Matilda Picotte made every yard of the running to win the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster on Sunday.
Third in the 1000 Guineas in the spring, Matilda Picotte had failed to strike in three subsequent starts but returned to form in some style in this Group 3 contest.
Oisin Murphy had Kieran Cotter’s charge smartly away, seizing the initiative from the off and settling into a nice rhythm on the front as Cachet, last year’s 1000 Guineas winner who was making her seasonal bow, raced on her heels.
Cachet was starting the feel the pace with a couple of furlongs to run, however, dropping back as Murphy kicked on again on Matilda Picotte, opening up a handy gap.
Nigiri tried to challenge inside the last of the seven furlongs, but Matilda Picotte (6/1) was too good, coming home three and three-quarter lengths clear, with a further two lengths back to Vetiver, who just pipped Cachet for third by a nose.
Cotter said: “She deserved that, she got chinned by a good horse of Jim Bolger’s (Clever And Cool) last time out in a Listed race, but that was over seven furlongs and 110 yards. I thought today back at seven and on less testing ground she’d take the beating. She’s a serious horse.
“Plans were on hold until after today, but we might look at the Prix de la Foret. There’s another Group 3 at Newmarket that could be an option, too.
“I don’t think next year she’ll have a problem dropping back down to six, but this year I just felt three-year-olds find it hard against the older sprinters.
“She’s never ducked a challenge from day one. Her run in the Guineas was good enough to do what she did today and we felt we had her back to 100%. It was fantastic, she put some serious fillies to bed there.
“She’s probably going to the sales at the end of the year so she might not be mine, but she could be a serious sprinter next year with another year on her back.”
George Boughey, meanwhile, was taking positives from Cachet’s first run since Royal Ascot last year.
“She was a little ring-rusty on ground that was always going to be a question mark. I was pleased that Ryan (Moore) wasn’t over hard on her when the race was gone. She’s sure to improve for it,” he said.
“She showed her zest at home and on the track. There was a moment three down when I thought she might fall out the back of the telly and she battled on. She’s come an awful long way in the last 10 weeks and she was racing against race-fit rivals.
“The Sun Chariot is the natural step for her if she comes out of it all right. She’s going to be sold at the mares’ sale at the end of the year and to get her back on track was great.”