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Nahoodh to spearhead Matron raiding party

NAHOODH will lead the British challenge on the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

The Mark Johnston-trained filly will attempt to emulate Attraction, who won the Group 1 prize for the stable in 2005 a year after her victory in the Falmouth Stakes, a race Nahoodh also won this season.

With Frankie Dettori unavailable, Johnston has booked Mick Kinane for Nahoodh, who finished fourth behind Goldikova in the Prix Rothschild on her last start.

"The plan is to run her at Leopardstown," said Johnston. "She came out of her race in France in good form."

British-trained fillies have won all four runnings of the 1m race since it became a Group 1, and Visit is on target torepresent Sir Michael Stoute, who took the prize a year ago with Echelon.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Visit's owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "The intention is to go. If it came up soft she would be going slightly into the unknown. That will be afactor, but there is no indication she wouldn't handle it."

Stoute also has Heaven Sent engaged, but the filly, who runs in the Echelon colours of Cheveley Park Stud, could wait for an alternative target.                                                                          

Stud managing directorChris Richardson said: "I think it looks a pretty tough race, so we could wait a week. At the moment we are favouring the Blandford Stakes."

Lush Lashes and Halfway To Heaven are in line to head the home team, while Pat Flynn will decide later in the week whether to let She's Our Mark run in the Matron or take on Duke Of Marmalade in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes.

"I would say the Matron may be the favourite at this stage," Flynn said.

Tom Burke, manager of Leopardstown, yesterday reported no change in ground conditions, saying: "We are still good, good to yielding in places.

"Up to 4pm today we had only one very light shower and while more showers are forecast, they will be of the hit-or-miss variety. We could get between four to six millimetres on Wednesday, but we could be lucky as we've escaped what was forecast for yesterday and today.

"Originally we were told to expect more significant rain on Thursday night, but the latest forecast is that we should be mainly dry on Thursday and Friday with rain now expected on Friday night and clearing on Saturdaymorning."

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