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Centauri is clearly the Alpha 3yo filly

07/08/2018
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A sweltering hot summer’s day was illuminated by the remarkable Alpha Centauri whose stunning performance sent chills down the spines of those watching as she destroyed six rivals in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, restricted to fillies and mares over a mile. However, nerves meant trainer Jessica Harrington was not able to witness the 3yo filly, homebred by the Niarchos family, add this prize, her first race against her elders, to her victories in the Irish 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Harrington had found the pressure mounting before the race and explained: “I was just so terribly nervous;

I was waking up at two in the morning with a sickness in my stomach and wondering what it was. “I was worrying whether I’d done everything right with her as if I hadn’t and she was beaten, it would’ve been my fault. I haven’t even really watched the race, so I’ll have to watch the replay.” Harrington could have done with a calming word from her jockey Colm O’Donoghue, whose absolute faith and confidence in the filly is in contrast to the worry the trainer experiences. “She’s an exceptional filly and you can do anything with her,” O’Donoghue said after capturing his third Group One of the season on the Niarchos family’s 3yo. “She’s so relaxed, so responsive and I always ride the race that’s best for my filly.

That might mean we lead or we tuck in, whatever suits her, and I just concentrate. She has no faults.” Such belief meant O’Donoghue had no concerns when the runners popped from the stalls and the riders looked at each other to see who would lead. Such a situation was no problem to him, he would lead from the front on the best horse and the others would have to come and catch him. They never stood a chance. Going into the Dip, Alpha Centauri quickened off her own gallop and instantaneously made a field of top level fillies and mares look average as she was pushed out to a comfortable success from Altyn Orda and Clemmie, clapped through the final furlong by a bedazzled crowd.

With the 3yo fillies beaten off and the older rivals not much of a challenge either, it is the boys next for Alpha Centauri with Harrington aiming her first at the Prix Jacques le Marois, a race sponsored by the Niarchos family, before the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in November. She said: “She had to do all the work today and she was brilliant. Colm was delighted and said she’s getting better. She has a very high cruising speed and that really helps her. “She’s absolutely unbelievable. She was hacking along and quickened up. Maybe she didn’t win as far as she did at Ascot but she had to do the donkey work today. She loves that fast ground and is just a fantastic horse. I’m very lucky to train her.”

Big plans for Godolphin winners

AL HILALEE made a winning debut in the 7f juvenile maiden to have trainer Charlie Appleby thinking of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy for the beautifully bred colt. Being by Dubawi out of the Group 1 Irish Pretty Polly Stakes winner Ambivalent, Al Hilalee has plenty to live up to but Appleby predicted a “bright future” after James Doyle led the big field of maidens home down the middle, ultimately challenged by fellow Godolphin newcomer Al Mureib, ridden by Pat Cosgrave for Saeed bin Suroor. “With his breeding, a long term aim could be the Racing Post Trophy,” said Appleby of the 4yo homebred Cape Cross gelding. Meanwhile, at the other end of the stamina spectrum, the Melbourne Cup could be an option for improving stayer Hamada after the 4yo ‘dotted up’ by seven lengths in the 1m6f handicap under William Buick and a trip to Australia could await. “He’s thrived from run to run and has won all three starts this year having missed 2017,” Appleby said. “This kind of trip is his forte and I think he’ll get further as well. “We will see what happens regarding the handicap but he might potentially be going on a trip to Australia. We’ll start a campaign there with the Melbourne Cup in mind.”

Communique another Maktoum winner

MARK JOHNSTON loves to make hay while the sun is shining and, with it beating down, he claimed the valuable 1m2f handicap for the fifth time in the last six seasons with Communique, bred by Godolphin, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and a subsequent Glorious Goodwood winner. Silvestre de Sousa had to be patient and wait for a gap to appear coming out of the dip but when that opportunity arose, he had just enough time left to reel in Zaaki and Ryan Moore, scoring by a short head. “It was a bit of a messy race and Communique was shut in behind,” Johnston said. “Silvestre said he thought they’d gone fast and the race would fall apart and it did, but not quite as soon as he had hoped. Luckily he was out just in time.”

Pollyanna benefits from sitting Pretty in front

IN A ROUGH race, which resulted in a ten day ban for Frankie Dettori, Pretty Pollyanna, having stalked the early pace, hit the front about halfway in the 6f Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes, she and Silvestre de Sousa missing all the trouble in behind in the juvenile fillies’ feature. Trained by Michael Bell, the homebred daughter of Oasis Dream is named after owner Bill Gredley’s daughter Polly, who is married to Newmarket trainer George Scott. “She’s been working very nicely and has clearly improved,” Bell said. “That was a very good performance and I’d like to say she’d only improve but she probably doesn’t need to in order to be very competitive in all the top races.” Gredley added: “She has a chance of being special, perhaps the 1000 Guineas is a feasible dream; she’s bred for the mile, I hope, and I thought the hill would help her today.” Connections later confirmed her next start would be in France in the Prix Morny, a race Bell won in 1994 with Hoh Magic. He said: “We are taking the brave route and taking on the colts; the Cheveley Park is rather a long way off.”

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07 Aug 2018
Issue Number: Issue 647
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Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
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