She actually got to the front and I don’t quite know what happened then.
“It’d hard to know (if she is sound) as the adrenaline is pumping now. Unfortunately that’s racing and we’ll live to fight another day.”
Her rider Colm O’Donoghue said: “She did everything right. She quickened up and went half a length up, but then she lost her action and half-knuckled over for a stride or two.
“When she recovered she did it a second time. Fair dues to the winner, though, as she’s a top-class filly in her own right as well.”
A post-race veterinary examination found Alpha Centauri to be "clinically abnormal" and she also has a fetlock injury. Alan Cooper, racing manager for her owners, the Niarchos family, posted on social media: "Unfortunately Alpha Centauri sustained an injury to her right front fetlock and has been sent to the Fethard Equine Clinic for further evaluation."
FULL COVERAGE OF IRISH CHAMPIONS WEEKEND IN THE IRISH FIELD NEXT SATURDAY