Shalaa off the mark at Group 1 level after No Speak Alexander makes Matron noise
Eight-year-old stands at Al Shaqab's Haras de Bouquetot
No Speak Alexander became Haras de Bouquetot sire Shalaa’s first Group 1 winner on Saturday after surviving a stewards’ inquiry to land the Coolmore-backed Matron Stakes at 25-1.
The filly, trained by Jessica Harrington and ridden by Shane Foley, was bred by Mountarmstrong Stud out of Dandy Man’s daughter Rapacity Alexander - her first foal - and was improving on her third-placed finish in the Irish 1,000 Guineas earlier in the season. She had previously won a maiden and the Group 3 Athasi Stakes.
No Speak Alexander was first past the post by a neck from Invincible Spirit's Pearls Galore, but having hampered third home Mother Earth, connections had an anxious wait while the Leopardstown stewards analysed the interference.
The dam was a Listed winner at Chantilly, and is a full-sister to Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint winner Peniaphobia, while Shalaa was also a top-level winner, landing the Prix Morny and Middle Park as a two-year-old.
Shalaa also won the July Stakes and Richmond Stakes in a stellar juvenile campaign that meant he was named European champion two-year-old.
He returned from injury in the October of his three-year-old campaign to win the Group 3 Bengough Stakes, but was retired after finishing tenth in the British Champions Sprint back at Ascot later that month.
The eight-year-old, whose other flagbearer is Australian colt Shaquero, stood the 2021 season at Al Shaqab’s stud at €15,000.