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Accidental Agent lined up for Alpha Centauri clash in Marois

Eve Johnson Houghton will take on Alpha Centauri with Accidental Agent
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Alpha Centauri will need to be at her best when she bids to complete a Group 1 four-timer at Deauville on Sunday, as Queen Anne Stakes winner Accidental Agent and With You, who bolted up in the Prix Rothschild just last week, were announced as intended rivals in the Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Prix Jacques le Marois rivals on Monday.

Alpha Centauri is owned by the Marois sponsors, the Niarchos family, and has swept all before her in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Falmouth Stakes this season.

But Accidental Agent beat several big names when a 33-1 winner at Royal Ascot and has had this race as a likely target ever since.

His trainer Eve Johnson Houghton said: "He's in great form. "I couldn't be happier with him and he loves a straight mile.

"We've got to take Alpha Centauri on at some time, haven't we? And there's a bit of rain around – she might not like it if the ground goes soft while Accidental Agent is not really ground-dependent.

"I'm optimistic. He's a proper Group 1 horse and he'll give us a good showing and run really well. Alpha Centauri is obviously a very good filly but it's a horse race and we'll take her on."

Sunday's race will come only a fortnight after With You dropped back in trip and scored by an impressive three lengths over the Marois course and distance for Freddy Head, who bids for a fourth training success in a race he won seven times as a jockey.

"I think With You will run," said James Wigan, racing manager to owner George Strawbridge.

"She's fine and Freddy Head is delighted with her. It should be a good race, Alpha Centauri is obviously a very difficult one to beat."

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Alpha Centauri is obviously a very good filly but it's a horse race and we'll take her on
E.W. Terms