"Quicker and stronger" Laurens bids for second Matron win


Thursday, September 05, 2019
Laurens edges out Alpha Centauri

Laurens is "the one to beat", says trainer Karl Burke, as the popular mare bids for back-to-back wins at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend on Saturday week, September 14.

The four-year-old caused a major shock 12 months ago when beating the brilliant Alpha Centauri in the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes and her trainer is delighted with her well-being ahead of what will probably be her penultimate outing before retirement. 

John Dance's mare is already a Group 1 winner this season having taken the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in July, and she warmed up for Leopardstown in a photo-finish defeat at York on August 24. She is likely to tackle dual Guineas winner Hermosa, trained by Aidan O'Brien, in the Matron Stakes.

Burke said: "This time last year she came to Leopardstown after running over a mile and a half at York and she was a 10/1 chance. This year she is the one to beat if she goes there in her usual form," Burke said.

"We dropped her back to seven furlongs last time to test her speed with a view to running in the Prix de la Forêt on Arc weekend but Leopardstown has always been the big target for the second half of her season.

"She is a bigger, stronger mare this season and in my view, she has become that bit quicker. PJ McDonald will come over tomorrow morning (Friday) for her last bit of serious work before Leopardstown; we haven't had to do much with her as she only ran the other day at York."

It is unlikely that Laurens will go to the Breeders' Cup, despite her owner and trainer having debated it, and Burke expects that she will be retired at the end of this season. "She has been an amazing mare for us all, our first Classic winner, and with the welcome we got in Ireland last year, we always wanted to go back."

Burke could have two other runners at Leopardstown: Kelly's Dino is in both the Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Petingo" Handicap and Group 3 Paddy Power Betting Shop Kilternan Stakes, whilst Raydiance may tackle the Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Sovereign Path" Handicap.

"Kelly's Dino is likely to go for Kilternan Stakes. He came out of the Ebor in good form. Raydiance is also on the ticket," the English trainer added.

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